Programme Aim

This one-year course is designed for learners wishing to work independently and under supervision in a range of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) settings including Montessori settings and or to progress to higher education and training. Students can successfully pursue a career in Early Childhood Care and Education and become a fully qualified Montessori Teacher.

In a supportive classroom environment our learners in North Connaught College of Further Education, Tubbercurry, Sligo become familiar with the skills and competencies essential for working in the early childcare sector.  They also study developmental theories as they apply to early childhood and experience opportunities to express their own creative abilities in a nurturing learning environment.

This award will provide learners with opportunities to transfer and progress to programmes leading to higher education and training awards.

Students will gain knowledge in:

  • Child Development
  • Childhood Social, Legal and Health Studies
  • Early Childhood Curriculum
  • Early Learning Philosophy
  • Early Learning Environment
  • Early Childhood Literacy & Numeracy
  • Early Childhood Arts and Culture
  • Communications.

Work Experience is also a core feature of the ECCE and Advanced Montessori programme with students spending time in a childcare setting, enhancing employability.

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Programme Progression

Upon completion of the course at North Connaught College students will have many options including:

  • Work as a childcare Worker in a variety of ECCE settings
  • Go on to work in a supervisory capacity in a variety of ECCE settings or open their own childcare business
  • Progress to third level education
  • Pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education (with the option of progressing to Primary School Teaching, Montessori Teaching or Special Needs Teaching)
  • Specialise in Special Needs Education and pursue a career as a Special Needs Assistant or a Special Education Needs Teacher.

Entry requirements

Education: The learner who has either successfully completed a programme leading to a Level 5 QQI Certificate OR can demonstrate the levels of knowledge, skill and competence associated with NFQ Level 5 will be eligible to apply for entry to this programme.

Aptitude: It is expected that the successful applicant must have motivation to learn, an interest in childcare and demonstrate a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the course and be able to exercise initiative and independence when carrying out practical activities.

Previous Experience: Applicants must be able to demonstrate a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the course and be able to exercise initiative and independence when carrying out practical activities.

Course Content

Title Award Awarding Body
Child Development (6N1942 ) QQI
Childhood Social, Legal and Health Studies Childhood Social, Legal and Health Studies (6N1945) QQI
Early Childhood Curriculum (6N1944 ) QQI
Early Learning Philosophy (6N1932) QQI
Early Learning Environment (6N1933) QQI
Early Childhood L & N (6N1935) QQI
Early Childhood Arts and Culture (6N1936) QQI
Communications (6N1950) QQI
Work Experience (6N1946) QQI

Further Details

Below is a more detailed description of each of the Components

Child Development 

This module is designed to allow the learner further reflection on child development theories and their application on ECCE practice. The learner gets to explore the effects of a range of genetic, social, cultural and environmental factors on the holistic development of the child and research a range of theoretical perspectives in the field of behaviour management in support of the holistic development of the child. At the end of this module students comfortably can create a variety of detailed observations in support of programme planning for individual and groups of children using a range of tools.

 Childhood Social, Legal and Health Studies

This programme module aims to equip the learner with child protection guidance in relation to the protection of children and staff, statutory regulations and national practice guidelines which relate directly to and impact on early childhood care and education settings. The learner will learn to evaluate a range of factors influencing and impacting on children’s health and wellbeing to include family structure, community, culture, education, health, social services and social status. This module allows the student to examine national and international social policy and how it impacts on the wellbeing of children and families. Student get the opportunity to critically reflect on how personal cultural identity attitudes and values can potentially impact on bias discrimination and prejudice within ECCE settings.

Early Childhood Curriculum

This programme module aims to equip the learner with the ability to critically reflect on the contributions of a range of early childhood educational theorists to pedagogical practice, study the role of the adult in supporting children’s learning and development. It also allows for reflection on own attitudes, values and beliefs and their impact on the learning environment.

Early Learning Philosophy

The overall aims of this programme component are to help learners gain knowledge, skill and competence relevant to the theory and practice of Maria Montessori’s philosophy when working autonomously in a Montessori and ECCE setting.

 Early Learning Environment

The overall aims of this programme  are to help students gain knowledge and understanding of an ECCE environment that supports the learning and holistic development of children, demonstrating their understanding and knowledge. Here in North Connaught College the students work extensively with our fully equipped Practical Life exercises and Sensorial Materials.

Early Childhood Literacy and Numeracy

This module explores literacy and numeracy theories and the importance of these theories and how they are applied in an ECCE setting.  The students also learn about the importance of Maria Montessori’s equipment and learn how to practically work with these materials.

Early Childhood Arts and Culture

In this module students learn how to support early childhood learning through creative Arts and Culture to enable the child to make sense of and express his or her world in both a visual and tangible manner, in a specific Early Childhood Care and Education and Montessori (ECCE) setting. The students learn about the importance of history, geography, botany, zoology, science and art in a child’s development.


This is one of the most important modules, whether in the workplace or in a college environment.  It is essential to be able to transfer knowledge in a clear, concise way and also to be aware of the different types of communication (verbal and non-verbal).  The module covers both written and practical aspects of communication i.e. presentations, group interaction and gives learners the opportunity to practice and gain confidence in making presentations, for example presenting new ideas that would benefit workers in their vocational area. 

Work Experience

Students will find work placement in a suitable childcare setting where they will apply their skills including demonstrating the ability to work in a supervisory capacity.  Work-experience classes will prepare the student to apply for this work placement, and future work, by focusing on interview preparation.  Students will assess their skills and qualities to produce a CV and cover letter.  They will investigate their employment sector and identify job openings and future training opportunities.  The placement reinforces the skills learned at North Connaught College and aids the development of employability/transferable skills.