QQI Level 5 Early Learning and Care – Code 5M21473
1 year full-time


This one-year full time Early Learning and Care programme is offered as Stage 1 of the 2-stage Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care. It offers students the opportunity to work in a variety of Early Years settings for children from babies to six years of age. This would include creches, preschools and Naíonraí. This award also provides students with the opportunity to progress in further and higher education and Training. In addition to the Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care Students will also benefit from the following:

Lamh Training


Guest speakers

Introduction to Autism

Erasmus + opportunities

Group trips

Completion of 150 work placement with children aged between 0-6 years

Friendly teachers who are available for academic support

In-college library where students can borrow ELC books for the academic year

Entry Requirements

Course entry is subject to interview to describe desire to work in the Early Years Sector.

Leaving Cert, including Leaving Cert Applied or an NFQ level 4 major award or equivalent.

Applicants whose first language is not English will require a competency to level B2 on the CEFRLO framework.

Mature learners welcome. Where an applicant does not have a Leaving Cert or Level 4, they will have the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the course in an interview and by writing a short piece outlining their interest in a career in early learning and care.

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
  • Holistic Care of Children (0-6)
  • Understanding & Assisting Children with Additional Needs
Modules offered may be subject to change due to resource demands.

Work Experience

150 hours of professional practice placement with children aged  0- 2 years 8 months, and 2 years 8 months – 6 years.

Learners must be Garda vetted before going on professional practice placement and provide two references for verification by the college. 

Career Opportunities

There are employment opportunities for graduates of the childcare programme as Early Years Teachers in a range of early learning and care settings with opportunities to progress to Room Leader (on achievement of full Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Learning & Care).


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:

Dundrum College of Further Education:  Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care Level 6 – Code:  6M21471

TU Dublin, TU790 Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and TU995 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Education

NCI, BA (Honours) in Early Childhood Education and Care – (advanced entry to Year 2 with Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care)

DCU,  Bachelor of Early Childhood Education – Code:  DC001

NUIM,  BA (Honours) Early Childhood Teaching and Learning  Code: MH8004

St Nicholas Montessori, B Ed  in Montessori Education – Code: NM701 and B Ed (Honours) in Montessori Education- Code: NM801