Early Childhood Studies - Blended Learning
MA Early Childhood Studies
Delivered through blended learning, you can work full-time and study this MA in Early Childhood Studies. 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.
This contemporary MA in Early Childhood Studies is designed for professional early years practitioners working within the early childhood workforce, including those who may not be working directly with children. This Masters programme builds upon knowledge gained during undergraduate studies and experiential learning in the workplace. The blended learning delivery mode is a flexible study option for those seeking to fit learning around work and family.
The MA in Early Childhood Studies offers you an opportunity to advance your knowledge, understanding and professional practice through engagement with current research and thinking in early childhood. It also involves a reflection on, and analysis of, your own professional practice, supporting your personal development as well as putting you in a strong position for career progression in this sector.
Why should I study this course?
Portobello Institute's MA in Early Childhood Studies gives you the opportunity to attain a level 9 Masters qualification through a flexible mode of delivery designed to fit learning around your busy working and home life.
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, ground breaking 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 I study during this MA Early Childhood Studies course?
A commitment to equality, diversity, social justice and advocacy are themes central to this Masters programme. You will develop a detailed understanding of current research and contemporary thinking in the field of early childhood. You will appraise research and theory continuously and reflect on its impact on early childhood provision and practice with an emphasis on your own professional practice. Developing a sophisticated understanding of the historical, economic, social, cultural and political contexts which impact the lives of young children and their families is a key benefit of studying this MA in Early Childhood Studies. You will also develop a comprehensive understanding of, and commitment to, issues of equality and diversity, social justice and advocacy in relation to the field of early childhood.
This course is delivered over 2 academic years with optional supported webinars held during scheduled weekends. This programme consists of five core modules. You will complete two modules in each of the first two semesters and the final module, your dissertation project, will be completed in your final semester during year 2. Each student is assigned a Dissertation Supervisor who will act as their personal academic support tutor for the research-based module that is the dissertation project.
Each module has 1 – 2 one day webinars designed to support the student to complete the modules scheduled for that semester. Webinars are generally held on a Saturday from 10am to 4pm. There are also 3 – 4 webinars held on evenings scheduled throughout the semester. Attendance at webinars is not mandatory however is recommended for an optimal learning experience and achievement. Webinars are delivered with the purpose of introducing the module lecturer, setting out the learning outcomes, content, the assessment strategy and expectations for skills/knowledge development.
All of the course material is held on an online learning portal which is an easy to use online platform specifically designed for online learning programmes. During the induction, students will be introduced to the platform with practical demonstration of how to use the portal and access lessons quickly and easily. To complete this course, students must have a basic knowledge of using a computer and searching the internet for research purposes.
Peer to Peer Support
Learning from the experience of other students is often cited as an integral part of any learning journey through a programme. This programme is conducted primarily online and to achieve peer to peer learning, we create study groups. This is a group of students either with a similar research interest or located regionally for ease of "meeting up". Many graduates tell us that the relationships they build in their study group, offers them a professional network to tap into through out their careers as well as some lifelong friendships.
You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance. For more information about our team, click here. Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. This level of one to one support is unique to blended learning and is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced early years practitioners as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.
Online Learning Portal
During the induction webinar, we will show you how to navigate and find what you need with all of the information you need to complete this programme uploaded on to the learning portal. The content of this programme is set out in an easy to follow format with a combination of notes, articles, podcasts and other materials that will help you to understand the subject and complete your assessment. You will need basic computer skills to search the internet and type a word document to complete your assignment.
Without a Leaving Certificate
There are entry criteria available to students with differing qualifications however students must hold a relevant honours degree (at least 2:2) and it is preferable you work within the early childhood workforce.
Some of the modules require an observational visit to a setting offering care and education for children from birth to six-years-old. Where you're not working directly with children you will need to be able to commit to this component of the programme.
• Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood – 30 Credits
This module aims to examine contemporary issues in early childhood using a range of theoretical lenses and will consider the implications these issues have for early years policy and practice. It will consider how global, economic, cultural and political contexts contribute to issues becoming 'concerns'. A range of perspectives on early childhood such as feminism, post-modernism, human capital, as well as from neuroscience, psychology and psychoanalytical thinking will be explored to encourage students to critically engage in contemporary issues which directly impact on their work within the early childhood workforce.
• Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Education and Care – 30 Credits
This module explores a range of distinctive approaches in early childhood education and care. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical roots of these different approaches and consider the impact they have had or might have on their own provision.
• Equality and Inclusion in Early Childhood – 30 Credits
This module explores the principles behind and perceptions of issues of equality and inclusion in early childhood. Political, historical, legislative, UK and international contexts are explored to encourage students to question and consider models of effective inclusive practice and the importance of challenging inequalities.
• Foundations of Being – 30 Credits
This module focuses on aspects of young children's development in the first three years of life, with a specific focus on personal, social and emotional development and the implications of this for other areas of development and learning in early and later childhood. The module will consider a range of theoretical perspectives and the implications of these for early years provision and practice. In order to ensure an informed understanding of and response to provision for children from birth to three, students who are not based in settings covering this age range, will be expected to undertake the minimum of a one day observational visit to a relevant provision. Students undertaking this module require experience of working with children within the birth to seven age range and be currently employed or have access to placement within this sector.
• Research Methods and the Dissertation – 60 Credits
This module explores key concepts in research and supports students to undertake a small-scale independent piece of research relevant to their professional discipline.
Semester 1 runs from 4th February '22 to 27th May '22
Semester 2 runs from 8th October '22 to 21st Jan '23.
This is a blended learning course with webinars held on prescribed Saturdays throughout the academic year.
Semester 3 runs from 6th February '23 to 23rd May '23
Semester 4 runs from 16th October 23 to 24th Jan '24.
Attendance at webinars is optional although recommended for optimal learning experience and achievement.
Please note there may be some variation to these dates.
Next Intake September 2020
Post Course Info
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 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.
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.
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 in 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.
Exit points on this Masters
After completing the two modules delivered in the first year of this course you will be awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Studies should you wish to exit the programme and not continue to second year. If you wish to exit the programme after completing a further two modules (four in total), you will be awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Studies. Students who complete four modules and the required dissertation project will be awarded a Masters in Early Childhood Studies.