Leadership in Early Years Education & Care

What is the programme about?

Early Years Education and Care is a rapidly growing area in Ireland. This programme has been designed to facilitate and prepare students and current practitioners or those with an interest in early childhood education for leadership and management roles in the operation of early childhood education services and related public policy. This Masters programme will develop students' ability to both analyse, manage and creatively respond to critical issues and changes in early childhood care policy and service implementation, all the time being cognisant of the best interests of the child.

Right from the Start- Report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy, September 2013.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

This report looks at the growing requirements of a rapidly expanding sector in a population with "over 480,000 children aged 0-6, representing 11% of the population" which is set to increase by between 17-20% by 2021 and the importance of having a policy for the youngest members of society. The reports notes that "only 12% of those working in early childhood care and education services in Ireland have Degree-level qualifications (Pobal, 2013)", while the CoRe report has set out an EU benchmark of at least 60% of those working in this area who "should be graduates", "including equally those working with under-3s and those working with over-3s." A competent quality based systems calls for competent practitioners, which requires "a qualified workforce at all levels, which includes trainers, managers and inspectors."

Entry requirements

Entry requirements are a Level 8 degree, with a minimum of Second Class Honours, Grade 2 or equivalent in the following areas:

• Early Childhood Education & Care
• Applied Social Studies
• Social & Community Studies
• Youth & Community Work
• Social Sciences or cognate area

Candidates with significant experience in the social sciences (as determined by IT Carlow's Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) policy), in addition to an honours primary degree in another discipline area may also be considered for entry.

Applicants applying for entry via routes other than those listed above will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with IT Carlow's Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) policy.


Carlow - 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.
Wicklow - 2 years part-time.
Wexford - 2 years part-time.

Careers or further progression

What will I be able to do when I finish this programme? Graduates of this programme will be able to:

• Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the underlying theories and key concepts with a focus on leadership and critical assessment skills within an Irish and International context;

• Analyse the current theories, concepts, challenges and research areas with an ability to solve complex problems through a variety of reflective and participatory work;

• Exhibit critical awareness of contemporary issues and challenges relating to the role and effect of early years education on the child, the family and society;

• Apply the theory and practice of leadership roles in supporting quality;

• Engage in scholarly debate at an academic, policy and practice based level on a range of early year's education and leadership issues;

• Develop, maintain and build on professional relationships fostered throughout the programme with practical skills and tools to reflect and critically self-evaluate;

• Gather, assimilate, synthesise and analyse information on a variety of levels;

• Critically reflect on how leadership practice in early year's education connects to and interacts with wider social issues in Ireland and beyond.

What follow-on study opportunities are available?
Graduates of the programme may progress to a PhD programme of study in the discipline areas, in Ireland or abroad. Graduates of the programme may also be eligible to progress to a professional doctorate in the field of teaching and learning in both Irish and international Institutions.

Potential employment opportunities
This is an ideal postgraduate programme for students or current practitioners within the early childhood education sector who are interested in becoming an administrator, director or manager of early childhood education programs. It is also suitable for those interested in advisory, mentoring and inspection roles within the sector.

Further enquiries

Head Of Department – Humanities
Dr Eileen Doyle-Walsh
BA, MLitt, PhD
E: eileen.doyle@itcarlow.ie

Lifelong Learning Manager
Dr Clare Power
BSc, DipHE, MSc, PhD
E: martin.meagher@itcarlow.ie

Deputy Head Of Campus
Dr Janette Davies
E: janette.davies@itcarlow.ie

Subjects taught

What subjects will I study?

Contemporary Issues in Early Years Policy, Theory and Practice

Leading Quality in Early Years Education & Care

Leadership, Strategy & Governance

Research Methods & Dissertation

Transformative Children's Rights Education

Educational Psychology

Early Years Entrepreneurship and Innovation

NOTE: Subjects are subject to change.

Course fee

CWB09 Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care CARLOW Full-time €7,400*
CWL17 Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care CARLOW Part-time €7,400*
CWW05 Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care WICKLOW Part-time €7,400*
CWX16 Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care WEXFORD Part-time €7,400*

CWB10 Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care CARLOW Full-time €5,500
CWL18 Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care CARLOW Part-time €5,500
CWW06 Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care WICKLOW Part-time €5,500

*Fees for ITC Major Award graduates only – €5,500.

Programme Fees for Non-EU Students
Masters Programme Fee – €11,250

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!