How Do I Become an Early Childhood Educator in Ireland?
In Ireland, all ECCE room leaders must hold a full QQI level 6 as a minimum and all staff working in childcare must hold a minimum of QQI Level 5.
Staff Qualifications Pre-school Leaders must hold a certification for a major award in childcare/early education at a minimum of level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications of Ireland (NFQ) or an equivalent nationally recognised qualification or a higher award in the childcare/early education field.
Since 31st December 2016, the preschool leaders in all services participating in the ECCE programme are required to hold a certification for a major award in childcare/early education at a minimum of level 6 on the NFQ, and all staff working with children in the service are required to hold a certification for a major award in the childcare/early education at a minimum of level 5 on the NFQ.
The content of all relevant major awards must include significant content on Child Development 0 – 6, Early Childhood Curriculum and Child Health and Welfare. The course must also have included Supervised Practice in an Early Childhood Care and Education setting.
How To Get Your ECCE Qualification
You have a number of options when it comes to starting your education journey to become an early childhood educator in Ireland.
If you are starting out with little or no experience working with children, if English is not your first language or if you are nervous about studying you can choose to start with a QQI level 5 qualification.
Delivered by blended learning at Portobello Institute, with supporting weekend workshops, an Early Childhood Care & Education level 5 qualification will give you a recognised qualification that is ideal for becoming an early childhood educator in Ireland.
This is an international qualification that will allow you to begin working in an early years setting. This is an eight-month course, and the content focuses on caring for the needs of young children preparing you to work in a wide variety of settings.
With this qualification, you can work as
A registered childminder
Early years practitioner
Afterschool services practitioner
This course is delivered through blended learning which means that you will also have the opportunity to complete a work experience placement in an early years setting to complement your studies. Learners are required to complete a total of 50 hours of work experience.
Why Should You Study an ECCE Level 5 qualification?
To meet the needs of an expanding ECCE sector Portobello Institute aims to provide a solid, integrated, unified approach to the delivery of ECCE training.
Our Early Childhood courses aim to develop our learners with the highest level of professional competence as practitioners, establishing in them a wide knowledge and a deep understanding of educational practices in conjunction with the principles set down by Síolta: the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear: the Framework for Early Learning.
This qualification meets the minimum requirements set down by the DCEDIY for those seeking to work with children in an early years setting. You will be qualified to work with children from 0 – 6 within the broader childcare settings.
Start Your Education at ECCE Level 6
You do not need to start your education journey to become an early childhood educator with a level 5 qualification at Portobello Institute. You can start with ECCE level 6. The entry requirements for level 6 without a leaving certificate is that you should hold a minimum Level 5 in Early Childhood Education or relevant life or work experience.
This means if you have children, experience working with children, taking care of children, working in kids clubs or groups, etc. you may qualify to start at level 6.
When setting out to do your level 6 qualifications you have two different qualifications to choose from. You can choose Early Childhood Care and Education – QQI Level 6 or ECCE with Montessori Teaching.
What is the difference?
In Early Childhood Care and Education – QQI Level 6 you will complete eight ECCE modules. In the ECCE with Montessori Teaching course you will complete four core ECCE modules plus four Montessori modules, giving you the necessary ECCE qualifications combined with Montessori.
This course in Montessori Teaching and Early Childhood Care & Education will give you the qualification that will allow you to open your own setting or work in the capacity of a room leader/supervisor/manager in a Montessori room.
In comparison, the Early Childhood Care and Education qualification allows you to open your own setting or work in the capacity of a room leader, supervisor or manager in an early years setting.
Each of these three options, level 5 ECCE, level 6 ECCE and ECCE with Montessori Teaching all qualify you to become an early years educator in Ireland.
After gaining your level 6 qualification, you can proceed on to your BA (Ord) Early Childhood Care and Education, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and MA Early Childhood Studies. Check out our upcoming early years and Montessori courses here.