Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years

The Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme, LINC, is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award (Higher Education).  The programme is designed to enhance inclusion of children with additional needs in early years settings through the development of the role of Inclusion Coordinator.  The programme is part of a government commitment to the provision of high quality education and training in the field of early childhood care and education and was introduced as part of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) in 2016.

Early Years settings that employ an Inclusion Coordinator who has graduated from LINC will receive and additional €2 per week in capitation per ECCE child.  The programme is fully funded and is free to participants.  Additionally, all students will receive a contribution of €200 towards costs.

LINC is delivered by a consortium led by Mary Immaculate College (MIC) and including Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University-Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education.

The programme will commence in September, finish at the end of June, and in 2017/2018 will be delivered in the following nine locations nationwide: Cork; Dublin North; Dublin South/West; Galway; Kildare; Kilkenny; Limerick; Meath; Sligo.

Programme Structure

The LINC Programme comprises 6 modules delivered over 3 semesters (autumn, spring and summer) amounting to 60 credits (ECTS).

Based on the blended-learning model, students will be required to engage weekly with a range of reflective activities, videos and discussion fora.  Each module will have one Saturday classroom session, plus a compulsory orientation day (seven Saturdays in total).


Module Credits Semester
Inclusion in Early Years Settings: Concepts and Strategies 12 Autumn
Child Development 6 Autumn
Promoting Collaborative Practice for Inclusion in Early Childhood Care and Education 12 Spring
Curriculum for Inclusion 6 Spring
Leadership for Inclusion 12 Summer
Portfolio Module 12 Summer


A mentoring visit to participants’ early years settings is provided to support students’ professional learning.

Assessments include: written reflections, multiple-choice quizzes, and the development of practical materials.  Assessments will focus on linking practical knowledge of working in ECCE setting to the module content.

The programme is embedded in Aistear – the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and Síolta, the National Quality Framework, within the ECCE field.

Entry Requirements

Early years settings that hold a contract to deliver the ECCE Programme, funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, are eligible to nominate a candidate.  Candidates must hold a Level 5 Major Award in a relevant area.

Candidates must be comfortable accessing the internet, sending an email, downloading and uploading a document, and posting to an online forum.

How to Apply

Applications must be made online at www.lincprogramme.ie.  Evidence of the applicant’s relevant qualification (copy of certificate or transcript) is required at the time of application.

Please note: places on the programme will not be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Places in centres that are oversubscribed will be allocated by random lottery.

Please click here to view the LINC brochure!

Contact Information


Email: linc@mic.ul.ie

Phone: 061 204545

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