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, 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.

Job opportunities include

 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

 Programme Progression

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

  • Work as a childcare assistant in a variety of ECCE settings
  • 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.
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Entry requirements: 

Successful applicants 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.

The learner must be Garda Vetted to participate fully on this programme. 

Students are also afforded opportunities for personal development through the Communications and Work Experience modules.  Work placement is an essential element of the programme and affords learners the opportunity to apply their learning from the classroom in a real childcare setting.

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

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this programme learners will have the knowledge, skill and competence to work independently and under supervision in a supportive role in childcare. The course gives students an opportunity to go directly into employment or continue their studies in North Connaught College or a range of Higher Education Colleges.

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.

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.


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.