Anne Marie Tiernan- MA in Leadership and Advocacy in Early Years

Name: Anne Marie Tiernan

Job: Creche Manager


Can you share your career path to date? 

 I firstly Studied in the Montessori Method of Early Education. I have owned my own creche, worked with the North Western Health Board as a Community Childcare worker.  I lived in Italy for 5 years and I taught and in an international School. I have worked as a Montessori Teacher and TEFL teacher.  I learned about the Reggio Emilia Approach during my time in Italy and have been lucky to train in this method and this method would be my key influencer in my daily practice. I have managed a Private Full day care service since 2007. We offer full day care, ECCE preschool, afterschool and Care and Education for 0-3.  We are Siolta validated and our Curriculum is based on The Aistear Framework and The Reggio Emilia Approach. I learned about the Reggio Emilia Approach during my time in Italy and have been lucky to train in this method and this method would be my key influencer in my daily practice. 

 What does your current role involve? 

I manage a full day care service.  I lead a team of 18 staff. The creche has 5 care areas, Babies, Wobblers, Toddlers, ECCE and afterschool. In my role I am responsible for:

  • Managing DCYA subsidy schemes in line with pobal inspections,  
  •  Health and Safety – writing and  reviewing policies  to guide practice 
  • Quality Keeping up to date with DCYA Policy changes and incorporating them into   
  • Curriculum supporting the team in creating activities under the Aistear Framework. 
  • Quality – Overseeing the quality standards under the Siolta Quality Programme  
  •  Organising Staff meetings both full team and room meetings. 
  • Interacting with the children and observing their learning 
  • Meeting and getting to know families from Diverse cultures. 

What motivated you to start studying?  

I understood I had come to the stage in my professional development that I needed to gain a deeper understanding  the sector particularly  international research and practice in Early Years Education. I recognise that the move to professionalise the Early Education, can only be supported by the willingness from within to study and increase the level of qualification.  

Why did you choose this course from ATU Sligo? 

 The course content was  all relevant to my role as manager.  The fact that it was online and so accessible made it possible, as I worked full time and had a young family.  

How did you find the process of studying online? What elements did you find helpful? Were there elements you found challenging?  

I really enjoyed the online weekly classes. The tutors were readily and available by email.  The classes were informative and interesting. Moodle was a user-friendly portal.  The week- long residencies were excellent and a valuable opportunity to connect with colleagues and tutors.  These residencies were perfectly placed through the modules to support with assignments and course work. 

 In terms of your employer, were they supportive of your decision to study? Were there elements of the course that were particularly relevant to your current employer?  

 My employer was in total support of my studying and I received one study day a week. This was essential to help me get through the course ( I discovered this after the first two modules.) 

 What advice would you have for anyone considering studying online? 

You need to be motivated and disciplined. You must be willing to ask for support and help at times when the work gets challenging 

 In what way has studying online with ATU Sligo benefitted your career? 

Aside from the knowledge It has given me confidence  

Did you find that the elements you were studying had practical relevance in your day-to-day role?  

Yes all of the modules were relevant to my role. I deepened my knowledge in International and National Policy, strengthened my leadership skills and discovered the wealth of research that is constantly taking place in the area of Early Years Education 

 What were the key skills you took away from your time studying at ATU Sligo? 

 Team Leadership and Change management is particularly helpful in the current time due to the amount of change within the sector. Using research as a basis for decision making is key to my role.  

Find out more about Master of Arts in Leadership and Advocacy in the Early Years