Course Details

This gives you the opportunity to qualify and work as a special needs assistant. By booking both courses together you can progress straight to the level 6 course upon completion of the level 5 and avail of a discount, making your study more affordable.

Qualification
QQI Level 5 QQI Level 6
Course Delivery Mode Start Date Duration
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
20th May 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Online with live lectures
Start Date
19th June 2024
Duration
5 months
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
15th July 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
23rd September 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Online with live lectures
Start Date
25th September 2024
Duration
5 months
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
11th November 2024
Duration
2 weeks

Overview

Are you interested in becoming a Special Needs Assistant? This course is suited to anyone who has an interest in Special Needs Education, whether to pursue it as a career or use the knowledge for personal or family reasons. Portobello Institute’s  QQI Level 5 Minor Award and QQI Level 6 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting are qualifications that will allow you to work as a special needs assistant in schools, hospitals and care homes. During this course you will acquire not only knowledge but empathy and understanding crucial to your future role as support to persons needing assistance in their learning. You will be required to complete 20 hours of work experience enabling you to get practical experience to compliment your studies. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

 

Why should I study this course?

The field of Special Needs Education is one of enormous variety and ever-changing needs. Portobello Institute wish to respond to the true needs within the sector by offering a course that will equip our students not only with knowledge but with empathy and understanding crucial to their future role as support to persons needing assistance in their learning. Our research in the field has found that Special Needs Assistants require practical skills and knowledge in a wide range of behaviours and abilities. Thus, we try to encapsulate the lifelong experience of persons with Special Needs within our courses, in Level 5 and in greater detail at Level 6.

Portobello Institute’s QQI level 5 and 6 Minor Awards in Special Needs Assisting gives you the opportunity to learn from a range of experts all of whom are passionate about the field of special needs education. They bring their insight, depth of experience and passion for teaching to this course. During this course, you will learn to support and understand the process by which a child with learning, physical or behavioural needs learns. This qualification will allow you to work alongside a child with special needs in a school as well as care settings.

The Special Needs Assistant Level 6 course is ideal for Learners who wish to:

  • Possess a comprehensive understanding of national and local models, multi-disciplinary teams, health and safety issues and educational provisions for children and young people with special needs.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the relevant concepts, theories and principles underpinning curriculum implementation.
  • Create learning opportunities by devising and implementing Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) and individual behavior Plans (IBP’s) and introduce exercises that teach the child to look after themselves and their property which ultimately encourages independence, respect, self-esteem and responsibility.
  • Assess the roles and responsibilities and skill sets required by the SNA to assist the teacher in implementing the National curriculum.

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon completing this course, you will hold the following qualifications;

QQI Level 5 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting

QQI Level 6 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting

 

What will I study during this Special Needs Assistant – Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package course?

During the Level 5 course, you will learn about development and learning in children with special needs and about the role of an SNA. You will learn about child development and behaviour theories and how a range of activities can promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual development in children with learning, physical and behavioural disabilities. You will develop the capacity to work and communicate effectively with parents, families, colleagues and other professionals to safeguard, support and promote children’s learning, development and well-being.

During this programme you will cover the following topics:

The Role of the Special Needs Assistant

Equal Opportunities Child Development (Overview)

Theories of Learning and Behaviour

Physical and Intellectual Disabilities

Communications and Language Disabilities

Work Experience

The level 6 course provides you with a greater depth of knowledge on the role of an SNA. You will learn about development and learning in children with special needs and about the role of an SNA. You will learn about child development and behaviour theories and how a range of activities can promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual development in children with learning, physical and behavioural disabilities. You will learn how to implement Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) and individual behaviour Plans (IBP’s) and introduce exercises that teach the child to look after themselves and their property which ultimately encourages independence, respect, self-esteem and responsibility. You will develop the capacity to work and communicate effectively with parents, families, colleagues and other professionals to safeguard, support and promote children’s learning, development and well-being.

During this programme you will cover the following topics:

Understanding Education, Health and Safety, Teach methodologies, Educational Philosophy and Practice.

Literacy: Identifying the conditions for learning language and how to implement these according to learning programmes.

Mathematics: Learning skills to support the teaching of mathematics and to devise strategies to assess mathematical ability.

Observations: Methods and techniques for assessing, planning and evaluating.

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Olivia Hamill

“Working as a PM for EY & SNA means working in an ever-changing industry, as investment in the childcare industry in Ireland has been to the forefront in recent years.  This investment is not unlike the investment made by students- as they invest in their future through their educational journey. Being involved in their journey is fulfilling as you watch them flourish over time and support them in achieving their goals”

OLIVIA’S STORY

While my initial third level education was in Business Management my career path took a turn when I became involved in fostering. The more research (for homelife benefits) I conducted in the areas of children with additional needs, child development, play activities etc., I realised that this was an area I had a keen interest in. From here I went onto firstly study a Level 5 in ECCE, to have the basis for further study within the area. Then I completed a H-DIP in ECEC which led me onto a Level 9 MA in Child, Youth and Family studies.  I studied part time while working in-person weekdays, and this has helped me immensely in understanding students journey on similar paths- it can be a  struggle trying to balance working, reaching assignment deadlines, attending classes, along with daily home (and social!) life, but once you achieve your end goal it is worth it. Having also worked in various rooms in childcare settings, this added to my experience, skills, knowledge, and abilities. Working in the sector assisted me greatly (before I took up the role as Programme Manager) while I was tutoring with Portobello as I was able to impart knowledge and experience to students.

