BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies - BlendedBook Your Place Now
Approx 1 Year
Degree Level 8
BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies - Blended
According to a recent Survey of Early Years Practitioners carried out by the Consultation for the Review of Education and Training Programmes; the passion and dedication for the improvement of the early year’s sector is evident... The majority of early year’s practitioners are striving to improve their practice for the benefit of children in their settings (Department of Education and Skills, 2016)
This is a key finding of this survey, questioning 531 early years’ practitioners, employers and other interested parties and carried out by the Department of Education and Skills in May 2016. Another key finding, within this report, highlights the importance of relevant educational programmes to deliver the skills required for a contemporary and progressive early year’s sector. The environment for practice in early years is changing. Education and training programmes need to ensure they continue to prepare those entering the profession to meet the demands of modern practice.
The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies awarded by London Metropolitan University (LMU) was one of the first such degrees in the UK. It was researched and developed to meet the demand for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families. LMU continues to be recognised as a pioneer of early year’s education. The early childhood academic team is at the forefront of the international field of the research into the changing knowledge and skills needed for children and their families today and in the future. Portobello Institute is LMU’s only Irish accredited centre for Early Childhood Studies. Through this partnership, we offer students the opportunity to access some of the world’s leading research and thinking in the early years’ sector.
As illustrated in the findings of the research carried out in the early year’s sector in 2016, there is an obvious need for well-qualified, graduate level, early childhood practitioners working with young children and their families across all sectors in Ireland: play, care, health and education. However up-skilling to honours degree level whilst working full-time can prove extremely difficult, the physical time required to attend class and the related costs can simply prove to be a difficult commitment to make. Portobello Institute recognises those challenges by delivering this programme through a blended learning mode with recognition of prior learning for previously achieved qualifications. Students have the opportunity to still pursue this academic route and achieve an Honours Degree in Early Childhood Studies, opening up the oppportunity to progress to a Masters in Early Childhood Studies also offered by LMU.
Studying this world class degree in the intimate and supportive environment offered by Portobello Institute is a unique opportunity for students. The Institute are renowned for extensive student support. We offer small intimate environments, provision of draft assignments and formative feedback prior to submission, individual module tutors and the support of a Programme Manager to ensure the smooth running of the programme and enhance the learning experience to each of our students throughout their academic journey.
To further support those who already hold the most commonly held early years degrees on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications, Portobello Institute has mapped the learning outcomes of the QQI level 7 qualifications in Early Years Care and Education to the learning outcomes of this honours degree. The outcome is that there is now access to exemptions and recognition of prior learning, to gain advanced entry into year three of this honours BA in Early Childhood Studies. This award is also listed with the DCYA (Dept. of Children and Youth Studies) for higher capitation purposes.
In this final year of the Level 8 programme students complete an individual research project by carrying out a systematic investigation of a topic related to the early years sector. The project provides students with opportunities to improve their critical thinking and research skills. Learners on this programme refine their academic writing and communication skills as well as getting the opportunity to investigate in detail a topic or area in their current practice that interests them.
At the early stages of the programme learners will attend three tutorials which help them prepare for the project, understand how to work with academic literature, select suitable research methods, address ethical concerns and most importantly formulate the questions which they will try and answer in their research. While the project involves a lot of independent study, each learner is assigned an individual supervisor who provides guidance and mentorship throughout the research and write up process.
Completing a research project is a valuable learning experience which has lasting benefits for learners’ personal and professional development.
What is Blended Learning?
It is very suited to you if you are working full-time with limited spare time yet you want to achieve your degree qualification. During the induction workshop, you will be given your log-in details to the online portal, "Weblearn". Here you will find course notes, reading lists, podcasts, articles of interest and assessment guidelines. The content is structured in an easy to "find and follow" week by week format. You will need basic computer skills such as searching the internet and typing a word document.
Each module commences with an induction seminar and you will meet your lead tutor during this seminar. You can upload your assessments and your tutor will give you feedback on whether you are on the right track before you submit the final version. Blended learning allows you to study at your time with support available throughout your learning journey. Click the link below for how our recent graduates got on studying under the Blended Learning method.
BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies
Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK
The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.
Entry on to this programme is by direct application to Portobello Institute.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Portobello Institute has mapped the learning outcomes of the awards listed below thereby gaining recognition of prior learning (RPL) with LMU for students holding the following qualifications:
• QQI Level 7 in Early Years Care & Education or equivalent
• LMU Level 7 in Early Childhood Studies
This is currently a blended learning course run over 10 months for learners who satisfy recognition of prior learning. For more information please see the section above titled: "Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)". Please note this degree is also available through full-time study over 2 years.
There are 3 tutorials scheduled during the programme. These are generally run on a Saturday from 10am to 4pm and are designed to offer support to the learner.
The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is structured to maximise opportunities for flexible study, as students choose to complete the course by distance learning with webinars throughout the programme, supported workshops held each term and on-going tutor support available through the early childhood studies academic team situated full-time in Portobello institute.
A module tutor together with a programme manager is assigned to each module. At internals throughout the course there are face to face tutorials throughout the programme and students can access further tutor support by email and/or telephone. Webinars also support the learning experience, and provide further guidance throughout the programme, helping to establish and maintain relationships with tutors and peers. The development of academic writing, study and referencing skills is supported through workshops, tutor feedback and programme manager support. Materials are accessed through Portobello and LMU’s virtual learning platform. As this is one of the most researched and developed programmes available, an extensive range of visual materials and videos are available. Reflection is promoted by reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.
All students are invited to discuss their progress with programme managers and module tutors. This can take place face to face, on the telephone or through e-mail.
Course fee €3295 per year
Registration Fee: €305 (per year)
Materials: Approx €75 (per year)
"I have my level 7, why should I continue to level 8?"
This is the question we get asked so often by our level 7 early years graduates. So we asked Denise Flood, College Director and Head of our Early Years Department that very question and this is what she told us.
"Firstly, this is the final step. You have completed the hard work at level 7 - this is one module to achieve your level 8 honours degree. It is a research project carrying 60 credits and you will have a supervisor of your choice from our team who will support you through the research process"
"The research project is directly related to your setting - for example you want to change the garden of your setting, you can use this as the topic of your research project. We will help you break this down into achievable snippets such as consulting key stakeholders. What questions do you need to ask to find out what they think the theme of the space should look like - the stakeholders would include staff, children, parents, other service users. Document the process, record the outcomes, reach a conclusion and this is your research project completed!"
"An honours degree opens up so many opportunities for employment and further study to Masters level - why would you not complete the project and achieve your level 8 honours degree?"
Much of the evidence signposts research as a vital aspect of ensuring quality service provision in an early years setting - you will learn how to conduct research, draw conclusions and record these during this programme.
As Denise put it - "Why would you not continue to level 8!"