Programme Aim

This one-year course is designed for learners wishing to pursue a career in Early Childhood Care and Education. 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.

The overall aim of the programme is to provide the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to work independently and under supervision in a range of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) settings and/or to progress to higher education and training.

Students will gain knowledge in:

  • Child Development
  • Early Care and Education Practice
  • Early Childhood Education and Play
  • Child Health & Wellbeing
  • creative Arts for Early Childhood
  • Understanding Special Needs
  • Communications
  • Nutrition.

Work experience is also a core feature of the Early Childhood Care & Education programme with students spending time in a childcare setting, enhancing employability.


Apply Now

Programme Progression

On completion of the course some of the options available are:

  • Working in full day care, Sessional services e.g. Montessori groups, parent and toddler groups and Playschools, Childminders, School-age childcare and also working as Special needs Assistants (SNAs)
  • Complete the Level 6 Advanced Montessori and ECCE in North Connaught College and 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
  • Pursue a Home Economics teaching qualification in St. Angela’s College, Sligo (ATP Programme).

Entry requirements

  • It is desirable that applicants have participated in primary and post primary education.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate some skills relevant to the course, an interest in childcare and be able to exercise initiative and independence when carrying out practical activities.
  • Applicants must complete an interview to determine suitability for the course.

Course Content

Title Award Awarding Body
Child Development (5N1764) QQI
Early Care and Education Practice (5N1770) QQI
Early Childhood Education and Play (5N1773) QQI
Child Health and Well Being (5N1765) QQI
Creative Arts for Early Childhood (5N1769) QQI
Understanding Special Needs (5N1709) QQI
Work Experience (5N1356) QQI
Communications (5N0690) QQI
Nutrition (5N2006) QQI

Further Details    

Below is a more detailed description of each module

Child Development 

This compulsory module explores child development theories and how they are applied in a childcare setting. Students learn the skill of formal observation and the important stages in a child’s early development.

Early Care and Education Practice

This module explores the history of childcare provision in Ireland and the important elements of legislation and policy and how they are applied in an ECCE setting.  The students also learn about the importance of routines in a child’s life and learn how to reflect on their own work practices.

Early Childhood Education and Play

In this module students learn about the importance of play in a child’s development.  They also get the opportunity to plan and evaluate play activities. They develop their story-telling abilities and assess the value of various toys.

Child Health and Well Being

In this module students learn about common childhood diseases and practice skills relevant to childcare.

  • Nappy changing
  • Bathing a baby
  • Topping and tailing
  • Sterilising bottles
  • Bottle feeding
  • Spoon feeding
  • Taking a child’s temperature.

Creative Arts for Early Childhood

In this module students will learn the skills necessary to plan and carry out creative arts activities for children. They will explore a variety of creative arts opportunities to include, arts and crafts, drama and music. Students will develop an appreciation of the role of creative arts opportunities in enhancing each child’s learning, development and well-being.

Understanding Special Needs

In this module students learn about various issues relating to special needs.  They study a variety of additional needs and learn strategies for managing those conditions.  Over the course of the module they also reflect on their own attitudes towards disability.


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 and 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 and gives learners practice and confidence for making presentations, for example new fire safety procedures.


This module aims to create an awareness of the food that we eat (diet) and its relationship with health and personal well-being.

Work Experience

Students must find work placement in a suitable childcare setting. Work-experience classes prepare the student to apply for work placement and future work by learning skills, producing a cover letter, CV and interview techniques. Students will also gain an understanding of their own skills and qualities, as well as how to document their learning during placement. This is an essential module for anybody wishing to prepare for or return to the workplace.