Why did you choose to work in education?

Having gone back to study myself many years after my initial education, my own experience contributes to understanding individual students needs and abilities. Everybody learns differently and it is beneficial in the educational industry to have an understanding that some people may be visual learners, while others may be kinaesthetic or auditory learners while some may learn through reading and writing. Match this understanding with various modes of course delivery, tutors who are passionate about their subject areas, are inclusive to all types of learners and this can only lead to a successful outcome for students.

Collaborating with and listening to students is also an important aspect within the education industry, we all have knowledge to offer and learn from each other, having had this experience myself while studying, this was always something I encouraged while tutoring. Facilitating students to share knowledge and experience while motivating and supporting them through their learning journey is all part of the role as an educator. These roles also become part of your role as a PM, you want to see everyone achieving their goal and you are there to help, guide, advise, support, motivate and encourage them throughout their time spent with the college.

Your experience as a Programme Manager.

Before a student embarks on their learning journey, Portobello takes the time to explore which mode of delivery suits an individual’s needs, abilities, and time available to study. While working as a PM with Portobello I have come across many inspirational students, some who have not studied in many years, some who have had learning difficulties, others may be changing industry entirely, while some just simply want more knowledge as a parent to help them in understanding their children’s needs. As a PM contributing to all student’s journey through listening, supporting, motivating, and encouraging them throughout their education is an important aspect and it is inspirational to see students achieving their goal.

Why Portobello?

Working with Portobello allows you to get to know students, which allows students to feel valued and everyone in the Institute is committed to supporting students on their learning journey. Portobello offers flexibility in course delivery, this is something which can be a deciding factor on choosing a course, students consider what fits their lifestyle and free time available to study. By offering blended, part time, in-person weekdays, online or distance courses, this gives Portobello the ability to offer courses to suit a range of students needs.

Qualifications

  • MA in Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • H-Dip in Early Childhood Education & Care
  • QQI Level 5 in Early Childhood Care & Education
  • BBS Honours Degree in Business Management

 

 

 

 


Personal Academic Tutor

Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance at a time convenient to you.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.

This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.


Limin Bai

Position: SNA & Early Years Lecturer

Limin Bai’s Story

I grew up in China, was educated in Ireland and graduated from Portobello Institute. Without Portobello tutors’ care and love, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Portobello helped me succeed in my career and the tutors ignited the passion I have for Special Needs Assisting.

I am an ASD teacher during the day and a lecturer in the evening. My on-the-job experience helps to support my teaching and my students love to hear all the stories and interactions I tell them as they are real-life scenarios that SNAs will face in the workplace.  I love sharing my own experiences and getting feedback from my students about their experiences.

I write children’s books for Chinese children, it is very fun but equally so interesting to understand why children act the way they do. I write my own blog, and I have over 800 followers all of whom are parents and I receive excellent feedback from this. I help parents understand what is appropriate education and behaviour for their children.

Limin’s Teaching Philosophy 

Students do not only need theories, they need support and guidance and they need to feel listened to. I instil confidence in my students always encouraging them not to give up and I give extra assistance if and when required.

I have students ranging from 18 to 65, they are all special to me, it doesn’t matter where they have worked before, or what experience they have I will give them the skills and tools required to complete the course and gain a job in the sector. I am creative in my teaching methods and this helps me to motivate my students to succeed and to keep them engaged in my classes.

What Limin’s Students Say

“We all had to adapt to a new way of communicating and learning.  It is my first time doing a course like this let alone online and it has been a great informative experience which I have to say is down to Limin.  Her classes were engaging, informative and enjoyable.  She is a person who is gifted in many ways, one of which is teaching, be it to a child or an adult. I would have no hesitation in attending her of your future classes or recommending her and the Portobello Institute. Any child in her presence is bound to feel nurtured that is a gift in itself.”   – Regina Ainsworth (SNA 5 student)

Clare Bowman

Position: SNA and ECCE Tutor

“Early Childhood Education is the key to the betterment of our society.” – Maria Montessori

I am passionate about all aspects of Early Childhood Education. I have been fortunate to meet some equally passionate students along the way. The Early Childhood sector has improved so much over the last 20 years and continues to improve through the education and devotion of its committed workforce.

About Clare

I have a background in Early Years Education, specialising in Early Intervention. I currently teach under 6’s with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Global Developmental Delays. I have been working in Adult Education for over 16 years.

Clare’s Teaching Philosophy

My classes are fun, informative, and interactive. I like students to feel like they go away from class confident that they can complete the assignments required for each module.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Training and Education
  • HNC Childcare and Education
  • University Certificate in ASD
  • Montessori Certificate in Special Education

Research/Industry Participation

  • Member of the Teaching Council of Ireland
  • Member of Autplay Therapists

What modules do you teach and what value do you feel this brings to the students?

Module: Special Needs Assisting

Value: Prepares the student for working with children with additional needs. Provides them with a knowledge of special educational needs, the role of the SNA and Irish legislation.

Module: Child Development

Value: Equips the student with an understanding of holistic development, an overview of the work of important theorists and the knowledge to carry out a variety of observations in the workplace.

Module: Child Psychology

Value: Provides the learner with theoretical knowledge of psychology relevant to childhood, as well as helping students to develop new ideas and improve their own interaction with the children they work with.

Fran Trehy

Position: Special Needs Assisting lecturer

 ‘The heartfelt hero, using their talents to help students discover their own. Dedicating their time and energy each day to the students in their care, and doing it all while meeting the individual needs of many.’

