Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies and Practice (Level 8) Adult and Continuing Education Office. Within your Reach

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1 Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies and Practice (Level 8) Adult and Continuing Education Office Within your Reach

2 Welcome from the Academic Director As an Early Years practitioner you have undoubtedly witnessed the positive effects quality experiences have on young children through your professional practice. There is a growing body of research evidence, both internationally and now within Ireland, that supports the belief that good quality early years experiences provide better outcomes for children and long term benefits for families, communities and society as a whole. One factor that is central to providing higher quality services is the presence of well trained staff, possessing higher academic qualifications in the area of child development, care and early education (OECD, 2011). The Irish Government has made great strides in developing an Early Childhood Education and Care sector in a relatively short period of time, however there is still much more yet to be achieved. Graduates of this programme will be well placed to contribute to this development. This programme of study is designed to guide practitioners in developing their professional capacities, knowledge and skills to work in this very rewarding yet challenging sector, and to bring about further positive developments both for families and young children and for the Early Years sector, into the future. Professor Pat Dolan UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. OECD (2011) Encouraging quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) Minimum standards matter, OECD, Paris

3 Programme Overview The Diploma/Bachelor of Arts (Early Childhood Studies and Practice) has been developed to meet the identified needs of practitioners in the early years sector who wish to pursue further education and training in a flexible manner, complimenting and supporting continued employment. This 4 year part time programme of study, with options for interim exit awards, builds on practical experience, enhancing the learner s skills through exposure to theory, social policy, research practice and workbased experiential learning opportunities. By the completion of year four, the graduate emerges as a reflective practitioner with an in-depth understanding of the holistic needs of children and families, the importance of evidenced-informed practice and the role of early years services in the broader community and policy context. Programme Aim The programme aims to provide practitioners currently working in the field of early childhood care and education an opportunity to upgrade their qualifications and further develop their skills and enhance their existing knowledge in a flexible and accessible format. As a male working in the childcare sector, I am outnumbered when it comes to decision making but as I go through this course, I find myself being more assertive and confident in my ability to handle any child related situation. The BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice programme at NUI Galway gives you the opportunity to learn through your practice as well as learning from highly qualified tutors who are always available to answer any queries. Michael Banks, 1BCP Student, Intended For This programme was developed in response to substantial evidence of the needs of childcare practitioners who may already posses a recognised qualification at levels 5 or 6 and who wish to upgrade their qualification in a manner that will support their continued employment and their workplace. Alternatively, potential students without a recognised qualification, but with extensive experience in the childcare care and education sector are also encouraged to apply. The programme will be particularly suitable for: Early year practitioners in crèches, pre-schools, school age childcare services, special education services and childminding settings Managers of crèches, pre-schools, school age services, special education services Early childhood practitioners in the Health Services Executive and the new Child & Family Support Agency City/County Childcare Committee members and staff and staff of National Voluntary Childcare Organisations Practitioners in the child and family support sector Special Needs Assistants

4 Programme Structure This part-time distance learning programme will be delivered on a modular basis over 4 years using a blended learning approach. This allows adult learners, with work and family commitments, to study at times that suit their needs. Blended learning combines traditional learning approaches with distance learning and utilises a variety of teaching methods and assessment techniques, suited to the adult learner returning to education. These methods include the following: Self-study learning materials Required textbooks which students are expected to purchase Additional readings which may be available in the library or online Workshop sessions On-line learning (discussion boards, online collaboration, etc.) Programme Content Year One: Certificate Cycle Introduction to Learning 5 ECTS Psychology: The Developing Child 1 10 ECTS Creative Development in Early Years 5 ECTS Child Protection and Safety in Childcare Services 10 ECTS Health, Hygiene and Nutrition in Early Childhood 5 ECTS Work-based Project-Year 1 10 ECTS Year Two: Diploma Cycle Psychology: The Developing Child 2 10 ECTS Implementing the Early Learning Curriculum 10 ECTS The Child and Family in Irish Law 5 ECTS Quality Awareness in Early Learning 10 ECTS Work-based Project- Year 2 10 ECTS Year Three: Degree Cycle Children and Families in Society 10 ECTS Management Skills for Childcare Environments 10 ECTS Working in Varied Care and Education Settings 5 ECTS Effective Leadership for the Childcare Sector 5 ECTS Social Research Methodologies 5 ECTS Work-based Project- Year 3 10 ECTS I am very glad that I choose the BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice at NUI Galway as I am really enjoying the programme and I find the staff and tutors friendly, helpful and professional. Linking theory to practice is a very rewarding experience. As a result of taking part in the programme, I am beginning to apply a much deeper level of reflective practice, knowledge and understanding to my work practice. I highly recommend the BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice at NUI Galway to those working in the Early Years sector. Jacqueline Moyles, 1BCP1 Student, Year Four: Degree Cycle Promoting Inclusion in Early Years Care and Education 10 ECTS Irish Social, Family and Childcare Policies: Critical Analysis 10 ECTS Critical Reflection on Learning and Practice 5 ECTS Research Dissertation 20 ECTS 10 ECTS Modules will require attendance at a two day workshop and 5 ECTS modules will require attendance at a one day workshop.

