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Early Childhood Education / Oideachas Luathaoise Leanaí


What is ... 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 socialisation 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).

Located in the new Grangegorman campus in 2014 [+find out more]

What are my... Career Opportunities?

Graduates of the Early Childhood Education degree work as practitioners and as managers in an early years setting such as crèches, 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 in public and voluntary organisations.

What other options do I have after completion?

Graduates of this Level 8 programme will be eligible to progress to Masters Degrees (Level 9) in a wide range of disciplines across the Social Sciences, e.g. MA in Child, Family and Community Studies, Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary Teaching) or MA in Mentoring, Management and Leadership in the Early Years. 

Learning Outcomes: What will I Study?

The Learning Outcomes are set out in accordance with the NQAI framework and developed related to Knowledge, Know-how/ Skill and Competence.

Module Listing

Year 1

  • Psychology and Child Development
  • Early Education
  • Professional Practice in the Early Years
  • Child Health and Nutrition
  • Art in Early Education
  • Drama in Education
  • Supervised Practice Placement
  • Sociology and Social Policy
  • Research Methods in the Early Years
  • Skills Development

Year 2

  • Child Development in Context
  • Mental Health during the Early Years
  • Inclusion in Early Years Practice
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy
  • Aistear and Early Years Curricula
  • Outdoor Learning
  • Supervised Practice Placement
  • Law
  • Documenting Children’s Learning

Options: Art in Early Education or Drama in Education

Year 3

  • Pedagogy and Curriculum
  • Perspectives on Early Childhood Education: Issues in Policy, Practice and Research
  • Digital Childhoods
  • Working with Families and Communities
  • Child protection in Early Years Services
  • Introduction to Business and Management Skills in Early Years Services
  • Sociology of Education and Inequality
  • Supervised practice Placement
  • Research Methods and Dissertation

Are there study abroad options?

Students are offered the opportunity to apply to do an Erasmus exchange in the 4th semester (Spring Year 2) of the programme. (These arrangements may be subject to change).

Further Information

School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences

T: 01 402 4163 (Kevin Lalor, Programme Chair)

T: 01 402 4164 (School Office)




What our Students say!

  • In First Year of DIT my work experience placement was based in a private childcare setting working with pre-school children. I really enjoyed this placement but felt I would love something with a greater challenge.   Third year was definitely a challenge for me in my placement in Barnardos Child and Family Centre. I learned a lot here, as it was hands-on, working with both the children and their families. I really enjoyed this placement. In second year I was on placement in the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street where I worked alongside Hospital Play Specialists providing play for sick children and young people in the playroom and on the wards. I absolutely loved this placement and I was lucky enough to get a job there. 
  • As a mature student with over fifteen years experience in the vocational area I gained entry to the second year of the programme as a result of the advanced entry process. Age did not prevent me from actively participating in a programme which allowed for learning from lecturers who imparted deep and vast amount of knowledge in subject areas linking theory to practice. The support and encouragement which I received from lecturers and fellow students kept me highly motivated throughout. The curriculum is extremely relevant to current policies and practices and class sizes are great. My experience was a very worthwhile one and I would recommend the programme to anyone who wishes to pursue a career in early childhood education.