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Hannah Long

level 6 montessori
Childcare & Special Needs Assisting 1024 1024 Chevron College

Childcare & Special Needs Assisting

Childcare & Special Needs Assisting


Childcare and Special Needs Assisting has become increasingly popular in Ireland over the last few years. In a sense, the childcare sector has finally gotten the recognition it deserves. Our government has created new legislations, frameworks and regulations to protect develop and enable childcare in Ireland to reach higher standards. Unfortunately, the Special Needs Sector was, to say, late to the party when it came to input from government resources and only in the last couple of years, this sector has grown and developed in its inclusivity and availability.

For too long, children with special educational requirements were not given the quality care provision that they required in order to gain the same level of education of their peers in mainstream schools. This is where the role of the Special Needs Assistant differs from that of an Early Years Practitioner. In this blog post, I will discuss what separates and joins the roles of the Special Needs Assistant and the Early Years Educator.

Special Needs Assisting

childcare special needs assistingA special needs assistant plays a vital role in any special or additional needs child, in either a Mainstream School or a Special Education School. Their role is to assist a class teacher with students who require special educational needs and care. The special needs assistant works under the supervision of a classroom teacher and School Principle. The SNA usually supports a number of special education children in the classroom, to provide them with the care and support they need.

The duties of an SNA are broad. An SNA can do anything ranging from preparing classrooms for the day; they can assist in the daily care of Special Needs children, for instance assisting in feeding and general hygiene. The SNA can also assist during school outings and activities. An SNA is extremely important to any additional or special need child, because they deserve the same attention and care as their peers in school.

An SNA is primarily involved in working with Primary or Secondary school age children. Many parents who have additional or special needs children also take part in SNA courses. This is because it allows them to learn about their child, and how to provide them with the best care and attention befitting of their needs.

Childcare Practitioner

The role of the childcare practitioner is to look after young children, toddlers and babies in a setting such as day care centre or a private home. They are responsible for providing children with a safe environment to play, learn, and help children to develop basic behavioural and social skills. The Childcare practitioners provide safe, loving, and supportive supervision and care of young children in their care. They engage children in age-appropriate play activities, plan curriculums that attend to the interests of the children in their care, organize outings and teach each child the skills that they need in life in order to gain the most out of their ongoing development.

The childcare practitioner also creates an environment that includes every child in their care. This involves working with relevant childcare legislations and frameworks that teaches the childcare practitioner how to hone their childcare skills. This will then lead to the childcare practitioner to gain the confidence to set up appropriate play and learning areas for the children in their care. These play areas, which ensure child development, include, solitary play, exercises focused on artistic expression, and quiet time.

Other roles of the childcare practitioner include supervising groups of children in adherence to ratio quotas, usually within a limited age range, depending on which area in the centre you are an assistant/leader in. These caregivers create lesson plans and organize activities throughout the day.

They often supervise indoor and outdoor play, engage with children one-on-one, and teach a variety of basic skills. The childcare practitioner also work with the parents of children to ensure that all requirements and needs are met when it comes to the care of their children.

Working in Childcare

Working in childcare is an incredibly rewarding job. The benefits and support you gain working in either Special Needs Assisting or Childcare, really make the studying and hard work worth it. If you are unsure as to whether you would prefer to practice Special Needs Assisting or Childcare, I would suggest the following.

If you have a deep interest in working with school age children on a more one to one basis, and if you would prefer to work hours that work in tandem with family life, then Special Needs Assisting would be the course for you.

If you are interested in learning about a child as a whole, and would love to help children develop from 6 months to 5 years old. If you also have an interest in different types of childcare, curriculum planning, development in children, then working as a childcare practitioner would benefit you more. Working in childcare and completing childcare courses, can also allow you to progress more. You could progress into degree programmes, which would allow you to work for Government Agencies specialising in Childcare and you can progress into teaching also.

Whichever path you choose in childcare, you will always ensure that all children, no matter their age, are availing of the care, attention and education that they require and most importantly, deserve.

how online courses work
How Online Courses Work 510 340 Chevron College

How Online Courses Work

How Online Courses Work


A question that we get a lot from our learners is ‘how do online courses work?’ I hope that in this blog post, I can explain in detail, how our courses work.

