Online Degree in Early Learning & Care | Level 7 BA (Ord) - The Open College

BA (Ord) Early Learning & Care – Online Degree

  • Our new online two year BA Degree in Early Learning & Care Degree programme aims to facilitate knowledge of professional early learning & care practice with consideration to both the theoretical knowledge and professional competencies which underpin the role of the early care practitioner.
  • This course has been developed as a progression from the QQI 6M2007 Level 6 Early Childhood Care & Education Major award.
  • How is it delivered? Online Lecturer led teaching & learning with flexible study from your own home.
  • What Degree award do I receive? On successful completion of this 2 year degree you will receive a BA Degree awarded by Oxford Brookes University.
  • How long is the Degree? Complete Degree within 2 Years. 2 semesters per academic year. Next Semester Commencing Sept. 2021.
  • Credits Available: You will be awarded a total of 180 ECTS credits upon the successful completion of the course.
  • This new Degree has been designed in accordance with the Professional Award Standards for Early Learning & Care set out by the Department of Education.
  • What does it cost? The course fee each year is €3,600 and includes all documentation, lecturing, assessments, learner registration and award fees for all the 6 modules per year.
  • There are also Easy Payment options available (see Fees section).
  • To start your application or register your interest please click on the below “Express Your Interest” button and complete the form to speak with one of our Programme Managers.

 

Express Your Interest

Course Description

 

Why is this Early Learning & Care Degree for me?

The Early Learning and Care Programme has been developed for childcare practitioners progressing from 6M2007 QQI ECCE Level 6 Major awards and seeks to prepare you to take a professional and leading role in ELC provision.

This may be in a formal leadership position or through mentoring, training and supporting roles in the workplace. As part of this preparation, you will gain a clear understanding of how children grow and learn, and of the interaction between learning and development.

You will recognise the important role of play in learning and development and apply this critically and reflectively to planning, leading and evaluating activities for young children. Observing children and analysing your observations will enable you to create an appropriate learning environment for each child that takes account of their stage of development, their interests and their needs.

Recent government initiatives, in the example of ‘First 5’ indicate predictors for growth and demand in the market, whereby it is intended for Ireland to have a graduate led ELC workforce, with at least 50% of staff (i.e. all room leaders, assistant manager and managers) working directly with children in centre-based ELC settings and coordinators supporting the work of childminders to hold an appropriate degree-level qualification.

This new Degree has been designed in accordance with the Professional Award Standards for Early Learning & Care set out by the Department of Education.

 

Who’s Suited to this Course

This course was developed in response to the identified needs of childcare practitioners who already posses a recognised qualification at NFQ levels 5 or 6 and who wish to upgrade their qualification that will support their continued employment and their workplace.

It is particularly suitable for:

  • Childcare 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
  • Practitioners in the child and family support sector
  • Early Years Specialists working in advisory or mentoring roles, or those aspiring to such positions.

 

What will I study?

Our two year online BA in Early Learning & Care Degree curriculum has been designed and organised to allow you to develop your skills in a logical and progressive manner over the 2 years.

You will complete a minimum of 300 hours of practice placement per year in a TUSLA registered early years provider with an appropriate balance between caring for children aged 0 – 2.5 years and 2.5 – 6 years.

Skills, knowledge and attributes are built upon to allow you to constantly extend your proficiencies with the aim of becoming competent early learning & care practitioners and leaders of the sector. Additionally, you are supported  to increase your potential to extend your range of knowledge and skills throughout the programme. The objective of the programme considers a three tired learning approach building on prerequisites for entry as follows;

Successful completion of the QQI Level 5 & 6 Early Childhood Care & Education Major Award (prerequisite for entry): you will have gained knowledge and understanding of the key theoretical concepts and proficiency domains which will have been observed in practice, whilst under the supervision of registered practitioners. Both level 5 and level 6 Early Childhood Care & Education Major Awards are offered by The Open College so that learners can progress through.

