Early Years support in Leitrim

At Leitrim County Childcare Committee’s AGM in mid-February, Chairperson Paschal Mooney gave an outline of the support provided by the Committee and staff to the Early Years sector in Leitrim last year.

At Leitrim County Childcare Committee’s AGM in mid-February, Chairperson Paschal Mooney gave an outline of the support provided by the Committee and staff to the Early Years sector in Leitrim last year.

The Committee provides support to 38 childcare services, 63 childminders, 18 parent and toddler groups and 21 summer schemes. These services provide a total of 1,306 childcare places in the county. 926 of these children are accessing government support funding towards their fees through one of the National Programmes (CCS, CETS, ECCE). This provides great financial assistance to parents in the current climate.

In addition a programme of activities is provided to include training, a quality programme, information, grant aid, development support and mentoring.The Committee welcomed two new FETAC Level 5 courses in Drumshanbo, a part time one through the VEC and a full time one through FAS.

Childminders are supported on a one to one basis through the voluntary notification system. New childminders setting up can access information and training on setting up and running their service effectively and grant aid.

A specific support programme, funded through the HSE, is delivered to the school aged sector. The County Committee consult annually with the after-school providers in relation to the type of training and support they require.

The new programme for 2013 will commence soon.

2012 saw the introduction of a national collaborative process and key priorities for the County Committees. This will streamline what County Childcare Committee’s provide nationally.

The key priorities have become central to the plan going forward. The development work, information and advice in relation to the three national programmes is fundamental to the core work.

The Síolta and Aistear quality programme is in its third year with Síolta networks commencing in March on the topic of Communication, May with Organisation, September on Standard 4: Consultation and Community Involvement in November.

The Child Protection Programme was rolled in 2012 with 35 providers receiving training, support and up to date publications. This training is continuing throughout 2013.

The Diversity and Equality Module saw 13 participants complete this training and they received a varied resource pack of dolls, paints, jigsaw, and books on the topic for use in their service.

The Literacy and Numeracy programme has seen the distribution of Barnardos literacy and numeracy books to providers and students on Level 5 and 6. In addition two practical workshops were carried out in services on literacy and numeracy through environmental activities and a targeted literacy and numeracy activity day was carried out for fathers and children.

During 2012 Leitrim County Childcare Committee were awarded a project from PEACE III. €44,754 was allocated from the PEACE III Partnership project to run an Early Years Programme for the coming year. The committee would like to welcome Gráinne Flynn onto our team to roll out this project for 2013. This project has been funded by the PEACE III Programme through the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Leitrim County Council on behalf of County Leitrim PEACE III Partnership.

The last round of Childcare Capital funding saw 6 childcare services from Leitrim (5 community & 1 private) receive €140,006 under the Childcare Capital Programme 2012. 2013 sees a further €2.75 million available nationally in four different strands to include outdoor areas, creating risk rich environments, improving access for children with disabilities, compliance support and small grants for equipment, maintenance and improvements.

In 2013 applications are invited for grant aid from the following; parent/carer and toddler groups, summer scheme projects and childminders.

If you are interested in setting up a new childcare private/community service in your own home or facility based or if you would like assistance setting up a parent and toddler group/summer scheme project please contact us on 071 96 40870 or email info@leitrimchildcare.ie

If you would like to access information please see our website www.leitrimchildcare .ie