Course Description

QQI Level 6 Childcare Major Award – Advanced Early Learning and Care

The Open College

The aim of this brand new QQI Level 6 Early Learning & Care Major Award is to enable learners to develop the knowledge, skills, competence, and dispositions that contribute to a responsible, reflective, self-governing, and modern early years’ professional who is flexible, creative, and inclusive in their approach to promoting and supporting the holistic development of the child, from birth to six years.

The programme has been specifically developed to combine theory and practice-based training.  Therefore, learners will be expected to apply all theoretical knowledge in practice which will be the focus of the practice placement module embedded across the programme. Learners will complete a minimum of 150 hours of practice placement across two ELC settings with a minimum of 40 hours in a second additional setting / service.

It is recommended that learners gain experience with babies (birth to 18 months), toddlers (12 months to 3 years) & young children (2½ to 6 years). Each Placement Block will have a specific correlation to the theoretical modules being undertaken in each semester.

The programme offers employment opportunities as a Lead Early Years Educator for those who achieve the full Level (6) major award.  Learners will also have the opportunity to progress to other suitable higher education and training programmes.

The blended teaching and learning approach will be suited to those with responsibilities that do not enable them to undertake classroom-based training on a full-time basis and is intended to meet the needs of a diverse range of learner profiles and make accommodations for those who may already be working in the sector or in other vocations who wish to change career paths.


Programme Objectives:

  • To enable the learner to apply supervision and leadership in their daily practice as an Early Years professional with links to Early Learning & Care perspectives and approaches.
  • To provide learners with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to lead, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of the policies, procedures and practices which supports the holistic development of the child/children, in accordance with national legislation and regulatory frameworks.
  • To equip learners with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to lead, assess, plan, implement and evaluate ECE curricula that are child-centred, inclusive, creative, attuned, and responsive to meeting the individual learning and care needs of the child.
  • To develop ECEC practitioners who are active in promoting children’s rights and champion collaborative practice by respecting diversity, inclusion, equality and practicing clear communication with all stakeholders.
  • To develop autonomous, reflective practitioners, who are committed to personal and professional development capable of demonstrating high quality practice.
  • To develop academic and digitally literate learners capable of confidently using a range of technologies to support their learning and practice and source employment opportunities.


Learners must complete 4 Modules at 30 Credits each.


Module (1): The Early Years Professional (2)  – Legislation and Professionalism

The aim of this module is to equip the learner with knowledge, skill and competence required to supervise and lead effective early childhood education and care, informed by current national guidelines, legislation, policy, procedures, and practice. Learners will engage in effective and reflective supervision and leadership principles and practices, supporting their professional role of leading on compliance, quality practice, supervision, and community practice.


Module (2): The Early Pedagogical Leader – Pedagogical Leadership & Practice

The aim of this module is to extend knowledge, skill, and competence relevant to child psychology, and child development theory, to develop a leadership role within pedagogy, curriculum, quality practice and provision. The learner will lead on supporting children’s holistic development and wellbeing, by providing in depth understanding of emergent led curricula, informed by National Curriculum Frameworks, and promoting quality teaching and learning experiences.


Module (3): Inclusive Practice in Early Years Education (2) – Leading in Inclusive Education Practice

The aim of this module is to extend in depth knowledge, skill, and competence relevant to sociology and inclusive theory and practice, supporting the rights of each child, with and without additional needs, within inclusive pedagogical leadership, with a clear understanding of significance to practice. Each learner will promote participatory and antibias approaches, working within democratic partnerships facilitating the identity and belonging and voice of each child, through effective communications and interactions with all stakeholders.


Module (4): Professional Practice Placement (2)

The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the knowledge and skills required of a competent Early Year’s Lead Educator who can work autonomously, supervise and lead quality practice in early years care and education. Learners will apply understanding of early childhood care and education theory through evidence-based practice and in accordance with the Early Learning & Care Professional Awards standards at Level (6).


Professional Practice Placement

This Level (6) Advanced Certificate will facilitate learners with the opportunity to explore beyond the role of an Early Years Educator and consider the role of leadership within settings. Learners are required to carry out mandatory activities while on placement which demonstrates the application of knowledge, know-how and competency that are relevant to meeting the professional standards of Early Learning at Level (6).

