Childcare: Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage 1

Childcare: Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage 1

About The Course

1 Year Full Time Childcare: Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage 1 Course
QQI Level 5

This Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage 1 will qualify you to work as a childcare practitioner in creches and other early years settings.

Inchicore College has been a leader in providing professional childcare qualifications for over 30 years. The success of our students is down to the hands-on, fully supported training they receive.

Employers know that the professional education students get on a full-time PLC course, with integrated work experience, provides them with the real skills and knowledge needed to work in this vitally important sector.

The Early Learning and Care Certificate course is led by our highly committed team of experienced childcare practitioners. The course will allow you to develop the knowledge, skills and competence to work as a childcare professional, promoting and supporting the holistic needs of children 0- 6 years.

Professional Practice Placement

Professional Practice Placements form a vital part of this course. You will be attending work placements in early year’s settings working with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. There is one day per week in the timetable and three weeks block placement during the year.

Garda Vetting is required for Professional Practice Placement and all of our Early Learning and Care settings are registered with TUSLA.

European Project (Erasmus+)

Every year a number of students have the opportunity to travel to another European country for three weeks work experience. The students attend an early years setting in the host country and observe and participate in the day-to-day work of the setting, learning about how they deliver professional child care and education. View our European Work Experience page here.

Course Coordinator: Amanda Boyne


Modules Year 1 (Stage 1)

  • Professional Practice Placement in Early Learning and Care
  • Children’s Rights, Legislation and Regulations
  • Holistic Care of Children 0 – 6 years
  • Early Childhood Growth and Development
  • Curriculum, Play and Creative Studies
  • Understanding and Assisting Children with Additional Needs

Course content may be revised for educational or organisational reasons.


Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage 1 5M21473

Additional Certification

Manual Handling
TUSLA Children First Certificate

Entry Requirements

Minimum Entry Requirements

Leaving Certificate: O6/H7 in 5 subjects
or Leaving Certificate Applied
or QQI Level 4
Equivalent qualifications will be accepted

Mature Applicants

Mature learners who do not meet the above entry requirements will be invited to interview and a short written assessment.

English Language Proficiency

International applicants must have evidence of B2 proficiency in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Testing will be offered.

Employment and Progression Opportunities


Successful graduates of this course will be qualified to apply for jobs in creches and other childcare facilities as a Childcare Practitioner or Early Years Educator.


Graduates may choose to progress to Early Learning and Care Stage 2 at Inchicore College which will qualify them to work in a supervisory role in Childcare settings.

In order to progress to Year 2 – Stage 2 of the course, you must successfully achieve all of programme learning outcomes associated with Year 1.

5M21473 Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage 1 major award may be used to access the Higher Education Links Scheme to progress to Level 8 courses in Early Childhood Care and Education at Maynooth University, TUD, NCI and Technological Universities all over the country.

Student Stories

Serena Brady

“My experience throughout the ECCE course at ICFE was amazing. The tutors were truly inspirational and were always there for us when we needed them. Since completing my Level 5, I was offered a job as an AIM (Action and Inclusion Model) Support Worker in an outdoor Montessori in Dublin. It is absolutely amazing to work alongside children with the knowledge and new ideas that I learned within the course. Also, the course has highly inspired my dance school with new approaches and ideas.”

Shauna Ryle

“The course was great. The teachers were really helpful with course work and assignments. I went to Sweden as part of the international work experience. It was a great experience.”

Kayleigh Flood

“I thought the course was brilliant. The modules were really interesting and the teachers were very helpful. I went to Sweden for three weeks work experience – it was an experience of a lifetime.”


It is absolutely amazing to work alongside children with the knowledge and new ideas that I learned within the course.