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Bachelor of Science (Early Childhood Education) Year 3 Module Listings

Module Code:EC8301ECTS Credits:15

Overview

This module introduces students to the concept that childhood is a social, historical and political construct, not an immutable or essential condition. It will look at multiple contemporary constructions of childhood and at constructions of childhood through the ages. In doing so, it will look at how literature and various media shape and reflect societal, historical and political views of childhood.

The course will also examine theoretical lenses through which the contemporary child is viewed, for example, the child as social and cultural being, the child as a citizen with rights and agency, the child as human capital and the child as subject of developmental norms (Woodhead, 2006).

The purpose of the course is to challenge students’ ideas and assumptions so that as qualified professionals they will be conversant with multiple and diverse theories and conceptions of childhood.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Describe and analyse the evolution of understandings of childhood from medieval to contemporary times.
  • Describe how psychoanalytic perspectives are used to explain or illuminate aspects of childhood.
  • Identify and critique portrayals of various images of childhood in contemporary society in Ireland and abroad.
  • Articulate and defend views on what constitutes childhood in contemporary Irish society.
  • Relate the role of the educator to the various constructs of childhood identified.
  • Deconstruct images and text from art, film, other media and literature to identify and critique the constructs of childhood portrayed in such media.        
  • Explain how constructs of childhood influence national and international policy on early childhood education for children from birth to 6 years.

Method of Assessment

3,000 word assignment (50%)

Presentation (50%)

Module Code:EC8302ECTS Credits:15

Overview

This course foregrounds the concepts of ‘nurture’ and ‘the relationship’ in understanding how children grow, develop and learn. It supports the Constructions of Childhood module by drawing on psychology and early educational studies to explore concepts of child agency, reciprocity of exchange and intersubjectivity. It also identifies early childhood as a time when children learn through caring and nurturing relationships, emphasising a shift in thinking away from consideration of what children should learn and the content of the curriculum, in favour of exploration of how young children learn and, in response, how they should be 'taught'.

 This conceptual framework will provide a lens to critically analyse questions around:

  • How do relationships support learning and development in early childhood?
  • What constitutes 'quality' in early childhood settings?
  • What do children need from the adults working with them (professional identity)?
  • And what do children bring to the relationship (the 'already competent child')?

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Analyse the role of relationships in children’s learning and development from 0-6 years, drawing on a variety of theoretical perspectives
  • Demonstrate creative understandings of practical approaches to foster positive relationships in early education settings for children from birth to 6 years
  • Critically analyse alternative perspectives on ‘quality’ in early childhood education 
  • Articulate an understanding of children as a community of intuitive learners with both care and educational needs, and rights
  • Identify innovative approaches to the creation of learning environments for children from 0-6 years that facilitate positive interactions with both people and place
  • Outline his or her understanding of the role of adults in the lives of infants, toddlers and young children with regards to learning, development and socio-emotional health

Method of Assessment

3,000 word assignment (50%)

Viva-style oral exam (50%)

Module Code:EC8303ECTS Credits:5

Overview

A critical understanding of the legal contexts in relation to early childhood settings would be beneficial to those seeking a management position in the field. This module will inform students of the nature of existing Irish education structures with reference to statutory frameworks and the Irish legal system and the process of judicial review from a practical perspective.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Critically discuss the main statutory provisions relating to early childhood settings.
  • Analyse major decisions in Irish case-law that have influenced practice in early childhood settings.
  • Evaluate the law on safety, health and welfare at work in early childhood settings.
  • Assess the duty of care expected of early childhood personnel.
  • Explore the responsibilities of management personnel in contemporary early childhood settings.

Method of Assessment

Presentation of a 3,000 word essay

Module Code:EC8304ECTS Credits:5

Overview

Spirituality is an intrinsic part of the human person. Contemplative practices are being increasingly recognised as foundational to young people’s wellbeing. At a basic level some writers note that children have limited opportunities and space for reflection and contemplation in their busy lives, something they feel intuitively that must be detrimental to the young person’s development, and which can be addressed through reflection and mindfulness-based practices. But there is also emerging research evidence that attention, behaviour and resilience, can be improved through mindfulness programmes and contemplative practices.

Teaching about spirituality does not necessarily start from the theological categories of a religious system, or even from the historical expressions of the spiritual quest but rather from the capacity for spirituality in every individual.  Aostre Johnson’s study (2011) of the multiple ways in which educators define spirituality and apply it in practice resulted in eight overlapping categories of definitions, including contemplative, religious,  meaning-making, self-reflective, emotional, ethical, ecological and creative. She also suggests ‘tools’ for spiritual education such as sensory awareness exercises, arts experiences, nature based experiences and reflective practices. 

There is growing recognition of the value of spiritual practices in contributing to building a just and peaceful society (NGO Committee on Spirituality Values and Global Concerns - A Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations). Also, there are exponentially expanding educational publications on a wide range of specific and diverse methods in contemplative curriculum and pedagogy, now also commonly referred to as “mindfulness” education. Mindfulness approaches, by their nature, tend to emphasize expanding student capacities for: focused attention; acute sensory awareness; engagement with nature; awareness of internal rhythms; sensing and calming internal stress; emotional regulation skills; and self-reflective and meditative thinking. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Theorise, plan, develop and evaluate curriculum appropriate to the Early Years context
  • Identify and discuss the key factors related to a child’s physical, social and emotional interactions and well-being from birth to 6 years
  • Critique the impact of contemplative practices on learning and behaviour
  • Apply mindfulness-based practices in their own lives 
  • Identify practical ways of nurturing the spirituality of babies, toddlers and young children
  • Plan to nurture spirituality in early years education, regardless of the culture or religion of the child

Method of Assessment

1,800 word essay (60%)

Class presentation (40%)

Module Code:EC8305ECTS Credits:5

Overview

Children’s right to early engagement with artistic and cultural experiences including socio-dramatic play, drama, storytelling, theatre, musical composing, listening and responding to music and performing informs the content of this module. It builds on the Junior Freshman module, ‘Awakening the Senses: Creativity and the Visual Arts. It will focus on integrated arts and pay special attention to Music (listening, responding, composing and performing), Dance, Drama, Storytelling and Theatre.

