Early Years Department Year in Review
2018 was a very successful year within the Early Years Department at Portobello Institute. Our graduates celebrated their achievements at our annual ceremony in November. They advanced across their dream jobs within the sector or continued their educational journeys to achieve a place across a number of postgraduate programmes.
This year we witnessed the successful rollout of our new innovative blended learning degrees together with new course structures across our Montessori programmes to ensure that we continue to make education accessible to everyone. Ultimately, we recognise that a fully flexible approach to learning is particularly vital for adult learners with busy lives and those returning to education.
New Degree Offering
We witnessed the successful ongoing delivery of our blended degree programmes in both the level 7 and 8 in Early Childhood Studies. This approach was developed in response to the evolving requirements of the adult learner and to facilitate those working fulltime wishing to progress to degree level. These courses enable learners to complete a degree with the greatest of flexibility and enjoy a mix of distance learning with tutorials, online group discussions plus skype calls with dedicated tutors.
New delivery on Montessori courses
Learners can now study Montessori and EECE with the greatest flexibility. We now have 4 study options in place for learners wishing to start a new career in Montessori and ECCE and for those looking to upskill on their current qualifications to perhaps add on a Montessori qualification. Course deliveries include blended and part-time learning.
Special Needs Assisting courses
The latter half of the year saw the reduction in price of our QQI Level 5 course to ensure that those looking to start a rewarding career as an SNA can train in one of our core centres.
During 2018 we continued to understand the importance of our regional centres with the deliverance of Montessori courses in our Dublin venues – Dominick Street, Dundrum, Blanchardstown, Swords, Dundrum and Templeogue. Support workshops continued in our 7 regional learning centres including Carlow, Drogheda, Galway, Navan, Kilkenny and Cork. We also saw the introduction of new regional centres of learning for our blended degrees with Gort, Roscommon added.
Before commencing in her new role as Programme Manager in 2018 Iryna Fox had been working as a tutor at Portobello Institute within the department and so understands students. Iryna understands and admires the learner profile of the early years students, most of whom are mature learners who work and study.
2018 witnessed some very positive industry changes. One noteworthy update has been the rise of higher capitation in relation to the ECCE programme. Ultimately this means for those working in industry can earn up to €9405 extra per year with a degree qualification.
Important publications include “First 5” which details important objectives to support babies, young children and their families while understanding a move towards a graduate-led workforce along with extension of regulations and supports within industry services.
In addition, we saw the launch of “Early Years sector profile report 2017/18” which was developed and published by Pobal on behalf of DCYA. This detailed report gives a vast insight into industry and includes funding, uptake of ECCE places and staffing in the sector.
The value of volunteering
The team in our Early Years department truly understand the value of volunteering. As part of their ongoing volunteer work College Director and head of the department Denise Flood, along with the Montessori Manager and graduate Natasha Murphy and a team of Early Years tutors and students travelled to Pune in India to carry out work with BSSK charity. The team spend a selfless week there and were involved in delivering self-defence training, running art and craft camps for the children and mothers in the community and delivered first aid training sessions in basic first aid skills.