The Masters of Arts (Early Childhood Studies) has been developed to meet the needs of professionals working in or supporting the early years care and education sector, and may also be attractive to individuals with a particular interest in the area. The course is designed to complement and support continued employment, however, it is not restricted to those employed in early years practice settings. This part-time blended learning course was designed to interact with the developing policy, practice and research environment in early years care and education. It is inspired by the continued evolution of the early years sector in Ireland, with contextual influence from Europe and from International trends.
Whos Suited to This Course
This course is aimed at people who may already possess a recognised early years third level qualification and who wish to upgrade their qualification in a part-time, flexible manner. This will increase their opportunities to progress into broader professional roles (e.g. management, training, policy development, advocacy or research) and new emerging roles (e.g. mentoring and leadership) within the early years sector. Potential students with an undergraduate qualification in an area not related to early years, but who are currently working in, and have extensive experience of the sector or are in professional roles which complement and interact with the early years sector, are also encouraged to apply.
The course will be particularly suitable for:
Early year practitioners in crèches, pre-schools, school age childcare services, special education services and childminding settings
Managers of crèches, pre-schools, school age services, special education services
Early childhood practitioners in the Health Services Executive and Tusla: the new Child & Family Support Agency
City/County Childcare Committee members and staff and staff of National Voluntary Childcare Organisations
Practitioners in the child and family support sector
Early years specialists working in advisory or mentoring roles, or those aspiring to such positions
On completion of this course, graduates will possess:
An in-depth knowledge of the evolution of family life and childhood from a historical perspective to present-day understandings.
An in-depth knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories in relation to the early years period.
An ability to analyse and critique iterations of play, learning and pedagogical approaches in early childhood settings from a theoretical perspective.
The ability to effectively engage with other professionals and awareness of the value of integrated working across a variety of services and agencies.
The ability to take a childrens rights perspective across all content, in particular, on the issues of child protection, risk and vulnerability, safeguarding children and promoting wellbeing through early years practice, policy and research.
The theoretical and research informed knowledge and skills to adapt a strengths-based approach to working with families and children.
Specialist knowledge accrued through the development of a social research project.
An ability to facilitate children as active researchers and to ensure the voice of the child is privileged through the research process.
The knowledge and skills to hold leadership positions within the emerging and varied professions in the practice, policy, teaching and research areas of the early years care and education sector.
The ability to critically reflect and evaluate professional practice, early years policy, and dominant discourses in academic literature and research.