Learners will complete a minimum of 150 hours of practice placement across two ELC settings with a minimum of 40 hours in a second additional setting / service. It is recommended that learners gain experience with babies (birth to 18 months), toddlers (12 months to 3 years) & young children (2½ to 6 years). All placements must be with Tusla-registered ELC settings.



  • Following successful completion, you will receive a QQI Level 6 Major award in Early Learning & Care.
  • QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) is the national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland. The Open College is registered with QQI to offer programmes leading to QQI awards in the National Framework of Qualifications in Ireland.
  • All Registration & Certification Fees are included in the course price.


Delivery Format:

This QQI Early Learning & Care Level 6 Major award programme is completed through Blended Learning which combines online lectures that will be held on two evenings per week, and additional class-based workshops that will take place across some Saturdays during the programme. Please visit our website for further information regarding days and times for both online lectures and classed based workshops.


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Leopardstown, Dublin, Ireland
College Name The Open College
Course Category Childcare, Education
Course Type Online Learning
Course Qualification Level 6 Advanced Certificate
Course Location Leopardstown, Dublin, Ireland
Location Postcode Dublin 18
Course Fee 1450
Course Duration 10 Months
Course Times This QQI Advanced Certificate in Early Learning & Care programme will be delivered by blended learning using a combination of suitable online teaching and learning activities consisting of a range of synchronous and asynchronous directed and self-directed study. These methods will be guided and supported through online lectures, tutorials, discussions, collaborative and independent learning. Professional Practice Placement is a mandatory requirement, with a total of 150 hours (minimum) to be completed. Over the duration of this one year programme all learners will engage in approx. 20-30 hours of study each week which considers a mix of directed, independent and work-based learning. Suitable teaching methods will compromise a range of teaching and learning activities which includes Live Online Lectures that are intended for the direct teaching of core module topics, to support the learning process and to assist in the understanding of the module content while also encouraging peer to peer engagement and interactions. Additionally, learners will engage in a series of online activities which will include pre-recorded video content, written content, discussion forums, presentations, uploaded readings, quizzes and exercises, all of which will all be hosted in the colleges eLearning system. Digital Literacy Supports: In addition to the course modules noted in the Course details section and over the duration of their programme learners will have access to three Study Skills workshops – one to be held during each semester. The workshops aim to promote academic and digital literacy skills so that learners can confidentially engage with digital learning tools that are intended to support the delivery of this programme.
Awarding Body QQI
Title of Awarding QQI Level 6 Advanced Major Award in Early Learning & Care.
Entry Requirements - Level 5 certificate or equivalent in a relevant subject area and/or relevant practical experience. - Learners must be a based in Ireland and hold an Irish or UK PPS number. - Learners will be required to undertake a practical supervised work placement (150 hours minimum) across a range of ELC settings. - Learners will be required to participate in live online classes/webinars & periodic attendance workshops. - Learners will be required to participate in placement monitoring visits (on-site and online) during their course. - Be competent in both written and spoken English. - English Language Requirement: Students entering programmes leading to awards at Level 6 are expected to be able to: fluently read, draft, prepare and understand complex information, including quantitative information, that is personally relevant and reflecting a broad knowledge base. Any applicant whose first language is not English may also be required to demonstrate their level of English proficiency by completion of an appropriate recognised test such as IELTS achieving a score of 6.5 or higher. - Garda Vetting is required for all Early Years placements and students can apply for this through the College. - Certain assessments require completion of work, which must be observed and evaluated by a suitably qualified Supervisor or Line manager. - Digital Literacy: as the programme will be delivered online, learners undertaking this programme must have basic IT skills and access to the necessary equipment which will enable them to successfully participate in the online activities i.e., computer, broadband, email, recording equipment necessary for some skills demonstration tasks, and where applicable any other specialised software/equipment. - Reasonable accommodations will be considered for any learner who may have any additional needs or requirements.
Career Path Who should complete this Major Award? This programme is aimed at learners seeking to progress their professional career in the Early Years sector working directly with children from birth to six years. The programme will facilitate learners with the opportunity of gaining employment as a Lead Early Years Educator while also acting as a steppingstone for progression to other suitable higher education and training programmes.
For information about The Open College, please visit our college page on by clicking here.

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The Open College

Unit 9, Leopardstown Business Centre,, Ballyogan Road, Leopardstown, Dublin, Ireland

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The Open College
Unit 9, Leopardstown Business Centre,
Ballyogan Road, Leopardstown, Dublin
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