Barnardos Early Years eNews
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IN THIS ISSUE: News and Developments | Barnardos Publications, Training and Library | Upcoming Events

Welcome to the latest issue of Early Years eNews

Barnardos have a number of interesting events coming up in March. The first of these considers Professionalism in the Early Years and will be of interest to anyone working in or studying early years education and care. The following week we are holding a seminar entitled Emotional Development: Unlocking your child's potential, which considers how parents can support their child’s mental, emotional and social development. Both events are free and further details are given below.
There have been a lot of developments in early years education and care already this year and in this issue we include updates on the Affordable Childcare Scheme and the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). We also bring details of two reports recently published on Early-Years Education-Focused Inspections and on Tusla Early Years Inspections. We also bring the very welcome news of the change in recruitment policy for future Tusla Early Years Inspectors, which will allow various professions to apply for these posts, including for the first time graduates from early years care and education.

In this issue, you can also find out about Barnardos training events coming up, new publications that will be launched in 2018 as well as information on our library resources. We also give information on how to avail of discounts on publications and library membership in March.
If you have any comments or suggestions about our Early Years eNewsletter we would love to hear from you.


Barnardos News

Professionalism in the Early Years - Free Event

When: Wednesday 7 March, 10-12.30am
Where: Barnardos, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8

On Wednesday 7 March, as part of the AONTAS Adult Learning Festival 2018, Barnardos Learning & Development Service are holding an event on Professionalism in the Early Years. This free event will be of interest to anyone working in or studying studying early years education and care. 

10:30 – 11:15 Professionalism in the Early Years | Heino Schonfeld
This talk will give an understanding of the various steps to support the professional development of the early years workforce such as professional identity, training and qualification, regulation and a common code of ethics.

11:30 – 12:15 Keeping Current: How to find, access and evaluate online information | Maria Rogers
A key element of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Lifelong Learning is keeping up-to-date with news and developments in your field but this is often not as easy as it sounds. This presentation will give an overview of some easy-to-use tips and tricks for finding high quality information and resources for your work and studies.

Emotional Development: Unlocking your child's potential

When: Wednesday 14 March, 9:30am – 1pm
Where: F2 Centre, Rialto, Dublin 8

Join Barnardos for a free seminar on how you can support your child’s mental, emotional and social development. We’ll be joined by Dr David Carey (Child Psychologist), Dil Wickremasinghe (journalist and parent), child development specialists and Barnardos’ staff who will answer all of your parenting questions.
Barnardos New Campaign - LOST

When a child is lost, the world takes notice. Search parties are formed. Front-page stories are printed. Airports are closed. We are captivated by the terror. And we will all work hard to find that child because we know it’s important.

However, children in Ireland are lost every day. 1 in 7 children in Ireland are lost … lost to homelessness, lost to poverty, lost to neglect. Join the #BarnardosSearch at We need your help to end this injustice.

Meet our Team: Early Years Development Manager, Heino Schonfeld

I am originally from Kiel on the Baltic coast, and I trained and qualified as a social worker and social pedagogue in Berlin, Germany. I have practised as a front-line worker, manager and policy maker in Germany, the USA and, since 1987, in Ireland and previous roles have included Director of the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education and Deputy Director of the Centre for Effective Services.

In my current role as Early Years Development Manager in Barnardos I am responsible for the planning, coordination and reporting of activities including regional quality supports, publications, information services and training. I also represent Barnardos on several national committees, advisory groups, working groups and boards. I am a very experienced practitioner, manager, writer and policy maker across the NGO and statutory sectors and have also successfully trained professionals at all levels.
When not working, I like the outdoors (particularly sailing and swimming), arts, current affairs, cooking and spending time with my children.

Other News and Developments

Affordable Childcare Scheme
At the end of January, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, made a statement giving updates on the Affordable Childcare Scheme, including an update on the ICT system that will be put in place. Unfortunately no definitive timeline for the scheme’s launch has been announced yet.
A Review of Early-Years Education-Focused Inspection
The Department of Education and Skills has published a report outlining insights and future developments of the Early-Years Education-Focused Inspections April 2016 – June 2017. The report states that Early-Years Education-focused Inspection '…has strengthened the commitment to providing every child with enriching, enjoyable early childhood experiences that provide a great start for young children on their education journey. It has valued and validated the professionalism and commitment of the early years workforce; and it has provided robust, authentic information to parents and policymakers about what has been achieved and what still needs to be addressed in the delivery of high quality early education.'

