The model comprises of 7 levels, the County Childcare Committees are involved in levels 1-3 which are termed ‘universal supports’ and levels 4-7 provide more ‘targeted supports’. We are also delighted that this model has a dedicated website http://www.preschoolaccess.ie/ and more information on the 7 levels can be found on this website. Briefly please see below for some information on the levels.
Level 1- 3: Universal Supports under AIM
A new Inclusion Charter has been developed for the early years sector. The purpose of the Charter is to demonstrate the sector’s commitment to inclusion. Service providers are invited to sign-up to this Charter by producing and publishing their own Inclusion Policy. More information at http://www.preschoolaccess.ie/ under ‘service providers’.
A new higher education programme, “Leadership for Inclusion in Early Years” or LINC, will commence in September 2016. It is a special purpose award at Level 6 it aims to equip participants with the knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies to support the participation of children with additional needs in early years settings. There is a dedicated website for this course http://lincprogramme.ie/ , applications will open on this website on Monday 20th of June and All candidates applying to the LINC programme must be nominated by their employer/setting. Graduates from the programme will be able to take on a new leadership role of Inclusion Co-ordinator within their pre-school setting which will attract an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable to that setting.
Finally, a broad multi-annual programme of formal and informal training for pre-school staff in relation to disability and inclusion will be funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and will be delivered by the City and County Childcare Committee’s, in collaboration with the HSE and other agencies. Details of this training programme will be advertised on http://www.preschoolaccess.ie/ website and on your local City or County Childcare Committees website once available.
Level 4-7 – Targeted Supports Under AIM
Under level 4 Expert Educational Advice and Support, service providers can access a national service where specialists in early years care and education for children with disabilities can provide expert advice, mentoring and support. To avail of this support, service providers, in partnership with parents, will be asked to complete an online Access and Inclusion Profile. A copy of the profile is available again under the ‘service providers’ page, Access and Inclusion Profile. Applications can be made at present and are open all year on PIP.
Under level 5 Equipment, Appliances and Minor Alterations, a national scheme is available to provide specialised equipment, appliances or capital grants towards minor building alterations, where these are necessary to support access and facilitate a child’s participation in pre-school. Applications for this scheme should be made by a service provider, in partnership with a parent. In all cases, a short report from a “designated professional” is required confirming that the specialised equipment or minor building alterations are necessary. Further information can be found on the following link Relevant Documents.
Under level 6 Therapy services which are considered critical for a child’s participation in the Early Childhood Care and Education programme will be made available. Arrangements are in place with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to deliver this service and a number of additional therapy posts have been funded under the Access and Inclusion Model to support this service provision. To avail of level 6 support, service providers, in partnership with parents, should complete the Access and Inclusion Profile on PIP.
Under Level 7: Additional Capitation Where the above supports are not sufficient to meet the needs of the child, service providers, in partnership with parents, can apply for additional capitation to fund extra support in the classroom or to enable the reduction of the staff to child ratio. Applications for level 7 additional capitation should be made by the service provider, in partnership with the parent, by completing the Access and Inclusion Profile (explained under level 4) and, within that profile, the level 7 service request.
Getting Started and Accessing Supports
Where a service provider has agreed to enrol a child in their service and consider that they will need additional support to meet the needs of the child in an inclusive way, service providers can, in partnership with the parent, apply for supports under AIM. The links with full details are on the website http://www.preschoolaccess.ie/. The application process is open and will remain open throughout the year.