Covid-19 represents a major challenge for the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector. It changes the way we all must work. With that in mind, the Department is bringing together resources, training and advice to support you through this time.
A number of support organisations are available to service providers for advice and guidance on reopening. DCYA’s role is to provide oversight and promote coordination and consistency in the quality practice supports provided by various support organisations.
Below we highlight supports available from sector organisations, but your first point of reference for the latest information on current public health measures and financial supports available should be DCYA guidance for reopening.
In general providers will continue to make contact through their local City and County Childcare Committee (CCC) or associated support organisation (NVCO/Irish language organisation).
Better Start will take direct contact from providers along with recommendations for support from CCCs/NVCOs. Better Start Specialists have the capacity to facilitate potentially longer queries and requests for support.
While it is important that referrals are made where appropriate between all organisations, if an organisation can answer a provider query they should do so.
Better Start is a Quality Development initiative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), collaborating with the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
Better Start Quality Development Service provides quality improvement supports to early learning and care settings. At present there are two strands of practice support available to settings through Better Start’s Quality Development Service:
You can contact Better Start for QDS related queries at EYPC@pobal.ie , please put QDS queries in subject line.
Better Start Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) specialists will provide supports to early learning and care and school-age childcare settings and parents in relation to supports for children with disabilities. During this reopening phase (summer 2020), Better Start offers three strands of supports for children with disabilities:
You can contact Better Start for AIM related queries at EYPC@pobal.ie , please put AIM queries in subject line.
This section provides guidance and information on regulations for early learning and care and school-aged childcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs) are your first contact point for the provision of general information and support in relation to the operation of early learning and care and school-age childcare. CCCs will also signpost settings to other relevant support organisations where appropriate. Supports of particular relevance to practitioners and providers are:
You can find your local CCC contact details on www.myccc.ie
National Voluntary Childcare Organisations (NVCOs) represent the interests of, and provide support services to early learning and care and school-age childcare service providers and parents nationwide.
Barnardos provides a range of supports to vulnerable children, parents and early learning and care and school-age childcare settings. Supports of particular relevance to practitioners and providers are:
You can contact National Parent’s support line at P: 1800 910123
You can contact Barnardos at P: (01) 4530355 E: email@example.com.
Blathú Steiner Early Childhood Association provides support to early learning and care settings and support organisations in relation to Steiner Waldorf Education. Supports of particular relevance to practitioners and providers are::
You can contact Blathú at P: 089 2411816 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.blathu.org
Childminding Ireland is the National Childminding Body, supporting and promoting quality childminding in the home. Childminding Ireland offers parents, throughout Ireland, support with their childminding needs. It advises parents on how to recognise quality in a childminding setting. Supports of particular relevance to Childminders are:
You can contact Childminding Ireland at P: (01) 2878466 , Email: email@example.com , W: www.childminding.ie , Facebook: facebook.com/ChildmindingIreland/ , Twitter: twitter.com/ChildmindingIE
Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) provides a range of supports which include quality enhancement, publications, advocacy, training, HR supports, information for the sector. ECI is a membership organisation providing supports to both members and non-members. Supports of particular relevance to employers, practitioners and providers are:
You can contact ECI at P: (01) 4057100 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Childhood Network provides a range of supports to early learning and care and school-age childcare settings. Supports of particular relevance to practitioners and providers are:
You can contact NCN at P: 047 72469 E: email@example.com.
National Parents Council Primary provides support to the parents of children who are attending Early Learning and Care settings and Primary school.
You can contact National Parent's helpline at 01 887 4477 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact NPC at P: (01) 887 4034 E: email@example.com W: www.npc.ie
St. Nicholas Montessori provides support to early learning and care settings and support organisations in relation to the Montessori curriculum. Supports of particular relevance to practitioners and providers are
You can contact St. Nicholas Montessori at E:firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish Language Organisations which support early learning and care settings who operate through the medium of Irish.
Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta (CNNG) is the nationally recognised Early Years Service Provider throughout the Gaeltacht. Over 100 services are provided by CNNG with offices located in all Gaeltacht areas. CNNG provide administration, support and training services for early learning and care services through Irish.
You can contact CNNG at P: 091-595337 E:email@example.com
Gaeloideachas works to establish and sustain a high standard of Irish-medium education throughout the country. In relation to early learning and care, Gaeloideachas support Naíonraí outside of Gaeltacht areas. Supports of particular relevance to practitioners and providers are:
You can contact Gaeloideachas at P: 01 8535195 E: firstname.lastname@example.org