Mary Immaculate College
Dr. Mary Moloney
First 5, the whole of government strategy for Babies, young children and their families indicates that ECEC educators must be ‘fully prepared for the demands of their professional roles’ (Govt. Ireland, p.112). This involves supervised practicum which plays a crucial role in the formation of ECEC graduates, equipping them to meet the demands of their professional role in ECEC settings.
The importance of supervised practicum is highlighted in the Award Criteria and Guidelines for Initial Professional Education (L7&L8) Degree Programmes for the ECEC sector in Ireland (DES, 2018). However, a national study by PLÉ (funded through T&L) in 2017/18 found that industry partners (i.e., ECEC setting staﬀ) who directly mentor students during their practicum in settings, felt ill-prepared for their role, and had limited access to mentoring supports. Congruent with PLÉ, First Five: Goal D further identifies the need to support those who facilitate practicum for students (Govt. Ireland, 2018).
Against this policy backdrop, this T&L initiative is concerned with the quality of student experiences while engaging in practicum experiences, with preparing them for the demands of working in ECEC. It is also focussed upon supporting industry partners, to enhance teaching and learning content and practices and, the success of students beyond higher education.
It aims to:
1. Develop a blended learning mentoring module (Level 8) which will be piloted in Limerick city and county with industry partners
2. Facilitate a regional mentoring seminar for ECEC mentors involved in supervising undergraduate students during practicum in early childhood settings