Building Big Futures

What is Building Big Futures?

Building Big Futures is a professional development programme created to support community Early Years (EY) settings across the Northside Partnership catchment area. The programme has been developed in consultation with all Early Years Settings in our area. This programme builds upon a setting’s capacity to provide High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) during the most critical and formative time in a child’s life.

The programme is grounded in the principles of Aistear (The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework) and Síolta (The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education). It is also underpinned and informed by research and theories in childhood development, infant mental health and trauma informed practice.

The programme consists of two core components:

  • The Early Years Component (for Early Years Educators)
  • The Leadership Component (for Early Years Managers)

The Early Years Component

Building Big Futures supports the educators through reflective practice to become more intentional in their role in supporting children’s holistic learning and development. This programme is delivered over an 8 week cycle and consists of 4 group mentoring sessions, also called ‘Circles of Learning’. The Circles of Learning are delivered in each individual setting.

These sessions are facilitated by the PFL Early Years Education Team and adapt a participatory learning approach by sharing and valuing everyone’s expertise. The components covered are as follows:

  • Developing Curriculum and Curriculum statement
  • Creating and Using Learning Environments
  • Partnership with Parents
  • Nurturing Interactions
  • Learning through play
  • Planning and assessing
  • Supporting transitions

Each setting will select 1 component to prioritise and focus on during the

8 week cycle.

Each setting will nominate an implementation team. This team will provide an internal support structure to move selected action plans and practices through the stages of implementation.

The Leadership Component

The goal of Leadership programme is to provided 1:1 support in order to strengthen leadership development opportunities. The Leadership Component of Building Big Futures offers support to Early Years Managers in the following areas of practice:

  • Policy development
  • Professional learning and development
  • Development of the Implementation Team to support
  • distributed leadership in the setting
  • Support the wider team to implement action plans across the
  • Setting

Learning from the Building Big Futures Pilot Programme

Building Big Futures was piloted in June 2022 with 2 of our Early Years sites. Some of the comments and feedback we have received from the pilot programme is as follows:

  • “The format of the new workshops has been very engaging”.
  • “Having the training target our specific needs has meant that it is
  • both practical and meets the needs of the DES Inspector in
  • working in line with the Aistear Siolta Practice Guides”.
  • “It also has had an immediate impact on the service as I can see
  • the changes discussed being rolled out in the rooms”.
  • “Having the training on site has also meant that staff are
  • accountable for the implementation of plans and this has really
  • assisted in making valuable changes across the centre”.

For more information contact:

Jelena Simic, Coordinator, Early Years Programme


Phone: 087 738 4037

Katie Cluskey, Senior Speech and Language Therapist (CORU SL016293)


Phone: 087 177 5964