Certificate in Inclusive Care and Education (0-6yrs) Level 6 Special Purpose Award

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1 Certificate in Inclusive Care and Education (0-6yrs) Level 6 Special Purpose Award Background: This one year part-time programme has been developed on foot of a demand within the ECCE sector for training in the area of SEN that is accessible and responsive to the needs of ECCE practitioners. A primary objective of this programme is to redress the lack of appropriate training for those working with children who have SEN in the ECCE sector. It responds to an identified need for comprehensive training in the area of SEN (Moloney et al, 2010, pg 144). It is therefore, intended to provide those working with young children who have SEN with the specific body of knowledge and skills required to support the inclusion of children with SEN in early childhood education settings. Educational Principles: The core values of this programme include: a belief in the right of children with special educational needs (SEN) to full and equal participation in early childhood education settings a respect for holistic child development a belief in a person-first approach to children with SEN a respect for child agency through giving children a voice, listening to children and providing quality supports, education and services. This programme provides a flexible and accessible mode of delivery through blended learning comprising lectures; on-line learning; workshops, and work-based practice. Aims and Objectives of the programme: to provide a specialist qualification for early childhood practitioners in the area of inclusive practice; to develop and enhance the skills, knowledge, attitudes and understanding of early childhood practitioners to enable them to respond adequately to the special educational needs of young children; to promote collaborative practice amongst ECCE practitioners and key stakeholders when working with a child who has SEN; to provide an understanding of the care and educational needs of young children with SEN; to promote positive attitudes towards working with children who have SEN; to offer new opportunities to those ECCE practitioners who wish to gain specialist knowledge and understanding in the field of inclusive practice. Duration of Course: This course will be delivered from September 2011 to May 2012 and will include: 15 weeks on-line delivery per semester and 2 weekends of campus-based lectures and workshops (Friday evenings and Saturday) per semester. Semesters are as follows: Semester 1: Sept 5th 2011 to Dec 16th 2011 Semester 2: Jan 23rd 2012 to May 11th 2012

2 Programme Learning Outcomes Upon successful completion of this programme, it is expected that students will be able to: utilise evidence-based strategies that support inclusion in the Early Years demonstrate a greater knowledge and understanding of SEN engage in reflective practice collaborate effectively with members of the ECCE team, parents, families, and other professionals to support the child with SEN show an appreciation for the role of the learning environment in supporting inclusive practice undertake systematic observations to inform curriculum planning for children with SEN display an understanding of the role of play as a mechanism to support children s learning and development in early childhood. Programme Structure This programme will be delivered by the Department of Special Education with input from the Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies, all within the Faculty of Education at Mary Immaculate College. The programme will commence in Autumn 2011 and the modules are as follows: Semester 1 Semester 2 Module 1 Early Years Inclusive Policy and Practice Module 4 The Role of the ECCE Practitioner: Identity, Influence and Professional Practice Module 2 Effective Communication to Support Inclusion Module 5 Informing Practice through Early Childhood Assessment Module 3 Creating Inclusive Learning Environments Module 6 The Pedagogy of an Inclusive Early Years Curriculum.

3 Entry Qualifications Applicants will be required to hold a minimum qualification at FETAC level 5 (8 modules) in ECCE (or equivalent). Garda vetting will be required. The participants must have access to an ECCE context where they can implement what is learned during the programme and reflect upon practice. If participants are not already working within the ECCE sector, it is their responsibility to source a placement for the programme. Assessment To fulfil requirements for the award of the Certificate in Inclusive Care and Education (0-6yrs) Level 6 Special Purpose Award, each student will undertake designated assessments described within the Module Outline for each of the modules. The content, learning outcomes and assessment requirements for each module will be described in the Module Outline. Assessment will be undertaken through a variety of methods, including: Presentations (visual, written and on-line) Written work (essays, portfolios, case studies, reflective journals) Audio-visual formats (photos, demonstrations, PowerPoint, artefacts) Practice-based assessments (child observations, checklists, curriculum design, reflective practice and resource design). Progression Routes 1. Up to 20% of places on the Level 7 Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (part-time) in Mary Immaculate College will be available, through competitive entry, to those who have achieved a minimum of a 2.2 award in the Level 6 Certificate in Inclusive Care and Education (0-6 yrs). 2. Up to 10% of places on the Level 8 B.A. in Early Childhood Care and Education in Mary Immaculate College will be available, through the CAO system, to those who have achieved a minimum of a 2.2 award in the Level 6 Certificate in Inclusive Care and Education (0-6 yrs).

4 Overview of Course Content: Module 1: Early Years Inclusive Policy and Practice This module will provide a general introduction to study skills including accessing, and presenting information; and engaging in on-line learning. The concept of Inclusion and Inclusive Practice will be explored and defined. Legislation and Government policies and directives relating to special educational needs (SEN) in Ireland and internationally will be examined. Concepts and theories of special educational needs and learning disabilities will be explored. An understanding of special educational needs and the enabling role of the early years practitioner will be developed. A range of evidence-based strategies to support inclusive practice will be identified. Ethical issues in dealing with special educational needs will be examined. The statutory rights and entitlements of young children with SEN will be outlined. The key role of the early years practitioner in promoting inclusive practice will be introduced and issues such as Child Protection and Confidentiality will be highlighted. Define Inclusive Practice within the context of Early Childhood Care and Education Identify the guiding principles which underpin Inclusive Practice Discuss the significance of early years inclusive policy and legislative developments in the Irish context and internationally Demonstrate an understanding of special educational needs and their implications for young children s care and education Recognise the role of the early years practitioner in promoting Inclusive Practice Describe a range of evidence-based strategies that can be utilised to promote Inclusive Practice in the early years. Module 2: Effective Communication to Support Inclusion This module will address key aspects of Communication which underpin effective inclusive practice. These include: Communication with Parents and Families; Guidelines and strategies that promote parental involvement; Communication between staff including the Preschool Special Needs Assistant (PSNA) within the early years setting; Communication with multi-disciplinary professionals including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists; early intervention educators; psychologists, teachers, social workers and others; Supporting transition into the early years setting; Using a Key Worker system; Stages of Communication Development; How to promote communication skills based on the child s stage of development; Communication with young children who have special educational needs (SEN); Non-verbal and pre-verbal communication; General strategies to support communication, speech and language development; and Using objects, pictures, signing and Augmentative or Alternative Communication Devices (AAC) to communicate.

