Kelly Mulcahy – Gaining Higher Capitation, Recognition and Professionalism with the BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies
Alumni of BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies
Early Years & Montessori
There are many reasons why early years professionals progress their education to Level 7 BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies and beyond.
For Kelly Mulcahy, she wanted to keep up with the professionalisation of the sector, gain Higher Capitation and gain the recognition she deserved for the work she put into her job every day.
“It’s about keeping up, the sector is becoming much more professionalised, you want to be seen as a professional in what you do.
“You need it for higher capitation as well, I run a room in a creche so there is a lot to be said for getting the qualification to have higher capitation because you are doing the job anyway and that higher capitation is worth a fair amount so that’s the payback for doing the degree,” she said.
Portobello Institute’s BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies level 7 degree is recognised by the DCEDIY for Higher Capitation.
Career Change to Early Years
As a working mother of three who moved from a long career in financial services to the early year’s sector six years ago, she felt she had some catching up and keeping up to do as the sector continues to become professionalised.
“I worked in financial services for years so it was all kind of new to me I only started teaching in a pre-school six years ago and I wanted something I could do while I was at home, I have three small kids and I was working and I think that’s what Portobello offers, you can get your degree but still go about your day.
“It’s not always easy but I found it great not having to give up two nights a week, I wouldn’t have two nights a week that I could go and for a lot of other courses you do have to go and I just didn’t have that time so the flexibility of being able to do it mostly online it is blended but mostly online was the right fit.
“The tutors are there, you can throw questions out to them by email or by phone there is support you are not completely isolated and there are forums then too,” she said.
“I did my Level 6 with Portobello and with the way the industry is going, I am 42, these girls are coming in with their degrees and you are sitting there thinking ‘I want those qualifications, but I am too old now to go full time to college and I can’t afford to, I can’t afford to give up everything and go off to college for the qualification’. That’s what pushed me to do it. You want to keep up to date with what’s going on but you want to do it in a way that will fit in with your lifestyle.
“I used the instalment plan. When Covid happened I had to rearrange my instalment plan and there was no problem. Once you were paid before you qualified, they could rearrange the instalment plan, they were trying to make it possible.
“When I looked for the support at Portobello, it was there. Anytime I looked for anything there was never a problem, and I was asked my opinion quite a lot through it, so they were trying to support us.
“I did my first assignment and by the second assignment I had broken my nose and I wasn’t going to meet those deadlines, but I still wanted to finish the course within the time period that I had started it, so they supported me to get an extension and still get your degree at the same time as everybody else in the class.
“Sometimes when you pay for an online course it’s ‘oh, I’m sorry you’ve missed that deadline’, but there was no additional cost, and they were very supportive to push you through to get through,” Kelly said.
What did you gain from the BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies?
“I have gained the Higher Capitation but also the recognition of having the degree and being a professional in what you do.
“What I have learned within the course has changed my ways of thinking, you go a lot more in-depth into the profession as a whole, in things like leadership and child development, you see things from different viewpoints and I think it prepares you to be more reflective and always question what I do to try and improve it and to keep in tune with the trends and what is going on and how we can better develop the children who are with us.
“There is always more to learn, even what you learn from people around you while you are doing your degree. Being around people in the same position as yourself, seeing other people’s viewpoints and delving deeper into the topics.
“You learn from doing but you need the background, the building blocks to develop your critical thinking to see other viewpoints and you have to understand how early years is about lots of other things, it’s not just about teaching the children.
“There is a lot in the course about leadership and research. I feel it broadened my knowledge and my understanding and it made me see things from different perspectives and it made me question what I already did. It reaffirms the things you do right but it made you critically analyse everything you do to make sure you are the best you can be.
“You get very stuck in what you do particularly if you have been doing something for years, you get stuck in the ‘this is how we have always done it’ it makes you question the ‘always done it’ type thing.
“Legislation changes all the time and it’s keeping up to date making sure that you do know the modern thinking on things. I did Montessori with Portobello and level 7 isn’t Montessori based, it is all early years so it broadens your knowledge and understanding and it did make me question a lot and reflect on how I am as a teacher.
“In level 7 there is a lot more involved, there is a lot more asked of you as a learner. You are left to your own devices more and it is a big step up because it is a degree, you come out of it with a degree and there is no point in coming out with a degree and being no better than you were when you had your level 6.
“There is a lot of using your own initiative and your own time management and being an adult learner, that is not for everybody. You do have to be able to hit your deadlines and motivate yourself and there were times when I didn’t and you fall behind but you can’t afford to.
“I really liked when the lecturers were online and having discussions with other students. Certainly, the knowledge you gain from the tutors is one thing but it’s the collaboration with other students is the biggest thing, sharing ideas and understandings and the lecturers too would share that and feeling part of something, part of a professional group of people making the job more professional.
“It can be quite a lonely job, I met a lot of girls, I am in a creche now and there are a lot of girls who would have been on their own in one room and it’s nice to meet people with different perspectives and to be part of something outside of just your workplace,” she said.
Interested in the BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies and Gaining Higher Capitation?
If you are interested in our level 7 BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies degree blended learning course.
In the 2019 – 2020 academic year, 57% of BA (Ord) Level 7 Early Childhood Studies degree graduates in Ireland came from Portobello Institute making us the leading provider of level 7 degrees.