About Fran Trehy 

As I am a Special Needs Assistant for the past 16 years, I feel I can give the student a true insight into the classroom environment.  I went back to education myself in later life and after completing my Arts and Humanity degree focusing on Family Studies, the urge to stay as an SNA was so strong, so when Portobello came up to teach the Level 5 and Level 6 Special Needs assisting courses, it was a dream come true In so many ways. I have had a very eventful life to date, travelling the world, working in very varied work environments for example Dublin Airport, Hospitals, and an array of other careers, one of which is being a mother to three teenager/young adults,  I had a child with special needs myself who passed away very early in life so Special needs is very close to my heart.  I have a passion for the career and the children in my care.  I hope anyone that I am lucky enough to teach will benefit from that passion. 

Since taking the position of Tutor with Portobello I have encountered so many people with the same ethos as myself not only with colleagues but with students alike, to be Special Needs Assistant takes a very special person, to change children’s lives for the better is so rewarding. I could not have chosen a better college to teach in and I am truly grateful to assist as many people as possible to progress in this challenging, rewarding career.

Fran’s Teaching Philosophy

 I am a very relaxed Educator, I like to make students feel comfortable and to be in an environment where no question is a silly question, I like to exude passion for special needs children and for all children in education.  I would love my students to leave the course with all the knowledge necessary to become the best they can be. I also want students to have the urge and longing to progress and further their education after completing the course and to make sure they have the confidence to pursue that. I believe that teachers should create a positive and safe atmosphere for all their students, and be the best teacher they can be by using different teaching strategies, being prepared for any situation, and always doing what’s best for the students.

Qualifications

  • BA Hons, Arts and Humanity focusing on family studies
  • Special Needs Assisting Level5 and Level 6
  • Dyslexia, Dyspraxia awareness certificates
  • PECS and ABA Certificates 

 

Colm O’Donovan

Position: Tutor/lecturer MA in Inclusive Education and Special Educational Needs

“The purpose of adult education is to help people to learn, not to teach them all you know and thus stop them from learning,” – Carl Rogers.

About Colm O’Donovan

I am a committed educator with fifteen years of experience working in a DEIS primary school in Dublin 12. In my time there I have been placed in a variety of roles including class teacher, Special Education Teacher, Home School Community Liaison (HCSL) and Deputy Principal. Working in a DEIS school is hugely rewarding even if it has its own challenges. Among the many benefits are that the staff are exposed to professional development in a wide variety of areas such as emotional regulation, behaviour strategies and a huge scope of literacy and numeracy programmes beyond the reach of traditional primary education.

In particular, my time as an HSCL meant I worked much more with parents and the wider school community and through this, I gained true insight into the importance of parental involvement in children’s education. Through this role, I developed a greater interest in adult education.

In 2021/22 I completed a Post Graduate qualification in Inclusive and Special Education and was exposed to a huge amount of knowledge and skills both from my lecturers and tutors and my fellow adult learners. It brought a completely new perspective to my work and for the current school year, I took a career break from my school to explore that further.

I am now enjoying increasing my exposure to different areas in the field of education and am currently working as a lecturer/tutor with Portobello Institute and School Placement Tutor with Hibernia College among other roles.

Before becoming a teacher I worked a variety of different jobs in my 20s including four years as a sports journalist with a number of national newspapers.

Colm’s Teaching Philosophy

I am very early in my career in third-level education but I am learning a huge amount all the time from my colleagues and the adult learners I have had the privilege to teach in my courses. I aim to be a collaborative teacher at this level, and given the wealth of experience and the level of commitment any adult choosing to do a course has already shown, it would be foolish to be anything else.

I try to bring elements of my varied experience to the table and to help learners to identify their own strengths and weaknesses so we can move forward together.

Qualifications 

  • Higher Diploma in Primary Education, Hibernia College
  • Post Graduate Diploma Inclusive and Special Education, UCD
  • Graduate Certificate in Literacy, DCU
  • Master of Journalism and Applied Communication, NUIG
  • Bachelor of Arts, UCD
  • Trained Parents Plus Facilitator, Trained in Incredible Years, Rainbows Programme, Pax Behaviour, Words their Way spelling among others

Natasha Murphy

Position: Early Years lecturer

“Early years education lays the foundation for a child’s life-long learning journey.”

About Natasha 

My name is Natasha Murphy, I am a manager in an inner-city, diverse Montessori School with 13 nationalities and I am an Early Years Tutor. This year brought a whole new level of teaching, as everything was moved online – online lectures and also online Live Circle times to stay connected with students, children and families.

I come from a family of early years practitioners, Montessori teachers and secondary school teachers, so I have always had a passion for working with children.

As I was growing up, I realised the importance of early childhood care and education, it is the first insight into learning for a child and that is how I decided to become an early years practitioner. I want to be part of each child’s early learning journey and support them to grow and learn in a fun and meaningful way.

While studying, I gained an interest in transitions. I implemented home visits prior to a child starting in my setting. I arranged an hour-long home visit with each child and their family. This helped me to build a respectful and reciprocal relationship with the child and family, which eased the settling-in process.

I was invited to travel to Sweden to talk about transitions with Early Childhood Ireland in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, it was cancelled. I have spent a summer in Spain teaching children aged 4-15 years old, and I travelled to Pune in India with Portobello Institute to volunteer in a number of orphanages and outreach community centres.

