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Ann Maher – Balancing Work, Family Life and Study with Tutor Support at Portobello Institute

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Ann Maher – Balancing Work, Family Life and Study with Tutor Support at Portobello Institute

Ann Maher – Balancing Work, Family Life and Study with Tutor Support at Portobello Institute

Ann Maher has held a multitude of roles in the early years sector in Ireland including part-time practitioner at the beginning to a full-time practitioner, room leader and now to her position as an assistant supervisor.

Ann is now following her passion by undertaking her BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies at Portobello Institute after 18 years of working in the sector.

“I felt that I had gone as far as I could with my qualifications in the sector and the experience I have collected over this period of time would be advantageous to me in acquiring further qualifications. This course is a challenge to me and I feel that it is the next step I need to take to progress within this sector,” she said. 

Ann’s view of the sector has changed throughout her years working as she has gained more experience and qualifications.

I feel that I came into this sector late in life, I see young people in their early twenties starting in childcare whereas I was in my early thirties and had a family when I became involved in the sector.

“At the beginning, I just viewed it as a job and didn’t really consider it as a definitive career choice and when I first started, I certainly did not think I would be involved in coursework of this nature.

“In my relatively short timeframe of involvement in childcare, there have been a lot of changes regarding legislation and the overall outlook of childcare from the practitioner’s point of view.

“I feel that now it is a career of merit and not thought of as group childminding, and holds a genuine interest for me because of the progress made by the sector. I feel I am constantly learning in this environment and that this course was a natural progression for me,” she said. 

Before applying for the course, Ann did a lot of research to find the course and the provider that were right for her.

Before applying for this course, I did a lot of research to identify what was most suited to my needs, this included various providers and content of programmers’ read reviews and testimonials for different providers and felt that Portobello stood out. The aspect of blended learning was the best option for me as I am in full-time employment and also have a family life to consider,” she said. 

She feels she has made the right choice with Portobello Institute and feels supported while juggling work, family life and the course thanks to the support she receives from the tutors.

The feedback given by Portobello tutors is excellent and concise and really opens up other viewpoints that I find instructive and helpful in my course work. Even though it can be stressful I have enjoyed my experience with Portobello.

All the tools needed to carry out this course are provided by the college from easy access to its library and the quality of tutors to its blended learning. The tutors show a true passion for this field and I feel this is exhibited in the way they conduct the webinars and the speed at which they answer emails and inquiries.

I feel the choice made by students to select a course or qualification can be somewhat overwhelming for some and it can be the easiest of choices for others, Portobello takes both of these situations into account and provides the support needed whether this is in the form of tutor response or hints and tips from other students within the course. 

It was the correct choice for me at this juncture in my career as I feel it is the next step for me to progress within the sector.

“Portobello provides all the necessary supports and tools needed for the course work to be completed and the blended learning aspect proves very suitable for people who are unable to attend college on a full-time basis,” she said.

If you are interested in studying any of our Early Years & Montessori courses, visit our department page here. You can book a consultation call with our expert advisor Jennifer Matteazzi here, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0031.



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