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Bachelor of Education (Hons) in Early Childhood Education

The Bachelor of Education (Honours) Degree in Early Childhood Education aims to provide the early childhood sector with holistic, highly competent, and research engaged practitioners. This 4-year programme, is a 240-credit award at Level 8. It is a blended learning programme where students will engage in a variety of face-to-face and online engagements.

Course content includes videos, presentations, audio, reflective activities, quiz questions, collaborative activities and directed reading. Assessments enable students to demonstrate learning through innovative ways. They include for example photo-presentations, short videos, blogs, short questions, setting observations and reflective writing tasks.  

View sample course content

In addition, through Professional Practice Placement and the provision of a well-structured mentoring Professional Support Team (PST), students will engage across the four years of the programme in multiple opportunities to act and reflect on their emerging understanding of knowledge, practice and values and critically examine their commitment to quality in diverse situations.

This degree programme is distinctive as it offers the current Early Learning and Care (ELC) workforce a flexible professional development opportunity that is innovative, creative and focused on career progression. Graduates of the programme will have engaged in special education, inclusion and diversity in early intervention and early education, and research methods to enhance research-informed practice across all four stages of the programme. The programme satisfies the aims outlined in the Department of Education and Skills (2019) Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines for Initial Professional Education (Level 7 and Level 8) Degree Programmes for Early Learning and Care (ELC) Sector in Ireland and the Government of Ireland (2019) Update Workforce Development Plan for the ELC/SAC Sector.

On successful completion of the programme, graduates will obtain a Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Early Childhood Education.

Download the programme brochure

Course Content

We have specifically developed the programme content with you, the learner, in mind. Therefore, the content is structured into three units of learning, each taking approximately one hour to work through. Within each unit of learning, the content is further broken down into smaller, more manageable, bite-sized elements. These elements are presented in a variety of formats to make them as engaging and interactive as possible for the learner.

These include videos, presentations, audio, reflective activities, quiz questions, collaborative activities, directed reading and so on. Because of the variety of learning activities and the structure of the content, you can easily access and study your content anywhere on your mobile or laptop. This will allow you to organise your study around your working day. 

There are plenty of opportunities for reflection throughout this programme. For example, regularly through the content you will be asked to ‘think about’ how a concept being discussed is relevant to you in your everyday practice. You will be invited to add your ideas and experiences too, we have built a structure into the content to enable you to make contributions to the programme. 

Assessments are realistic to your practice and will enable you to demonstrate your learning through innovative ways. Assessments include for example photo-presentations, short videos, blogs, short questions, setting observations and reflective writing tasks.  

Programme Learning Environment

This programme involves different learning environments and distinct learning approaches. There are online, face-to-face and placement environments. There are opportunities to learn through reading and multimedia, through individual and collaborative tasks, through engagement with research and through setting-based practice.

The blended learning experience includes:

Online Tutorials
You should expect to have approximately 3 webinars each week (Mon.–Fri.). Tutorials are 1 hour in length and occur typically between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. Please note that these classes are live and you will be expected to attend at the times stated.

Face-to-Face Days
You will meet approximately once a fortnight for one full day (5 hours). Workshops will be highly practical and interactive, providing opportunities for simulated practice and modelling play-based learning.

Professional Practice Placement
You will complete 12 weeks of Professional Practice Placement at the end of each of the four stages of the programme. You will be supported in specified work placements by a Placement Educator and a Peer Mentor. 35% of the programme is set aside for Professional Practice Placement.

Formative feedback will be provided throughout the programme in a timely, regular and individualised manner, allowing students to build confidence to succeed in the programme. A wide variety of assessment strategies are added to a digital portfolio, which you will build over the four years of the programme as you develop your professional identity. Assessment methodologies will include creation of resources, short questions, essays, reports, placement assessment and a research project.

Asynchronous Tutor Support
At all times, students are afforded opportunities to engage with their tutors via email and discussion forums.

Reflective practice is a core element of the programme. Reflective activities include writing blog posts, keeping a reflective journal and building a digital portfolio.

Required Study and Attendance
It’s recommended that you set aside approximately 23 hours per week for study, including tutorials and classes. The programme is 4 years with short breaks at Christmas and Easter. The programme is full-time, delivered through a blended learning model, and full attendance is required.

