What is Early Childhood Education?
Defining Early Childhood Education
The Partnership 2000 Expert Working Group on Childcare defines Early Childhood Education as follows:
...Day care facilities and services for pre-school children and school-going children out of school hours. It includes services offering care, education and socialization opportunities for children to the benefit of children, parents, employers and the wider community. Thus services such as pre-schools, naíonraí, day-care services, crèches, playgroups, childminding and after-school groups are included, but schools (primary secondary and special) and residential centres for children are not. (Partnership 2000 Expert Working Group Report, 1999, p. 116)
What do Early Childhood Education practitioners do?
Graduates of the Early Childhood Education degree work as practitioners and as managers in an early years setting such as creches, day nurseries, pre-schools, after-school services, special education services, early start classrooms and family centres. Graduates also work in the area of project development and in management positions in the Health Service Executive, country childcare committees and an voluntary organisations.
What kind of qualities are desirable in an early years practitioner?
An early years professional should be reliable and trusting, altruistic (having a desire to work with and help young children and families), be positive and have an understanding and sensitivity of how to support and enhance young children's development. He/She should also have the ptoential to become a responsible professional, comfortable with working in close collaboration with families.
What does the Early Childhood Education programme involve?
The Early Childhood Education degree is a 3 year honours programme. Students on the programme study a wide range of subjects and also undertake supervised practice placement in a variety of early childhood settings in the greater Dublin area. Subjects inlcude Psychology and Child Development, Early Childhood Education, Social Theory and Legal Issues, Professional Practice Issues, Art and Drama in Education, ICT in the Early Years, Research Methods. Supervised practice placement in each year of the programme gives you the opportunity to experience at first hand the work of early years professionals and to develop your own skills in close collaboration with your placement supervisor and college tutor.
What are the employment possibilities for Early Childhood Education graduates?
There is a high demand for graduates of Early Childhood Education. Former graduates have found employment in a wide variety of early years settings and many are now in management positions.
Salary Scales Approx. : Early Years Teacher - €31,000 to €39,000 / Director/Manager - €42,000 to €52,000
Graduates also have possibilities for progressing to postgraduate studies. Some graduates have gone on to further study on the Masters in Child, Family and Community Studies in the Department of Social Sciences here in DIT. Other graduates choose to do an 18 month postgraduate diploma in order to qualify them to work as primary school teachers.