Professional development for practitioners
A key objective of First 5 is to improve Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for all those who work in early learning and care and school-age childcare settings.
During the Covid -19 emergency period many practitioners will have an opportunity to undertake online training or development activities to help them meet the demands of their professional roles.
Health and well-being
Below are a number of resources designed to support your connection to your job and to meet the obligations of the continued funding of staff by the DCEDIY but we understand that consideration must be given, during this time, to your own health and well-being. It is understood that many people have caring responsibilities that need attending at this time so we would urge you to review the HSE’s advice on minding your mental health and supporting well-being which can be found here
Choosing a course
You can choose any number of free online courses and resources from the list below that may suit your particular professional development needs. We will also add new content in the coming days and weeks so please come back regularly to find new resources.
We encourage you to keep a record of the online resources you use and your learning from them. Keeping a record will help you keep track of your professional development, and may be a tool your manager can use to support you. To help this process we have provided a template form which you can download here.
Engaging with Continuing Professional Development is an opportunity for you and your staff team to add to everyone’s knowledge and skills while not working directly with children during the Covid crisis. It also demonstrates your ongoing commitment to training and professional development within your setting. To help plan and record your team’s CPD activities, please download and use our Service Manager’s Continuing Professional Development Service Record. You should keep the completed record on file as you may need it for compliance checks. You can download the document here.
Newly added courses
- Outdoor shelters and transforming spaces - Short online course section below.
- Supporting Children facing adversity during Covid 19 - Short online course section below
Choose from an area of interest:
Sensory processing e-learning programme (SPEL)
This e-learning programme will help develop your knowledge of sensory processing in order to enhance the participation and engagement of all children in the pre-school learning environment.
You can register for SPEL by clicking here.
Three SPEL Q&A webinars are now available on the departments Youtube channel, if you seek further learning. The videos feature Fiona O’Farrell, the subject matter expert who designed the SPEL course. Click one of the links below to view:
Inspiring Interactions with Children Under 2
The aim of this short CPD series from Early Childhood Ireland is to support the development of the learner’s professional knowledge, understanding and skills which underpin nurturing relationships in an Early Learning and Care setting. Through the introduction of the Marte Meo Method, these videos will deepen the learner’s knowledge of supportive interactions and the important role that they play in the lives of babies and young children. By using video analysis, which is a distinct component of the Marte Meo Method, this series of videos will provide an opportunity for learners to explore how supportive interactions contribute to babies and young children’s wellbeing and the development of their communication skills. Early Childhood Ireland has a cohort of Early Years Specialists who are trained Marte Meo Colleague trainers and are qualified to deliver a programme that teaches practitioners about additional communication and learning strategies for children, as well as the ways in which adults can further support children’s development. ‘Inspiring Interactions with Under 2s’ was written and developed by Early Childhood Ireland in consultation with Colette O' Donovan, Licenced Marte Meo Supervisor and National Coordinator of the Marte Meo Service within Tusla.
Inspiring Leadership in Early Learning and Care
The aim of this short CPD series is to highlight the importance of leadership and its impact on quality in Early Learning and Care and that leadership can come from anywhere within the setting, not just be defined by role or title. These videos explore new approaches to leadership and the skills and competencies required to lead in complex environments like Early Learning and Care settings. They encourage the learner to reflect on the content of and critique their own understanding and knowledge of leadership, with a focus on pedagogical leadership and its implications for practice. ‘Inspiring Leadership’ CPD was written and developed by Early Childhood Ireland.
Quality Regulatory Framework (QRF)
The QRF supports registered early learning and care services to comply with the 2016 Regulations. It does so by setting out the core regulatory requirements in a transparent way, bringing together evidence-based, national and international research and best practice in early learning and care. This course will help you understand the QRF and its processes.
more information can be found here, Early Years Quality and Regulatory Framework.
For more information on the Early Years Inspectorate click here, EYI Pre-school QRF.
To support compliance with regulations
Managing Unsolicited Information in an early years setting
Tusla has developed an eLearning programme in relation to Unsolicited Information for early learning and care and school-age childcare providers. This course will help you to:
- Understand what Unsolicited Information is.
- Identify how you can prepare, manage and respond if an unsolicited information report has been made to Tusla about your setting.
- Provide information and support the development of a complaints policy and procedure for your setting.
Click here to register and complete the training.
Corrective Actions and Preventative Actions e-learning programme from Tusla
This programme will help you to,
- Understand what a Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) form is.
- Develop a response to a non-compliance using the CAPA process.
- Understand the purpose of the Factual Accuracy Form.
- Develop clear Corrective Actions and Preventative Actions.
Click here to complete the e-learning training programme
Supporting Children facing adversity during Covid 19
Barnardos have developed a short webinar to accompany their new booklet on supporting children experiencing adversity during Covid
- To watch the webinar please click here
- The get the booklet that accompanies the webinar [Download here]
Introduction to Children First
Tusla has developed an e-learning programme in relation to supporting people of all backgrounds and experience in recognising concerns about children and reporting such concerns if they arise. This programme covers topics including:
- Recognising and reporting child abuse.
- The role of mandated persons.
- The responsibilities of organisations working with children to safeguard children.
- The role of designated liaison persons.
Learning environments in Early Years
This course from Barnardos is designed to help you to provide quality environments for the children you work with. This course will help you understand:
- Environmental influences that impact on the holistic development of children.
- The Aistear and Síolta frameworks, and how quality can be achieved in early years.