When I began my QQI Level 6 in Childcare, I had never completed an online course before. I had only ever completed classroom courses. So, like many people, I had no idea what to expect. Luckily, though, completing a course online through Chevron Training is very easy to use.
Before you enrol onto our courses, you will be in contact with a Training Consultant. The training consultant will go through all of the details about the course you are interested in completing with us here at Chevron. If it turns out you are interested in completing the course, they will then very briefly go through the process of learning online. You will be told that you will gain access to a Learn Upon account where all of your course notes and course assignments will be stored.

Learn Upon is our online system used to store all of your course notes and course assignments. You can access your account through our main website When you log into Learn Upon, you will be faced with a Dashboard. This is where you can access all of your information. There will be two tabs on the front of the screen, My Courses, and My Achievements.
My Courses is where your course content is stored for you to look at. This is also where you can access your Exam Timetable, but we will talk more about that later. Each module you are enrolled on will show up here. This is where you can access your module content.
When you click into your module, there will be three more headings, Details, Content and Certs & Credits. The Detail button when you click into it, will explain to you in detail, all about your module content, and what you can expect from your module. When you click into the Content button, you will have a list with around 16 separate steps. These steps start nice and easy with a Welcome Note. They then progress into how to apply for Garda Vetting, your course notes, and your course assignments.

online coursesEach module you are enrolled on will have the exact same format of viewing your module details. It is important to note that you will need to complete each of the 16 steps in order to gain 100% completion on your module. You will also not be able to skip steps, you will need to complete each step from 1-16. Your course notes will be extremely detailed and easy to understand. All of your course notes will directly relate to your Assignment Briefs. You will also be glad to know, that you will not need to purchase any books or other course material in order to complete your course.
Speaking of Assignments, each assignment will need to be typed out on Microsoft Word, or a product like Microsoft Word. When your assignments are typed out, you just need to print them off, and post them into ourselves here at Chevron. Some modules will also have various exercises that will need to be recorded with a camera. These can be sent in via Drop-Box or on a USB to be posted in with your assignments.
Work placement is a large part of our courses, and you will be asked to carry out 20 hours work placement per module. In work placement, you will be asked to carry out various Skills Demonstrations. These skills demonstrations will need to be signed off by your work placement supervisor, your log of work placement hours and skills demonstrations will also need to be posted in with your assignments.
With any course that you have booked onto, you will have an In-House Tutor. Your tutor is there to help you in any way possible. They are available to contact by email or by phone. Your tutor details will be listed on your Learn Upon account. Your tutor here will help you throughout your course in a variety of ways.

Our tutors often hold Webinars. These Webinars are a great way to get any questions you need answered in real time. You can book into these Webinars via Learn Upon, and your place will be reserved. A Webinar is much like a Seminar you would attend in College, but it is totally online. You will receive the same amount of information, and you will never be left in the dark on anything. If you need help on an assignment, or you are just confused about anything with your course, contact your tutors, they are there to help you out in any manner they can.
Our courses are tailor made for busy people. This is why there is no set start dates to enrol on our courses, or deadlines on our assignments. If you are completing a full QQI Level 5 or 6 Major Award, you will have 16 months to complete your course. If you are completing SNA Level 5 & 6, you will have 12 months to complete your course. If you are completing Level 6 SNA, you will have 2-3 months to complete your course. If you are just completing a module, you will have 2-3 months to complete this module. As long as all of your course work and work placement is completed within the allocated amount of time, you can take as long as you wish to complete your modules.
Last, but not least, the exam timetable. When you enrol on the likes of our Childcare or Healthcare courses, there will be exams for you to attend. In order to attend these exams, all you need to do is to have a good look at your exam timetable. On this timetable there will be exam dates for Cork, Galway and Dublin. All you need to do is select a date that suits yourself, and then send a quick email to your tutor who will book you onto your course.

