NCI Blog

Studying Early Childhood Education and Care at NCI: Jimmy’s Insights

Posted by Andrea Leyden on 05 January 2024

Jimmy Ahmed Blog Post - ECEC Student at National College of IrelandJimmy Ahmed (pictured far left) at the Finbarr Flood Scholarship Ceremony

For many students who are making their CAO choices, one factor that helps rank college courses is the positive impact you could have on society as a graduate. Working in areas such as healthcare, sustainability, non-profit or education can be incredibly rewarding and it starts with the choices you make as you prepare to leave secondary school. 

Early Childhood Education and Care fits into this category. Along with this field being incredibly fulfilling, both personally and professionally, it comes with a whole lot of fun. Modules include learning through music, movement, and art, play and creativity, and early learning in a digital world.

Jimmy Ahmed is a current first year student who shares his experience of the course to date, his expectations for the next few years studying ECEC and his advice for students making their CAO choices. He also discusses his pride at being a recipient of the 34th Annual Finbarr Flood Scholarships announced by Diageo recently.

Read Jimmy’s story to gain insights into studying ECEC.

Choosing Study Early Childhood Education and Care at NCI

Picking the right course to study at third level is a challenge for many CAO students. Jimmy says, “my decision to pursue the BA (Honours) in Early Childhood Education and Care at NCI was because I felt that it would strike the perfect balance between academic learning and support. From online research, I discovered that this course would involve a mixture of practical and theoretical early learning modules which I thought would be fascinating and rewarding.”

The small class sizes was another appealing factor as this can allow for stronger bonds between lecturers and students in the classroom. This was a strong consideration in his decision to follow this study path.

Insights into Studying ECEC: New Skills and Abilities

Joining the Early Childhood Education and Care degree at NCI has uncovered interesting learnings for Jimmy. "Studying ECEC has not only equipped me with theoretical knowledge but has also heightened my awareness of the behavioural intricacies of children aged from birth to six years," he reveals.

A key focus has been understanding the role of educators in providing children with opportunities for success and personality development. Additionally, exploring the theories which have significantly contributed to the field has added a layer of depth to their understanding.

Did you know that international students can also apply for this course?

Visit our International Hub for information on how to apply, scholarships and lots more.

Looking Forward: Expectations for Next Steps

As Jimmy looks ahead, the prospect of being placed in an early childhood setting stands out as an exciting elements in his future on the course. Reflecting on previous field visits for assignments, he shares his deep connection to the nurturing and caring environment found in these settings.

"This exposure makes me even more eager to explore diverse settings and to engage with a broader spectrum of children," Jimmy notes.

The Finbarr Flood Scholarship: Recognition of Academic Success

Jimmy AwardA recent highlight in Jimmy’s academic journey is being awarded the Finbarr Flood Scholarship by Diageo. Founded by the late Finbarr Flood, former Managing Director of the Guinness Ireland Group, these scholarships have been a source of support for nearly 200 students in the local area for over 30 years.

The award ceremony, hosted at the Guinness Storehouse, was a moment of pride for Jimmy. "I was extremely proud of my years in secondary school and I strive to provide assistance and support to my peers in the future." Succeeding with the process, initiated through his school, was a remarkable achievement for Jimmy, especially as he was able to contribute to his school community.

Advice for CAO Candidates: Choosing the Right Path

When it comes to choosing your college course through the CAO, Jimmy’s advice is to “select a course that aligns with your academic and career aspirations and that represents you as a person. Consider your past experiences and what subjects you have a deep interest in when making your decision.”

He continues to say “remember, it's not a race; take the time you need. And, most importantly, seek guidance from your career counsellor—they are there to provide the extra help you might need."

Jimmy is currently studying the BA (Honours) in Early Childhood Education and Care at NCI. Register for a CAO Open Day to attend a sample class which can help you decide if this course is right for you.

Topics: CAO, Full-Time Courses, Early Childhood Education