To register click here.
Supporting engagement with Síolta, the National Quality Framework and Aistear, the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework
A variety of short, CPD learning activities have been developed through the National Síolta Aistear Initiative which supports the coordinated roll out of Síolta and Aistear. These CPD activities focus on a range of practice areas for practitioners working with children from birth to six years. They are intended to support you to:
Become familiar with the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide
- Reflect on aspects of practice, including:
- Supporting positive learning dispositions
- Creative arts within early learning and care settings
- Interactions and play for children from birth to 3
Please go to www.aistearsiolta.ie/en/CPD to access these resources
Children First Child Protection revision webinar
This webinar was developed to highlight the key elements of the face-to-face Always Children First Foundation training. Its purpose is to serve as an interim revision resource for Early Years practitioners prior to reopening of services during the Covid period.
An Introduction to The Rights of the Child in Early Learning and Care.
An Introduction to The Rights of the Child in Early Learning and Care is designed to give you, the early years educator, an overview of children’s rights and outline how these rights can be embedded into the daily practice in your early childhood setting.
This free online course is filled with practical examples, grounded in theory, to help you understand how children’s rights are a core part of quality early learning and care. The course takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and there is a quiz at the end of each section.
- Section 1 considers what we mean by human rights and by children’s rights, and looks at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Section 2 looks at the importance of children’s rights in early learning and care, and how these are essential to quality practice
- Section 3 considers how children’s rights are recognised and respected in early childhood settings, including the right to make decisions and choices, and the right to participate.
- Section 4 looks at a specific example – how children’s rights can be realised through the learning environment.
The National Council for Special Education have developed a range of supports that Early Learning and Care practitioners working with children with additional needs will find useful.
Click here to register and complete the training.
The Inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills have designed a series of short webinars to share the findings, ideas and examples of effective practice that have been gathered during inspection visits to thousands of diverse early years education settings across Ireland since 2016.
Click here to register and complete the training.
ECI's have produces a video on enjoying outdoor play [Click here to watch]
St. Nicholas Montessori
St. Nicholas Montessori Teachers' Association endeavours to be a professional organisation supporting teachers, families and society, aspiring to be a voice in the development of the Montessori philosophy and method of education within society.
St Nicholas Montessori Teachers' Association provides support through the following events:
- Montessori Education Workshops- events that provide interactive support of the Montessori curriculum including the creation of resources and role modelling the delivery of the Montessori curriculum.
- Montessori Education Networks- events that deliver on-going professional development and support to Montessori teachers, assisting Montessori teachers in the delivery of National Childcare programs and National Quality frameworks; Aistear and Síolta.
- Montessori Education Mentoring- events that identify supports needed by Montessori teachers, providing practical and concrete support for the Montessori prepared environment in the delivery of Montessori programmes.
To see upcoming events click [Here]
National Childcare Scheme (NCS)
The National Childcare Scheme is the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare. It establishes an equitable and progressive system of universal and income-related subsidies for children up to the age of 15. To learn more about the National Childcare Scheme please go to the National Childcare Scheme Youtube channel [here] where you will find lots of informative videos.
Universal Design Guidelines
These guidelines set out the key Universal Design considerations and guidance for Early Learning and Care settings. The guidelines provide a flexible Universal Design framework to ensure that settings are accessible, understandable and easy to use for all children, staff, families and visitors. To learn more click here
Early Arts UK
This website has interesting resources to share for free. Go to the ‘Resource’ section to find ideas on providing a range of creative experiences for different age groups. Go to the ‘Research’ section to find articles on the impact of creative experiences on the development of young children. https://earlyarts.co.uk/
The Hanen Organisation
Hanen offer some free articles to Parents and Early Years Educators. Explore fun activities using the Hanen approach, ‘Tips for Parents’ and ‘Research’ summaries. http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info.aspx
Barnardos offers many free resources on the barnardos.ie website, including the below resources;
Barnardos offer further reading in their ebook shop for both early learning and care educators and parents. Below you will find samples;
Ejournal - ChildLinks
The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)
There are a number of resources that are available on the Access and Inclusion Model site that may be of use to both parents and Practitioners
Key Documents doe the Access and Inclusion Model can be found here.
Resources on Home and Play can be found here.
Steiner Early Childhood Association
BLÁTHÚ Steiner Early Childhood Association :Essential Characteristics of Steiner/Waldorf Education for the Child from Birth to Seven [Download here].
National Quality Guidelines for School-Age Childcare
These guidelines set out the key quality guidance for School-Age Childcare settings. The guidelines aim to assist and guide School-Age Childcare providers and staff to develop and enhance their school-age provision while reaching beyond and aspiring to achieve more than the minimum standards set out in regulations. To learn more click here.
Sharing Development Concerns with Parents: A Guide for Early Childhood Professionals (Barnardos) [Click Here]
This resource offers guidance to early years professionals about how to approach difficult conversations with parents. Such conversations might relate to concerns you have about a possible developmental delay, a sensory or learning related issue, or a behavioural or emotional issue for a child. The booklet also outlines how you can work together, if the parents wish, to plan steps for the family to get any emotional supports and practical help they might need.
Continuing Professional Development in Early Learning and Care (Barnardos and National Childhood Network) [Click Here]
This booklet offers guidance to newly qualified early childhood professionals about the role of CPD in your professional and personal life. It includes information about how to identify your learning needs, how to plan appropriate CPD and how to get the most out of CPD opportunities.