Year 1: You will become responsible for the application and implementation of knowledge gained whilst being aware of your individual level of skill, knowledge and competence. This is carried out under the supervision of registered practitioners as part of a wider team.

Year 2: You will start to become independent reflective practitioners and leaders through the demonstration of a higher level of competence associated with each of the proficiency domains.

 

How online learning works?

Our online BA Degree in Early Learning & Care Degree programme will be delivered fully online using a combination of suitable online teaching and learning activities.

In many ways, learning online is like learning in a classroom. There are classes, readings, activities and discussions (individual and group) with your lecturer and your fellow classmates. The difference is that it is all done from your own home. With online classes you can join the live classes with your classmates or catch up on past or missed classes at your own pace.

Between classes, you will have readings, discussions and other activities that link with what you are learning in your online classes. Assignments have a set time they must be completed by but other than that, learners have great flexibility with when and where they learn.

 

 

 

Course Structure

 

Objectives:

The full Degree programme consists of 13 modules totalling 120 ECTS Credits. 60 ECTS Credits will also be awarded by Oxford Brookes for modules completed as part of the QQI Level 6 Early Childhood Care & Education Major Award – 6M2007 through recognition of prior learning process and so you will be awarded a total of 180 ECTS upon the successful completion of the programme.

You will complete a minimum of 300 hours of practice placement per year in a TUSLA registered early years provider with an appropriate balance between caring for children aged 0 – 2.5 years and 2.5 – 6 years. 

A core theme of the programme is to provide you with the opportunity to reflect on practice using work-based examples and shared experiences via guided online discussions.

35% of the overall programme hours has been allocated to practice placement related learning.

Furthermore, online lectures will be delivered in such a way that you will develop  graduate attributes of academic literacy, research literacy, digital and information literacy, critical awareness and personal literacy and active citizenship. The range of appropriate online teaching and learning strategies adopted by the college will aim to; 

  • Introduce you to and encourage you to engage in new areas of knowledge. You will also be given the opportunity to broaden and deepen your existing knowledge.
  • Encourage you to engage in critical analysis of concepts, theories and practice and to assess your understanding through ongoing engagement and activities.
  • Give you the opportunity to acquire practical experience in a range of activities relevant to your role in the early years’ environment.
  • Encourage you to engage in critical reflection. You will be asked to reflect on new knowledge and understanding and on your own experiences.

 

Modules / Structure:

Over the duration of this two year online BA (Ord) in Early Learning & Care Degree programme students will complete a range of modules which will link both theory and practice, and will be assessed in a range of contexts.

The full Degree programme consists of 13 modules totalling 240 UK credits (120 ECTS credits). Where indicated, a single module has 15 credits and a double one has 30 credits. 

Overview of Year One Modules

 

Seven Compulsory Modules (120 Credits):

 

Child Development (Double Module) (30 Credits):

The aim of this module is to explore key aspects of a child’s developmental processes from a variety of perspectives. Learners will critically reflect upon the educator’s role in the holistic development of the child. The importance of play and the role of the educator in providing a nurturing environment for the child to develop in will be a core part of this module.  

 

Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy (1) (15 Credits):

This module will introduce learners to a variety of curriculum approaches to be explored and implemented in support of children’s learning.  

Learners will gain an understanding of the Irish curriculum framework and standards in an international context and will be encouraged to critique these by conducting researching using the range of IT and eLearning systems available to them. This will enhance learners understanding of the importance of quality standards in the implementation of curriculum in their roles as early years practitioners and leaders. 

 

ELC: Practice Placement (1) (15 Credits):

This module is an integral to the Early Learning and Care degree programme and learners can expect to complete 300 hours of professional placement (150 hours per annum) with an appropriate balance between caring for children aged 0 – 2.5 years and 2.5 – 6 years. This will facilitate meaningful learning and engagement of high quality practice.  

Learners will have the opportunity to observe quality practice, apply theoretical knowledge to their professional placement experiences and engage in critical self-reflection while under the supervision of a placement supervisor.  Learners will be required to share learning experiences with peers and document such learning experiences as placement progresses.  

