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Bachelor of Science (Early Childhood Education) Year 1 Module Listings

Module Code:EC8107ECTS Credits:15

Overview

This module will provide a foundation for students to understand the basic methods and perspectives provided by psychological thinking, and how these may be applied to early education and development from birth to 6 years. It will draw largely on developmental psychology in delineating various psychological schools of thought and how they describe the learning and development of young children in a holistic sense (physical, social, emotional, cognitive, moral, linguistic etc). Students will be encouraged to begin a process of developing critical, analytical approaches to their work. Such approaches are applicable to the study of psychology, but are also transferable to other disciplines and subjects within the B.Sc.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Identify some of the multitude of factors interacting with and impacting on children's development and learning, in a variety of contexts
  • Outline how early development may impact on later behaviour and learning
  • Describe various theoretical approaches to explaining children's learning and development, and analyse how different psychological perspectives compare and contrast
  • Critically analyse various approaches to the study of child development, and justify their own opinions, perspectives and approaches, grounded in a solid base of research and theory
  • Describe practical approaches in the early childhood education setting based on theoretical concepts and adapt these to early childhood education practice situations
  • Compare and contrast the diversity of children's development, and the different courses such development can take while still remaining 'typical', with particular focus on fostering nurturing, inclusive educational environments

Method of Assessment

Reflective Journal (5,000 words)

Module Code:ED8102ECTS Credits:15

Overview

Research has established that play is a key learning tool for children, as the child’s way of mediating her understanding of the world. It is considered so important to a child’s development that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) has recognised it as every child’s right. Play is usually freely chosen by children and thus a strong motivating force in children’s learning and development.

Neuroscience endorses the power of play for brain development (Elkind, 2007). The brain grows fastest in the first 5 years of life and the wiring of the brain makes multiple and complicated neuron connections that in many ways decide our future ability to learn, achieve and be happy. Play helps the brain to make these connections because play demands that the child plans, negotiates, problem-solves, plays multiple roles, makes decisions and reviews them and immerses herself deeply in the play process. Pretend play creates an imaginary situation that permits children to grapple with unrealizable desires and so promote self-regulation. Play demands that children make rules as they plan and create parameters. This helps children further to control their own behaviour (Berk and Winsler, 1995). In play the child develops dispositions that will sustain her/him throughout life. Dispositions such as persistence, resilience, concentration – what Csikszentmihalyi (1990) calls ‘flow’.  For all of these reasons it is important that Early Childhood professionals are skilled in appreciating, supporting and developing children’s play.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Plan and organise a play-based activity to support learning in the early years
  • Articulate how Aistear, the Irish curriculum framework for children aged 0-6, can be used as a planning and practice resource for working in an early years' setting
  • Identify ways to build on children's interests to facilitate rich learning experiences for them
  • Describe ways to interact appropriately with young children, from bith to 6 years, by engaging in meaningful learning interactions, sometimes leading and sometimes following the learning
  • Explain and critique how theory and research on early childhood can be applied as a foundation for practice in the early years' setting
  • List and describe practical strategies that can be used to support children in learning with and from one another
  • Discuss how play-based learning was used while on field placement and the challenges and opportunities it presented

Method of Assessment

3,000 word written assignment (50%)

Plan and organise a unit of play experiences (50%)

Module Code:ED8105ECTS Credits:5

Overview

An examination of the theory and practice underpinning international models of best practice in early childhood education and care for children aged 0-6 will be discussed. Funding models in developed and developing countries will be explored in relation to outcomes for children, parents and practitioners. The debate between a centralised vision for quality early childhood education and care and regional approaches will be analysed. The tensions arising from split systems in early years education and care will be investigated from the perspective of the different stakeholders involved. In particular, split systems in Ireland will be problematised, with regards to ‘health-based’ vs ‘education-based’ perspectives, and potential tensions between primary school and other early childhood settings. Implications for children’s transitions will be explored, and the role of regulation and its impact on access and quality will be examined.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Review practices from international case studies in early years education and care
  • Evaluate the impact of funding on access and provision to early childhood education and care
  • Explain the role of regulation on quality early childhood education and care provision
  • Critically examine international initiatives in early childhood education and care
  • Critically examine the potential impact of 'split systems' on children's well-being and learning in the context of transitions in early childhood
  • Describe a new vision for early childhood education and care in Ireland

