Course Description

Childcare Courses Online

Childcare Courses Online is a course run by The Open College, Dublin. It is a Online Learning course with a duration of 40 Weeks. Childcare Courses Online gives a Course Qualification of Level 5 Certificate, awarded by QQI. For more information about Childcare Courses Online at The Open College, please review the details below.

  • QQI Accredited online courses
  • Complete in 40 weeks
  • 120 credits
  • New ELC Major Award
  • Online.


This brand new single stage online programme leading to the new QQI Level 5 Certificate in Early Learning & Care Major Award has been designed to meet the new professional award standards of Early Learning & Care (ELC) at Level 5.

The programme comprises 4 modules to be completed over one year (full time) and aims to prepare learners for work as an Early Years Educator working under direction, and in preparation for progression as a Lead Early Years Educator.

Learners will acquire the knowledge, skills and competence that contribute to a modern early years’ educator who can work under direction, both independently and as part of a team, and 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 during each stage of the programme in a minimum of 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 an Early Years Educator for those who achieve the full Level (5) major award.  Learners will also have the opportunity to progress to the Level (6) Advanced Certificate in Early Learning & Care to advance their career as a Lead Early Years Educator.

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 examine a range of Early Learning & Care theories and approaches that can enhance the overall holistic development of the child, within an emergent and inquiry-based curriculum, in line with current frameworks.
  • To create awareness of the policies, procedures and practices which supports the overall health, wellbeing, development, and welfare (holistic development) of the child/children in accordance with national legislation and regulatory frameworks.
  • To equip learners with the knowledges, skills and competencies to identify, support and respond to the planning and assessing of individual learning and care needs of the child, within a democratic and participatory pedagogy.
  • To develop ECEC practioners who the individual rights and capabilities of the child taking account of diversity, equality, and inclusion while practising clear communication with all stakeholders
  • To prepare the learner for engagement in professional practice, and to support learners in identifying and achieving their own personal and professional development plans.
  • 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.


Module & Programme Structures:

Over the duration of this QQI Level Major Award in Early Learning & Care (ELC) you will complete a range of modules which will link both theory and practice and will be assessed in a range of contexts. The full level (5) award consists of 4 modules totalling 120 credits.

Module (1): The Early Years Professional (1) – 30 Credits

The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence, of national frameworks, legislation, policy, procedures, and practices within the profession of early childhood education and care. Learners will use a range of effective interpersonal, intrapersonal and reflective communicative skills, understanding how they impact upon their role as an early year’s professional, in supporting the health, development and wellbeing of children (0-6 years).


Module (2): The Early Years Educator – 30 Credits

The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill, and competence relevant to the theory and practice of child psychology, child development and learning, so that learners can provide for the holistic health, safety, and well-being of children. Learners will understand their role within early years pedagogy and curricular provision, in line with national curriculum and quality frameworks, providing planning and assessment opportunities, experiences, and activities facilitating quality interactions across the Early Learning & Care setting.


Module (3): Inclusive Practice in Early Years Education (1) – 30 Credits

The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill, and competence relevant to the principles and practices of ethical, rights based, inclusive and participatory practice. Each learner will understand and demonstrate the role of the early years’ practitioner, in supporting all children with and without additional needs. Learners will gain confidence in promoting collaborative practice that is democratic, inclusive and antibias, responsive to the holistic, care play and learning of all children, in recognition of the importance of supporting the identity and belonging, the voice and agency of each child.


Module (4): Professional Practice Placement (1) – 30 Credits

The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the knowledge and skills required of a competent early year’s educator who will observe and engage in 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 (5).


Practice Placement Learning:

The arrangements for Professional Practice Placement have been designed to meet the Professional Award Type Descriptors at NFQ Levels 5 -8: Annotated for QQI Early Learning and Care (ELC) Awards with specific attention to Section 3.0.

Learners will complete a minimum of 150 hours of practice placement during each stage of the programme in a minimum of 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 placements must be with Tusla-registered ELC settings.

This Level 5 certificate will facilitate learners with the opportunity to observe quality practice, apply theoretical knowledge to their professional placement experiences and engage in critical self-reflection while under the supervision of a placement supervisor.

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 (5).


Block (1): Learners will complete a minimum of 50 hours across 8 Weeks (5-12).

Block (2): Learners will complete a minimum of 50 hours across 8 Weeks (19-26).

Block (3): Learners will complete a minimum of 50 hours across 8 Weeks (32-39).


Assessment Strategies:

The overall summative assessment strategy centres around using a combination of continuous assessment through coursework and final assessments. For the suitability of online learning final examinations have not been considered as part of the overall assessment strategy.

The continuous assessment portion will consist of a series of tasks that aim to evaluate learning progress continually over the teaching period of a module. The methods used to achieve these aims include but are not limited to the following examples; online quizzes, forum contributions, short papers and presentations.

Within each module, there is the opportunity to avail of group assessments when employing some or all of these methods. A collection of these tasks will make up the students’ portfolio assessment which has been embedded as a strategy across most of the modules to be completed over the three year programme. These tasks may be lecturer or systems graded depending on their nature. While the actual methods used to evaluate learning differ from module to module, all modules will contain an element of continuous assessment in the example of the portfolio task to be completed.

Final assessments contribute the majority of weighting and are generally longer assignments that aim to assess more learning outcomes. These assessments are lecturer graded and completed individually by each student. Academic integrity is preserved using Turnitin which is embedded in the online learning environment students will use to submit their assignments.

Throughout the course, lecturers have opportunities to informally assess students and provide formative feedback through live online lectures and tutorials as well as through ongoing communications with students. Students may also avail of the opportunity of submitting a draft assessment that is also intended as another outlet for formative assessment and feedback.


How does our online blended learning work?

This QQI Level 5 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 requirement at all stages of this programme, 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 self-directed 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.


Entry Requirements / Prerequisites:

The pre-requisites for entry will consider each of the following:

  • Leaving certificate, Level 4 certificate or equivalent in a relevant subject area and/or relevant practical experience. Mature students (over 23 years) may be exempt.
  • 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 5 are expected to be able to: be proficient at reading, drafting, preparing, and understanding information across a broad range of topics, including quantitative information. 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 5.5 or higher.
  • Garda Vetting is required for all Early Years placements and learners can apply for this through The Open College. Please check our FAQ’s page for more information on Garda Vetting and International Vetting if you have lived outside Ireland for 6 months or more.
  • 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.


What does it cost?

  • The full major award programme fee is €1,450 and includes all documentation, lecturing, assessments, learner registration and QQI certification fees for this stage.  No other hidden accreditation or certification fees to pay!
  • There are also Easy Payment options of – €125 per month over 12 months with our unrivaled Easy Payment Plans.


The Childcare Courses Online course at The Open College is listed in's national courses finder.
Training ProviderThe Open College
Course LocationLeopardstown, Dublin
Location PostcodeDublin 18
Course TypeOnline Learning
Course QualificationLevel 5 Certificate
Awarding BodyQQI
Awarding Body DetailsQQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Learning & Care (5M21473).
Course Duration40 Weeks
Course Fee1450
Phone01 2061828
Course Code5M21473
For more 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, Leopardstown, Dublin, Ireland. Eircode: D18KX34

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