Colette Saunders

Early Years & Montessori

“There is no such thing as teaching without research and research without teaching.  One inhabits the body of the other. As I teach, I continue to search and research.  I teach because I search, because I question, and because I submit myself to questioning…” (Freire, 1998, p. 15) 


Module LeadBlending Learning Support Tutor and Associate Lecturer on Portobello Institute’s Level 7 Early Childhood Studies Degree, Project Supervisor on BA Hons Degree Level 8. 


For 15 years I worked in the financial services and customers services industry before returning to college as a mature student in 2009. 

I completed a fulltime degree in IT Sligo while working part-time alongside being a mum! My undergraduate studies, subsequent student placements and working in settings highlighted the importance and necessity of highquality early years experiences and how this can be achieved by having a highly qualified, dedicated early years workforce.   

Since joining Portobello at the end of 2017, on every module, I have lectured on or have been a blended learning support tutor for, I draw on my own experiences of having been an undergraduate and postgraduate, a mother, an early years practitioner, a child-mindera student on placement and a researcher.  

These roles alongside the base of my values of empowerment and representation have all informed my professional knowledge and development to date, and continue to guide me in the work that I do.

Amazing Things That You Have Done

I think enrolling on a Research Masters with two very young children in tow was pretty amazing but that is a matter oopinion!

Teaching philosophy

I have come across some great teaching philosophies on my own educational journey, but there is none that I can claim as my own.  However, representation and empowerment are two values, grounded in social justice, which inform my own practice so I carry these with me always and apply them whenever possible in my pedagogical approach.


I am studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at UCC. I hope to continue this learning journey which is taking me in the direction of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 


Masters by Research, IT Sligo 2020 

Certificate in Community Development, ALISON 2020 

Certificate in Staff Support and Supervision, ALISON 2020 

Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods, UL 2017 

BA in ECCE Hons, IT Sligo 2014 

Train the Trainer QQI Level 6 2014 

Certificate in Health Care Therapy ITEC 2006 

Certificate in Anatomy and Physiology ITEC 2001 

Diploma in Business and Office Administration with German, FÁS, 1999 

TEFL Certificate 1998 

Research / Industry Participation 

Participant and attendee at national and international conferences and seminars within the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN ) and  Network for  Educational Action Research Ireland ( NEARI).

Colette Saunders Colette Saunders