Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

My Early Childhood Degree at Maynooth University

By: SYLWIA O’ROURKE

Wednesday 15 April 2020

With all the recent uncertainty around us, many people are pausing to ponder about what their priorities are? What would they like their futures to be like? Prompted by the pandemic (and a request from my former lecturer), I began to consider some of these questions and how they relate to my past experiences. The most significant one by far must be graduating from Maynooth University with an Honours Degree in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning. Oh boy, was it a journey!

If anyone told me back in 2016, that in the next few years I would knock out some tunes on a Shruti box, rub shoulders with Geraldine French, Noirin Hayes or Minister McHugh or just barely escape death from a pivot door of the frequently visited library coffee shop, I would not have believed it! Yet, all of it materialised, along with some laborious study time of course. Moreover, I would risk my life again for one more cup of that take-away coffee, which no doubt kept me alert, perhaps even alive, every Tuesday (year 1 and 2) and Thursday (year 3) evening for three full years (plus one Saturday per month and two block weeks per year).

I recall that time with great fondness, although do not be lulled into a false sense of security. This intense part-time degree offers a balanced blend of theory and practice, delivered through eight modules per academic year. The course content is designed to cover a wide range of child development philosophies, traditional and modern, but also places value on personal and professional growth. Reflective practice and work experience are built-in throughout the duration of the programme to ensure that philosophical concepts are examined, tested in real-life and eventually-fully comprehended. The ethos of Froebel (the patron of the department) and Aistear, the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework, is embedded into the foundations of this degree, with concepts such as play, quality interactions, creativity and active, hands-on learning for young children, at its core.

Lecturers are knowledgeable (on theory and practice), but above all approachable, passionate and creative. They adapt to the group dynamics, encourage freedom of speech and difference of opinion. They create an environment where it is safe to share professional issues and support one another. I found that aspect particularly helpful, especially with the austerity the sector is facing in the recent times. With multiple requirements, even more questions and very little support, it is easy to feel powerless and isolated. The degree places emphasis on our role as future advocates and active members of the early years sector, with a collective voice. It installs confidence and provides students with powerful tools like knowledge and articulation.

I would recommend this part-time degree to any of you without an inch of hesitation. Whether you are a part of the Early Years community or not, there is something to be gained from it (the diverse backgrounds of participants add value to the rich debates pursued during class). Some of the many universal topics explored are relationship dynamics, parenting issues or learning styles. To add weight to my statements, I would like to conclude with a decision of pursuing a postgraduate Masters programme in the upcoming year, undoubtedly in Maynooth University. They certainly have done enough to convince me. If you are thinking about it, their extended application deadline is  May 1, 2020 - 5.15pm (apply through ww.cao.ie)!

