The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education incorporates current educational research and theory and the most effective pedagogical practices within a wide range of contemporary educational issues. The programme is designed for early childhood educators, primary teachers and professionals to work together to enhance the learning and development of children from birth to six years, across the full diversity of early childhood settings and the early years of primary school in Ireland. It provides post-graduate professional development for those who wish to acquire advanced knowledge and extend their expertise in early childhood education in relation to research, policy and practice to become agents of change and leaders, with a deeper understanding of a range of multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives on babies, toddlers, and young children’s learning and development.
This two-year, part-time post-graduate programme would be of interest to professionals who have a desire to lead early childhood education through innovative practice and research, in particular, those who have a minimum of a Level 8 award and two years’ experience in setting(s) supporting children from birth to six years:
- Early childhood educators working with babies, toddlers and/or young children
- Teachers working with children in Early Start units and the early years (junior and senior infants) of primary school in Ireland
- Personnel involved in mentoring, inspecting and/or the leadership and management of early childhood settings and advocacy
- Professionals who wish to acquire advanced knowledge, skill and expertise in early childhood education in relation to research, policy and practice
The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education is a two-year, part time, taught programme delivered on campus and online (blended). In Year 1, students undertake five modules:
- Curriculum and Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education (blended)
- Leading and Mentoring for Professional Practice (online)
- Children's Participation in Early Childhood Education and Care (blended)
- Qualitative Research Methods (online)
- Quantitative Research Methods (online)
Online lectures normally take place on Tuesday evenings with some on campus lectures on Thursday evenings/Saturdays between September-November in semester 1 and January-April in semester 2. Please contact Programme Chair for further information about the Programme calendar.
Students undertake a sixth module Contesting Current Discourses in Early Childhood Education and Care (on campus) in the form of a study week in July/August; and complete a thesis with the support of a supervising tutor in Year 2.
Orientation will take place on a Saturday in early-September on the St. Patrick’s campus.
The programme aims to develop graduates who will:
- Extend their knowledge, skill and expertise to enhance early educational experiences for children in the range of early childhood education and related contexts (birth to 6 years), through critical reflection and interrogation of on one’s own values and practice
- Adopt a critical stance in examining current discourses and critically interrogate ubiquitous concepts, grand narratives, emerging trends and perceived certainties that have come to dominate the early childhood field, both nationally and internationally
- Engage in cross-sectoral dialogue, cooperation and collaboration across early childhood education and related professional contexts to build professional networks
- Conduct ethical research in a specialised area in early childhood education that will contribute to professional practice and advance academic knowledge and evidence-informed approaches to the improvement of early childhood education
- Explore opportunities for educational leadership, mentoring, academic advocacy, career progression and professional development within early childhood education
The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at DCU Institute of Education is unique in Ireland in that it provides post-graduate professional development for early childhood educators, primary teachers and professionals to work together. The Programme draws n the many common principles and features across the birth to six years age range and interrogating both separation and alignment of the professional contexts in ECE. This aligns with DCU’s commitment to ongoing development of reciprocal partnerships with early childhood settings, primary schools, and with other stakeholders in the education system.
With strong research partnerships established with DCU’s Early Childhood Research Centre, Ireland’s only University dedicated research centre, the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education incorporates current educational research and the most effective pedagogical practices within a wide range of contemporary educational issues. The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education is delivered by a team of academics who are practising experts with applied experience in their fields and are national and international renowned researchers.
The diversity of the students’ professional contexts working with children from birth to six years across the full range of early childhood settings and the early years of primary school in Ireland, being supported by internationally recognised academics in early childhood education will lead to a dynamic learning environment for students to build professional networks.
Graduates of the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education will be in position to lead research, policy and practice in early childhood education and therefore are afforded further career opportunities such as:
- Leadership/Management roles in early years settings or primary schools
- Early years inspector (Department of Education or Tusla, the Child and Family Agency)
- Mentor/Trainer/Advisor for government agencies and organisations who support professional learning and development for early childhood educators and primary teachers
- Further studies and research at doctoral level
The minimum entry requirement is a Level 8 award with a minimum of a H2.2.
In general, applicants will have degrees in education, early childhood education or studies, education and training, or other related and cognate fields, and two years’ experience in setting(s) supporting children from birth to six years, which may be post or prior to their Level 8 award.
Due to the specialist nature of this programme, additional criteria may be used to assess suitability to undertake this programme. For further information, please contact the Programme Chair using the contact details above
Recognition of prior learning/transfer/exemption procedures apply.
Students on the programme will need to have access to an early childhood setting or an Infant classroom.