 

Early Childhood Legal Systems and Practices (15 Credits):

This module will explore national and international legislation that impacts upon early childhood settings.  The delivery of early childhood education and care will be placed within the relevant legal context in order to facilitate compliance with the statutory regulation of the sector and ensure adherence to legislation.

The rights of the child and child protection will also be explored. The needs and rights of the child will be central to this module, with focus on the importance of various pieces of legislation for the health and well-being of the child. 

 

Academic Study Skills (15 Credits):

This module will introduce learners to the fundamental requirements of the academic writing process and the study skills and techniques necessary for participation over the two year degree programme.  Learners will gain an understanding of the learning process in an online context with facilitated guidance on how to utilise, navigate and source appropriate information from the range of IT and eLearning systems available to them.

 

Research Methods (for the early years) (15 Credits):

The aim of this module is to provide the student with a broad understanding of research methods and research design, analysis and interpretation of collected data (prior to the completion of their dissertation module). Learners will have the opportunity to explore the steps involved in the research process, methods, data analysis and the ethical considerations associated with early learning & care research. The module focuses on issues, techniques and skills for data collection and analysis in quantitative, qualitative or mixed mode methods to research.

 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Early Years (15 Credits):

Learners will be introduced to various forms of additional needs and will collaboratively explore aetiology, prevalence and educational needs and will be required to critically analyse what educational and care practices will support meaningful participation of these children.  

Learners will gain a comprehensive understanding through case studies, analysis of legislation and theory in terms of how it relates to children who have additional learning and care needs.  

 

Overview of Year Two Modules

 

Six Compulsory Modules (120 Credits):

 

Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy (2) (15 Credits):

This module will enable the learner to be fully conversant with recent and current initiatives in Early Childhood Education and Care practices and research and is ready for employment or relevant further study. This module will build on from the first year in order to equip students to critique in more depth the current practices and devise ways of improving these.

They will be provided opportunities for discussion, group work and individual projects that allow each student to analyse various discourses within ECCE practice to a high standard. 

 

ELC: Practice Placement (2) (15 Credits):

This module is an integral to the Early Learning and Care degree programme and learners can expect to complete 400 hours of professional placement (200 hours per annum) with an appropriate balance between caring for children aged 0 – 2.5 years and 2.5 years to 6 years. This will facilitate meaningful learning and engagement of high quality practice.  

Learners will have the opportunity to observe quality practice, apply theoretical knowledge to their professional placement experiences and engage in critical self-reflection while under the supervision of a placement supervisor.  Learners will be required to share learning experiences with peers and document such learning experiences as placement progresses

 

Early Childhood Quality Systems (Developments and Improvements) (15 Credits):

This module aims to explore quality systems in early childhood settings. Recent and current developments and improvements will be evaluated. International practice will be examined and assessed.

Síolta: The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and the Quality and Regulatory Framework will be focal points of this module, along with other key publications aimed at improving the overall quality of practice in Ireland. Learners will gain a thorough understanding of the QRF and practical working knowledge of the key aspects of running a high quality service. 

 

Teamwork, Leadership and Professional Practice (Double Module) (30 Credits):

Learners will gain an understanding of the leadership role and examine the skills and traits which are beneficial to successful leadership. This module will enhance participants’ communication, collaboration and leadership skills necessary for participation in and fulfilment of requirements set out for practice placement in year 2 and later carried into their role in the workforce.   

 

Afterschool Provision (15 Credits):

This module will introduce learners to the factors that influence quality after school provision. A clear understanding and exploration of these factors is necessary for their role as early years practitioners and leaders.  Learners will gain an understanding of how to provide and develop a rights based and democratic afterschool service.

 

Dissertation for the early years (Double Module) (30 Credits):

This dissertation module is designed to support the final year student complete a research dissertation exploring an area of interest to them within early learning &care. The module will allow the student to use past knowledge to critique and evaluate with reference to published literature the area chosen for their dissertation.

