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Early Childhood

Early Childhood - Ireland’s Education Yearbook 2020

When Covid-19 hit Ireland in March 2020 and early childhood services were forced to close, Valerie Gaynor and staff at Creative Kids & Co set about adapting their outdoor space and their practice in preparation for re-opening. Situated in Assumption Primary School in Walkinstown, Dublin, Creative Kids opened up during summer 2020 to offer preschool provision with a larger than usual outdoor dimension to keep everyone safe.

Common Good and Public Service

Crisis lessons for the future of early childhood education and care

2020 has seen the convergence of long-looming crises for early childhood education and care, culminating in large-scale disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This article takes stock and argues that urgent lessons from the crises should – and can – be learned now. The stay-calm-and-carry-on approach is no longer an option. Instead, the crises have opened up an immediate opportunity to initiate fundamental reform.

Mathias Urban
Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education, Dublin City University

The Redeveloped Primary School Curriculum

An opportunity for continuity and coherence in early childhood education

This chapter explores the interface between the draft primary curriculum framework for primary schools and curricular provision for preschool education, most notably Aistear. It argues that the redeveloped curriculum provides an opportunity to forge enhanced levels of continuity and coherence in the learning experiences of young children.

Thomas Walsh
Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Department of Education, Maynooth University

The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on ECEC Professionals

How Lockdown Affected a Cohort Already at Breaking Point

Early Childhood Education and Care professionals in Ireland have been coping with an onslaught of policy implementation, poor pay, and precarious working conditions, coupled with a lack of recognition as a profession. In February 2020 they took to the streets of Dublin in protest. Then the pandemic closed down services, leaving them in an even more precarious position. Montessori and Early Childhood Professionals Ireland (MECPI) surveyed members of its community to examine the effects of lockdown on an already stressed profession.

Sinéad Matson
PhD Candidate and Early Childhood Education and Care Consultant

Early Learning and Care Services:

Connecting with Children and Parents during Covid-19

During the Covid-19 closure, the home learning environment (HLE) became the key setting in which children could learn. Digital technology provided a space between the HLE and Early Learning and Care setting, in which relationships for learning could continue. Educators and providers used the Aistear framework to reimagine learning with young children, focusing on building the well-being so necessary for early learning and mental health.

Liz Kerrins
Director of Research and Professional Learning, Early Childhood Ireland
Milica Atanackovic
Research and Professional Learning Manager, Early Childhood Ireland

How Early-Years and School-Age Childcare Providers Dealt with the Pandemic

This article introduces a qualitative study developed by Early Childhood Ireland aimed at assessing the impact of Covid-19 on Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare providers in Ireland, as well as providers’ main concerns about reopening. The results assess the effectiveness of the Covid-19 supports and point to the many challenges that lie ahead.

Danielle Santanna
Research Officer, Early Childhood Ireland
Ronan Kennedy
Policy Officer, Early Childhood Ireland

The Long Shadow of Discrimination

A call to comprehensively address diversity, equality, and inclusion in early childhood education and care

This article draws attention to the need for political leadership and decisive action in addressing diversity, equality and inclusion in early childhood education and care. Recent political and social events have again raised issues of discrimination and racism in Irish society, with profound implications for the lives of young children. We must move beyond rhetoric and take action.

Colette Murray
Lecturer, Technological University Dublin

Other Chapters Ireland's Education Yearbook 2020

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