Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years (LINC)
- Programme Overview
- Programme Content
- Entry Requirements
- How to Apply
- Ask a Question
The Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme (LINC) is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award (Higher Education) that is designed to support the inclusion of children with additional needs in the early years. Once qualified, graduates will perform the role of Inclusion Coordinator while working within their early years setting and have ECCE Room Leader status. LINC is offered by a consortium led by Mary Immaculate College, and including Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University – The Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education.
The development of the programme is part of a government response to local, national and international demands for high quality education and training leading towards graduate pathways in the combined field of early childhood care and education (ECCE). The programme - funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) - seeks to address the need for continuing professional development (CPD) in relation to the inclusion of children with additional needs.
The LINC programme is delivered 100% online to suit the flexible requirements of those working in Early Learning & Care. Participants watch lessons and interact with the tutors who teach the programme using forums and our online learning platform called Moodle.
The LINC Programme is a Multi-Award Winning Programme and has been the recipient of awards for excellence in education five times, having been shortlisted for 13 awards in total.
- In 2017, it was awarded an Education Award in the Best Online Learning Experience Category.
- In 2018, it received the prestigious Jennifer Burke Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.
- In 2019, it was awarded an Education Award for Student Communication and Engagement.
- In 2020, it was once again voted the Best Online Learning Experience at the Education Awards.
- In 2022, it received a Highly Commended Award from Aontas for its work in the area of social inclusion.
- In 2023, it has once again been shortlisted in the Best Online Learning Experience at the Education Awards.
Early Learning and Care Settings that register an Inclusion CoOrdinator (INCO) who has graduated from LINC will receive an extra €2 per week in capitation per ECCE-eligible child in a pre-school room, where the child is on an ECCE/CCSP/TEC programme. Subject to detailed operational guidelines, the increase applies from a) graduation of the Inclusion Coordinator from the higher education programme and b) completion of a signed agreement by the Inclusion Coordinator that they will take on the roles and responsibilities associated with the post.
The additional €2 capitation applies to all children in the setting.
Aims & Objectives
- To equip participants with the knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies to support the participation of children with additional needs in early years settings.
- To prepare participants to adopt a leadership role within early years settings that enables them to support and supervise other staff in the setting to plan for, implement and review inclusive practice.
- To support participants to develop their professional knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies in relation to the inter-related areas, which comprise the programme modules, with a particular focus on embedding inclusive practice in Aistear – The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and Síolta, the National Quality Framework.
- To deliver on-going support in study skills and information and communication technology (ICT) for participants.
For more information, see the dedicated LINC website here.