 Music is a diverse and lifelong activity which is enjoyed by people of all ages from birth (DES 1999). For babies, toddler and young children, music is ‘on their minds and in their bodies’ and appears to be ‘everywhere’ in their lives (Campbell, 1998). Early year’s musical engagement is creative, spontaneous and enthusiastic. Infant ‘musical connoisseurs’ (Creech et al., 2010) possess precocious listening skills, excellent memory for music and an intense interest in expressive musical performance (Trehub, 2006) The early childhood practitioner will draw on this qualities and skills as they guide and facilitate formal and informal music explorations appropriate to early year settings.

Dramatic play is common to all children cutting across socioeconomic and cultural boundaries. Children often initiate and sustain their own socio-dramatic play in order to make sense of their world. Adult intervention alters the nature, structure and purpose of play. Early childhood practitioners can intervene in children’s play in order to extend the possibilities therein. Equally, practitioners can take a more structured approach and develop Process Drama with children thereby extending the learning potential and elevating the artistry of the work (Dunn, 2011). This module examines that balance of child-structured and practitioner-structured play and drama which allows for playfulness, spontaneity, collaboration and creative problem-posing and exploration. It presents stories and theatre as ways of ‘inviting engagement’ (Bell, 2009) and bringing us into a special and personal connection with their content.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Plan, develop, enact and assess meaningful music, drama and integrated arts curricula in a variety of early childhood settings for children from birth to 6 years.
  • Enact differentiated arts education practice to accommodate different abilities, interests, needs and social contexts.
  • Critique arts education policies and practices in Irish and international contexts. 
  • Articulate an understanding of the value of music, drama and the integrated arts for children’s physical, social, intellectual and emotional well-being from birth to 6 years.
  • Critically reflect on observed and enacted arts practices from field-based placements.

Method of Assessment

Integrated Drama/Music Project:

  • Presentation (60%)
  • Written Reflection (40%)
Module Code:EC8306ECTS Credits:5

Overview

The Census of 2011 recorded that 12% of the population in the country was from immigrant backgrounds (CSO, 2012), while the Economic and Social Research Institute reported in 2009 that an estimated two-thirds of immigrants have a language other than English as their first language (ESRI, 2009). Providing an appropriate and effective education for children from minority ethnic, linguistic or cultural backgrounds is one of the major contemporary challenges of Irish education. 

The purpose of this module is to prepare students for working in Early Education settings. According to Garforth, Hopper, Lowe and Robinson (2006), children as young as three have ‘already formed ideas about people, cultures and countries’. This module will be situated within a framework of critical multiculturalism (Modood, 2007; Bryan, 2010[1]). The module will focus on developing students’ awareness of their own positionality in relation to culture, ethnicity and language, whether as members of the dominant culture or as members of a minority ethnic group (Durand, 2008). Students will examine and critique Irish policy documents, such as Aistear, through the lens of critical multiculturalism. Students will develop their skills of intercultural communication, and will specifically focus on effective engagement with parents / guardians from minority ethnic and linguistic communities (Li, 2004; Suizzo, Chen, Cheng, Liang, Contreras, Zanger & Robinson, 2008).

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Describe their own position in relation to culture, ethnicity and language, whether as members of the dominant ethnic community or as members of minority ethnicities    
  • Critically analyse key policy documents in relation to intercultural education and Early Childhood Education in Ireland
  • Identify and interrogate sources of prejudice, stereotyping and racism at an individual, group and societal level 
  • List skills and explain practical strategies for effectively engaging with babies, toddlers and young children from diverse backgrounds 
  • List skills and explain practical strategies for effectively engaging with parents / guardians from minority ethnic and linguistic communities, including the Travelling Community
  • Explain ‘culturally relevant pedagogy’ and its potential application in their practice

Method of Assessment

3,000 word assignment

Module Code:EC8307ECTS Credits:5

Overview

Language and literacy development are the bedrock on which success at school and ultimately in the working world, is founded. For this reason language and literacy development are important components to this degree in Early Childhood Education. Research demonstrates that early intervention is the best safeguard against children failing at school due to poor standards of language and literacy. This course hopes to equip early childhood practitioners with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to implement an effective early literacy curriculum in their particular context.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Critically evaluate an emergentist approach to language and literacy and its implications for pedagogy.
  • Justify the importance of oral language and decoding skills in relation to children’s reading ability at a young age.
  • Critically evaluate and discuss academic literature on the role of story in children’s lives, and apply this knowledge in educational settings for other professionals.
  • Explain key elements of the structure of language and reading (including phonemes, graphemes, syllables, grammar, morphology and syntax).
  • Discuss the use of appropriate materials and resources (including interactive digital applications) for the teaching of oral language and emergent literacy.
  • Analyse and use the content of the Aistear curriculum framework, with particular reference to the development of language and early literacy.
  • Explain how to develop listening comprehension skills in young children.
  • Describe how parents can be actively involved in a young child’s language and literacy development in partnership with early childhood education settings.

Method of Assessment

3,000 word assignment

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