Childcare Courses & Childcare Training Qualifications for over 30 years

The College of Progressive Education delivers a wide range of QQI accredited Childcare Courses, and Childcare Training, full time, part time & through distance learning.

ECCE Level 5 Level 6 Childcare Qualification before the new September 2016 Deadline

Childcare Training Courses, ECCE Training

Karen Higgins. Academic Director, Department Early Years

ECCE Training – Early Childhood Care & Education has changed significantly in Ireland over the past number of years.  From December 2016 there will be a legal requirement for those working in the Early Years sector to have a recognised and appropriate childcare qualification from attending a Childcare Course.  A major award at Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications  (QQI) is necessary for those wishing to work in the ECCE sector in any capacity and a major award at Level 6 is required for those wishing to work as room leaders.  With a major emphasis also being placed on the provision of quality childcare, and research showing that quality is directly linked to the standard of ECCE training received by the practitioner, the College of Progressive Education ensures that their Early Years ECCE programmes meets the sector’s needs.  With over 30 years’ experience in delivering high quality childcare training courses, the College provides students with the most comprehensive and relevant training.  Our tutors are highly qualified individuals who have experience at both a theoretical and practical level in childcare.  Our tutors are extremely supportive and provide great assistance to all our learners during their training and beyond!

Karen Higgins
Academic Head of Early Years

Childcare Tutors

Karen HigginsKaren Higgins, Academic Director, Department of Early Years

MEd in Education, BSc (Hons) Psychology, Mont Dip in Ed (Hons)

Karen has over nineteen years’ experience in the delivery and management of first class Childcare courses in education and training. This includes an in-depth, practical knowledge of the Psychology of child development, Management of Early Years Settings (from start-up to operational), Childcare/Montessori Teaching, Lecturing\Teacher Training, curriculum development in-line with industry standards and organisation and management of Early Years training programmes.

Karen has extensive experience navigating, and working with, industry standards bodies. Karen has a Masters Degree in Education and  has completed eight years study in Montessori Pedagogy and Developmental Psychology, leading to an Honours degree in Psychology, with a primary focus on child development. She holds a post-graduate certificate and post-graduate diploma in Professional Studies in Education.

In addition to the above, Karen was also the Chairperson of The Association of Childhood Professionals (ACP) – Dublin Branch (2013 – 2014). ACP is an Association striving to be the representative body of childhood professionals in Ireland. She is a member of the Sub-Training Group of the Dublin City Childcare Committee (DCCCP). The DCCC Sub-Training Group’s remit is to monitor sector progress in relation to Childcare courses/Early Years quality training. In addition, Karen is Chairperson of The Early Childhood Research group, a sub group of the Children’s Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland.



David King

Childcare & Montessori Tutor

David King is a tutor in our Montessori and Childcare Department.  David has delivered our Early Childhood Care and Education Level 6 courses and our Early Childhood Care & Education with Montessori Level 6 courses for the past number of years.  He has worked in various Early Childhood Care & Education settings and is a passionate advocate for the benefits of having men work in ECCE.  David has a BA degree from Maynooth University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Montessori Teacher Training (3-6 years), a Diploma in Montessori Teacher Training (6-9 years) and is currently in his final year of studies for his Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with Sheffield University.  David is also a regular contributor to a number of social media sites concerned with Early Childhood.  As one of a growing number of men in childcare, David brings a unique perspective to the courses he delivers.



GrainneGrainne Schmitz

Childcare & Montessori Tutor

Grainne Schmitz is a Tutor in our Montessori and Childcare Department, where she has worked since 2011. Grainne co-ordinates and delivers our Childcare courses – Early Childhood care and Education with Montessori Level 6 Course, for Full-Time, Part-Time and Distance Learning students. Grainne has extensive experience in the Early Childhood and Montessori sector. She qualified as a Montessori teacher in 1996. From 1999-2005, Grainne established and ran a successful chain of Montessori and Childcare centres, catering for over 140 children and employing over 40 staff. Grainne is currently studying for her BA in Early Childhood Care and Education. Grainne is passionate about educating parents, students and stakeholders regarding the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education, and she continues to both Tutor and work in a pre-school setting.



Dr. Mary O’Kane

Mary originally studied Psychology in the UK, before moving into the area of Early Childhood Education while undertaking her MPhil at Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. This project investigated the differences between the quality and experiences in ECCE services before and after the implementation of the Preschool Regulations. She was conferred in 2008 with a Doctorate in Education by Dublin Institute of Technology. Her PhD thesis focused on the issues that children in Ireland, and their families, face during the period of transition from preschool to school, and this has become her specialist area. She then went on to complete an 18 month post-doctorate research project with the Centre for Social and Educational Research in DIT, investigating this transition in a cluster of DEIS preschool and primary settings.

