Ireland’s early year's sector has a dynamic, exciting and challenging future. It needs effective and confident leaders across the fields of practice, policy, advocacy, regulation, education and professional development.

  • Do you have what it takes to be one of those leaders?
  • Do you want to develop your leadership and advocacy skills and capabilities in ways that reflect and build the capacity of the early year's sector?
  • Do you want to be part of a community of practice that will influence and lead the early year's sector into the future?

If the answer to these questions is yes and you have a 2.2 BA Honours in ECCE or cognate discipline and will have at least two years experience working in the early years sector or a related field completed at the end of the postgraduate programme, then the Institute of Technology Sligo has the Level 9 programme that will help you to fulfil these ambitions.

Develop key skills

Through this programme you will develop key skills to help you build your own leadership and advocacy capacity; to shape and influence the key organisations and agencies in the early year's sector and to effectively bring about real change.

On completion of this programme you will be able to:

  • document, recognise and reflect on your existing bank of knowledge, skills and experience
  • critically assess and apply central theories of leadership and management from within and outside the sector, in an international context
  • engage in effective professional advocacy communication, networking, use of social media and lobbying
  • understand how contemporary ECCE organisations work, how to effectively engage and change them, and why it can be so challenging to achieve this?
  • compare policy in the Irish early year's sector with other leading Early Years comparators internationally, through study, networking and direct experience
  • engage critically in research, with an in-depth knowledge of crucial social issues related to children and, the skills to conduct ethical research of your own.


How it works

The programme is structured around two modules each semester (Semester 1 runs from September to January; Semester 2 from January to May).You will be engaged in content that will include online lectures (six per module) from lecturers and key leaders and experts in the field; online discussions and activities; access to digital resources, and share your own experiences.

Each semester there will be a residential programme that brings you together with your fellow participants, academic staff and figures in the early year's sector. This will allow you to engage in lively debate, extended learning, assessment activities and keynote lectures. Assessment on the programme will be through a broad variety of student-centred and active techniques. The professional relationships you develop through this course will provide the basis for the leadership and advocacy networks and communities of practice in the future.

Programme: Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Arts in Leadership and Advocacy for the Early Years

  • Accredited by: IT Sligo through delegated authority from QQI
  • Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications
  • PGDip – 60 ECTS credits: MA – PGDip 30 ECTS credits (ECTS = European Credit Transfer System)
  • Delivery: Blended, online, with a five-day residential workshop (Mon-Fri) each semester
  • Duration: 3 semesters (PGDip) 1 further semester (add-on MA)
  • Cost: €5000 (PGDip) €2500 (add-on MA). May be paid in instalments
  • Intake: September

Entry Requirements

A 2.2 BA Honours in ECCE or cognate discipline and will have at least two years experience working in the early year's sector or a related field completed at the end of the postgraduate programme. Applicants may be shortlisted and will be interviewed for a place on the programme.

All lectures, tutorials and practical work are delivered through English. It is vitally important that students who are not native English speakers have the required standard on entry to ensure they gain maximum value from their time at IT Sligo. The required minimum proficiency score in English required for entry to IT Sligo is 6.0 IELTS score for postgraduate degrees.

Interviews will be held in Sligo.

Career Opportunities

Early Years Inspectorate, Better Start Mentors, Manager/ Support and Development Staff of City and County Childcare Committees, Management/Leadership roles in Tusla, Management/Policy roles with National Voluntary Organisations such as Early Childhood Ireland, National Childcare Network, Barnardos, Management roles in Family Resource Centres and as managers of both private and community Early Years services.

What are my further study opportunities?

Doctoral studies in Early years, Child and Family.

Program taught in:

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This course is Online & Campus Combined
Start Date
Sep 2019
2 years
5,000 EUR
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