Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

Designing Accessible Childcare Centres New Universal Design Guidance to be developed

Designing Accessible Childcare Centresdcyalogo
New Universal Design Guidance to be developed

Statement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

A further step is to be taken to make childcare centres accessible to all children with the development of New Universal Design Guidance, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

The Guidance will be used for refurbishment, renovation and the building of centres.

Officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) at the National Disability Authority will oversee this development. CEUD is the only statutory centre for Universal Design in the world.

The work, which is being undertaken by Early Childhood Ireland and TrinityHaus (Trinity College Dublin), will involve:
• Reviewing national and international best practice, research and guidance in design of early years settings from a Universal Design approach;
• Consulting with a diverse range of stakeholders, including early years practitioners, parents and children; and
• Developing Universal Design Guidance for Early Years Settings, including a self-audit tool, which aims to support the early year’s sector in creating universally designed spaces for all stakeholders in both new and retrofit settings. This Guidance will also be useful for built environment design professionals in private and public sectors working on the design of new build and retro-fitting of early years settings.

The Universal Design Guidance for Early Years Settings will be published in Autumn 2018.

Welcoming the news, the Minister Zappone said:  “I am delighted to announce this very important development, which is being funded under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM).

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.  The potential of this work is far reaching.  Not only will the Universal Design Guidance identify opportunities to make early years settings more accessible and inclusive for all children.

It will also identify opportunities to create better work environments for staff and to address particular needs of visitors to these settings, including parents”.

Teresa Heeney, CEO Early Childhood Ireland, also welcomed the news. ‘On behalf of everyone at Early Childhood Ireland and the team at TrinityHaus, we are delighted to have been chosen to take part in this very important work. As the largest organisation in the early years sector in Ireland, we are in a unique position to represent the perspectives and best practice gathered from our 3,800 members across Ireland and from external stakeholders.

The expertise of these practitioners, specialists, and researchers will enable us to develop Universal Design guidance that is inclusive and meaningful to all.

In turn, this will contribute to enhanced environments for all children attending early years settings, as well as their parents and the staff who support them.’

To read the notes in line with the statement please click HERE

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Is Free Pre-School Education Accessible to All? Views of parents and pre-school practitioners to be sought

Is Free Pre-School Education Accessible to All?dcyalogo
Views of parents and pre-school practitioners to be sought
Statement by Minister Katherine Zappone

Parents and pre-schools using Government supports to make free childcare accessible to children with disabilities are being invited to give their views on the supports available.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, is encouraging participation in an Independent Review of the Access Inclusion Model (AIM), which has supported almost 5,000 children with disabilities since it was launched 18-months ago.

Overall, AIM represents a €25m investment by Government in 2018 alone and underlines Minister Zappone’s commitment to change our childcare system from being one of the most expensive in the world into the best.

The review will gather information that will reflect the experiences of the children, parents and pre-school practitioners availing of AIM supports as well as information from disability representative organisations.

The review which is being carried out by RSM Ireland will include:

An online survey of a representative sample of parents and pre-school practitioners; and

Qualitative interviews and case studies involving a small sample of stakeholders.

AIM provides seven levels of support, including enhanced continuing professional development for pre-school practitioners; the provision of equipment, appliances and grants for minor alterations; access to therapeutic intervention and increased capitation for pre-school providers in the case of children with very complex needs.

Views will be sought on each of the levels and will be used to help inform future policy and build truly accessible affordable quality childcare.

Speaking about the review, Minister Zappone said:

“The Access and Inclusion Model was launched just 18 months ago. In this short space of time, thousands of children have benefitted from AIM supports and the provision of free pre-school for children with a disability has been transformed.

Now is the time to review what has worked well and identify where improvements could be made. Hearing from parents, pre-school practitioners and key stakeholders will be vital in this regard.

It will help us to decide the best way forward. Already since the start of the year I have been proud to announce new initiatives including extra free training for pre-school practitioners as well as the roll out of sensory and educational play resources to support inclusive practice in to pre-school settings.

