Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years (LINC)
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.
LINC is currently delivered online, i.e. participants watch lessons and interact with the tutors who teach the programme using forums and our online learning platform called Moodle.
The programme is multi award-winning; In 2017 and 2020, it received an Education Award in the Best Online Learning Experience Category and in 2018, won the prestigious Jennifer Burke Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.
Early years settings that employ an Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) who has graduated from LINC will receive an extra €2 per week in capitation per ECCE-eligible child in a preschool room, where the child is on an ECCE/CCS/TEC programme.
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.