• Code: HD
  • Certification: QQI Level 5 Certificate in Early Learning and Care (5M21473)
    • First Aid (BIFE)
    • Child Protection (TUSLA)
  • Duration: One Year


Start your career as an Early Childhood Educator with BIFE. This course will provide you with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to work in a range of childcare and early years services for children aged 0-6 years. Successful learners are awarded a nationally and internationally recognised certificate in the theory and practice of Early Learning and Care. Learners who successfully complete this award can progress to the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care.

Programme of Study
  • Professional Practice Placement in Early Learning and Care
  • Children’s Rights, Legislation and Regulation
  • Holistic Care of Children 0-6 Years
  • Early Childhood Growth and Development
  • Curriculum, Play and Creative Studies
  • Understanding and Assisting Children with Additional Needs

Professional Practice Placement in a Creche for children from birth to 2 years 8 months and for children from 2 years 8 months to 6 years.- 150 hours

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate or its equivalent. Extenuating circumstances may be considered.
  • Leaving Certificate Applied
  • Full QQI Level 4 Award
  • Mature Applicants - experience will be considered in lieu of formal qualifications

Additional Course requirements:

  • Applicants whose first language is not English require proficiency at B2 in writing, reading, listening and speaking (CEFRL)
  • 2 References
  • Garda vetting is a requirement for this programme
  • Police Clearance required where a person has lived in a Country other than Ireland for a period of longer than 6 consecutive Months.
Career Opportunities
  • Early Childhood Practitioner /Educator in Pre-Schools & Crèches,
  • Special needs assistants,
  • Nanny/Au pair/Childminder
Higher Education Progression*

Examples of potential courses include:


  • Advanced Special Needs Assistant (QQI Level 6) 


  • Early Childhood Education (DC001)

Third level progression opportunities for ELC learners are continually being developed. Please visit www.cao.ie or careersportal.ie for the most up to date information.

*Places are not guaranteed in these Institutes and are subject to students meeting certain criteria. Please consult the individual college websites for more information on application. Information available also at www.cao.ie

Course Co-Ordinator

Anne O'Malley

Where are they now?

Meet BIFE students who have graduated from this course...

sophie drumm"I started my studies at BIFE in Early Learning & Care. This course helped me gain the knowledge of pursuing a career in the Early Years sector and gaining the confidence to work with children of different ages. The modules I did throughout the course were very interesting and taught me skills that I can use in my daily practice, working with children. The teachers throughout the year were always so helpful, encouraging and caring. Through work placement I have broaden my skills and learned by working with children and carrying out different activities, observations and routines. Learning and working in an ECCE setting can be challenging at times but having gained knowledge from this course helped me see children develop and grow and is very rewarding" - Sophie Drumm

 "I really have enjoyed my time studying in BIFE. My education journey through Early Childhood Care and Education began with the level 5 course. The subjects in level 5 lay the core knowledge that every practitioner needs to know. This course has helped me discover so many different career paths and opportunities that are within the ECCE sector. The dedicated teachers helped me to develop my love and knowledge for the ECCE sector throughout the year. This has brought me to my next step where I am currently studying Supervision in Early Childhood Care & Education Advanced, level 6 in BIFE. I hope to continue my educational journey to study for my degree in the Rathnew campus of Carlow IT." - Emer Ryan 

My studies in Bray Institute of Further Education was both enjoyable and challenging. Being around children and learning more about them has been my passion for a long time.  Thanks to Bray Institute and the teachers there, I had a great opportunity to gain this knowledge. As my native language is not English, support from teachers is remarkable and you can count on them all the time.

 During my year in BIFE I got more information about Early Childhood Education and Care that I could expect, I have gotten to know myself better and I made great friends. I am delighted to have completed such a great course with amazing people, which gave me the confidence to believe in myself and to continue further studies in ECCE. - Marleyn Cristin Kallas

I have just completed the Level 5 Early Childhood Care and Education course in BIFE.   All of the teachers in which our class and myself were involved with were very helpful and were always around to lend a hand if you were struggling. Also the social aspect of BIFE was brilliant, nerves about moving on from secondary school were quickly demolished as all of the people were so friendly and the small class sizes allowed everyone to become friends in the class. 

I hope to be accepted into the Level 8 Children’s Studies course in NUI Galway in September and without attending BIFE I would not have the opportunity to do this degree which I have longed to complete.  Roísín Olohan

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