Working as an early years practitioner has allowed me to link theory to practice when giving a lecture. This has been very beneficial to students as they can relate and begin to see how their learning can be linked to their own settings too. As I completed my own studies through blended learning, I can understand how students feel trying to balance, work, home and study life.

Natasha’s Teaching Philosophy

My main goal when delivering a lecture is to share my passion and knowledge of early years with students so they can mirror this and gain a willingness to learn and understand the course modules.

While teaching, I always use real-life examples from my own experiences to support the theory, this creates an opportunity for students to become active in their learning and share their own experiences, thoughts, and idea or simply, ask a question.

A lecture for me is best taught through an interactive approach. I like to hear the students’ voices. This builds a collaborative approach within the class.

I present all information relating to the module by using the spoken and written word, PowerPoint with visual aids to try and accommodate all types of learners. I tutor the Level 6 QQI Early Childhood Care and Education Course and the Special Needs Assisting courses at Level 5 and Level 6.

Graduate attributes I hope to instil in my students are to embrace the learning and find ways to implement this newfound knowledge into their career/early years’ setting, team work, good communication skills, confidence and to have the ability to work independently and in a group.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies
  • MA in Early Childhood Studies

Modules Taught by Natasha 

  • Child Development – Early Childhood Care and Education

Students gain knowledge and understanding of child development theories and learn to apply them in a practical way. Skills of observation, evaluation and reflection are explored and the importance of using information as a basis for planning curricular activities suitable to the child’s interests, needs and level of development.

  • Early Childhood Curriculum – Early Childhood Care and Education

Students get the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations as they learn to plan suitable, interesting, fun and stimulating curricula. They gain an understanding that curriculum is more than just planning. Knowledge of Aistear the early years curriculum framework and Síolta, the quality framework for early childhood, alongside current theories of the curriculum is gained

  • Social Legal and Health – Early Childhood Care and Education

The students will study the historical timeline and social policy which has led to early years education what it is today.

Children First 2015 put child protection on a legislative footing therefore all practitioners must have a knowledge of how to protect and safeguard children in their setting, through policy, practice and reporting.

Equality is vital within our diverse society, however, it does not mean treating everyone the same! The student will gain knowledge of the law, guidance, policies, provision and practice which address equality and diversity in settings.

  • Personal and Professional Development – Early Childhood Care and Education

This module allows the student to assess their personal and professional strengths and areas for development and plan accordingly. This allows the student to become self-aware, to be more motivated, with the ability to manage their time and procrastinate less. This in turn relieves stress.

Students also learn how to arrange, lead and manage meetings e.g. writing an agenda, meeting etiquette, recording minutes and supporting and following through on decision-making.

The students gain the skills and knowledge to complete a presentation, from topic choice to rationale to presentation with visual aids to self-evaluation. This module provides the student will a tool for planning and improvement personally and professionally.

Programme Manager

Olivia Hamill

“Working as a PM for EY & SNA means working in an ever-changing industry, as investment in the childcare industry in Ireland has been to the forefront in recent years.  This investment is not unlike the investment made by students- as they invest in their future through their educational journey. Being involved in their journey is fulfilling as you watch them flourish over time and support them in achieving their goals”

OLIVIA’S STORY

While my initial third level education was in Business Management my career path took a turn when I became involved in fostering. The more research (for homelife benefits) I conducted in the areas of children with additional needs, child development, play activities etc., I realised that this was an area I had a keen interest in. From here I went onto firstly study a Level 5 in ECCE, to have the basis for further study within the area. Then I completed a H-DIP in ECEC which led me onto a Level 9 MA in Child, Youth and Family studies.  I studied part time while working in-person weekdays, and this has helped me immensely in understanding students journey on similar paths- it can be a  struggle trying to balance working, reaching assignment deadlines, attending classes, along with daily home (and social!) life, but once you achieve your end goal it is worth it. Having also worked in various rooms in childcare settings, this added to my experience, skills, knowledge, and abilities. Working in the sector assisted me greatly (before I took up the role as Programme Manager) while I was tutoring with Portobello as I was able to impart knowledge and experience to students.

Why did you choose to work in education?

Having gone back to study myself many years after my initial education, my own experience contributes to understanding individual students needs and abilities. Everybody learns differently and it is beneficial in the educational industry to have an understanding that some people may be visual learners, while others may be kinaesthetic or auditory learners while some may learn through reading and writing. Match this understanding with various modes of course delivery, tutors who are passionate about their subject areas, are inclusive to all types of learners and this can only lead to a successful outcome for students.

Collaborating with and listening to students is also an important aspect within the education industry, we all have knowledge to offer and learn from each other, having had this experience myself while studying, this was always something I encouraged while tutoring. Facilitating students to share knowledge and experience while motivating and supporting them through their learning journey is all part of the role as an educator. These roles also become part of your role as a PM, you want to see everyone achieving their goal and you are there to help, guide, advise, support, motivate and encourage them throughout their time spent with the college.

Your experience as a Programme Manager.

Before a student embarks on their learning journey, Portobello takes the time to explore which mode of delivery suits an individual’s needs, abilities, and time available to study. While working as a PM with Portobello I have come across many inspirational students, some who have not studied in many years, some who have had learning difficulties, others may be changing industry entirely, while some just simply want more knowledge as a parent to help them in understanding their children’s needs. As a PM contributing to all student’s journey through listening, supporting, motivating, and encouraging them throughout their education is an important aspect and it is inspirational to see students achieving their goal.

Why Portobello?