Annual Report 2016 of Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s Early Years Inspectorate
Tusla Early Years Inspectorate has published its Annual Report 2016. The report highlights the key findings from the analysis of inspection reports and outcomes from early years inspections, and outlines priorities for the future. It also examines the impact of inspection on the quality of early years services.


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

New Universal Design Guidance for Early Years Settings
Early Childhood Ireland and TrinityHaus (Trinity College Dublin) are working on new guidance for early years setting on universal design that will be used for the refurbishment, renovation and the building of centres. The development of the guidance, which will be published in the autumn of this year, 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.
  • 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. 

Change in Recruitment Policy for Future Tusla Early Years Inspectors
Minister Zappone has announced that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Tusla and the INMO (representing Public Health Nurses) have reached an agreement at the Labour Court regarding the future recruitment of Early Years Inspectors within Tusla. The recent Labour Court recommendation will allow various professions to apply for these posts, including for the first time graduates from Early Years Care and Education, as well as candidates with suitable qualifications in social care, social work, psychology and education. 

Capital Grants 2018
The closing date for application for Capital Grants for Early Years and School Age Childcare Services is 3pm on the 9th March. Applications can only be made using the online application form available via the Pobal Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP) system.

Consultation on Draft Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines for Initial Professional Education (Levels 7&8) Degree Programmes in Early Childhood Education and Care in Ireland

In 2016, the results of a consultation survey of early years practitioners on the quality of their education and training was published by the Department of Education and Skills. The survey showed that practitioners identified some significant gaps in both the further and higher education programmes from which they had graduated. In response to the initial consultation findings, the Department commissioned a review of both the occupational profiles and the national and international policy landscape in which practitioners were working. Professor Mathias Urban and a team of researchers from Roehampton University published this research in 2017. On foot of this, the Department established a working group to draft a set of Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines for Initial Professional Education undergraduate degree programmes in ECEC in Ireland.  The report of the working group is available here.
Consultation is now underway seeking views on the draft Criteria and Guidelines. 
Early Childhood Ireland Childcare Barometer

Early Childhood Ireland has released its first ever Childcare Barometer, revealing widespread public support for a more progressive childcare system in Ireland. The Barometer, which seeks to track public attitudes to early years care and education, is based on a nationwide poll of 1,004 adults conducted in January 2018. It found:

  • 75% of respondents felt the education of children under 5 is just as important as the education of children over 5
  • 69% felt that parents should be financially supported to stay at home with their child for the first year of the child’s life
  • 65% felt childcare should, similarly to primary education, be available free to all children
  • 57% felt that parents should only pay for childcare in line with their overall income, with only 23% feeling that parents should be fully responsible for the cost of childcare

Children's Right Alliance Report Card 2018

The Children's Right Alliance has published their tenth annual Report Card, the second edition of the new series since the publication of A Programme for Partnership Government in May 2016. 

The Government is awarded an overall 'C-' grade in Report Card 2018, reflecting a satisfactory attempt, with children still left wanting. This is an increase on last year’s D+ grade. The highest individual grade in Report Card 2018 is a 'B' for ‘Child Protection’, with the lowest grade being awarded for ‘Child and Family Homelessness’, receiving an 'E', unchanged since last year. Two sections received a ‘D+’ grade, which indicates a barely acceptable performance, with little or no positive impact or children: ‘Traveller and Roma Children’; ‘Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children’.

Primary Education
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will be starting a a new research project later this year to track children from pre-school through to the start of second-level in a six-year project to monitor their experiences and to help improve primary education. The work for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will provide new insights into how children experience primary school and how school staff and management view themselves. Among the key themes the NCCA wants to examine is how children cope with the transitions from pre-school to primary, and from primary to second-level education.
Digital Safety Officer
Communications Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that the Government is to appoint a digital safety commissioner this year to help protect children online. An open digital safety forum on 8th March at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham involving gardaí, Interpol, NGOs, state bodies and parents groups will also help set the foundations for the new office.
Dublin Zoo Early Years Programme

Dublin Zoo now offers three programmes for early years learners that support the Aistear Curriculum Framework. The New Dinosaur Explorer programme helps early learners expand on their knowledge of dinosaurs by meeting with Stan, a life size replica T-rex fossil. Role-play is a key component of this session as children work in teams of palaeontologists to uncover fossils of dinosaurs. This session supports the Aistear themes ‘Exploring and Thinking’ and ‘Communicating’. Farmtastic Food helps young children make the connection between their food and the farm and focuses on the Aistear theme ‘Wellbeing’ while Winter Woollies supports children in understanding where their clothes come from and supports the Aistear theme ‘Exploring and Thinking’. Email for more information.


