Early Learning & Care Stage 1 (Level 5)

Certificate in Early Learning & Care Stage 1

Course Code 5M21473

Stage 1 will award a Level 5 in ELC

The aim of this one year full-time programme is to enable the learner to acquire the knowledge, skills and competence to work independently and as part of a team, subject to direction and practice supervision as a member of the early learning and care community of practice, providing holistic care and learning experiences for children from 0 - 6 years across a range of early learning and care settings.

This programme also provides opportunities to progress into Further and Higher education.

Entry requirements

Leaving Cert or LCA (with distinction). Mature learners (over 23) are not required to have the minimum entry requirements listed. All mature applicants will be considered on an individual basis. All candidates will be required to complete Garda vetting.

Course Duration

1 year (September - May). Monday - Friday with usual school holidays.

Course Content
  • Early Childhood Growth & Development
  • Curriculum, Play & Creative Studies
  • Holistic Care of Children 0-6 years
  • Children’s Rights, Legislation & Regulations
  • Understanding & Assisting Children with Additional Needs
  • Professional Practice Placement

For more details of progression options please see www.cao.ie

Training will also be provided in Paediatric First Aid, Lámh sign language and Manual Handling (by outside agencies).

Professional Practice Placement
All learners must complete 150 hours of professional practice placement, working with 2 age groups:
* 0-2 years 8 months
* 2 years 8 months - 6 years

Career Opportunities
This course provides training for ELC practitioners to gain employment across a range of ELC settings in créches, pre-schools, after-schools and Special Needs Assisting in primary schools.


Successful completion of the course will lead to a Stage 1 Certificate (QQI Level 5)

Educational progression

Upon completion of Stage 1 ELC, learners may advance to Stage 2 which awards an Advanced Certificate in ELC (Level 6).

  • Applications now open
  • You can apply online using the following link

All prospective candidates will be interviewed in May and August, successful candidates will be offered a placement, you will be notified of your interview by email or phone.

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