Early Years Educators Celebrate Graduation from Preparing for Life Programme

Early Years Educators Celebrate Graduation from Preparing for Life Programme

  • Jun, 2024
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Early Years Educators from Bunratty Community Childcare, Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service (Jigsaw), Doras Buí, Edenmore Early Education Centre, Kilbarrack Foxfield Preschool, Moatview Early Education Centre and Bonnybrook Early Education were invited to their graduation from Preparing for Life’s Building Big Futures programme in Coolock Library on Wednesday 5th June.

Building Big Futures is a professional development programme created to support community Early Years (EY) settings across the Northside Partnership catchment area. The programme, developed in consultation with all Early Years Settings in our area, 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 three core components:

  • The Early Years & Oral Language Component (for Early Years Educators)
  • The Leadership Component (for Early Years Managers)
  • The Implementation Team (for Early Years Educators)

The graduation opened with a welcome address with Jelena Simic, Early Years Coordinator, which gave an overview of the programme and how it was developed. Stacy Hevey, Early Years Mentor/programme officer, gave an overview of the components and shared some of the key findings of the programme’s evaluation and feedback of educators who engaged in this year’s programme. Shauna Byrne, Early Years Mentor/ Programme Officer, gave an overview of the Early Talk Boost programme as part of the Building Big Futures, and shared key learnings from the educators who delivered the intervention and TUSLA’S Early Talk Boost scaling up project.

“The programme has supported our service by giving us the time and space for the team to collaborate and share their ideas,” according to one Early Years Manager.

“This training and discussions with Jelena, Stacey, Shauna has really helped inspire our team to promote outdoor learning and play,” added a Pedagogical Leader from a community Early Years setting. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the mentoring, encouragement and wonderful outcomes it has helped us achieve. We can’t wait to take part in the next edition.”

“It was great to have an outside perspective on how we do planning, the assessment tools have really supported not only in planning for children but also parent partnership,’’ said another Early Years Educator.

The group was joined on the night by Niall Sexton, Programme Manager, Preparing for Life, to share his view of the Building Big Futures programme and introduce Dr. Jan Pettersen professor from TUD, who is an advocate for outdoor learning. Dr. Pettersen shared how the outdoors provides many learning opportunities for children to engage with, supporting their holistic development. The ‘Creating and Using the Outdoor Learning Environment’ component was a huge part in this year’s graduation with many services engaging in this topic.

“Outdoor Learning is quite specific and what children get out of it is quite specific, the outdoors can transcend everything in a child,” was feedback the programme received.

Dr. Pettersen presented certificates to the graduates and spoke of the importance of their role in shaping the individuals with whom they work.

“Your role or responsibility as an educator is to fulfill the child to be its best, and to that we must fulfill ourselves through education,” he said.

Building Big Futures was developed by the Early Years Team Co-Ordinator and the Senior Speech and Language Therapist as part of the Preparing for Life team, a Northside Partnership initiative.

The Early Years Educators got to review work that the different centres were happy to showcase, encouraging idea sharing, inspiration and collaboration.

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