Method of Assessment

3,000 word essay

Module Code:ED8103ECTS Credits:5

Overview

This course is based on a broad philosophy of health that encompasses all aspects of a child’s well-being, with a particular focus on physical health and movement through activity and play. It is concerned with developing students’ knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes that are central to a quality programme for children in the early years. Student teachers will be encouraged to focus on the role they play as they promote:

  • The physical, social and emotional growth and development of pupils in both learning areas
  • The adoption of active, healthy lifestyles through informed decision makings which leads to effective and responsible action
  • An understanding of the value of self and others and the development of positive interpersonal relationships
  • Participation in regular and varied physical activity and movement experiences through activity and play, which provide the foundation for a lifelong commitment to valuing and leading a physically active lifestyle
  • The systematic and explicit teaching of personal and social skills to give students a basis for resilience and the resourceful management of their own lives

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Outline the rationale, nature and value of movement skills in the early years and compare and contrast these at different age levels from 0-6 years
  • Identify ways to act as role models for active, healthy lifestyles
  • Design, implement and assess units of work and longer term plans that are progressive, creative and artistic in nature
  • Perform and emulate participative (active learning) methodologies central to the organisation and management of movement and play activities for children from birth to 6 years
  • Examine and critique a range of resources and equipment available for the inclusion of movement and play activities for children from birth to 6 years, and select appropriate resources for individual settings
  • Compile appropriate health and safety strategies, underpinned by Child Protection guidelines
  • Differentiate activities for children with special educational and other needs in early childhood settings
  • Review theoretical perspectives and research based on early childhood movement and development 

Method of Assessment

Presentation (20%)

1.5 hour exam (80%)

Module Code:ED8101ECTS Credits:5

Overview

The visual arts exist in all societies and both creating and responding to visual art is inherent to the human condition. It is so much part of our lives that we can really only truly appreciate its centrality by imagining its absence. We now appreciate that children’s art engagement is not an automatic consequence of growth and development but rather the result of an active process of exploration and inquiry that cannot occur without some facilitation by adults (Barnes, 2002; Davis; 2008; Koster, 2005). 

Creating or responding to visual arts develops visual perception and fine manipulation skills in children from birth to 6 years. It facilitates individual and imaginative artistic expression and embraces the aesthetic dimension of learning. It helps children grow cognitively in relation to problem solving, cause and effect, classifying and sequencing. It aids language development and provides another avenue for self-expression. It develops children’s social and collaboration skills. It provides for the social and emotional dimension for learning. It nurtures creativity (Hurwitz & Day, 2007; Calloway & Kear, 1999; Lyons, 2013; NCCA, 1999).

Creativity helps us to make the most of our lives. Creativity can be valued as a way to live more productively, to cope with difficulties, to discover possibilities and to develop new resilience, perspectives and aliveness in the moment, joy and purpose in life. While creativity is not particular to arts alone, early artistic engagement develops within transferable confidence and competencies to engage creatively in other domains of learning (Connery, 2010; Carilile & Jordan; 2012; Csikszentimalyi, 1996; Desailly, 2012).   

This junior freshman module has a particular focus on creativity and the visual arts mode. It examines and evaluates different constructs of creativity and their implications for early childhood education. It explores creative ‘flow’ and surroundings from a visual arts education perspective. It examines the visual arts modes and develops students’ subject connoisseurship, understanding and related skills through active engagement in creating, looking and responding. It examines the value of ‘creative play’ and ‘being creative’ in light of Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for children from 0-6 years. It investigates the junior visual arts primary curricula in light of the younger child’s aesthetic and creative development through participation, repertoire, critical and contextual understandings. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Justify the centrality of artistic exploration, experimentation and expression in early years education
  • Evaluate the value of the social, emotional and aesthetic dimensions of learning in early childhood development
  • Critique the impact of children's artistic engagement on their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development
  • Compare and contrast different visual arts education paradigms and epistemologies
  • Plan informed and high quality artistic educational activities and related experiences for early childhood education settings for children from birth to 6 years
  • Devise a plan to foster children's artistic and creative potential in children from birth to 6 years
  • Orchestrate visual arts experiences that appeal to, and cultivate the artist in the younger child
  • Devise a plan to attain and maintain a creative visual arts pratice in early childhood settings