Barnardos Training and Consultancy

We have a number of public training events coming up in spring 2018: Booking for our May events will open soon.
Please contact to find out more about tailored training for your group or organisation on these topics and others including Promoting Positive Behaviour, Quality Adult Child Interactions, Giving Evidence in Court Proceedings, Reflective Practice for Early Years Professionals, etc.

Free Online Course from Barnardos 

Learning Environments in the Early Years is designed to support early years educators to provide quality environments for the children they work with. This introductory elearning course is free to use and is suitable for anyone working with children.


Barnardos Library and Information Service

To celebrate World Book Day, we are offering a 20% discount on all Library memberships from 1st to 9th March!

Just enter the code MARCHMOOD at the checkout.

Benefits of Membership include:
  • Borrowing rights to Library collection
  • Full off-site access to eBooks, Databases and Research Journals
  • Subscription to Childlinks, Barnardos’ journal (3 issues per year)
  • Monthly Members’ eUpdate – including updates on the latest research and reports
  • Personal research and information query service  - think this is the line you wanted to remove/change?
  • Free events and priority invitations to publication launches & talks
  • 10% discount on all Barnardos’ publications  
Contact the Library for more details.
Tel: 01 4549699  email:
Collection Highlight: Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing
The Library & Information Service has wide variety of early years resources available to members.  Here we highlight just some of the resources relating children’s mental health and wellbeing.  More online resources are also available to members via the library’s online databases. And if you don’t have time to find the information yourself, we are happy to do it for you! Just email us at for details.
Nurturing personal, social and emotional development in early childhood : A practical guide to understanding brain development and young children's behaviour
Garvey, Debbie.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018
Promoting young children's emotional health and wellbeing : A practical guide for professionals and parents
Mainstone-Cotton, Sonia.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017
Understanding early childhood mental health : A practical guide for professionals
Summers, Susan Janko & Chazan-Cohen, Rachel.
Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.,  2012
The wellbeing of children under three
By: Bradford, Helen.
Publisher: Abingdon Routledge, 2011
What children need to be happy, confident and successful : Step by step positive psychology to help children flourish
Hooper, Jeni.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012

Barnardos Publications

To celebrate World Book Day on the 1st March we are also offering a discount on all publications bought online between 1st and 9th March.

Just enter the code MARCHMOOD at the checkout.
ChildLinks - Professionalisation of the Early Years Sector

This issue of ChildLinks considers the professional status of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Ireland. It highlights both the progress that has been made in Ireland and the existing gaps, and examines the work currently underway in the areas of qualification and continual professional development; the establishment of a professional body; pay and conditions; the naming of the profession; and a common Code of Ethics. This issue will be available on our online shop from next week.
Learning Together (2nd Edition)

The aim of this free booklet is to provide parents with information about the value of early childhood learning and the impact it can have on a child's quality of life, their whole development and their future opportunities and experiences. This booklet will be available to download next week from our online shop. If you want hard copies you can pre-order by emailing

Our Children First: A Parent's Guide to the National Child Protection Guidance

Now available online, this free booklet provides parents with information on child protection and welfare, based on Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children. If you would like to order hard copies please contact us. Topics include:
  • What parents should know about child abuse.
  • The different types of child abuse.
  • What to do if you are worried that a child you know is being abused.
  • What you can do to make sure your own children are kept safe when they are in someone else’s care.

We will be publishing a number of new titles in the coming months on the topics below. Keep an eye on our website for more details.
  • Child Protection Guide for Early Years and School Age Childcare Services
  • Nurturing Babies' Learning and Development in the Early Years
  • Arts in the Early Years

Upcoming Events Nationwide

Children in Hospital Ireland Annual Lecture 

When: 12 March, 6-8pm
Where: Trinity College, School of Nursing & Midwifery, 24 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2
This lecture will focus on building and maintaining resilience when working with children in hospital. Barbara Wren, Psychologist and author of True Tales of Organisational Life (2016) is Guest Speaker on the evening. This event will have a wide appeal for parents, volunteers, all hospital staff, voluntary organisations working with children and others with an interest in supporting this area of work.
ECI Annual Conference 2018
Coming Together in Difference: Leadership in Inclusion, Equality & Diversity
When: 13 and 14 April
Where: Croke Park Conference Centre
This conference brings people together to recognise the impact of high-quality, inclusive early childhood education on the lives of young children and their families, as well as the importance of investing in ongoing professional development for students, educators, managers, trainers, and all our current and future sector leaders. The conference will explore current and emerging practice and facilitate deep reflective thinking. 


Department of Children and Youth Affairs   Pobal
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