Threshold Concepts in Irish Early Childhood Education and Care Practice Placements

Mark Taylor


The education theory ‘Threshold Concepts’ has become popular as a way to examine significant learning experiences for higher-education students across a range of academic disciplines and professional training programmes. This article presents findings from a small-scale qualitative study in north-west Ireland, which used the theory as a way to examine the nature of key learning experiences for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) undergraduate students during practice placements. The paper proposes that their critical learning experience necessitates them successfully planning, implementing and reviewing an intervention with young children in preschool settings. The paper should be of interest to ECEC undergraduate students, practice placement agencies and college lecturers: the stories of the ups and downs of students’ learning experiences during ECEC practice placements are depicted.


Early Childhood Education and Care; practice placement; threshold concept; threshold practice

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