Shannan Mulrooney – BEd (Hons) in Early Education and Care

Name: Shannan Mulrooney

From: Sligo

School: Ursuline College, Sligo

Current Job: Owner of Maia Purposeful Play

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choosing your course: 

From a young age, I knew I wanted to work with children, but I did not know what career I wanted. From researching many courses, I found that this one would allow me to understand different aspects of the early years sector, such as social policy and child development, and provide me with a strong understanding of the various early years’ philosophies. The insight into these different modules plus many more along with the opportunities for work experience in second and third year made me decide that this course was right for me.  

What specifically about the degree did you particularly enjoy? 

The work experience opportunities in a Sligo Creche and later at Barretstown Camp, a charity providing camps for children with serious illnesses, allowed me to witness and apply my learning across diverse contexts. The opportunity to connect classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios enhanced my understanding, making the learning experience more holistic and set me up for working in the sector after completing the course. 

What is the best thing about the degree that you think new applicants should know? 

This degree equips individuals with a valuable qualification for a rewarding career in the early years sector. Research outlines the importance of the first five years in a child’s life, and this course equips its students with the skills and knowledge to support children effectively. Moreover, it is a versatile stepping stone, opening doors to career paths like primary teaching, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, or further studies such as the Masters in Leadership and Advocacy in Early Years at ATU Sligo. 

 Any favourite modules during your time studying? 

I was always interested in the Psychology modules and learning about child development. This love and passion for understanding and supporting children’s development in fun and playful ways played a pivotal role in setting up my own business – Maia Purposeful Play. 

 What essential skills did you learn while studying in ATU Sligo that have influenced your career? 

In addition to the academic skills and knowledge that I gained, one of the key takeaways was the significance of effective teamwork and the ability to work independently when necessary. These skills have proven to be essential in various roles, from working in the early years sector to serving as a primary school teacher and now running my own business. 

Can you share some detail of your career path or further studies to date 

After finishing my degree in ATU Sligo, I moved to the UAE to work as a primary school teacher as I wanted to live and work abroad. I spent five years teaching there, and in my third year, I completed a postgraduate certificate in Primary Education through the University of Sunderland. In 2021, I returned to Ireland and undertook a Masters in Leadership and Advocacy in Early Years at ATU Sligo. Over the years, I engaged in relevant CPD courses and training which aligned with my professional roles and personal interests.  

What does your current role involve? 

In 2023, I launched my own business, Maia Purposeful Play,  facilitating child-led play classes and workshops to enhance children’s holistic development through carefully planned playful experiences. Additionally, I conduct training workshops for childminders and educators to further support them in their roles and positively impact the quality of care and education of the children they work with. 

 What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field? 

The degree in ATU Sligo offers a versatile qualification for those aspiring to work with children during this crucial stage of their lives. It opens doors to immediate opportunities in the early years sector or serves as a stepping stone to diverse careers based on individual interests and passions. 

 What did you like best about studying in ATU Sligo? 

I always felt supported by my university lecturers, who were happy to answer any questions and provide guidance when needed. 

 What advice would you give a first-year student starting in ATU Sligo? 

Stay proactive in managing your workload to avoid last-minute rushes. Allocate time for personal enjoyment outside of your studies, and consider forming study groups or utilising the library space for independent work, depending on your preferred working style.

Find out more about AU919 Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Early Education and Care