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Professional Mentoring in Early Childhood Practice

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question

Programme Overview

Mary Immaculate College is running an exciting and innovative Level 8 Special Purpose Certificate in Professional Mentoring for Early Childhood Practice (through one 15 credit module) from September 2021. This module considers the concept of mentoring in the context of early childhood education and care settings and empowers participants to apply the principles of mentoring within their practice in settings. Funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, this programme is free of charge to all participants.

Key Features

The ECEC policy practice landscape is constantly changing. This is reflected within First Five, a whole of government strategy for babies, young children and their families, which proposes that ECEC educators must be ‘fully prepared for the demands of their professional roles’ (Govt. Ireland 2018, p.112). This involves supervised practical placement. It is important that there are supports available to enable staff in early childhood settings to feel empowered as mentors to undergraduate students engaging in practical placement. In addition, both the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth propose to establish a career framework and leadership development opportunities.

Against this policy backdrop, this module benefits Early Childhood Educators and Managers by:

  • Focusing upon empowering existing ECEC staff to mentor early childhood students undertaking practical placement while engaging in their undergraduate degree programme;
  • Strengthening the capacity of existing ECEC staff to support the professional formation of undergraduate ECEC students.

It also benefits undergraduate ECEC students by enhancing the quality of their experience during practical placement, enabling them to be better prepared for the demands of their professional role and better placed to enter the workforce as professional educators.

This module, which will span an academic semester from September to December, is a 15 credit Special Purpose Award that aims to build upon participant's knowledge and understanding of mentoring in ECEC contexts to enable them to mentor students undertaking professional practice placement in their settings as well as staff members. Participants on this programme will:

  • Identify the core characteristics of mentoring
  • Discuss models of mentoring and mentoring relationships
  • Evaluate different approaches to mentoring
  • Demonstrate ability to undertake/engage in mentoring in early childhood settings
  • Understand the critical role of reflexive practice and its role in mentoring
  • Appreciate the policy-practice landscape as it relates to mentoring in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector

In terms of assessment, during the module, participants will be expected to engage in guided online activities and develop a professional mentoring portfolio. Significant guidance and support will be given to participants throughout the semester.

See an MS Sway presentation on the programme here.

Convenient Online Delivery

As the programme will be delivered entirely online, it will not be necessary to travel to the MIC campus in Limerick. We are therefore accepting applications from participants around the country who may be interested in this programme and who work with or plan to work with third level students studying on early childhood programmes.

To meet the needs of participants who will be working in an early childhood setting, this programme is flexible and accessible. In order to support access for participants, it is delivered online, using a combination of approaches as follows:

  • Live online sessions, at the beginning, mid-way and toward the end of the module to introduce theoretical concepts and, new concepts, reinforce learning, facilitate discussion and peer learning, establish a community of practice and, address student queries;
  • Pre-recorded lectures will also be available to view at your own convenience,
  • Assigned online guided tasks and activities, uploaded online to support content learning, reflection, and guided independent study.

Engage & Share Insights

Upon completion, you will be awarded a Special Purpose Certificate in Professional Mentoring in Early Childhood Practice.

You will also have the opportunity to engage and share insights and experiences with other interested early childhood educators to develop a community of mentors in early childhood practice. This academic award should also be an asset to you in terms of your mentoring role with students on early childhood practice placement, and with staff members within the early childhood setting.


Dr Mary Moloney, Programme Coordinator: 


Programme Content

Topics covered include:

  • The core characteristics of mentoring
  • Models of mentoring and mentoring relationships
  • How to evaluate different approaches to mentoring
  • The critical role of reflexive practice and its role in mentoring
  • The policy-practice landscape as it relates to mentoring in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector

Entry Requirements

Applicants must already work in an early childhood setting and hold a NFQ Level 6 Award in ECEC.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of their proficiency level English in the form of an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 6.5 – 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any one component, or IELTS equivalent accepted by UL. Such applicants will also be required to undergo an interview through English.

How to Apply

Closing date for applications: 30 July 2021

If you are interested, please complete the online application form below and then follow the instructions to submit transcripts to by email. Places are limited so early application is advised.

Please Note: In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of your IELTS results (or equivalent) is required also.

Programme Coordinator
Dr Mary Moloney

Ask a Question

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question