Introduction to Early Childhood Education

MQF Level 6


Introduction to Early Childhood Education

October 2024
Module Type
ECTS Credits
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Module Description

This module aims to introduce course participants to an overall perspective of Early Childhood Education (ECE) on an international, European, and local level. The module also aims to inform course participants about the structure of the Maltese education system and how this has developed over the years (from it being non-compulsory to how contemporary education is currently experienced in Malta).

Course participants following this module will also be informed about the roots of ECE in Malta – this will be presented by identifying key milestones, policy enactments, and legislations which shaped ECE in Malta. Course participants will also be able to engage in discussions and acquire knowledge about how ECE is presented and dealt with across private and public settings as well as state and non-state schools in Malta.

Different scenarios of how ECE is experienced in all these different settings will help course participants understand the myriad of realities existing in Malta. Given that the ECE cycle encompasses learners between the ages of 0 and 7, the cycle starts within non-compulsory education (0-5) and continues within compulsory education (5-7).

Since this module is aimed at those who are or will be working in ECE, course participants will be encouraged to reflect on different settings and different approaches to the setting (compulsory/non-compulsory) in light of what happens within the ECE in Malta. In such a manner, one may understand how crucial the ECE cycle is and how this provides solid foundations for all other educational cycles to follow.

Apart from giving course participants a chronological journey of how ECE has developed in Malta, this module also supports course participants to understand how legislation and policy enactment has shaped ECE in Malta. For instance, legislations (Chapter 327 Education Act, Chapter 470 Maltese Language Act, etc.), policy enactment (Language Policy for the Early Years, Managing Behaviour in School Policy, Early Childhood Education and Care in Malta, etc.) and frameworks (National Curriculum Framework, Respect for All Framework, etc.) will be discussed.

Future ECE practitioners must be aware of such milestones and documentation so that they are aware of how policy and practice have shaped the field in Malta and can predict potential changes, needs, and solutions for contemporary and post-contemporary ECE in Malta.

Entry Requirements

Candidates who apply for this course will possess:

  • A full qualification at MQF level 4 in Early Childhood Education and SEC/Ordinary Level passes in Mathematics, English and Maltese.


  • 2 Advanced Level passes and 2 Intermediate Level passes including 2 subjects from Mathematics, English, Maltese.
    A pass at SEC/Ordinary Level in the subject that is not presented at advanced/intermediate level from the 3 specified above.
  • In the case of students who do not possess all the formal required academic qualifications, then the RPL process could be applied such that if evidence of equivalent learning, related to the area of study of this programme, is found then the applicant could still be accepted in the course. Such RPL process will subject applicants to an interview held with a board of experts within the field, chosen specifically by IDEA Academy, so as to verify their experiences and prior learning.

IDEA Academy’s RPL policy can be accessed through this link

Furthermore, it will be advised to students at entry point that before going on placements, they will need to be in possession of:

  • The POMA (Protection of Minors Application) certificate.
  • A first-aid certificate prior to commencing placement practice.
  • A valid police conduct certificate.

Target Audience

This programme has the following target groups:

  • Individuals who are approaching the field of Early Childhood Education.
  • Individuals who have been working in the field as a means of capacity building.
  • Individuals looking to advance to Kindergarten Educator III role.

Module / Unit Instruction

The proposed structure comprises a blended approach promoting the building of a community of practice via peer-to-peer learning.

The structure uses primarily two dimensions of teaching-learning modes: · Face-to-face sessions: 18h · Online Learning Activities: 12h.

Face-to-face sessions include lectures, tutorials, discussions, presentations, and workshop activities promoting peer-to-peer learning.

Online Learning Activities incorporate tutorials and asynchronous discussions. These may consist of active interaction, participation, and contributions in fora discussions, sharing resources and self-reflection exercises.

Learners also contribute to the building of the community of practice by providing feedback to their peers as critical friends, enhancing the learner’s critical engagement throughout the study period.

The tutor provides continual support during both teaching-learning modes by providing information, readings, and tasks relevant to the module in question.

The tutor provides continuous formative feedback as an on-going guidance during the student’s learning experience in preparation for their summative assessment.

How you’ll be assessed

For this module, the assigned lecturer is guided to develop and assign a minimum of two assessment tasks, one of which should happen during the module to allow for formative feedback. Once the assessment tasks are developed by the lecturer, these go through a rigourous internal verification process to make sure that they are subject, level, and load appropriate.

