On Saturday 20th September 2014 a new part-time blended learning BA in Early Childhood Practice was launched at the Institute of Technology, Tralee (IT, Tralee). The level 7 degree programme will be jointly delivered over four semesters by both the Faculty of Education at Mary Immaculate College(MIC) Limerick and the Department of Social Sciences at the Institute of Technology, Tralee. The BA in Early Childhood Practice has been designed specifically to up-skill staff currently working in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) field, who have a level 6 qualification in childcare.
Commenting at the launch Dr Oliver Murphy, President, IT, Tralee said, “The launch of the BA in Early Childhood Practice is a wonderful example of the collaborative work between IT, Tralee and Mary Immaculate College. The Institute is delighted to jointly deliver this programme which showcases both organisations blended learning formats, providing our learners with flexible and innovative routes to achieving a third-level qualification while also recognising their work, family and life commitments. I would like to wish the first cohort of students the very best of luck with the programme”.
Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of MIC said of the new programme, “Mary Immaculate College has a long tradition of engagement with early childhood education. We are now delighted to work in collaboration with the Institute of Technology, Tralee, in this new venture of a BA in Early Childhood Practice. I wish all students in the new programme every success”.
Dr. Emer Ring, Head of Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies referred to the emphasis on providing for a highly qualified workforce in early childhood education in recent Government policy initiatives. Dr. Ring welcomed the opportunity to provide early years educators with this graduate pathway and enable them to build further on their knowledge, experience and expertise in the field.
Twenty-five students have registered on the programme, which will be delivered in a blended format with the greater part of the programme being delivered through an on-line format. Students will attend IT, Tralee on six Saturdays in semester 1 for lectures and will receive weekly hour long live tutorials on Tuesday and some Thursday evenings. They will access further module content online. The following semester, the students will attend Mary Immaculate College for Saturday lectures. The second year of the programme will be delivered in a similar manner. On successful completion, participants will be conferred with a University of Limerick Level 7 Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Practice. (BA ECP)