Working with Portobello allows you to get to know students, which allows students to feel valued and everyone in the Institute is committed to supporting students on their learning journey. Portobello offers flexibility in course delivery, this is something which can be a deciding factor on choosing a course, students consider what fits their lifestyle and free time available to study. By offering blended, part time, in-person weekdays, online or distance courses, this gives Portobello the ability to offer courses to suit a range of students needs.

Qualifications

  • MA in Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • H-Dip in Early Childhood Education & Care
  • QQI Level 5 in Early Childhood Care & Education
  • BBS Honours Degree in Business Management

 

 

 

 


Personal Academic Tutor

Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance at a time convenient to you.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.

This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.


Limin Bai

Position: SNA & Early Years Lecturer

Limin Bai’s Story

I grew up in China, was educated in Ireland and graduated from Portobello Institute. Without Portobello tutors’ care and love, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Portobello helped me succeed in my career and the tutors ignited the passion I have for Special Needs Assisting.

I am an ASD teacher during the day and a lecturer in the evening. My on-the-job experience helps to support my teaching and my students love to hear all the stories and interactions I tell them as they are real-life scenarios that SNAs will face in the workplace.  I love sharing my own experiences and getting feedback from my students about their experiences.

I write children’s books for Chinese children, it is very fun but equally so interesting to understand why children act the way they do. I write my own blog, and I have over 800 followers all of whom are parents and I receive excellent feedback from this. I help parents understand what is appropriate education and behaviour for their children.

Limin’s Teaching Philosophy 

Students do not only need theories, they need support and guidance and they need to feel listened to. I instil confidence in my students always encouraging them not to give up and I give extra assistance if and when required.

I have students ranging from 18 to 65, they are all special to me, it doesn’t matter where they have worked before, or what experience they have I will give them the skills and tools required to complete the course and gain a job in the sector. I am creative in my teaching methods and this helps me to motivate my students to succeed and to keep them engaged in my classes.

What Limin’s Students Say

“We all had to adapt to a new way of communicating and learning.  It is my first time doing a course like this let alone online and it has been a great informative experience which I have to say is down to Limin.  Her classes were engaging, informative and enjoyable.  She is a person who is gifted in many ways, one of which is teaching, be it to a child or an adult. I would have no hesitation in attending her of your future classes or recommending her and the Portobello Institute. Any child in her presence is bound to feel nurtured that is a gift in itself.”   – Regina Ainsworth (SNA 5 student)

Clare Bowman

Position: SNA and ECCE Tutor

“Early Childhood Education is the key to the betterment of our society.” – Maria Montessori

I am passionate about all aspects of Early Childhood Education. I have been fortunate to meet some equally passionate students along the way. The Early Childhood sector has improved so much over the last 20 years and continues to improve through the education and devotion of its committed workforce.

About Clare

I have a background in Early Years Education, specialising in Early Intervention. I currently teach under 6’s with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Global Developmental Delays. I have been working in Adult Education for over 16 years.

Clare’s Teaching Philosophy

My classes are fun, informative, and interactive. I like students to feel like they go away from class confident that they can complete the assignments required for each module.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Training and Education
  • HNC Childcare and Education
  • University Certificate in ASD
  • Montessori Certificate in Special Education

Research/Industry Participation

  • Member of the Teaching Council of Ireland
  • Member of Autplay Therapists

What modules do you teach and what value do you feel this brings to the students?

Module: Special Needs Assisting

Value: Prepares the student for working with children with additional needs. Provides them with a knowledge of special educational needs, the role of the SNA and Irish legislation.

Module: Child Development

Value: Equips the student with an understanding of holistic development, an overview of the work of important theorists and the knowledge to carry out a variety of observations in the workplace.

Module: Child Psychology

Value: Provides the learner with theoretical knowledge of psychology relevant to childhood, as well as helping students to develop new ideas and improve their own interaction with the children they work with.

Fran Trehy

Position: Special Needs Assisting lecturer

 ‘The heartfelt hero, using their talents to help students discover their own. Dedicating their time and energy each day to the students in their care, and doing it all while meeting the individual needs of many.’

About Fran Trehy 

As I am a Special Needs Assistant for the past 16 years, I feel I can give the student a true insight into the classroom environment.  I went back to education myself in later life and after completing my Arts and Humanity degree focusing on Family Studies, the urge to stay as an SNA was so strong, so when Portobello came up to teach the Level 5 and Level 6 Special Needs assisting courses, it was a dream come true In so many ways. I have had a very eventful life to date, travelling the world, working in very varied work environments for example Dublin Airport, Hospitals, and an array of other careers, one of which is being a mother to three teenager/young adults,  I had a child with special needs myself who passed away very early in life so Special needs is very close to my heart.  I have a passion for the career and the children in my care.  I hope anyone that I am lucky enough to teach will benefit from that passion. 

Since taking the position of Tutor with Portobello I have encountered so many people with the same ethos as myself not only with colleagues but with students alike, to be Special Needs Assistant takes a very special person, to change children’s lives for the better is so rewarding. I could not have chosen a better college to teach in and I am truly grateful to assist as many people as possible to progress in this challenging, rewarding career.

Fran’s Teaching Philosophy

 I am a very relaxed Educator, I like to make students feel comfortable and to be in an environment where no question is a silly question, I like to exude passion for special needs children and for all children in education.  I would love my students to leave the course with all the knowledge necessary to become the best they can be. I also want students to have the urge and longing to progress and further their education after completing the course and to make sure they have the confidence to pursue that. I believe that teachers should create a positive and safe atmosphere for all their students, and be the best teacher they can be by using different teaching strategies, being prepared for any situation, and always doing what’s best for the students.