All formative and summative tasks aim to provide the learner with an opportunity to produce evidence of his/her competences aligned to the learning outcomes of the modules and enhance his/her learning in the process.

Furthermore, the tasks may include different forms of assessment which allow and promote students’ knowledge in the area, critical engagement and other transversal skills that are required in the field (e.g., online discussions, in-class discussions, case studies, etc.).

The module consist of two assessments, each carrying a weighting as is below recommended:

a. Assessment 1 carries 40% of total module mark achieved. b. Assessment 2 carries 60% of total module mark achieved.

The overall grade achieved for this module is calculated as the sum of: · 40% of the mark achieved for Assessment 1; and · 60% of the mark achieved for Assessment 2.

a) Assessment 1 will be conducted in the form of a group presentation whereby the course participants need to demonstrate a thorough application of early childhood education (case-study based).

b) Assessment 2  will be conducted in the form of a 1,500-word assignment whereby the course participants need to show a thorough understanding of the roots of ECE.

For successful completion of this study module the student is required to achieve an overall pass mark of 50%.


Module Intake Dates

October 2024

Learning Outcomes


At the end of the module/unit the learner will have acquired the responsibility and autonomy to:

  • Analyse the roots and development of ECE in Malta and compare such development to a European-wide and worldwide scenario.
  • Assess key milestones, policy texts, and legislation related to ECE in Malta.
  • Carry out a review of the literature on different settings and different approaches within ECE, both in Malta and abroad, pertaining to both non-compulsory and compulsory education.
  • Investigate the role of the practitioner within ECE in Malta and abroad to elicit comparisons and contrasts.


At the end of the module/unit, the learner will be able to:

  • Be familiar with the local and EU documentation linked to ECE from a curricular perspective (curricular design and reform).
  • Be familiar with the local and EU documentation linked to ECE from an inclusive perspective (diverse and inclusive education).
  • Be familiar with the local and EU documentation linked to ECE from a bilingual perspective (plurilingual approaches and translanguaging, etc).
  • Be familiar with the various key stakeholders in ECE in Malta, including those working within the policy and practice sphere.
  • Consolidate knowledge about the documentation as well as processes and procedures used in ECE.
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the roots of ECE and the current ECE scenario from a European and Maltese perspective.
  • Identify key principles and/or characteristics on how to approach the field as a practitioner in ECE in Malta.
  • Systematically understand the Maltese educational structure related to ECE as well as how this extends across other sectors.
  • Gain sound knowledge relating to the canonical theories of ECE.
  • Demonstrate a robust understanding of how ECE lays the foundation for other sectors of education in Malta, such as Primary and Middle School Education.
  • Gain familiarity with the legislation and policies relating to the field of ECE.
  • Extend their understanding of how the ECE field has evolved locally and abroad.


At the end of the module/unit, the learner will have acquired the following skills:

  • Apply the canonical theories of ECE (e.g., Montessori, Malaguzzi, Reggio Approach, Project Approach, etc.) to encourage a more holistic manner of how to approach the ECE field.
  • Apply the principles of quality education when immersing within the field of ECE.
  • Examine policy documents and legislations underpinning the ECE field.
  • Identify and apply various techniques when working within an ECE setting.
  • Investigate the role of key stakeholders in ECE.

Module-Specific Learner Skills:

At the end of the module/unit the learner will be able to:

  • Assess which foreign documentation may be amended and adapted to the local ECE context.
  • Identify misunderstandings and difficulties which ECE practitioners may face when reading such documents.
  • Establish a positive attitude towards researching legislation and policy documents related to the field of ECE.
  • Evaluate the content, design, and approach of various legislation and policy texts, local and foreign.

Module-Specific Digital Skills and Competences:

At the end of the module/unit, the learner will be able to:

  • Carry out academic research on websites (e.g. Google Scholar) or journals (e.g. EBSCO, Taylor & Francis, SAGE, etc.).
  • Carry out research, manually and/or online via the Internet.
  • Develop a reference list using the Microsoft application in-built function.
  • Navigate the Internet for policy documents, legislation, etc., related to ECE from a worldwide, European, and local perspective.
  • Navigate through the online learning platform to download and upload assignments, discussion boards, literature, tutorials, etc.
  • Use basic Microsoft office (or equivalent) applications to write and submit assignments.
  • Use several academic software (e.g. Mendeley) to enhance the academic and research experience.
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