Now I want to build on the progress AIM has made since its introduction and continue to fulfil my ambition of turning one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best”.

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Up-coming Triple P Parenting courses

Midlands Area Parenting Partnership are now delivering programs for parents of children aged 2 – 10 years and parents of Teenagers aged 11 to 15 in the Offaly area. Please click on the  posters below for both our Junior and Teen Programme.

The junior 2 hour workshops and seven week group programme is for parents of children aged 2 -10 years and the Teen workshops and group programme is for parents of children aged 11 – 15years.

 To book your FREE place contact our office on 090 6447111/Helen 0879875107/ Tracey on 0877041999.

For further information visit our website www.triplep-parenting.net or our Triple P MAPP Facebook Page.

Triple P poster January 2018 Triple P poster Teenagers January 2018

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Momentum maintained on Affordable Childcare Childcare Support Bill on Dáil Order Paper for Spring Legislative Programme

Momentum maintained on Affordable Childcare Childcare Support Bill on Dáil Order Paper for Spring Legislative Programme

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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone today (Tuesday, 16th January) welcomed the publication of the Government's Spring Legislative Programme 2018. In particular, she noted that the Childcare Support Bill 2017 is listed on the Dáil Order Paper and emphasised her commitment to maintaining momentum on this vital legislation.

The Childcare Support Bill 2017 was published in December 2017 and is an essential element in the continuing development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme, which will provide a new approach to supporting affordable access to quality childcare in Ireland.

Once launched, the Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide a new system of financial support to help reduce the cost of childcare for parents. Through this, it aims to improve access; assist families to return to work and training, reduce child poverty and improve outcomes for children.

Speaking about the launch of the legislative programme, Minister Zappone noted that:

“The Childcare Support Bill builds on a lot of initiatives already delivered over the past eighteen months as we strive, step by step, to transform one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best. Over the past two budgets I have successfully secured an increase in the State's investment in early years by an unprecedented 80%.

Right now the families of over 66,000 children are already benefitting from the additional financial childcare supports which were introduced last September, the innovative Access and Inclusion Model for children with disabilities is up and running and free pre-school education for all 3-year olds has been extended to two years from next September.

We have also ended decades of uncertainty by commencing mandatory reporting as part of the full roll out of the Children First Act 2015. These important initiatives are child centred, progressive and will leave a tangible legacy for our children and our society for years to come ."

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Minister Zappone announces additional funding of €3.2 million for pre-school supports for children with a disability

Minister Zappone announces additional funding of €3.2 million for pre-school supports for children with a disabilityAIM Logo

Minister announces funding of €3.2 million for the latest addition to the suite of pre-school supports for children with a disability provided under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM).

AIM Inclusive Play is a set of resources to support inclusive practice within pre-school settings. These resources, which include equipment, toys and materials, also support the development of coordination and audio, visual and tactile skills among all children, and in particular, children with a disability.

AIM Inclusive Play will include a dark den, therapy putty, sand timers and kinetic sand, among a range of other resources.

The contract to develop AIM Inclusive Play was awarded to Learning Space (Belfast) Limited in November last year following a competitive tendering process.

From February 2018, AIM Inclusive Play will be distributed to more than 6,000 pre-school rooms delivering the ECCE Programme across more than 4,000 pre-school settings nationally.

AIM Inclusive Play offers the potential to fully support the implementation of all Levels of AIM.

Many elements of Síolta and Aistear can also be supported by effective use of these Resources.

Welcoming the news, the Minister said:

“I am delighted to announce this important addition to the suite of pre-school supports for children with a disability.

AIM Inclusive Play reinforces an important message – that children’s play is a vital ingredient of childhood, essential for both growth and learning and an integral element of high quality pre-school provision.

This initiative is another important step in our efforts to create more inclusive pre-school settings where each child is welcomed and included on equal terms and can progress to his or her full potential”

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