Qualifications

  • BA Hons, Arts and Humanity focusing on family studies
  • Special Needs Assisting Level5 and Level 6
  • Dyslexia, Dyspraxia awareness certificates
  • PECS and ABA Certificates 

 

Colm O’Donovan

Position: Tutor/lecturer MA in Inclusive Education and Special Educational Needs

“The purpose of adult education is to help people to learn, not to teach them all you know and thus stop them from learning,” – Carl Rogers.

About Colm O’Donovan

I am a committed educator with fifteen years of experience working in a DEIS primary school in Dublin 12. In my time there I have been placed in a variety of roles including class teacher, Special Education Teacher, Home School Community Liaison (HCSL) and Deputy Principal. Working in a DEIS school is hugely rewarding even if it has its own challenges. Among the many benefits are that the staff are exposed to professional development in a wide variety of areas such as emotional regulation, behaviour strategies and a huge scope of literacy and numeracy programmes beyond the reach of traditional primary education.

In particular, my time as an HSCL meant I worked much more with parents and the wider school community and through this, I gained true insight into the importance of parental involvement in children’s education. Through this role, I developed a greater interest in adult education.

In 2021/22 I completed a Post Graduate qualification in Inclusive and Special Education and was exposed to a huge amount of knowledge and skills both from my lecturers and tutors and my fellow adult learners. It brought a completely new perspective to my work and for the current school year, I took a career break from my school to explore that further.

I am now enjoying increasing my exposure to different areas in the field of education and am currently working as a lecturer/tutor with Portobello Institute and School Placement Tutor with Hibernia College among other roles.

Before becoming a teacher I worked a variety of different jobs in my 20s including four years as a sports journalist with a number of national newspapers.

Colm’s Teaching Philosophy

I am very early in my career in third-level education but I am learning a huge amount all the time from my colleagues and the adult learners I have had the privilege to teach in my courses. I aim to be a collaborative teacher at this level, and given the wealth of experience and the level of commitment any adult choosing to do a course has already shown, it would be foolish to be anything else.

I try to bring elements of my varied experience to the table and to help learners to identify their own strengths and weaknesses so we can move forward together.

Qualifications 

  • Higher Diploma in Primary Education, Hibernia College
  • Post Graduate Diploma Inclusive and Special Education, UCD
  • Graduate Certificate in Literacy, DCU
  • Master of Journalism and Applied Communication, NUIG
  • Bachelor of Arts, UCD
  • Trained Parents Plus Facilitator, Trained in Incredible Years, Rainbows Programme, Pax Behaviour, Words their Way spelling among others

Natasha Murphy

Position: Early Years lecturer

“Early years education lays the foundation for a child’s life-long learning journey.”

About Natasha 

My name is Natasha Murphy, I am a manager in an inner-city, diverse Montessori School with 13 nationalities and I am an Early Years Tutor. This year brought a whole new level of teaching, as everything was moved online – online lectures and also online Live Circle times to stay connected with students, children and families.

I come from a family of early years practitioners, Montessori teachers and secondary school teachers, so I have always had a passion for working with children.

As I was growing up, I realised the importance of early childhood care and education, it is the first insight into learning for a child and that is how I decided to become an early years practitioner. I want to be part of each child’s early learning journey and support them to grow and learn in a fun and meaningful way.

While studying, I gained an interest in transitions. I implemented home visits prior to a child starting in my setting. I arranged an hour-long home visit with each child and their family. This helped me to build a respectful and reciprocal relationship with the child and family, which eased the settling-in process.

I was invited to travel to Sweden to talk about transitions with Early Childhood Ireland in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, it was cancelled. I have spent a summer in Spain teaching children aged 4-15 years old, and I travelled to Pune in India with Portobello Institute to volunteer in a number of orphanages and outreach community centres.

Working as an early years practitioner has allowed me to link theory to practice when giving a lecture. This has been very beneficial to students as they can relate and begin to see how their learning can be linked to their own settings too. As I completed my own studies through blended learning, I can understand how students feel trying to balance, work, home and study life.

Natasha’s Teaching Philosophy

My main goal when delivering a lecture is to share my passion and knowledge of early years with students so they can mirror this and gain a willingness to learn and understand the course modules.

While teaching, I always use real-life examples from my own experiences to support the theory, this creates an opportunity for students to become active in their learning and share their own experiences, thoughts, and idea or simply, ask a question.

A lecture for me is best taught through an interactive approach. I like to hear the students’ voices. This builds a collaborative approach within the class.

I present all information relating to the module by using the spoken and written word, PowerPoint with visual aids to try and accommodate all types of learners. I tutor the Level 6 QQI Early Childhood Care and Education Course and the Special Needs Assisting courses at Level 5 and Level 6.

Graduate attributes I hope to instil in my students are to embrace the learning and find ways to implement this newfound knowledge into their career/early years’ setting, team work, good communication skills, confidence and to have the ability to work independently and in a group.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies
  • MA in Early Childhood Studies

Modules Taught by Natasha 

  • Child Development – Early Childhood Care and Education

Students gain knowledge and understanding of child development theories and learn to apply them in a practical way. Skills of observation, evaluation and reflection are explored and the importance of using information as a basis for planning curricular activities suitable to the child’s interests, needs and level of development.

