Early Childhood Studies Care & Education

This part-time, evening, postgraduate course is designed to facilitate existing graduates from relevant areas who wish to upskill or convert to early childhood care and education to gain the professional qualification required in Ireland's contemporary, professionalised, early years sector.

The programme is targeted at applicants who are already working in supervised practice. The overall aim of the Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Studies, Care and Education is to develop critically reflective, skilled and ethically aware professional Early Childhood Educators.

The course will afford graduates from relevant disciplines an opportunity to enhance existing qualifications, and build on existing practical expertise, to obtain a recognised level 8 qualification in Early Childhood Studies, Care and Education.

The course has three main elements:
1. Placement, where knowledge and skills acquired in the course are put into practice in a controlled work environment, under the supervision of experienced practitioners and academics; where also reflection on the application of theory to practice will take place;

2. Academic Development, where knowledge of new and emerging developments in the sector, combined with the development of conceptual knowledge and theoretical frameworks takes place;

3. Practice/Skills Development, where the skills necessary to function at a high level within the sector are developed.

Entry requirements

The programme is designed for:
i. Applicants with an existing level 7 major award in Early Childhood Studies, or equivalent, and with at least two years of relevant work experience who wish to progress to progress to level 8;

ii. Applicants with an existing major award at level 8 degree in a cognate area who wish to convert to a career in early childhood care and education. Cognate degrees are defined as level 8 degrees in which Psychology, Sociology or Early Years Education was a major component.

Candidates who do not currently meet these requirements may consider making an application using WIT's Recognition of Prior Learning process.


1 Year, Tuesday & Thursday, 6pm – 10pm.

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

Progression and Career Opportunities
On successful completion of this qualification students will have a recognised level 8 qualification in Early Childhood Studies, Care and Education. They will be qualified to work as Room Leaders and their work setting will be eligible for a higher capitation grant for the ECCE programme.

Students will have opportunities to work in leading learning in ECCE settings, family and community settings; local development projects; advocacy work for children and families; management; setting up own business; childcare committees; pre-school inspectorate roles; pre-school educator; policy work; public and voluntary organisations and special education services.

Students will also have opportunity to progress to further study including: post grad opportunities; primary school teaching; play therapy; therapeutic professions and research and policy.

Further enquiries

Course Leader(s)
Jacqui Quinn
Course Administrator:
T: 051 302764

Subjects taught

Semester 1
• Practice Placement: Early Childhood Studies 1 (10 credits)
• Personal and Professional Development: Early Childhood Studies (5 credits)
• Child Developmental Psychology (5 credits)
• Early Learning and Play (5 credits)
• Social Research Methods (5 credits)

Semester 2
• Practice Placement: Early Childhood Studies 2 (10 credits)
• Managing Early Years Contexts (5 credits)
• Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (5 credits)
• Early Years Curriculum, Quality and Practice (5 credits)
• Independent Study Early Childhood Studies (5 credits)


Qualification Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Studies, Care and Education (Level 8, 60 credits).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the term used to describe the system for giving formal recognition to a range of relevant learning that you may have gained prior to entry onto a particular course.

RPL can be used by applicants to:
• Gain admission to a course of study by helping candidates to demonstrate that they have met the entry requirements.
• Gain exemption(s) from a module(s) within a programme of study where students can formally demonstrate that they have already met the learning outcomes for the module(s) concerned. In order to make a valid application for an exemption applicants must first pay the full fee applicable for the module. If the RPL application is successful applicants will be refunded 50% of the fee.

Prior learning includes both formal and non-formal learning. Formal learning is gained through completing courses/modules in further/higher education or other certified courses. Non-formal learning may be attained through work, voluntary activities or private study but for which no certification may have been obtained. It is important to remember that any RPL application must focus on learning attained and not simply, for example, on time spent in a particular job. All RPL decisions must be validated by the Academic Department expert in the relevant area.

Please see the Student Information section of the website for more information.

Assessment method

All assessments are continuous assessment. They include essays, presentations, observations of play and reflective learning diaries.

Course fee

The fee is €3,000.
A contribution towards the fee may be available to eligible candidates through funding secured by Waterford Chamber Skillnet working in partnership with Waterford Childcare Committee.

As all adult education courses operate on a self-financing basis, students are required to pay their own tuition fees. Please note undergraduate applications cannot be processed until at least 50% of the course costs have been paid.

Instalment Plan Facility
If students have difficulty in paying the full fees on application, they may wish to avail of the instalment facility (available to undergraduate students only). When students register, they must agree and accept the terms and conditions. If students fail to meet these terms and conditions WIT reserves the right to withhold certain student facilities and privileges. Please see the Student Information section of the website for more information.

Under the instalment plan: 50% of the annual fee is due on application - i.e. 50% has to be paid before an application will be processed the remaining 50% is due on or before 06th January 2020.

Refund of Part-time Fees:
• A 100% refund of fees paid will be made if requested in writing before the course begins.

• All courses run subject to sufficient numbers. Where a course does not run students will be entitled to a 100% refund of fees paid.

• Students who have paid fees for 12 weeks or less must request a refund in writing before the end of their first week attending the course in order to be eligible for a refund of fees paid minus an administration charge of 25%. No refunds will be paid thereafter.

• Students who have paid fees for more than 12 weeks must request a refund in writing before the end of their 8th week in order to be eligible for a refund of fees paid minus an administration charge of 25%. No refunds will be paid thereafter.

• Requests for refunds must be made in writing to the Part-time Student Helpdesk at Refunds may only be made following submission of a completed Refund Form available from the Part-time Student Helpdesk at

Deferral means that a student applies to defer or postpone his/her programme or an element of it. Ordinarily students are liable for fees. However, where there are mitigating circumstances fees may be carried over.

Mitigating circumstances include: Serious medical condition or injury; Bereavement of close family members such as parents or siblings or guardians; a traumatic experience which could include but is not limited to: a) personal involvement in or witnessing of a serious accident or crime b) a serious crime committed against the person.

In order to apply for such deferrals a student must complete the relevant application form(s) within the prescribed time period and supply the required evidence. Please see the Student Information section of the website for further information.

Deregistration and Refund of Part-time Fees
Part-time courses go ahead subject to sufficient enrolments and viability. If a course is undersubscribed, we will let students know at the earliest opportunity, and make every effort to offer students an alternative course or we will refund students the full tuition fee via bank transfer or directly back to your credit card.

Where a student finds themselves in a position where they no longer wish to or are not in a position to continue on their course they need to de-register from the Institute. Deregistering means that a student officially notifies the Institute that s/he is leaving their programme.

Students remain liable for fees up to the date they officially withdraw from the Institute. In order to de-register from the Institute there is a deregistration form which a student must complete which is available from the Part-time Student Helpdesk.

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