Childcare Course in Early Childhood Education and Play

Course Delivery:

Part-Time Classroom


Level 8 BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and Care

The degree is designed with Early Childhood professionals, and the children they will engage with, in mind. The programme has three exit awards – Higher Certificate in ECEC (level 6), BA Ord in ECEC (level 7), and BA Hons. In ECEC (level 8). At each exit award stage, the programme aims to equip future ECEC professionals with the tools to navigate the ever changing landscape of early childhood education and care in Ireland and internationally, provide learners with the tools and dispositions to provide the best practice and care for the children they engage with, and to enable learners to think critically about their roles as professionals, both locally and globally.

Learners will be required to complete the four-year, 240 credit award, a large aspect of which involves experiential learning in the work place and on successful completion of the programme will achieve a BA in Early Childhood Education and Care (Hons) Level 8 award.

The exit award options are suitable for learners who unexpectedly are unable to continue to the final stage of the principle programme and wish to exit with a recognised award/qualification.

Course Fee Information

Part-Time Pricing:

Year 1- €3,250
Year 2 – €3,250
Year 3 – €3,500
Year 4 – €3,850
(Fees revised annually)

Course Structure

The BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and Care is designed to meet the needs of learners wishing to enter the early years workforce, or for those, already working in the sector, to upskill to an Early Childhood Education & Care degree qualification.  The programme will cater to a variety of adult learners, ranging from school leavers with no previous experience in the Early Years sector to more mature adults with relevant life and/or work experience.

The programme offers the learner the opportunity to gain the necessary skills and theoretical framework from which to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of the role and work of an Early Childhood professional.  The programme design combines a core of foundational, educational and personal development modules as well as the opportunity to engage in specific areas of specialism.  Each module in its own right examines and explores the unique characteristics of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) sector. The programme aims to produce reflective practitioners who place children’s concerns at the core of their practice. They assume a facilitative role with their adopted theories and specialist knowledge.  The overarching objective of this programme is the development of the professional educators of the future.

Years 1 & 2 – Introduces the learner to the key concepts and theories involved in Early Childhood Education and Care while simultaneously equipping them with the skills and competencies to lead a room in an early childhood education and care setting. On completion of the Higher Certificate in ECEC the learner will be able to assess the holistic needs of the children in their care and create developmentally appropriate plans to further the child’s learning and care, as well as interacting appropriately with various stakeholders. On completion of this award, students are eligible to apply to progress onto the BA in Early Childhood Education and Care (Ord).

Year 3 – Will equip the learner with specialized knowledge to lead and manage in the field of early childhood education and care. Learners will be enabled to critically analyse and critique existing bodies of knowledge and build on them with new knowledge. They will make connections between various modules and theories, concepts, and discourses enabling them to create emergent individual and whole group curriculum plans, design Individual Education Plans (IEPs), utilize inspection tools & the Corrective Action Preventative Action (CAPA) forms, reflect on their own professional practice, lead, and work within a team of professionals. As leaders in their services, they will also be equipped with the skills to professionally advocate for themselves, their colleagues, and the children and families they work in partnership with.  On completion of this award, students are eligible to apply to progress onto the BA in Early Childhood Education and Care (Hons).

Year 4 – Enables learners to develop a deeper knowledge of ECEC discourses, theories, concepts, and practices whilst simultaneously mastering the skills needed to conduct an individual research project at the cutting edge of social science. The learner will also be enabled to specialize in one of several areas: Special Educational Needs, Equality & Diversity, Training & Mentoring, Birth to Three Pedagogy, and Arts & Creativity. Through communities of practice the learners will advance their already existing skills of learning, reflecting, and sharing practice and funds of knowledge and will have the opportunity to lead a community of practice of their own making. This programme will equip learner with the skills necessary to lead an Early Learning and Care service, create policy and specialised practice, and to mentor, support and facilitate fellow colleagues within a team who seek advice in their area of specialism.