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Grief(1) Children's Voice(1) NAEYC(1) Digital(1) Playschool(1) Exploratory Play(1) Graduation(1) Stress(2) code of professional responsibility(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Malaguzzi(1) Trigonometry(1) Learning Story(1) Upcycling(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) family time(1) Consent(1) Maria Montessori(1) Traffic Lights(1) Kilkenny(1) Montessori(3) Culture(2) Pobal(1) friendships(1) Prexit(1) Afghanistan(1) ERASMUS+(3) Nutrition(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Reflective Practice(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Gardening(1) Intention(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) lockdown(1) Norway(2) DCYA(6) Breathing(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Albert Einstein(1) Treasure Chest(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Line-ups(1) responsive relationships(1) christmas(9) Inspirational(2) Liz Kerrins(1) Sustainable(1) Brain(1) value(1) Leargas(1) outdoor play(6) Hand Hygiene(2) Positivity(1) under 3's(3) Awards 2019(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) educating(1) Early Years Education(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Exploring(1) Technology(3) Annual Conference 2017(2) show and tell(1) risk(2) Childhood(1) meals(3) june29(1) social media(1) Maynooth University(2) education system(1) San Miniato(4) Self-Esteem(1) Leadership(1) Games(1) Magnavacchi(1) Shoes(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Laugh(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Halloween(2) UD(1) eating(1) Interactions(2) MECPI(1) Performance Management(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Margy Whalley(1) supportive environments(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) play therapy(1) Blocks(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Orla Kenny(1) keezy(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Early Years(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Early Childhood Ireland(6) Leprechauns(1) Aistear(125) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Change(1) Anxiety(2) dining(1) Loss(1) Inter-generational(2) Love(3) Communications(1) bloom app(1) Magda Gerber(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) School Age Childcare(1) children’s learning(1) dogs(1) imotion(1) Mixed age groups(3) play(35) Wonder(1) NCCA(3) Painting(1) apps for children(1) EECERA 2016(1) ICBN(1) Engineering(3) experience(1) science(3) Celebrate(1) preschool(4) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Employee(1) Meet the Members(1) Mark Twain(1) Recycle(1) Wendy Lee(3) Elders(1) Interests(1) Opportunities(1) listen(1) behavioural science(1) Primary School(2) Pretend Play(1) The Jelly King(1) Appreciation(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Rising to the Challenge(2) ELC(1) Book Review(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) primary education(1) blog(44) Through the looking glass(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Creativity(5) Social Skills(1) outdoor environment(1) Craft(1) journey(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Decision Making(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Administrative Burden(1) Building Resilience(1) Plastic(1) Affordability(1) STEM(3) Exercise(1) Death(2) Independence(1) Well-Being(10) Twitter(1) education(2) Snack Time(1) reading(5) Feeding(1) documentation(4) Sociodramatic play(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Queues(1) Wilenski(1) Frustrations(1) Learning Journal(2) baby room(1) relationships(17) Awards Night(1) Maternity Leave(1) pets(1) Iceland(1) Online Research Symposium(1) Ceremony(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Self Help Skills(1) racism(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) mental health problems(1) GDPR(1) Glitter(2) development(8) iOS(1) Seas Suas(1) Quality(4) Pen green(1) healthy eating policies(1) coronavirus(1) Training(2) INTO(1) Reading Time(1) UNCRC(2) Valentine's Day(3) Limerick(1) Loving Relationships(1) Graduate(1) TRAP(1) Fee Play(1) Community involvement(1) reopening(1) CCTV(1) Family wall(1) Mindfulness(2) Siolta blog(8) National Holiday(1) Professionalisation(5) Effect of Lockdown(1) Learning journals(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) role playing(1) Challenges(1) phone apps(1) Time(1) ReCreate(2) Inclusion(3) movement behaviours(1) Workforce(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Mount Everest(1) play pod(1) Child mental health(1) curiosity(3) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Oireachtas(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Educators(2) environments(1) Story(2) Trade Unions(1) outdoor space(3) play stories(2) Early Learning and Care(1) Playdough(1) feisty(1) Rituals(1) Pre-School Services(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) learning(19) COVID-19 landscape(1) Awards(2) Our Little Seed(1) EM Standing(1) Qualifications(1) Dance(1) Early Years Educators(3) stories(3) Budget 2019(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Easter(1) Role play(1) Body Language(1) Thinking(1) Staff Motivation(1) Summer(1) Little Buddies(1) Lego(2) Budget 2018(1) Children and families(1) Return to Work Training(1) Home Corner(1) planning(1) Equality(1) Research Seminar(1) Cork(1) art of the relationship(1) College(1) Arithmetic(1) First 5 strategy(1) University(1) Youtube Series(1) RIE philosphy(1) National Awards 2018(2) UNICEF report(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Plants(1) Italy(1) Mealtimes(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Tuscan