Sign language and specialised training offered to childcare centres “We must make childcare accessible to all”
Statement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone
Sign language, sensory integration and other specialised training are being offered free to childcare centres under a plan to make services accessible to all children, according to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.
More than 1,200 places are being made available to childcare professionals in courses on sign language, promoting language and social skills of children and specialised supports for children with complex needs.
The training is being delivered under the Government’s Access Inclusion Model (AIM) which was launched 18-months ago. Already an estimated 5,000 children have benefitted from targeted AIM supports. It is envisaged that the universal AIM supports have reached even greater numbers of children.
Announcing the new places Minister Zappone added: “If we are to develop truly accessible affordable quality childcare then it must be open to every child.
Since the introduction of AIM we have made great strides to ensure children with disabilities can participate in free pre-school education alongside their friends. Now we are taking another important step. We are offering free specialised training to the practitioners who deliver childcare in our communities. Over 1,200 places are being provided representing an investment of €500,000. There will be training in Lámh - the manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland.
In addition training is being provided on the internationally renowned Hanen Learning Language and Loving It Programme. This programme was designed to help all children in the classroom build language and social skills, no matter what their learning and communication styles are, including children with additional needs.
There will also be online training in sensory integration. These courses together with further developments in the AIM programme which I will confirm shortly represent a significant investment in improving the quality and accessibility of childcare.
They will benefit children in every part of our country.
Our work to turn one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best will continue in 2018.”