Programme Learning Outcomes

On completion of this programme students will be able to:

  • Exhibit the professional knowledge, practices, values and dispositions required to be an inclusive early childhood educator in an evolving sector
  • Develop a professional identity as an early childhood educator, relational educator and entrepreneurial leader
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively in a multi/inter-disciplinary manner with colleagues, parents and allied professionals in adopting a democratic and inclusive approach that values diversity
  • Engage in ethical and transformative leadership and practice within an early childhood education setting
  • Interpret and apply ethical principles and inclusive practices for safeguarding babies and young children in a variety of education and care settings
  • Promote a rights-based approach to professional practice in early childhood education in which the voices of children are heard
  • Reflect critically and adapt to new knowledge, practices and values on theory and professional practice
  • Interpret and apply legislative policies and procedures, including the quality framework Síolta in a variety of inclusive early education and care settings
  • Engage in, analyse, and apply new and existing research in early childhood education
  • Use the curriculum framework Aistear in planning for and engaging young children in a variety of curricular areas, which foster children’s creativity, aesthetic awareness, meaning making and imagination
  • Design and employ active learning pedagogies, to support and organise effective learning environments


Application Fee

€95 – paid as part of the online application process


Tuition Fees 

The annual tuition fee is €3,500 per academic year, payable as follows:

To confirm acceptance of a place on the programme: €550 (includes €50 Garda Vetting fee)
Balance Year 1 fees (paid prior to the commencement of the programme): €3,000
Year 2 fees (paid prior to the commencement of Year 2): €3,500
Year 3 fees (paid prior to the commencement of Year 3): €3,500
Year 4 fees (paid prior to the commencement of Year 4): €3,500

Payment of tuition fees is by bank transfer.


Tax Relief 

Hibernia College is an approved college for the purposes of s.474 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. This programme is approved for tax relief at the standard rate of income tax (20%) for qualifying tuition fees. Tax relief is available to the person paying the fees and the maximum amount that can be claimed is €7,000 per course, per person, per academic year. Each claim is subject to a single disregard amount of €3,000 for a full-time course and so, on an annual basis, for students of this course, relief will be available at the standard rate of tax on the qualifying balance of €1,000 and would be €200 per year. For further information, please click here.

Please note that the above, provided for information purposes, is of a general nature and is not a substitute for formal advice on taxation matters. We recommend, where necessary, you seek professional advice in relation to taxation matters. 

Enrolled Learner Protection Insurance

Hibernia College has approval, under s.65 (4) (b) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, to offer students Learner Protection Insurance. For more details, click here.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be 18 years of age on 1st January on the year of entry.

Level 5 qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) in Childcare/Early Childhood Education and Care


Leaving Certificate or equivalent in the following subjects:

  • Grade H5 or above in a higher-level paper in two subjects or more
  • Grade O6/H7 or above in four additional subjects including:
    • Grade O6/H7 in Maths
    • Grade O6/H7 in English(Qualifications other than Irish Leaving Certificate will be assessed for equivalency)

Note: Leaving Certificate transcripts are not required for applicants who will be 23 or over on 1st January in the year of entry as they meet the criteria for mature student entry.


Relevant experience working with 0-8-year olds in a Tulsa-registered setting (for example; early childhood teacher, assistant, childminder, childcare workers, room leader, nanny, health care assistant)


Evidence of English Competence (where applicable)
Applicants, whose first language/primary mode of expression is not English, must upload evidence of English competence at B2+ or higher in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Application Process

The application process is carried out primarily online. You will be required to complete a personal statement and upload some supporting documents to your application, outlined below. Note that you must upload all documents in PDF format (under 4 Mb) to your application. We cannot accept images, Word documents or other formats.

The following documents must be uploaded as part of your application:

  • Leaving Certificate
  • Evidence of having achieved a qualification at NFQ Level 5 or above in a cognate area such as Early Childhood Education and Care (Evidence must be on official paper of the awarding institution or body.)
  • Applicants whose first language/primary mode of expression is not English must provide evidence of English competence at B2+ or higher in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Before starting an application, review our Application Guide and documentation samples on the Hibernia College website here.


Once your online application has been reviewed and it has been deemed that you meet the minimum entry requirements, you will be called for an interview. The interview will assess your motivation and professionalism. It will also consider your suitability to work with very young children and your pedagogic knowledge. It will evaluate your relevant experience of working with 0–8 year olds in a Tusla-registered setting as well as your communication, interpersonal, organisation and planning skills. Furthermore, it will assess your knowledge of Hibernia College and the programme.

How can I learn more about the programme?

If you have any questions about the programme, feel free to contact our Enrolment Team on 01 661 0168 (option 2) or

How can I apply?

The application process is carried out primarily online. After reviewing the Application Guide and documentation samples, you can start your application here.