She currently teaches on the part-time Honours BA in Early Childhood in NUI Maynooth, and is an Associate Lecturer in Psychology with the Open University. She is a Guest Lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology for the International Masters in Early Childhood Education and Care, and the MA in Child, Family and Community Studies, and is External Examiner for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology.



Patricia Pleass

Patricia is a professional Training Consultant, Tutor and Preschool owner with almost twenty years industry experience in Training and Development. She started her career working in front-line customer service with Aer Lingus, progressing to senior trainer in the Aer Lingus Training Centre where she delivered quality customer care and safety training to front-line staff. While working in Aer Lingus Patricia studied the Pre- Primary and Primary Montessori Method of education. Having realised a love for this method of teaching young children, and after giving birth to twins, Patricia opened a Montessori school in Stillorgan.

Due to the rapid growth and change in the ECCE sector, Patricia commenced studying a degree in Early Childhood, Teaching and Learning in 2011 from which she graduated in Spring of 2014. Patricia joined the tutoring staff of the College of Progressive Education in 2011 and really enjoys teaching and supporting students as they undertake their Early Childhood Courses.

Childcare Courses & Montessori Courses FAQs

If the answers below don’t address your question, just contact us


What Childcare Courses do you deliver?

See the full list of Childcare Courses above.


Cost – How much do the Childcare courses cost. Can I pay in instalments

Childcare L5 Part-Time – €1,995

Childcare L5 E-Learning – €1,795

Childcare L6 Part-Time – €1,995

Childcare L6 E-Learning – €1,795


Places on all programmes can be reserved with a deposit of €400 and the balance of the fees paid by direct debit.


Duration – How long is the course?

All part-time courses are approximately 18 months in duration to included holidays, work experience and self-directed learning.

All E-Learning learning options are two years in duration.


Qualification – What qualification will I have at the end?

On successful completion of the programme you will achieve a full major award at QQI Level 5 or Level 6 depending on the programme.


Assessment – How am I assessed

Each of the component modules will have their own assessment criteria. These range from portfolio work, written assignments, skills demonstrations and written exams. All assessments must be passed in order to gain the Major Award Qualification


Method – What is the difference between Part-Time and E-Learning? Do you offer childcare courses online?

Part-Time Childcare courses are delivered two evenings a week. Some Childcare Courses also require attendance at Saturday seminar sessions. These sessions are usually set aside for assessment purposes.

E-Learning courses allow the student to work from the comfort of their own home, with the support of a tutor both online by email and by telephone, one evening a week. Attendance is required at a number of Saturday seminar sessions over the duration of the course. These sessions are for demonstrations, lectures or assessment purposes.

Students can access recorded lectures through our online platform at any time 24/7.


Progression – Where can I go from here with my qualification?

Learners have a number of options once they complete their awards.

Childcare Level 5 learners can go directly to the work place and work as a practitioner in an Early Years setting. They can also continue their studies by completing a Childcare or ECCE with Montessori programme at QQI Level 6.

Childcare Level 6 learners can go directly into the workforce as a leader in a room in an Early Years setting. They can also continue their studies to Level 7 and above.

Progressive College has working relationships with a number of third level institutes which accept our learners directly into year 2 of their degree programmes.


Work Experience – How much work experience is required? Do I have to get this myself?

Learners are required to complete 110 hours of work place experience, regardless of which programme they study.  This work experience can be structured to fit in with the learners life. The College believes that it is important for the learner to source their own work placements. This is a valuable skill which will be beneficial when the learner begins to seek employment. Most learners like to complete their work placement close to where they live.


Entry Requirements

Learners should have studied to Leaving Certificate or equivalent and have a good understanding of written and spoken English. Mature students and students with relevant work/life experience are also welcome to apply.


Location – Where is the course held?

The College operates their courses from a number of venues, both in Dublin and regionally around the country. Dublin venues include the City Centre, Dundrum and Blackrock.


Why choose Progressive College?

The College of Progressive Education School of Childcare provides quality childcare training for students wishing to pursue a career in the field of childcare and Early Years Education. Established in 1986 as The School of Practical Childcare, we were one of the first educational establishments to offer childcare courses in an era where no qualifications for working in this sector were required. With the ever changing climate in the Early Years sector and the increased need for qualified practitioners, The College of Progressive Education gives learners the opportunity to gain the necessary QQI qualification in childcare required under legislation to work in the Early Years sector. All of our tutors are highly qualified in their respective fields with many of them qualified to graduate level and beyond. They are committed individuals who go beyond merely teaching our childcare courses. They are positive and encouraging and inspire confidence and passion in their students.

Childcare Training courses –  Study options

Choose a course delivery option that suits you best.

Part-time Courses  E-Learning Courses  Full-time Courses

Other Resources

For up to date information on policy issues relating to Early Childhood Care & Education

To access information regarding the Early Years Curriculum Framework – Aistear

The Early Years Quality Framework can be found here