The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Education and Care is a four-year, day and evening delivery programme, designed for people who are interested in pursuing opportunities in the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector.
The aim of the BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and Care is to provide learners with a firm foundation in Early Childhood Education and Care so as to practice as Professional Early Childhood Educators in a range of ECEC environments. As such, the programme aims to present learners with a comprehensive foundation in the principles and pillars of professional practice of early childhood education and care in Ireland and internationally, underpinned by a solid theoretical framework.
This is a full-time course delivered in the evening.
The course incorporates key topics including child health, nutrition and wellbeing, essential legislation and regulatory practices in the Irish and International frameworks environments, music, movement, art and drama, creativity and play, methods and approaches to ECEC, working in multi-professional environments, parent/family involvement besides aspects of leadership management and governance in the sector. Students are encouraged to reflect, enquire and investigate a range of theoretical and practical pedagogical approaches to learning and development in ECEC.
A strong emphasis on professional practice placement in diverse Early Childhood setting is included on the course from year one. It offers students an opportunity to combine their experiences and skills in a final year capstone project. The course provides a pathway to competence and professional employment in Early Learning environments. It offers a strong core of foundation modules in early years education and in personal and professional identity as an educator. Students will be supported in their learning and development as professional early childhood educators, to go out into the workforce as innovators and leaders, competent in the skills that are required in the current changing landscape of the ECE sector and those of the future.
This course is ideally suited to those working with or for babies and children from birth to six in the ECEC sector such as crèches, Naíonraí, special needs, childminding, home visiting, including those currently working in early intervention programmes, the Health Service Executive and Tulsa (the child and family support agency and curriculum trainers).
The course is targeted at school leavers and/or mature learners returning to education.
Graduates will possess the skills to work as room leaders or supervisors, working directly with children, setting managers, advisory, mentorship, training and leadership roles. This programme is recognised by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) list of acceptable qualifications - or meeting the requirements of the regulations and the DCYA Childcare Programme of Contracts (DCYA, 2015). This programme meets the Professional Awards Criteria (DES, 2019), for its graduates to practice as professional Early Childhood Educators.
This programme is aligned to the professional profile. NCI has submitted an application for approval to the Quality Assurance Board (QAB) evaluating how the NCI BA (Hons) Degree programme meets the Professional Awards Criteria (PACG, 2019).
'First 5': A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families (2018) suggests a reform in the Early Learning and Care Sector moving towards a graduate-led workforce. The ECEC Scheme (free preschool years) also offers a higher capitation fee to Early Childhood Education and Care service providers where all leaders hold a Bachelor of Arts (Ord) Degree in Childhood/Early Education (Level 7 on the NFQ or equivalent) and have three years of experience in the sector. This indicates a government commitment towards a graduate-led workforce in ECEC.
The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Education and Care (240 credits) is awarded by QQI at level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Students who successfully complete this course may progress to the Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Practice in Teaching for Further Education or the Master of Arts in Educational Practice.
The Early Childhood Education and Care is an embedded Undergraduate Degree programme, with exit awards as follows:
Students may exit after year 3 and receive the award of BA (Ordinary) in Early Childhood Education and Care.
The qualifications obtained are accredited by the Department and Education & Skills as Initial Professional Education (IPE) for employment as an Early Childhood Educator in the ECEC sector in Ireland.
The minimum entry requirements for this programme is a Level 5 qualification in any discipline, ideally with professional involvement in the delivery of learning in Early Childhood Education and Care. All applicants will be interviewed by the Programme Director. Applicants with a Major Awards in Early Learning and Care/Early Childhood Education and Care at NFQ Level 6 may be eligible for advanced entry into year 2 of the programme. Applicants under 21 will be assessed based on Leaving Certificate or equivalent.
Applicants who do not meet the entry requirements outlined above may apply through Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) which considers applicants based on relevant work experience. All applicants will be required to be Garda Vetted as part of the admission process.
NCI is prepared to adhere to Government directives for course delivery in September 2021. Investments have been made in technology for online learning, as well as campus enhancements if face-to-face classes are permissible.
If remote learning remains a feature of the course timetable, the College recommends the following laptop requirements for incoming students:
Intel 7th (or higher) generation processors (Core i-3, i-5, i-7,i-9-7x)
or AMD Ryzen 3rd generation processors, running at 2.0GHz and above (Intel Atom/Celeron or AMD Athlon/Sempron Processors may cost less, but may not meet your requirements)
Random Access Memory (RAM):
8 GB minimum
Solid State Drive (SSD) Capacity:
256 GB minimum
802.11 a/b/g/n compliant with Bluetooth Capability (incompatibilities have been noted with the Qualcomm Atheros Wireless Adapters and software device drivers)
Direct X9 or later
Supported Operating Systems:
Windows 10 Home/Pro
*Field visits to diverse Early Childhood settings will be integrated within these theory modules (6 visits - 3 in each semester)
This course extends over 4 calendar years; 2 semesters of 13 weeks per year.
Year 1- €2,250
Year 2 - €2,500
Year 3 - €3,800
Year 4 - €3,800
(Fees revised annually)
You can spread the cost of this course with a direct debit plan.
The is a full-time course delivered in the evening.
Years 1-4 Mondays and Wednesdays and some Saturdays 09.30-13.30. Some classes may be delivered online.
Please note that exams can be scheduled during the morning, afternoon or evening Monday to Saturday.
The BA (Honours) In Early Childhood Education and Care is a four year Honours Degree programme, approved by QQI for full-time delivery with 60 ECTS credits per academic year. The weekly contact teaching time is 15 hours.
This course does not qualify under the State Free Fees Initiative. However, it does meet the requirements as an approved full-time course under the Student Grant Scheme (SUSI).