Why do a Masters in Early Childhood Studies?
A Masters in Early Childhood Studies: Lead the way in the future of Early Years Care & Education.
As you have completed an BA (Hons) degree in Early Years Care & Education, or in another similar area, you might be saying “I don’t need a Masters… I am finished studying….” “What benefits would a Masters give me?” and so on. But stop for one moment and consider that it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t need a qualification to work with children; times are changing and our sector is becoming a graduate-led workforce where the qualification currency will soon be a level 7. As with any other profession holding a Masters Degree will give you the edge, keep you abreast of the latest research in early years care and education and build further on the strong foundation of knowledge you have acquired from your undergraduate studies.
Be a Leader in the Early Years Sector…
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way
and shows the way…”
Consider being a leader in this sector, opening the way for others. We often talk of having a qualified graduate workforce; we talk about the importance of having our voice heard, of gaining recognition and inspiring younger, new entrants into the sector and retaining those with experience and the wisdom built from decades working with children and their families. Even if working outside the setting isn’t something you aspire to, gaining a Masters Degree will make you a better practitioner, training you in skills and concepts to inform an effective pedagogy and help provide a diverse and inclusive curriculum for all children, holding a Masters Degree will give you the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead the way.
What are the job opportunities with a Masters?
As our society has become more diverse, there is a growing awareness of the importance of early years settings and the service provided not just to children and families but also to society as a whole. This has a resulted in a growth in the number and variety of job positions available in the sector, some of these are new roles not previously imagined. Employers in every sector are raising the educational requirements for emerging roles, the early years sector is not immune. A Masters in Early Childhood Studies can open up a range of job opportunities for you both in and out of the early years setting that you may not have previously considered or even been eligible for.
Consider areas of Administration, working as part of the inspectorate, Tutoring on level 7 degree programmes, policy development, research into the early years sector, working as a Standards Verifier of external results; The opportunities are much wider than you possibly are aware of and all of these opportunities put your expertise and experience of the early years sector to good use, enhancing your career opportunities whilst also enhancing the sector and helping gain the recognitions deserved for the early years profession. You will continue to have an impact on children at a critical part in their lives, but you can develop how and where you do this; taking on advisory and consultation roles, lecturing roles and inspectorate roles.
Will a Masters degree increase my earning potential?
A Masters degree will immediately increase your earning potential due to the wider range of career opportunities that will now be open to you. This Masters in Early Childhood Studies qualification will elevate your employability and give you the opportunity to command a higher pay scale than your less qualified peers.
Do you want this Masters degree just for you?
As educators, we have lost count of the times our students have told us, I am doing this for me”… “I want to prove to myself that I am capable of this” or “I want to be considered equal to those in other professions”. The value and credibility earned as a result of holding a Masters degree will invite a high level of respect from your peers and is an achievement of which you will be proud. The sense of confidence in your own ability and your academic achievement will contribute to your personal sense of accomplishment and your professional development within your sector.
Become an expert in your field
Earning a Masters in Early Childhood Studies will help you foster a deeper understanding of child learning and child psychology. As part of the programme you will focus on learning theory and child development, leadership and curriculum design, making you an expert in early years. You can take that knowledge with you into whichever profession you determine suits you after graduation: You will be introduced to new ideas. The Masters Degree will strengthen and develop knowledge you have already gained, exposing you to new, groundbreaking ideas on how children learn and develop and the diversities we might be working with daily. You will be encouraged to communicate your ideas and learning, disseminating those with others, parents, stakeholders, practitioner, students etc, but even further with other professionals and researchers at conferences and seminars where your ideas can help develop the sector.
What will a Masters mean to me in practice?
All of the knowledge you will gain together with the experience you have, you will find beneficial when you are working with children or you have children or grandchildren of your own. Understanding why children behave a particular way, how to support them during difficult times, being aware of what they are doing and why they do these things. You will see the bigger picture. As you advance through your Masters –everything that you absorb – psychology, research techniques, theory, curriculum design, classroom management, diversity, complexities of childhoods in context – will all come together to give you a well-rounded understanding of childhood learning and development.
You will further develop your skills of reflective practice, leadership, innovation and quality provision. You will continue to develop and strengthen your powers of observation and assessment. Watching and assessing children is a big part of our practice, especially at early childhood level. Assessment of progress in these early stages relies solely on your sense of where their needs lie and will rely on your powers of observation. Your engagement with psychology and child development will enhance this area of your skills, making you a valuable asset to any part of the early years sector. This Masters will help you to become a careful, dispassionate observer of young children, effectively appraising their progress and highlight potential areas of concern.
Deepening your knowledge of the early years, along with improvements in salary benefits, job stability, and opportunities to move into different areas of the early years sector are all reasons to study for a Masters in Early Childhood Studies. Imagine you could bring vital information and be responsible for bringing about real change in a sector, which is growing and continuing to develop. Why not do a Masters Degree in Early Years, it will take the sector from strength to strength as a profession, and the achievement and personal self-satisfaction is so very worth the journey.
Marguerita Magennis - March 2020.
About the Author
Marguerita’s industry experience began some time ago when she commenced working with children with additional needs in the field of Educational Psychology. It was the time she spent working in this industry which lead her to focus on changing her career. She has since worked in all sectors of Education, starting with Preschool, moving into the Primary Sector, Special Needs sector and then to Further Education, and now Higher Education, teaching Degree and Masters Students.
Throughout this time, Marguerita also completed International qualifications in Internal Verification and External Verification; and have been appointed to numerous Awarding bodies to validate both the content and certification of their qualifications and awards. These include FETAC, SOLAS, QQI, Pearson Excel, BTEC and CACHE Awards up to and including Degree level.
As part of her career, Marguerita is also a reviewer for SAGE online journals, Global Childhood Studies, and Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood studies journals. To date she has had several publications which include Journal Articles and Book Chapters.
Marguerita’s career highlights include working with a young child with Autism, and the first time this child spoke and engaged with other children, the completion of her PhD, and the publication of her first article.
Marguerita is a lecturer in Portobello Institute's Early Years department for many years and leads many of the modules for both the level 7 & 9 programmes whilst supervising level 8 students during the research for their dissertations.