  • Early Childhood Curriculum – Early Childhood Care and Education

Students get the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations as they learn to plan suitable, interesting, fun and stimulating curricula. They gain an understanding that curriculum is more than just planning. Knowledge of Aistear the early years curriculum framework and Síolta, the quality framework for early childhood, alongside current theories of the curriculum is gained

  • Social Legal and Health – Early Childhood Care and Education

The students will study the historical timeline and social policy which has led to early years education what it is today.

Children First 2015 put child protection on a legislative footing therefore all practitioners must have a knowledge of how to protect and safeguard children in their setting, through policy, practice and reporting.

Equality is vital within our diverse society, however, it does not mean treating everyone the same! The student will gain knowledge of the law, guidance, policies, provision and practice which address equality and diversity in settings.

  • Personal and Professional Development – Early Childhood Care and Education

This module allows the student to assess their personal and professional strengths and areas for development and plan accordingly. This allows the student to become self-aware, to be more motivated, with the ability to manage their time and procrastinate less. This in turn relieves stress.

Students also learn how to arrange, lead and manage meetings e.g. writing an agenda, meeting etiquette, recording minutes and supporting and following through on decision-making.

The students gain the skills and knowledge to complete a presentation, from topic choice to rationale to presentation with visual aids to self-evaluation. This module provides the student will a tool for planning and improvement personally and professionally.

How will I learn?

Delivery Mode

Portobello Institute has designed this course for delivery as an e-learning and Webinar course. We have extensive experience delivering e-learning courses and have the resources that are specifically designed for delivering courses to an e-learning audience.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar, in the context of online learning, is a lecturer delivering a presentation or class online to a group of students. We use specifically designed e-learning software so you can participate in the class just as if you were present in the same room. You can ask a question to the lecturer at any stage during the class. The software is designed with “break-out rooms” where you can discuss a topic or complete a group exercise with a smaller group from your class. You will need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that has internet connection, an audio facility so you can hear and speak during the class and a camera so your lecturer and fellow class participants can see you. The webinar is a secure online environment and only those permitted entry by the lecturer can gain access to the “classroom”. Webinars are recorded during each session and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access webinars of the group you are assigned to.


Course Structure

This is a two week intensive course with Webinars delivered Monday – Friday. Interactive webinar sessions are held every morning, 10am – 12.30pm.

You can ask a question at any stage and hear the questions and responses of other students attending this course. Your tutor is available up to 20 minutes before class so you may log-on early and seek support if there are any areas of the content that you need additional support with. Alternatively, our full-time programme manager is available to support you throughout your learning journey.

Course materials are available to download from our e-learning platform as you progress through the course. Assignments are all designed for completion at home and once completed, you will upload these to the elearning platform. Feedback and results are posted here for you to access too.

You will have the opportunity to engage with your fellow course colleagues as if you were in class together – all from the comfort and safety of your chosen environment. Webinars are available to download at a later stage should you miss a class making this a very flexible and convenient mode of learning.


COURSE SCHEDULE - MAY '24

This 2 week intensive course is run between 20/05/24 – 31/05/24.

Classes are held each morning from 10am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Sessions are recorded so you can catch up later if you should miss a session.

COURSE SCHEDULE - July '24

This 2 week intensive course is run between 15/07/24 – 29/07/24.

Classes are held each morning from 10am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Sessions are recorded so you can catch up later if you should miss a session.

COURSE SCHEDULE - Sept '24

This 2 week intensive course is run between 23/09/24 – 04/10/24.

Classes are held each morning from 10am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Sessions are recorded so you can catch up later if you should miss a session.

COURSE SCHEDULE - Nov '24

This 2 week intensive course is run between 11/11/24 – 23/11/24.

Classes are held each morning from 10am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Sessions are recorded so you can catch up later if you should miss a session.

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Placement

During this course you will spend 20 hours on a work placement in a special needs assisting setting. During the placement you will have the opportunity to put into practice the exercises and skills you will have learned during the programme. You will have the opportunity by using these skills to stimulate, develop and guide the children under your direction to develop to their full potential. We aim to ensure that you will have the opportunity to gain experience in a setting that is aligned with your career ambitions.


How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies to examinations. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.

Delivery Mode

Portobello Institute has designed this course for delivery as an e-learning and Webinar course. We have extensive experience delivering e-learning courses and have the resources that are specifically designed for delivering courses to an e-learning audience.

This is an online course with webinars. The webinars are delivered once a week with tutor support available to you throughout your studies.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar, in the context of online learning, is a lecturer delivering a presentation or class online to a group of students. We use specifically designed elearning software so you can participate in the class just as if you were present in the same room. You can ask a question of the lecturer at any stage during the class. The software is designed with “break-out rooms” where you can discuss a topic or complete a group exercise with a smaller group from your class. You will need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that has internet connection, an audio facility so you can hear and speak during the class and a camera so your lecturer and fellow class participants can see you. The webinar is a secure online environment and only those permitted entry by the lecturer can gain access to the “classroom”. Webinars are recorded during each session and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access webinars of the group you are assigned to.

Tutor Support

Portobello Institute recognises that every student learns in a different way and for each and every student to excel, they need support and extra guidance at different stages throughout their learning journey. You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion.  This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced in the travel industry as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.


Course Structure

Your course will run at a specific time each week when you will log-on and your tutor will deliver the content over a 2.5 hr period with a break of 10 minutes half-way through. You can ask a question at any stage and hear the questions and responses of other students attending this course. Your tutor is available up to 20 minutes before class so you may log-on early and seek support if there are any areas of the content that you need additional support with. Alternatively, our full-time programme manager is available to support you throughout your learning journey.