5 Assessment techniques may include a range of the following: Student learning journals/diaries Demonstrations Reports Essays Presentations Written exams (which will take place in NUI Galway) Portfolios To date, my experience as a part time student with NUI, Galway has been an extremely positive one. Working full time as a childcare manager I have found the learning within this programme to be extremely practice based and relevant to my role, enhancing my professional development. The programme has a good balance of theory and practice as well as lively interactive classroom discussions. Returning to education as an adult learner I have found the tutors and the administration team to be very supportive as well as my classmates with whom I have formed lasting friendships. Michelle O Doherty, 3BCP1 Student, Workshops Students will be expected to attend a number of full day workshops throughout each academic year (September to May). In the main, these workshops will be held on Saturdays, with higher weighted modules requiring an additional two or three Friday workshops each year. Dates for all workshops will be provided to students at the commencement of each academic year. Workshops will be organised to be geographically accessible to the majority of learners. To date, a number of outreach centres have been established throughout the country. Previous venues have included Galway, Limerick, Cork, Donegal, and Cavan. The number and location of venues held each year of the programme is contingent on student uptake, the geographical spread of applicants and the availability of resources to support the programme. Entry Requirements Applicants who have reached the age of 21 on the year of application will be admitted to the programme on the grounds of mature years. Students under 21 must satisfy the University s matriculation requirements. Applicants should be employed in an early childhood setting with a minimum of 2 years experience working in the sector or other relevant experience. While formal academic qualifications are not necessary, those possessing a FETAC Level 5 or 6 qualification in the childcare or related disciplines will be encouraged to apply. Potential students should be disciplined, self-directed and enthusiastic learners, as course expectations see students coming to workshops and seminars prepared to discuss, explore and critically analyse subject matter which they have become familiar with through home study. Students are expected to be competent in the use of word processing packages and be able to access and use the internet to a competent standard. Places may be limited and applicants may be required to attend for interview.

6 Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Students with previous relevant qualifications at Level 7 or 8 may be eligible to apply for exemptions from modules on this programme of study or for advanced academic entry. Applicants for RPL will be required to prepare a detailed learning portfolio which must be submitted for assessment by the 28th June Further information on the RPL process may be obtained from the Programme RPL co-ordinator. Suzanne Golden, Tuition Fees The tuition fee for the 2013/2014 academic year is 2,900 per year for EU students and circa 3,400 for non-eu students. An application fee of 30 applies. I believe this course is invaluable for those wishing to advance or pursue a professional role in the Child Care Sector. As a mature student, the combined online learning and group workshops fitted well with my work commitments and the content of the course surpassed my expectations as I gained a deep insight into all relevant areas in early childhood studies and practice. The programme materials are also easily transferrable and I was immediately able to put theory into practice in my day to day activities and have developed management skills and leadership capacity that has enhanced both my professional and personal development. Bridie Thornton, 3BCP1 Student, Application Procedure Applications should be made online at the following address: Completed on-line applications require the following support documentation: 1. A Non-Refundable Application Fee of 30 to be paid online at point of application; 2. Copy of Birth Certificate/Passport. (If you wish to register in your married name a copy of your Marriage Certificate must also be submitted.) 3. Passport Photograph 4. Personal Statement (max. 500 words) 5. Applicants under 21 years of age must forward copies of Leaving Certificate or any other Examination results held 6. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate/toefl (for applicants whose first language is not English) Closing Date The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 14th June Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis up to that date so early application is recommended. A letter confirming an offer of a place on the programme will be issued to successful applicants. Confirmation of acceptance of a place on the programme will only be processed if accompanied by a 500 deposit. Short-listing of late applicants may be made, should vacancies arise from the selection process. All learners who accept a place for year one of the programme will be expected to attend a mandatory Orientation Day in NUI Galway in early September. Information relating to orientation will be circulated to successful applicants in due course. Please note this Orientation Day is a full day session i.e. 9am 5pm and attendance is a requirement for those wishing to commence the academic year.

7 Throughout my experience of the BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice at NUI Galway, I have found that the nature of the programme consistently allows for knowledge to be gained from others. A core component of the programme is knowledge transfer not only through discussion with your peers but by means of reflective practice. You are not alone as a student; the workshops allow for consistent reinforcement with your group, and if in doubt, you can always contact tutors or programme staff. My aim is to complete the four years as I see it is a challenge that will generate positive results long term. Ursula McKenna, 2BCP1 Student, Career Options Upon completion of this degree course students will be qualified to be employed in a variety of early years settings, including preschool settings, full daycares/crèches, playgroups, after school settings, drop in centres as well as a range of specialised settings such as family intervention settings. Due to the extensive range of course topics covered, the graduate will be skilled in a wide range of issues and areas that might see them employed in early years support organisations, such as county/city childcare committees, in community outreach and development settings, family and community resource centres, or in the policy development arena. Progression Opportunities Graduates of the Bachelor of Arts programme may wish to pursue their education and would be qualified to do so in a range of areas including higher diplomas or master degrees in early childhood care and education, community development, family studies and family support, to name a few. Accreditation Participants will have opportunities to achieve accreditation throughout the cycle of the course, recognising their efforts and achievements at different stages: Certificate in Early Childhood Studies and Practice (NFQ: Level 7) will be awarded on the successful completion of Year 1. (45 ECTS) Diploma in Arts, Early Childhood Studies and Practice (NFQ: Level 7) will be awarded at the end of Year 2. (90 ECTS) Bachelor of Arts, Early Childhood Studies and Practice (NFQ: Level 8) will be awarded on the successful completion of full course, at the end of year 4. (180 ECTS) The structure of this course suits me down to the ground. The opportunity to study in a degree program, while also working and parenting, is now attainable. Each module includes both a national and international perspective. I am currently in year two, but am already reaping the benefit of my studies. My professional practice is constantly evolving, to the benefit of all the children I work with. I am truly excited about the future. Angela Walsh, 2BCP1 Student,

8 If you have further queries please contact the programme administrator: Edel Cassidy, Adult and Continuing Education Office, National University of Ireland, Galway Tel: Website: Facebook:

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