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Early%20Childhood%20Education%20Ireland

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Title: Early%20Childhood%20Education%20Ireland


1
Early Childhood EducationIreland
  • Nóirín Hayes
  • Centre for Social and Educational Research,
    Dublin Institute of Technology
  • noirin.hayes_at_dit.ie
  • School of Education, Trinity College Dublin
  • noirin.hayes_at_tcd.ie

2
Introduction
  • Ireland has seen dramatic changes in policy
    approach to Early Childhood Education over the
    last 10-15 years
  • Brief context
  • The 1990s
  • The 2000s
  • Since 2010

3
Defining ECE
  • Internationally defined as the first stage of
    education
  • Pre compulsory provision (0-6 years)
  • Incorporates the concept of education and care
    of/about
  • Includes a variety of services supporting
    families and children including infant classes
  • Private, community based and state supported

4
Brief Context
  • The Irish Constitution
  • The Irish State engagement with family
  • The Irish State longstanding commitment to
    education

5
The role of OMEP
  • Training first national training programme at
    Dublin Institute of Technology DIT
  • Legislation and Regulation OMEP influence on
    the Child Care Act 1991
  • Research partnership between UCC and DIT to
    host research seminars development of an Irish
    Journal of Early Childhood Studies An Leanbh Óg

6
Defining Early Childhood Education in Ireland
  • A difficulty of language and auspices
  • Childcare
  • Early childcare 0-3
  • Out of school care 4-12
  • Early Education
  • Inside school system - junior/senior infants
    4-6
  • Outside school system - creches, nurseries,
    preschools limited recognition of childminding
    birth 6
  • Conceptual and structural distinction between
    education and care
  • Privileging education over care

7
Early Childhood Education
  • An instance of confusion about the concept
    childcare/early education
  • Indicator for Early Childhood Education
  • Enrolment in early childhood care and education
  • The percentage of children under 13 sic in
    various early childhood care and education
    arrangements. State of the Nations Children
    Report, 2008

8
Education and Care
  • Compulsory school age in Ireland is 6 years
  • but many 4 and 5 year olds attend and all
    children at school come under the aegis of the
    Dept. of Education and Skills
  • Preschool children defined as
  • Children under 6 years of age who are not
    attending a national school or equivalent ---
    come under the aegis of a range of departments
    including Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs and
    the Dept. of Health.

9
Education v Care
  • Qualifications
  • Strict qualification requirements for primary
    school teachers BEd L8
  • Limited qualification requirements for early
    years teachers Certificate L5/6
  • Regulation/Inspection
  • Education- long-standing with dedicated
    education inspectorate
  • Early years a health inspectorate with no early
    education training

10
The 1990s
  • Child Care Act 1991
  • Implementation of Regulations 1997
  • Growth of membership organisations and NGO groups
  • Increasing calls for a national strategy and for
    clarity re departmental responsibility
  • Labour Market Unions and womens groups
  • Education equality target investment on
    disadvantaged
  • Childrens rights advocates universal supports
  • Politicians

11
The 1990s
  • Emerging relevant policy documents
  • Report on National Forum on ECE 1998 ( 0-3/0-6
    split)
  • Strengthening Families for Life 1998
  • National Childcare Strategy 1999 (birth 12/14
    years)
  • White paper on ECE Ready to Learn 1999 (birth
    6 years)

12
2000-2010 A decade of activity
  • Equal Opportunities Childcare programme EU
    funding 2000-2006
  • Childcare for working parents
  • Capital investment in childcare places
  • Structural supports local childcare committees
  • National Childcare Investment programme
    Exchequer funding 2007-2011
  • Focus on cash payments to parents
  • Fee Subsidy
  • Early Childcare Supplement

13
2000 - 2010
  • Centre for Early Childhood Education and
    Development CECDE established 2002
  • OECD thematic review 2004 calls for
  • Systematic and integrated approach
  • Appointment of a lead office
  • Co-ordination between central and local
  • Quality improvement and assurance
  • Universal access for 3-4 year olds

14
2000 - 2010
  • Office of the Minister for Children opens 2006
  • Childcare Directorate
  • Early Years Policy Unit
  • Síolta National Quality framework 2006
  • Aistear National Early Childhood Curriculum
    Framework 2009
  • Workforce Development Plan 2010

15
2000 - 2010
  • Prevention and Early Intervention Programme
    (2007)
  • Closure of CECDE 2008
  • Withdrawal of the ECS 2009
  • Launch of the Universal Free Preschool Year
    Initiative 2010
  • Capitation grant to settings
  • Incentivising training

16
2011 - 2014
  • National Early Years Initiative (2011-2014)
  • 11 local projects supported
  • Ministry for Children and Youth Affairs (2011)
  • Area Based Childhood Initiative (2013)
  • Early Years Advisory group reports (2014)
  • Early Years Strategy imminent
  • National Early Years Quality Support Service
    announced

17
Summary
  • Ireland slow to recognise value of early
    childhood care and education
  • Split between education and care remains
  • Investment in spaces rather than the development
    of an integrated quality service
  • Limited investment in early years services
    directly

18
How are we doing?
  • OECD thematic review 2004 called for
  • Systematic and integrated approach not yet
  • Appointment of a lead office - DCYA
  • Co-ordination between central and local -
    improving
  • Quality improvement and assurance NEYQSS??
  • Universal access for 3-4 year olds - FPSY

19
How do we compare?
  • UNICEF Report Card 8 (2008)
  • 2008 - Ireland met 1 of the ten indicators
    poorest performance of the 24 countries
  • 2014 Ireland meets 2 of the ten indicators
  • Starting Well Index (2012) on Quality,
    Affordability and Access to ECE
  • Ireland 67.4 range 21.2 (India) 91.8
    (Finland)
  • Ireland ranking of 18th in 45 countries

20
Challenges
  • Investment remains very low - lt.04 GDP
  • Quality supports limited
  • Limited funding to support implementation of
    Síolta the National Quality Framework
  • No funding to support the implementation of
    Aistear the Early Years Curriculum Framework
  • Investment in training support fragmented and
    limited
  • Salaries and conditions of service poor

21
A shift in emphasis
  • The Universal Free Preschool Year
  • a shift in policy?
  • an engagement with the idea that Early Childhood
    Education is good for all children?
  • Yet to be assessed - -
  • In another linguistic confusion the Free
    Preschool Year is also called the ECCE
    initiative
  • perpetuating the confusion on definition!!

22
  • Thank You ?
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