Lorraine Farrell- MA in Leadership and Advocacy in Early Years

Name: Lorraine Farrell

Job: National Aistear Coordinator

Can you share your career path to date? 

When I joined this course I was an ECCE provider (Owner/Manager) and part time support and development worker with Longford County Childcare Committee. I then progressed onto Coordinator of Longford County Childcare Committee and have since moved to work with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) as National Aistear Coordinator.

What does your current role involve? 

 My current role involves, but it not limited to:  Developing the National Síolta Aistear Initiative (NSAI), support and work with a team of mentors supporting the implementation of Aistear and Síolta, manage and develop the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide, engage with researchers, stakeholders and their work, and develop discussion papers, reports and other such documentation in relation to curriculum and assessment matters in early childhood and input into the current review of the Primary School Curriculum  

 What motivated you to start studying?  

I’m committed to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and the idea of a challenging two year masters appealed to me 

Why did you choose this course from ATU Sligo? 

ATU Sligo offered me to opportunity to study remotely through online classes that was complimented by onsite classes every term. This suited my situation perfectly, as a mother to two young children and working full time.  

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

I loved studying online. I found the platform used easy to navigate and created ample opportunities to interact with both lecturers and other students. The platform allowed for the uploading of resources by the lecturers and areas for interaction with the students.  The flexibility of online studying was really beneficial. It meant reading, studying etc could be facilitated around children, work etc.  Despite not meeting lecturers until well into the module, I found them very supportive and engaged. Moreover, they were clearly experts in their given subjects. Furthermore, studying online created a very supportive community of learners with other students.  

 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?  

When engaged in this course, I worked with a different employer. They were very supportive. Aspects of all modules could be relevant to the employment I was engaged in . 

What advice would you have for anyone considering studying online? 

It is so flexible; it really makes further study accessible to so many people. It is important to be self-motivated, however.  

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

It has undoubtedly benefitted my career in terms of higher qualification. Moreover, the knowledge gained, not only in terms of subject knowledge but also the variety of methods of research used has been extremely beneficial.  

Did this course provide any unexpected benefits to your career? 

The other students enrolled on the course were one of its biggest benefit. The make up of students was rich and varied and resulted in excellent networking opportunities.  

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

Absolutely. Each module had relevance to the Irish context and could be related to everyday practice. Importantly however, it was not limited to the Irish context and there were many opportunities to compare, contrast and critique international contexts.  

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

Research, critical thinking , networking 

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