From a distance

There are now a number of distance-learning courses that have been specially designed for early years professionals or those wanting to work in the childcare sector. ICEYE

There are now a number of distance-learning courses that have been specially designed for early years professionals or those wanting to work in the childcare sector.


* Bielby Lane, Pocklington, York YO42 1NT * 01759 301177 *

ICEYE has a dedicated early years teacher training centre that offers a range of nationally accredited childcare courses, with awarding bodies such as City and Guilds and CACHE.

Through ICEYE learners can access training online any time. At present it offers courses for people wanting to become childminders. They are:

* Introduction to childminding practice: this course has been developed to meet the needs of childminders in England and Wales at the point of registration with their local authority. It explores topics such as starting a childminding business, establishing routines and managing children's behaviour.

* Developing childminding practice: this second unit covers the broad range of skills needed by all childminders. It explores topics such as children's development, play and learning, caring for children across a range of ages, relationships with parents, equal opportunity and child protection. The 60-hour unit is assessed through coursework assignments.

* Extending childminding practice: the skill and knowledge needed to progress in childminding is covered by this step. The unit includes the skills and knowledge needed by community and accredited childminders.

Topics include children's development, planning for their learning, HIV/AIDS, working with disabled children and with other professionals.

Learning Curve

* 14 Bethel Street, Barnoldswick, Lancashire BB18 5EH * 01282 851615 Enrolment hotline 01282 853896 * enrolmentform.cfm Learning Curve offers a range of specialist distance learning courses, each of which has been written and developed by subject experts. Course materials are revised regularly. Courses currently offered are:

* Childcare worker: this is a comprehensive introduction to working in a childcare setting and explores key aspects of early years childcare and education. It is an ideal starting point for students hoping to go into childcare or those who have recently begun working in this area, but are unable to attend a standard college course due to work or family commitments.

* An introduction to childminding: this short course is ideal both for childminders who are just starting out and those who think this might be a career choice they would like to pursue. The course includes ten modules and five assignments. Study topics include child development; social, emotional, cognitive and physical development; food and nutrition; managing behaviour; childhood illnesses and ailments; early learning opportunities; working with parents; safety; and child protection.

* Family support work: this is an advanced course for childcare practitioners working with families in a counselling or support context. It takes an in-depth look at family support work. Study topics include working therapeutically within families; family dynamics; practical family counselling skills; managing behaviour through family support work; implications of intervention for family relationships.

* Counselling children: this is an advanced course for childcare practitioners working with children in a counselling or support context. It is a comprehensive introduction to working effectively and therapeutically with young children. Topics include the child-counsellor relationship; theoretical and practical foundations; child counselling skills and approaches; play therapy; self-esteem building; social skills; developing protective behaviours.

* Classroom support: this introductory course is designed for students who hope to find a position as a teaching assistant. It covers all the underpinning knowledge required to fulfil this role successfully and is a good starting point for further study and vocational training.

* Introduction to Montessori: this comprehensive foundation certificate is an ideal introduction to the Montessori method, covering key ideas, apparatus and techniques. It is ideal for parents who would like to use Montessori ideas at home as well as childcare workers who would like to apply Montessori techniques in their work with children aged two-and-a-half to seven.

* Child psychology: this ten-module course provides a comprehensive introduction to child psychology. It is suitable for anyone who would like to understand more about the way children think, develop and learn.

National Extension College * 0800 389 2839 *

The National Extension College (NEC) supports 10,000 individual learners a year on more than 100 home study courses and provides quality open learning resources for organisations and training providers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The NEC's childcare and early years courses include:

* Business skills for care and early years: this is an essential course for anyone currently running a care or childcare business who wishes to develop their business skills further.

* Certificate in playwork: this course is aimed at anyone working or planning to work in out-of-school childcare.

* Certificate in pre-school practice: developed in partnership with the Pre-School Learning Alliance, the CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Pre-School Practice is the qualification to choose if you are beginning to work at a supervised level, or as an assistant, within a pre-school or playgroup.

* Diploma in Pre-School Practice: developed in partnership with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, the Diploma in Pre-school Practice offers a flexible and accessible route to this award, and the only distance-learning route.

* Certificate in Work with Children (APEL): this course has been designed specifically for experienced practitioners in early years and playwork who are currently working in the sector but do not have acceptable qualifications or have gained a qualification before the Children Act 1989.

* Introducing Childminding Practice (ICP): this course is the first of three unts that make up the CACHELevel 3 Certificate in Childminding Practice It has been developed in partnership with NCMA and CACHE to meet the needs of childminders in England and Wales at the point of registration with their local authority.

* Developing Childminding Practice (DCP): this course is the second unit of three, and progresses on from ICP.

* Extending childminding practice: this course is the third and final unit that makes up the CACHE Certificate in Childminding Practice. If progresses from DCP.

* Protecting children (Continuing Professional Development): this new course will help practitioners to develop and extend their specialist knowledge in the area of child protection.

Montessori Centre International

* 18 Balderton Street, London W1K 6TG * 020 7493 0165 *

Montessori Centre International runs a number of distance learning courses.

They include:

* Early Childhood Teaching Certificate stage one - Montessori theory: this course is designed to develop a high level of professional understanding in students wishing to begin their training as teachers of the Montessori method for children from two-and-a-half to seven. It covers the theory element of the Montessori approach and also provides an overview of important educational philosophies.

* Certificate Stage Two - Montessori theory and methodology: through additional study in workshops and seminars, students have the opportunity to upgrade to a Stage Two Certificate. This certificate is recommended for those who wish to assist in Montessori schools in the UK.

* International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy: this diploma is internationally recognised and, because it includes supervised teaching practice, it is essential to anyone wishing to work as a Montessori teacher in the UK. To upgrade to an International Diploma students need to successfully complete the required elements for the Stage One and Stage Two Certificates, plus 420 hours of teaching practice at a MCI-approved Montessori school.

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