Approach(2) early years learning(1) ECEC Setting(2) Wrapping paper(1) Bereavement(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) pablo(1) toddlers(3) online training(1) Academics(1) childcare services(1) Family(1) dublin(2) play pods(2) Wesco(1) story time(2) Workplace Relations(3) developing motor skills(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Budget 2020(1) Weather(1) early childhood(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Study Trip(1) E.coli(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Síolta QAP(1) Autism(4) Mathematicians(1) Seanchaí(1) Map(1) AsIAm(2) Care routines(1) Your place(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Impact(1) Celebrations(4) life long learning(1) Confident(1) Children's Research Network(1) Japan(1) Treasure(1) COVID-19(11) budget(1) Buddy Bench(1) Meal time(1) Fabric(1) research(6) structure(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Communicating(1) Arts(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) awards 2020(1) Touch(1) emotions(2) Sleep(1) Policy(2) Children's Rights(3) Access and Inclusion Model(2) annual conference(1) parents(6) emotional environment(2) Sweets(1) Music(3) Maths Week Ireland(1) RTE Investigates(1) Kids Own(1) Thanks(1) Funding(1) Mental Health(4) child-centred approach(1) risk assessment(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Belonging(3) Favouritism(1) Vertical grouping(1) Traditions(2) Winter(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Reggio(1) Storytelling(7) New Appointments(1) Care-giving routines(1) Names(1) worries(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Art(6) Childcare(3) Laughter(1) Arlene Forster(1) gender stereotype(1) Kerry(1) Maynooth(1) Giraffe(2) preschool settings(1) mushrooms(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) early childhood educator(2) Inspired Practice Award(5) Flowers(1) Potential(1) keep in touch(1) Awards 2018(3) overhear(1) curriculum(5) Mantra(1) Counting(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Drawing(2) Capable(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Party(1) Participation(2) man up(1) Santa(2) Small World Play(1) Inspections(1) Jenga(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Mud kitchens(1) Degree(1) Mayo(1) books(4) Advocacy(1) Vietnam(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Decisions(1) Learning Stories(9) Anthony Semann(1) Competent(1) Adoption(1) community(5) Iraq(1) learning hub(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) transitions(10) Masterclass(2) Ariana Pucci(1) Sequins(1) Scents(1) Research Conference 2019(1) communication(4) Eritrea(1) ECEC(3) European Project(1) Horizon 2020(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) HR(1) Shapes(2) Socioemotional development(1) collaboration(1) listening(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Smiles(1) Event Guide(1) Time Out(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) reopening ireland(1) aistear blog(3) food(1) Engagement(1) Window(1) babies(7) Syria(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) peer group(1) Titles(1) Environment(2) SPICE Framework(1) CPD(1) youdoodle(1) Book Club(2) risky play(2) Gratitude(1) research submissions(1) Supernanny(1) Obesity(1) Maths(6) Infectious diseases(1) Trick or treat(1) PIP(1) Routines(2) Irish(1) conversations(1) child-centric(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Yoga(1) staying connected(1) UN(1) SAC(1) Document Learning(1) Digital Devices(1) Behaviour(3) interacting(2) DES Inspection(1) learners(1) Visual Impairment(1) Empathy(1) code of ethics(1) Imagination(3) Engineers Week(2) Children(4) Pedagogy(2) TOY Programme(1) Recycling(2) Running(1) trust(4) maternity health(1) dining experiences(1) animals(2) respect(5) Visitors(1) AIM(2) Photographs(1) ears(1) continual professional development(1) Exclusion(1) Child Care(1) Síolta(129) Xbox(1) Sessional service(1) Sport(1) Human Resources(1) Workplace well-being(1) educarer(1) ECCE(7) Identity(5) MA(1) linc(1) Thank you(1) First 5(1) Magic(1) Rich Documentation(1) learning bias(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Light table(1) Large Doll Play(1) Confidence(1) Nonverbal(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) early years research(2) Buddies(1) Certificate(1) Investment(2) gender bias(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Performing(1) IGL(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Biting(1) early life(1) Design(1) Snakes(1) Online(1) United Nations(1) CIT(1) Sculptures(1) Snacks(1) Universal Design(2) Interaction(1) Cognitive development(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Builders(1) Self-regulation(1) Academic Skills(1) Teamwork(1) Spiders(1) Support(1) grandchild(1) Mo Scéal(1) Exit interview(1) Whole Group(1) emotional well-being(1) Covid response(1) creche(1) children development(1) Covid pandemic(2) Relaxation(1) Facebook(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Sustainability(3) routine(2) National Awards 2019(1) scéalta(48) Motor neuron disease(1) purpose(1) conference(1) Maths Week(1) memories(1) Fantasy play(1) refugees(1) social science(1) Health(2) bonds(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Patterns(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Scéalta Blog(101) Emergent Curriculum(1) Trade union(1) Penguins(1) Infection Control(1) outdoors(4) Diversity(1) Settling in(4) Irish guidelines(1) Creative(1) science week(2) World Health Organisation(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine