Leah Ahern – Passion for Early Years ‘Evolved Through Studying’ MA in Early Childhood Studies

Student of MA Early Childhood Studies

Early Years

Leah Ahern found her passion for early childhood care and education while she was following another passion – music.

She was performing professionally as a singer from a young age and while she was giving music lessons to three and four-year-olds she realised the magic of working with children at this age.

Seeing three and four-year-old children grasp complex music theory and ideas was fascinating to me,” she said. 

With her undergraduate degree in Music and German, Leah decided to extend her knowledge and undertook a Master of Research degree.

This study looked at the relationship between music and the early years in great detail.

“In September 2021, I began working in a preschool after completing my level 6 course with Portobello. Through my work, I became completely consumed by the early years and wanted to learn as much as I possibly could. I, therefore, registered to do the MA in Early Childhood Studies to become an expert in the field of early years education,” she said. 

Leah now works as a Lead Educator and Administrator at a preschool in Cork while gaining her MA in Early Childhood Studies.

“Qualifying and studying in the Early Years with Portobello have definitely helped me follow my passion.

“My passion for working in the early years has evolved through studying. I have become extremely passionate about disseminating high-quality and researched information about early childhood and making it accessible to all. I hope that this passion will eventually lead me to tutor at third level,” she said.

Leah has followed her passions throughout her journey from music to becoming an early years practitioner and now for research and further education. Her qualifications allow her to fulfil her potential in the career she wants.

With each certificate, course and degree I obtain; the more responsibility I take in work. I have become so much more confident in my work, and feel that I can meaningfully contribute to the early years sector. I love my current career. I hope that the MA will benefit me going forward as I hope to progress into third-level tutoring,” she said.

Leah needed a way to study online with support and classes that fit around her work and life schedule. She found flexibility and balance at Portobello.

“Due to my busy work schedule, I needed a study option that was flexible. I work and live in a small town in East Cork, and needed to continue working.

“Portobello Institute was perfect, as it offered distance learning; which was essential for me. The flexibility proved to be more crucial for me last year when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The Early Years department was so accommodating and helped me stay on track with my studies while going through surgeries to treat the cancer.

“The kindness and support offered by Portobello Institute was so reassuring and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study here. 

My time as a student at Portobello Institute was very positive. I was able to continue my work while studying and could create my own timetable for study that suited my needs. There is always someone to chat to about any questions or queries and the support from fellow students and staff members is fantastic,” she said. 

Furthering her education has opened Leah’s eyes to new ways of doing things, deepened her knowledge and continues to inspire her to strive to become a tutor.

Studying for me has always been something of crucial importance. In all of my work, I started learning by doing. While this has given and continues to give me so much knowledge and expertise; when matched with researched information and quality methods, practitioners and educators can feel confident that they are facilitating best practices and offering the highest standards in the industry.

“Third-level education has opened my eyes to methods, ideas, and information that are more complex, advanced, and foreign than my experience could ever reach.

“Having this knowledge has paved the way for so many opportunities and allows me to facilitate education at early years with certainty and assurance, knowing that I am offering children and their families the highest quality early years experiences that I am capable of,” 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.

Leah Ahern – Passion for Early Years ‘Evolved Through Studying’ MA in Early Childhood Studies Leah Ahern – Passion for Early Years ‘Evolved Through Studying’ MA in Early Childhood Studies