It is clear from international research that high quality childcare can have many long term benefits for children and their families. Children who have attended high quality pre-school services are likely to perform better in school and have less chance of leaving early.  It is difficult to define quality in childcare services. However, a high quality provision will cater for a child’s development needs irrespective of the type of facility.

A well trained and experienced workforce is essential in providing a quality childcare service. A worker’s knowledge of childcare development is one of the main contributory factors to a high quality service across all types of childcare facility.

KCCC can assist childcare providers in implementing the National Quality Framework and meeting nationally recognised standards by offering relevant information, support and training.

Early Childhood and Primary Education

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) advises the Minister for Education and Science on curriculum and assessment in early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools. Early childhood refers to the period from birth to six years while primary education caters for the period from six to 12 years, although in reality most five-year-olds and about half of the country’s four-year-olds attend primary school.

Early Childhood

In October 2009, the NCCA published Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum FrameworkAistear is for all children from birth to six years. It is the outcome of extensive research, consultation, planning, and development by the NCCA in partnership with the early childhood sector. Aistear can be used in the range of early childhood settings including children’s own homes, childminding settings, full and part-time daycare settings, sessional services and infant classes in primary schools. Highlighting the fact that children learn many different things at the same time, the Framework uses four interconnected themes to describe the content of children’s learning and development: Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking. Aistear highlights the critical role of play, relationships and language for young children’s learning. In doing this, it provides a guide to using play, interactions, partnerships with parents, and assessment to help children progress in their learning and development. The Framework has both implicit and explicit links with the Primary School Curriculum (1999). With its focus on children from birth to six years, Aistear can play an important role in the NCCA’s ongoing review of the Primary School Curriculum (1999) and in supporting continuity and progression in children’s learning.

See more at www.ncca.ie

Siolta is the National Quality Framework developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE).  It identifies 16 standards for providers working with 0 – 6 year olds and these are explained in a range of handbooks appropriate to the different service types, e.g. childminding, full daycare, sessional services and infant classes in national schools.  The handbooks and manual can be downloaded from the Siolta website: www.siolta.ie

Aistear Siolta Practice Guide

The purpose of the Practice Guide is to support practitioners in using Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009a) and Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (2006) together to develop the quality of their curriculum and in doing so, to better support children’s learning and development. The Practice Guide is based on the understanding that settings are compliant with, or are working to become compliant with The Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No. 2) Regulations (Department of Health and Children (DHC), 2016). The Practice Guide includes a range of resources to help practitioners to critically reflect on their curriculum and to identify what works well. Additionally, the resources can help practitioners to identify priorities for development and to plan actions for positive change. In this way, the Practice Guide can be used for on-going review, development and improvement by individual practitioners, practitioners working together and by practitioners supported by a mentor. Early Childhood Specialists working with Better Start, the National Early Years Quality Development Service will use the Practice Guide as they work with settings. The Practice Guide can also be used by other professionals working in a support or mentoring role, for example, by County and City Childcare Committees and by National Voluntary Childcare Organisations, and those working in an evaluation role. While the Practice Guide has been developed primarily for practitioners/stiúrthóirí working in part and full-time daycare and sessional settings including naíonraí and Early Start Units in primary schools, others such as childminders, parents, early childhood students, trainers and lecturers might also find some of the materials useful – Aistear Siolta Practice Guide.

Support is available from Catherine Callaghan & Kathryn O’Donnell.


Quality Supports

Catherine Callaghan provides supports to childcare providers around topics such as curriculum planning and development, observations, room layout, indoor & outdoor environments, resources, setting up a service etc.

If you require assistance in any of these areas, please contact Catherine Callaghan on 066 7181582 / 087 9675212 / catherine@kerrycountychildcare.com

Kathryn O’Donnell provides supports to childcare providers around topics such as recruitment, staff support and supervision, policy development, setting up a service etc.

If you require assistance in any of these areas, please contact Kathryn O’Donnell on 066 7181582 / 087 2751760 / kathryn@kerrycountychildcare.com