Year 1 Modules

Placement | Introduction to ECEC in Ireland | Academic Skills | Introduction to Child Psychology | Introduction to Child Development | Educational Philosophy | Approaches, Methods & Curricula | Inclusion, Equality & Diversity in ECEC | Holistic Development Birth to Three Years | Sociology of Childhood | Global Childhoods

Year 2 Modules

Placement | Leadership & Legislation | Advanced Child Psychology & Development | Transitions & Transitional Practice | Children’s Rights & Voice in ECEC | Holistic Development Three to Six Years | Professional Development | Stakeholder & Advocacy in ECEC | Art & Creativity in ECEC | ELC Environments

Year 3 Modules

Placement | Advanced Art & Creativity in ECEC | Assessment, Observation & Planning | Advanced Approaches, Methods & Curricula | Policy Development in ECEC | Professional Skills | Research Methods

Year 4 Modules

Placement | Curriculum Development | Writing for Research | Discourse Analysis in ECEC | ITC Research Skills | Research & dissertation| SEN Specialism | Equality & Diversity Specialis | Training & Mentoring Specialism | Birth to Three Years | Pedagogue Specialism | Creative Arts Specialism

Smart Assessment:

This degree is designed in such a way as to maximise critical thinking and create an understanding of the interrelatedness of theory, practice, and information that informs early childhood professionals in their day-to-day practice. It is also designed to allow the learner access to as much information as possible but without overloading them with coursework. The smart assessment model allows for one piece of submitted work to be assessed twice for two different modules.

Areas of chosen specialism are offered in tandem with practice and research in stage three to encourage a continuation of research in this area during the learner’s future career. It is envisaged that this programme would produce professionals that are responsible for separate specialist areas in a service who can advise their team of colleagues or the communities of practice as and when needed, similar to the Ateliarista in Reggio Emilia. The specialist areas are focused in placement and the research project enabling the learner to master a specific area within their specialism which they have a particular interest.

The curriculum was also structured to include global conversations and examine and critique global practices. This was purposefully chosen because Early Childhood Education and Care is a global phenomenon that happens to look very different in practice depending on where in the globe you practice, and what the cultural, societal, economic, and environmental factors are in place.


Application to programmes are open to those learners who meet the minimum entry requirements, namely an ordinary leaving certificate with;

  • Grade H5 or above in a higher-level paper in two subjects or more
  • A grade O6/H7 in four subjects, which must include Maths and English or Irish. Foundation level mathematics will meet the minimum entry requirement where a grade F2 or higher is achieved.
  • FETAC/QQI applicants must have achieved a full FETAC/QQI Level 5/Level 6 Major Award in ECCE or related discipline where appropriate.
  • Other Qualifications would be assessed for equivalency, i.e. using Entry requirements criteria for EU/EFTA Applicants (other than Irish Leaving Certificate).

Mature applicants are also welcome, to apply but candidates must be 23 years of age or over on the 1st January of the year of entry to their programme of study.  Mature candidates with significant related employment field experience may be admitted to the programme if they can demonstrate their potential to meet the learning requirements of the programme and satisfy the respective Admissions Criteria and Admissions Regulations. Required eligibility will be determined by a review of the application, an interview with the admissions tutor (as required), and subject to confirmation with the respective programme leader (also as required). Where admission with advanced standing is considered all applicants may be required to provide written references for their work experience and/or suitable evidence supporting their application. (Applicants may also be formally considered for admission to the programme using the appropriate Regulations and RPL, procedures at each Programme Stage).

An applicant whose first language is not English or who has not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English will (a) either be expected to reach, before commencing a programme, a suitable minimum level of competence in English in order to participate fully in the Programme or (b) will be required to participate in pre-sessional or in-sessional English language classes in order to reach a required level of competency.

English language admission requirements either specified by CEG or the accrediting/awarding/professional body, as appropriate, are required to be satisfied before the commencement of study at CEG. Programme Admission Criteria will specify the levels of achievement in written and oral English language. Normally this will include evidence of achievement of the British Council International English Language Testing Score (IELTS) at a score indicated in the programme submission (usually IELTS 6) and/or other recognised equivalent international English language test.

Location & Date:

Nationwide – February 2022