The student will undertake an in-depth literature review as part of the overall dissertation and the focus in this module is on students as researchers. 

 

Assessment Strategies

 

Assessment Strategies:

The overall summative assessment strategy centres around using a combination of continuous assessment through coursework and final assessments. For the suitability of online learning final examinations have not been considered as part of the overall assessment strategy.

The continuous assessment portion will consist of a series of tasks that aim to evaluate learning progress continually over the teaching period of a module. The methods used to achieve these aims include but are not limited to the following examples; online quizzes, forum contributions, short papers and presentations.

Within each module, there is the opportunity to avail of group assessments when employing some or all of these methods. A collection of these tasks will make up the students’ portfolio assessment which has been embedded as a strategy across most of the modules to be completed over the two year programme. These tasks may be lecturer or systems graded depending on their nature. While the actual methods used to evaluate learning differ from module to module, all modules will contain an element of continuous assessment in the example of the portfolio task to be completed.

Final assessments contribute the majority of weighting and are generally longer assignments that aim to assess more learning outcomes. These assessments are lecturer graded and completed individually by each student. Academic integrity is preserved using Turnitin which is embedded in the online learning environment students will use to submit their assignments.

Throughout the course, lecturers have opportunities to informally assess students and provide formative feedback through live online lectures and tutorials as well as through ongoing communications with students. Students may also avail of the opportunity of submitting a draft assessment that is also intended as another outlet for formative assessment and feedback.

 

Practice Placment Learning

 

Practice placement learning:

 

35% of the programme will consist of practice placement education over the duration of this two-year programme. This will include professional placement hours, practice assessments and tutorials etc. 

Professional Practice Placement hours will be split across two blocks, one block in Year (1) and one block in Year (2) – with a minimum of 300 hours to be completed during each block.

Placements will provide students with the opportunity of integrating theory and practice and combining this knowledge through critical self-reflection.

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 social distancing restrictions in the Early Years sector in Ireland and a pod system being implemented nationally a decision was made that we will allow for to complete their work placement hours within their own employment setting if already working in the sector.

Your place of employment must be a registered Early Years service catering for Children in both the 0 – 2.5 years and 2.5 years to 6 years age bracket while also ensuring it can provide a suitably qualified Practice Placement supervisor. If any of these conditions cannot be met then the student may be allocated a practice placement setting by The Open College.

Due to ever changing Covid-19 restrictions and with the introduction of the new ELC National Professional Standards and requirements in the near future this decision will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, to ensure they align to all the National requirements.

The provisions for practice placement will then satisfy the requirements set down by Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines for Initial Professional Education (Level 7 and Level 8) Degree Programmes for the Early Learning and Care (ELC) Sector in Ireland (2019, p25-26).

  

 

Semester Timetable:

This two year online BA in Early Learning & Care Degree programme will commence in September 2021 with the first cohort of students graduating in May 2023 – details of graduation events will be confirmed nearer the time. See below for details of the intended two year timetable semester plan.

Please Note: this an indicative timetable and may be subject to change.

Year (1): Commencing September 2021

 

  • Semester (1) – 15 weeks (including mid-term breaks): commencing 6th September 2021, ending 17th December 2021.

 

  • Semester (2) – 15 weeks (including mid-term breaks): commencing 10th January 2022, ending 23rd April 2022.

 

Year (2): Commencing September 2022

 

  • Semester (1) – 15 weeks (including mid-term breaks): commencing 5th September 2022, ending 16th December 2022.

 

  • Semester (2) – 15 weeks (including mid-term breaks): commencing 9th January 2023, ending 21st April 2023.

 

 

 

Accreditation

 

Our BA in Early Learning & Care Degree which is offered in partnership with Oxford Brookes University leads to a Level 6 (UK) BA (Hons) Degree which is equivalent to a Level 7 (ROI) BA (Ord) Degree on the National Framework of Qualifications which is recognised Nationally and Internationally.