Hopefully now, you will feel more confident with completing your course online!

my journey in childcare
My Journey in Childcare 1024 682 Chevron College

My Journey in Childcare

My journey in Childcare began back in 2015, when I was accepted onto a Fetac Level 5 Early Childhood Care and Education course with the local ETB. I got into childcare as a teenager, by volunteering at local Summer Camps, and by of course, as most of us do, babysitting. So pursuing an education in Childcare seemed like the natural and logical next step.
Eventually after a year of studying, I obtained my Fetac Level 5 Certificate in Early Childhood Care & Education. Unfortunately, the local ETB was not offering a Level 6 in Childcare, but this ultimately lead me to Chevron Training. After some in-depth investigation into online courses, I decided to enrol on their QQI Level 6 in Early Childhood Care & Education.
Obtaining this Level 6 in Childcare is what lead me to gaining employment with a local, award winning Crèche/Montessori. I personally found that completing my Level 6 with Chevron was very user friendly and accessible. If I am being honest, I found the course content to be far superior to that of the Level 5 I had completed before. The course notes were extremely in-depth, yet easy to understand, and it was very clear that the tutors knew their stuff. My tutor always had an answer for the (many) questions I had, and they always got back to me quickly and efficiently. Their feedback was easy to take on board, and in the end helped me become more confident in my assignments.
What made Chevron Training stand out for me was the range of elective modules that are offered. When completing my Level 5 Childcare, we were not given any option on what elective modules we wanted to complete, whereas with Chevron, you have a lot of choice that will suit all different types of learners. Modules such as Disability Awareness and Special Needs Assisting cater towards childcare workers who have an interest in working with children with additional or special needs. Whereas the Arts & Culture and Literacy & Numeracy Modules suit the needs of the more artistically inclined childcare worker. Every early years setting needs staff who can offer both sides of the spectrum of childcare, in order to provide quality care to each child. Chevron Training is helping to pave the way for each childcare worker to obtain these skills, which in turn is only going to improve childcare in Ireland, now and in the future.

From my own experience, the most rewarding modules in Level 6 Childcare are Child Development and Child Psychology. These modules are fundamental, I believe to anybody working in childcare. It is not always abundantly clear in day-to-day life that the topics covered in these modules, are the reasoning behind much of a child’s actions and emotions. Anybody working in childcare will know that Observations are hugely important. They help you to form a deep understanding of each child, so you can then go on to develop the best care and curriculum that suits each individual child, as not every child learns and thinks the same. Child Development and Child Psychology really help you to understand the goings on of each child’s development, and that in turn helps you to give every observation a sturdy foundation.
When I was working in the Early Years Setting, I was a Pre-School teacher. Many people do not realise that the pre-school room is more than what it seems to be. When you work in a pre-school room, you are helping to set up children for not only the beginning of School, but also for their lives. While working in conjunction with the parents, you are helping to mould their children into becoming confident and self-sufficient young people. This starts by beginning their formal education in a way that is tailor made for them. This is where the Early Childhood Curriculum module comes into play. This module is all about how to execute each curriculum, and how to plan each curriculum. We taught the children by planning a curriculum for each week of the month. These curriculums could be seasonal, for example, all about Christmas, but they could also be about the Children’s interest, this is called Emerging Curriculum, and it is a very successful way in educating children, as you are educating them about their interests. When it came time to carry out my first Curriculum Plan, I had no need to worry, as the Early Childhood Curriculum Module had me set up. I understood the best way to plan a curriculum, I understood how to incorporate themes from both Aistear and Siolta, and I understood how to write out the report at the end of the curriculum. As this was my first job in childcare, I was delighted that I knew how to do exactly what was asked of me, all thanks to this vitally important module offered by Chevron Training.

The last aspect of this Level 6 I am going to talk about, is the benefits of the ongoing work placement. Work placement is required for each module, and is hugely beneficial. The experience you get out of work placement, and the knowledge imparted on you from the childcare workers, really help you with your assignments, and also help you become more confident in your abilities. Even just observing the interactions between children, and between the staff and children, are great to see, as you can use this experience to add a personal touch to your assignments. You also have to carry out Skills Demonstrations, such as reading a story to a group of kids during circle time. Something like this can seem daunting at first, but after witnessing it many times during work placement, you understand that it’s not daunting, it’s actually great fun, and the children love it. Situations like this help you become confident and really back you up when it comes to searching for employment in the future.
Studying Childcare, and working in Childcare were brilliant experiences for me, and I owe a lot of what I know now to this. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work in this field without obtaining my Level 6 in Childcare with Chevron Training. This has also really given me the push to go on and start my BA (Hons) Degree in Early Childhood Studies with Chevron Training and The University of East London this September.

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