Method of Assessment

Reflective Folio-Journal (2,000 words accompanied with digital/visual documentation of creative processes)

Module Code:ED8104ECTS Credits:5

Overview

For children with special needs as for all children, early childhood should be a time of tremendous opportunity for development and learning. The nature of provision at this life stage will critically impact on the child’s lifelong development.  Quality provision for young children with special needs implies that any additional supports and interventions required are employed in an interrelated manner on the basis of the child’s holistic development. To that end, this foundational module seeks primarily to develop in students, awareness and understanding of the various challenges to development and learning experienced by children and the implications arising from these for practitioners in the field of early childhood care and education. It seeks to enable students to develop perspectives, knowledge and initial skills appropriate to their role as members of a multi-disciplinary team working as a flexible, inclusive whole to support the development and learning of young children with special needs.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Analyse approaches to early years care and education in Ireland in supporting children with special needs and their families with reference to the wider national and international debate on policy and provision for all young children at the early years stage
  • Critique current thinking and research on the development and learning of young children with special needs from birth to 6 years
  • Identify the challenges involved in delivering an intervention practice which can meet the diverse and complex needs of young children with special needs, aged 0-6, and their families
  • Outline how to employ a collaborative approach with families in implementing early childhood care and education supports and practices appropriate to individual circumstances
  • Evaluate the contribution of other professionals and agencies to early intervention programmes which focus on, and differentiate for, the specific characteristics and needs of the child in the context of the family and community
  • Compare and contrast the wide spectrum of learning difficulties and special educational needs, and the range of provision (personnel, strategies and resources) available to cater for young children's diverse development and learning needs
  • Critically reflect on personal values in light of ethical standards appropriate to effective engagement with young children with special needs and their families
  • Design an inclusive approach, from a human rights perspective, to support children's development and learning for children from birth to six years.

Method of Assessment

Oral Exam

Module Code:ED8106ECTS Credits:5

Overview

Language is the most powerful tool in the development of any human being. It is undeniably the greatest asset we possess. A good grasp of language is synonymous with a sound ability to think. In other words language and thought are inseparable. Vygotsky (1986) asserts that language development aids cognitive development. A child who is adept linguistically is thus advantaged in starting off his/her school life. This module will focus on participants’ developing their understanding of how language shapes thinking and how practice in settings can be adjusted to facilitate this.

One of the four themes in Aistear – the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for 0-6 year olds - is communication. Two of the stated aims are:

  1. Children will develop and use language (oral, signed, written)
  2. Children will broaden their understanding of the world by making sense of experiences through language (oral, signed, written).

This module will explore the communication theme in depth so that early years practitioners can confidently implement a language-rich curriculum in their early childhood setting for children from birth to 6 years.

(Students will be facilitated in integrating their learning in this module with that in the Psychology of the Developing Child module)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Discuss typical and a-typical language development in young children
  • Deconstruct language into the components of form, vocabulary and language use
  • Identify and critically discuss best practice in relation to the teaching of vocabulary to young children
  • Distinguish between lexical, syntactic and pragmatic language development in the early years
  • Analyse and apply the content of the Aistear curriculum framework, with particular reference to the development of language and communication skills in children from birth to 6 years
  • Identify and discuss the relationship between communication skills and cognitive development
  • Describe strategies that support the development of first language acquisition and bilingualism
  • Explain and evaluate different methods used to assess young children's language development
  • Evaluate and experiment with a range of digital tools and resources (mobile devices, cloud-based collaborative applications, images, video, interactive links etc.)

Method of Assessment

Exam (3 hours)

Students will choose one module from the following options*:

  • Communication for Education
  • Financial Management in Education
  • Early Childhood Education through the Medium of Irish
  • Leadership: Theory and Practice
  • Nutrition and Healthy Eating
  • Creative Technologies in an Early Education Setting

Please see here for further information on each of these optional electives.

*Please note that all options may not be available each year