 

The full Degree programme consists of 13 modules totalling 120 ECTS Credits. 60 ECTS Credits will also be awarded by Oxford Brookes for QQI 6M2007 Major award through their assessment of prior learning process and so you will be awarded a total of 180 ECTS upon the successful completion of the programme.

 

As such your qualification comes from the UK and so, upon successful completion of this programme and pending approval of our programme with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in March 2022, students may be eligible to apply, at an individual level, for recognition of qualification with the DCEDIY on an individual basis and further information on this is available here.

 

As a registered student of both The Open College and Oxford Brookes University students will benefit from having access to a wide range of suitable online learning resources and open online library access for the duration of their programme.

 

Online Degree in Health & Social Care

 

Delivery Format

 

How does our online learning work?

 

 

Entry Requirements

 

Entry Requirements / Prerequisites:

  • Applicants will ideally be employed in an early childhood setting (TUSLA registered facility).

 

  • A QQI Level 6 Major award in Early Childhood Care and Education (6M2007), at Merit Level.

 

  • Applicants should hold a Level 5 Major award in Early Childhood Care and Education (5M2009) or 1,500 hours of work experience in a TUSLA registered facility.

 

  • After the application process, an admissions interview will be required for entry onto the course to better understand applicants experience, career goals and to assess suitability.

 

  • Students must be available to undertake a practical supervised work placement throughout the duration of the course (300 contact hours per year minimum) across a range of ELC settings. Students may normally be in employment but must be able to work in an appropriate setting whilst undertaking the Practice Placement aspect of the Degree. 35% of the programme will consist of practice placement education over the duration of this two-year programme. This will include professional placement hours, practice assessments and tutorials etc. Professional Practice Placement hours will be split across two blocks, one block in Year (1) and one block in Year (2) – with a minimum of 300 hours to be completed during each block.

 

  • English Language Requirement: Applicants must be competent in both written and spoken English. For any applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate their level of English is acceptable, by achieving a score in a recognised test such as: British Council IELTS: normally minimum level 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components.

 

  • Garda Vetting is required for all Early Learning & Care placements and students can apply for this through the college who in turn apply to the National Vetting Bureau (NVB) which helps to assess the suitability of all applicants on this programme. It is important to note that participation in or completion of this programme may be affected by subsequent disclosure/discovery. Depending upon the outcome of the vetting process, the college reserves the following rights: to not register a student, to remove an existing registered student, to delay the student’s practice placement modules. In all circumstances, it is the student’s responsibility to proactively disclose any convictions/cases pending.

 

  • Students undertaking this programme must have basic IT skills and access to the necessary equipment to enable them to undertake an online programme: computer, broadband, recording equipment necessary for some skills demonstration tasks, and where applicable any other specialised software/equipment.

 

  • TUSLA Children First E-Learning Programme must be completed by all students prior to commencing work placement. The programme has been written to support people of all backgrounds and experience in recognising concerns about children and reporting such concerns if they arise. Further information on this course and how to complete it can be found here.

 

 

Employment/h2>

 

Employment Opportunities:

On successful completion of this two-year degree ELC graduates will emerge as early years professionals. Career progression within this sector, for those with this kind of degree, is expanding rapidly beyond early childhood care and education settings to include opportunities within the following areas;

  • Policy development,
  • Research,
  • Training & Education,
  • Advocacy,
  • Monitors and inspectors of services,
  • Evaluation agencies within the Department of Education and Skills, Department of Children and Youth Affairs etc. Graduates may also take up roles with local development agencies within the early childhood sector both nationally and internationally.

 

Progression:

Students who successfully complete this programme may use this award towards completing a suitable Higher Diploma and/or Masters Degree programme with another reputable third level institute/university.

Please note that The Open College and Oxford Brookes University have no direct affiliation or partnerships with any third level institute/university for the provision of access to  further study programmes and so it is advisable that students check out the entry requirements of any intended further study options available to them.

 

Fees

Year Two
3,600
Full Academic Year
  • or Installment Plan
  • First Payment – €1,000
  • and €445 / month for 6 months