5 Define the key elements of Communication which are essential to promoting effective Inclusive Practice Describe and utilise a range of strategies to promote parental and family involvement Recognise the importance of effective communication between staff and multidisciplinary professionals in supporting inclusive practice Identify the main stages of communication development in young children and recognise the key role of the adult in promoting communication with young children who have SEN Describe and discuss the language, speech, and communication difficulties that children with SEN can experience Employ a range of strategies to promote communication and language development with children who have SEN. Module 3: Creating Inclusive Learning Environments This module will examine the needs and rights of children with SEN to access and to participate with their typically developing peers within an inclusive learning environment. It will introduce students to the concept of inclusion through national and international policy as it relates to the learning environment. The module will focus upon the aspects of an inclusive learning environment with a particular emphasis on physical, aesthetic, emotional and temporal elements. It will examine the benefits of an inclusive learning environment for children with SEN, their families and typically developing peers. It will also examine the challenges associated with creating an inclusive learning environment in the early years. Demonstrate an understanding of national and international policy as it relates to the learning environment Identify the principles that underpin an inclusive learning environment Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the learning environment and inclusive practice Explain the importance of establishing appropriate schedules and routines that support the effective inclusion of children with SEN in the learning environment Identify a range of factors that influence an emotionally safe environment for children in early childhood settings Recognise the role of the early years practitioner in establishing an inclusive learning environment Demonstrate an understanding of a range of evidence-based strategies that can be utilised to create an inclusive learning environment in the early years.

6 Module 4: The Role of the ECCE Practitioner: Identity, Influence and Professional Practice. This module introduces students to the knowledge and skills that underpin good practice in Early Childhood Care and Education. It explores the relationship between continuing professional development and professional practice within the ECCE sector. It examines the process that parents of children with SEN typically experience and the role of the practitioner in engaging with parents. It examines the complementary roles of the statutory and voluntary sectors and early childhood practitioners in supporting professional practice. It will help students to understand the role of the early years practitioner in the context of a whole-setting approach to inclusion. Students will develop an ability to reflect upon their personal learning and will allow them to develop an awareness of their personal values and how these may influence self and others. This module will also introduce students to their role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child. It will provide students with information about local support services and how to access such services when working with children who have SEN. Describe the role of the early years practitioner and the professional attributes required to work with children, families and other professionals Define the role of the early years practitioner in the context of a whole-setting approach to inclusion Outline the relationship between continuing professional development and professional practice in Early Childhood Care and Education. Identify and describe how personal values impact upon self and others Discuss the role of the early years practitioner in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child Explain the complementary roles of the statutory and voluntary agencies and self in supporting professional practice Communicate effectively with parents of a child with SEN. Module 5: Informing Practice through Early Childhood Assessment This module will explore the role of assessment in informing inclusive practice in the early years. It will provide an introduction to assessments that are appropriate for young children with SEN. The importance of careful assessment and record-keeping will be examined. The Assessment and Planning Cycle will be presented and explored. A range of assessment tools and techniques that support the care and education of young children with SEN will be presented. Participants will utilise a selection of assessment tools and techniques as an element of their work-based practice to support planning to meet the individual needs of a child with SEN and to measure individual progress. Reflective Practice will be discussed and utilised as a tool to promote on-going professional and personal development.

7 Recognise the importance of using appropriate assessment tools with young children who have SEN to inform planning and to track progress Identify complementary forms of assessment which can be used to identify individual strengths and learning needs Explain the difference between Assessment of Learning and Assessment for Learning Outline the connection between Assessment and Planning Employ a range of assessment tools and techniques to support planning to meet the care and educational needs of young children with SEN and to measure progress Discuss and utilise reflective practice as a tool for professional development. Module 6: The Pedagogy of an Inclusive Early Years Curriculum. This module will examine the ways in which young children learn and develop. It will focus in particular upon play as a mechanism for learning and development in the early years. It will explore how play can be incorporated into the early childhood curriculum to support the effective inclusion of children with SEN alongside their typically developing peers. It will examine the concept of whole child development and integrated learning across developmental domains. This module will introduce students to the curriculum cycle; Assessment, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation and Reflection on practice. This module will provide students with an opportunity to explore the concept of curriculum differentiation to meet individual needs. Explain the concept of an inclusive curriculum in relation to Early Childhood Care and Education Discuss whole child development and integrated learning across developmental domains Outline how young children s play develops through infancy and early childhood Identify the practitioners role in providing for children s play in early childhood Explain the integrated nature of play and development. Demonstrate awareness of strategies to support the play development of children with SEN Identify the factors that influence children s play and learning in early childhood Recognise the role of an inclusive curriculum in supporting children s learning and development in early childhood Outline the value of the curriculum cycle; Assessment, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation and Reflection Discuss the concept of curriculum differentiation to meet individual needs.

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