Course materials are structured to be accessed on a week by week basis and are available to download from our e-learning platform as you progress through the course. Assignments are all designed for completion at home and once completed, you will upload these to the elearning platform. Feedback and results are posted here for you to access too.

You will have the opportunity to engage with your fellow course colleagues as if you were in class together – all from the comfort and safety of your chosen environment. Webinars are available to download at a later stage should you miss a class making this a very flexible and convenient mode of learning.


COURSE SCHEDULE - JUNE '24

This course is running between 19/06/24 – 30/10/24.

Classes are held one day per week.

Sessions are recorded so you can catch up later if you should miss a session.

COURSE SCHEDULE - Sept '24

This course is running between 25/09/24 – 16/01/25.

Classes are held one day per week.

Sessions are recorded so you can catch up later if you should miss a session.

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Placement

During this course you will spend 20 hours in total on a work placement in a special needs assisting setting. During the placement you will have the opportunity to put into practice the exercises and skills you will have learned during the programme. You will have the opportunity by using these skills to stimulate, develop and guide the children under your direction to develop to their full potential. We aim to ensure you that have the opportunity to gain experience in a setting that is aligned with your career ambitions.

The practical work experience element of this programme may be completed once Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.


How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies to examinations. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.

Downloads

Course Delivery Mode
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Download Brochure
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Online with live lectures
Download Brochure
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Download Brochure
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Download Brochure

Career prospects

What is the role of a Special Needs Assistant?

Special needs assistants play an important role in supporting those with learning, physical or behavioural difficulties. The role of an SNA in the classroom involves assisting the teacher to support students with special educational needs who may also have significant care needs. Through education, knowledge and understanding an SNA can ensure that a child with special needs experiences a positive learning experience developing their confidence and independence.

Related Courses

Intensive short course
Online with live lectures

Special Needs Assistant – Level 5

This course gives you the opportunity to qualify and work as a special needs assistant.

Intensive short course
Online with live lectures

Special Needs Assistant – QQI Level 6

This course gives you the opportunity to qualify and work as a special needs assistant. This course further develops the theory learned at level 5 and gives you a greater understanding of the competencies required to work as an SNA.

Speak to an expert

Choosing a course that will lead you to your career of choice is a significant decision. Understanding the delivery modes, supports available, career opportunities and further study options are all key considerations when making your choice. Our course adviser team are experts in the courses Portobello offers, the employment prospects and possible progression routes to other programmes – they will guide you through the detail and support you with any queries you may have.

It is important you make the right choice for you and choose the Institute and course that will best suit your needs.

Your Consultant

Jennifer Matteazzi

My name is Jennifer Matteazzi and I am the Enrolment Team Leader.  An investment in knowledge pays the best interest and I am part of the team who helps learners achieve their education goals.
 

 

How long are you working in Portobello?

I have been working for Portobello Institute for over 5 years now.

What do you enjoy about working in Portobello?

I love the interaction with students.  Every day I get to meet different individuals and learners who are looking to change their lives and I get to be the person who advises them on the best programme to take. It is a fantastic feeling to be part of their journey.  For many learners this is a huge decision and I get to be the person who supports them in making that decision.  There is an incredible sense of pride when I see our learners graduate and achieve their education goals.

What inspires you about working in education?

I believe that education is impowering and it can often change people’s lives.  It increases the learner’s confidence and it allows the learner to reach their full potential. Coming back to education hugely lifts the learner’s self esteem.

Have you a story that you recall that touched you/made you laugh/made you cry?

One particular lady struggled with dyslexia all her life.  Her disability really affected her years in school, her career choices and when this learner approached Portobello Institute I worked with her to establish the best way forward, the right course for her was without a doubt in childcare.  This lady registered on the course and she needed a lot of hand holding throughout her studies from both myself and the academic team.  I recall that the day of her graduation, she received the “Student of Year” award.  We were all thrilled and delighted for her!  This learner has since gone on to open a very successful Montessori setting.

How do you feel when you have helped a student reach a decision on their course choice?

I am there to be the deciding factor for our learners.  We support people in making the right choice of programme for them.  We reassure them the whole way and we support them throughout.  It is a very rewarding feeling to be part of this process.

Book a consultation

How do I apply?

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college.

Requirements

Without a Leaving Certificate

There are no previous academic or experience requirements for this course.

Application Process

Step 1

Complete the online booking form.

Step 2

Confirmation of a place will be given to applicants upon successful completion of the online booking form and payment of course fees.

Fees & Payment Options

Fees

Course Price

Year 1 base fee

€995

Overall Course Price

Total amount due

€995.00

Fees

Course Price

Year 1 base fee

€995

Overall Course Price

Total amount due

€995.00

Available Courses

Course Delivery Mode Start Date Duration Fees Per Year
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
20th May 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Fees Per Year
€995.00
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Online with live lectures
Start Date
19th June 2024
Duration
5 months
Fees Per Year
€995.00
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
15th July 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Fees Per Year
€995.00
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
23rd September 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Fees Per Year
€995.00
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Online with live lectures
Start Date
25th September 2024
Duration
5 months
Fees Per Year
€995.00
Course
Special Needs Assistant - Level 5 & Level 6 Booking Package
Delivery Mode
Intensive short course
Start Date
11th November 2024
Duration
2 weeks
Fees Per Year
€995.00

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