QQI Level 5/6 Early Learning and Care - (Local validation code 305284)


1 or 2 years full-time


These courses are designed for students wishing to work with young children whatever your chosen setting.  They are suitable for both school leavers and for mature students seeking a formal qualification.

This is a one or optional two year programme leading to stage 1 Certificate in Early Learning and Care (Level 5) and stage 2 Advanced Certificate (Level 6). Learners can progress to the ELC Level 6 award if they have achieved the ELC Level 5 award or if they have gone through an RPL (recognised prior learning) process.

Entry Requirements          

  • Leaving Cert/Leaving Cert Applied/Mature Applicant or equivalent. 
  • Where a prospective student has not attained the above level prior to their application, and in keeping with the College policy on equality of access and opportunity, entry opportunities to the programme are available offered through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) application*.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will require a competency to level B2 on the CEFRLO framework.

(* To enquire about RPL applications to this course, please email rpl@cfedundrum.com)

Programme of Study

Core Modules
  • Professional Practice Placement in ELC
  • Children’s Rights Legislation and Regulation
  • Early Childhood Growth and Development
  • Curriculum Play and Creative Studies
  • Understanding & Assisting Children with Additional Needs
  • Holistic Care of Children (0-6)
Elective Modules

Modules offered may be subject to change due to resource demands.

Professional Practice Placement

A period of 150 hours work placement in two Tusla registered child care settings is required for each stage of the programme.  This will take the form of one day per week for the academic year and a block release.  The College will inform the students of the format in September.

Career Opportunities

A professional qualification in ELC is now a pre-requisite to working in the ever-expanding childcare area.  The successful candidate would be qualified to work in a privately run Nursery, Voluntary ELC Setting, Hospital or Early Start Centre.


This course will prepare graduates for a profession which requires a strong commitment to lifelong learning and continuous professional development to meet the dynamic and evolving nature of both the ELC context and demands of professional practice in Early Learning and Care settings.  Graduates who achieve the required standard may progress to further studies in:

  • Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care Level 6 (available in the Dundrum College of Further Education)
  • DIT, DT572 Early Childhood Education
  • IT Blanchardstown, BN118 Early Childhood Education
  • NCI, BA (Honours) Early Childhood Education
  • DC001, BA (Honours) Early Childhood Education