Certificate in Early Learning and Care Stage1/NFQ Level 5

Course Overview


The Certificate in Early Learning and Care is the professional award required for entry into the early learning and care sector. This programme through a balance of theory and practical opportunities enriches the personal and professional development of the learner in preparation of the Early Years Educator role (NFQ Level 5).

The aim of this one-year full-time programme is to enable the learner to acquire the knowledge, skills and competence to work independently and as part of a team, subject to direction and practice supervision. Working as a member of the early learning and care community of practice, they will provide holistic care and learning experiences for children from 0-6 years across a range of early learning and care settings.

Throughout the course, learners will work under supervision demonstrating the required competencies, values and work practices to build reciprocal, responsive and respectful working relationships with all stakeholders in the best interest of babies, toddlers and young children.

This award also provides the learner with the opportunity to progress into further and higher education and training. Graduates of this programme may progress within Portlaoise Institiute to the Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care (Stage 2/NFQ Level 6) programme.

Why Should I Apply for the Course

  • Insight into the early learning and care sector, from an early years practitioner viewpoint
  • Completion of 150 professional practice placement in a local early learning and care service, working with children aged between 0-6 years
  • Teamwork with early years professionals who will support and enhance personal and professional development
  • Development of academic, research and digital skills
  • Practical and fun workshops in the area of creative arts
  • Friendly experienced teachers who are available for academic support


  • Patient Manual Handling
  • TUSLA, Child First eLearning Programme
  • First Aid Responder (QQI Level 5 Module)