About us

Early Childhood Ireland is the leading membership organisation in the early years sector, focused on our compelling vision of putting the child at the centre of our work.  Early Childhood Ireland has a strong track record which spans over five decades and we are currently  delivering on our Strategic Plan 2021 to 2026.

We currently have over 3,800 members, who support over 120,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool, and full day-care provision nationwide. Our work includes quality enhancement, communications and publications, advocacy, training, support & information for a sector that employs over  25,000 people

About

Strategic Direction

Our Strategic Plan 2021-2026 will be available here shortly. This is a significant document which outlines the future direction of Early Childhood Ireland and what our vision is. 

Our objectives for 2021–2026 are:

  • Early Childhood Ireland members lead the way in achieving excellence in their child-centred settings
  • Early Childhood Ireland  is the leading advocate for children in ELC, SAC and Childminding in Ireland
  • Early Childhood Ireland will champion excellence and lead & inspire professional learning in ELC, SAC, Childminding settings.
  • Position and build Early Childhood Ireland  for future long-term success

This new strategic plan demonstrates the inspiring potential of Early Childhood Ireland and our proven ability to adapt and lead in a changing social, political and economic environment. The plan will guide our operations and be the basis of our reporting across the organisation. We are effective and efficient in our work and with our resources and we hold an image of the competent child at the centre of all that we do.

Strategic Direction

Please see our Strategic Plan 2021-2026 here.   It is a significant document which outlines the future direction of Early Childhood Ireland and what our vision is. 

Our objectives for 2021–2026 are:

  • 1:ECI members lead the way in achieving excellence in their child-centred settings
  • 2:ECI is the leading advocate for children in ELC, SAC and Childminding in Ireland
  • 3:ECI will champion excellence and lead & inspire professional learning in ELC, SAC, Childminding settings.
  • 4:Position and build ECI for future long-term success

This new strategic plan demonstrates the inspiring potential of Early Childhood Ireland and our proven ability to adapt and lead in a changing social, political and economic environment. The plan will guide our operations and be the basis of our reporting across the organisation. We are effective and efficient in our work and with our resources and we hold an image of the competent child at the centre of all that we do. 

Vision

Every young child is thriving and learning in quality Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare in centre based and childminding settings.

Mission

Supporting and empowering members to provide the highest quality Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare services for children and their families in centres and childminders’ homes.

Our ethos and values

We have always believed that early childhood is a critical period for the nurturing of each individual child’s curiosity, resilience, creativity, confidence and potential. We also believe that play is a right and is a key learning pathway in the lives of children. We are a professional and innovative membership organisation that works collaboratively with the relevant government departments, agencies and academic institutions to champion our vision and realise our mission.        

These core beliefs are consistent with our vision and they have shaped our values.

At Early Childhood Ireland we: 

  • Value our staff and our membership for their dedicated work with and for children;
  • Believe that ELC and SAC services should be properly publicly funded and accessible to all;
  • Lead by being ambitious, innovative and accountable;
  • Champion equality, inclusion and diversity;
  • Work with integrity, respect and behave in a way that is ethical and responsible;
  • Value transparency, quality practice and good governance in our sector because it results in better experiences for children.

History

Early Childhood Ireland has a rich history of member support work, training and strong advocacy that spans over 5 decades. In 2012, two compatible organisations the Irish Preschool Play Association (IPPA) and the National Children’s Nurseries Associations (NCNA) merged to form Early Childhood Ireland with a combined heritage  of over  50 years.  Today ECI is the largest membership organisation in the sector dedicated to ensuring that every young child is thriving and learning in quality Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare in centre based and childminding settings.  The longevity of the organisation and its continued commitment to this important role is a testament to its leaders and members.

In Early Childhood Ireland, we believe that what happens in childhood sets the foundation for our adult lives. We view play, health and wellbeing and family support as essential parts of our framework.     

The First 5 Strategy was launched is 2018 and it is a whole of Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and a great start in life. This is first strategy for early years in Ireland and it will significantly enhance early childhood and make a huge contribution to the lives of young children, society and the economy over the short medium and long term. Early Childhood Ireland’s current strategic plan is developed within the context of this First 5 Strategy.    

ECI Impact

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Our membership grew by 21% from 3,530 at the end of 2016 to 4,267 at the end of 2020

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By the end of 2020, EYES saw an increase of  43% on calls and an increase of 224% on emails compared to 2019.

Over 13,000 staff in the sector had engaged with Early Childhood Ireland’s Learning Hub, which launched in June 2020.

The number of annual unique visits to our earlychildhoodireland.ie website rose from 202,377 at the end of 2016 to 330,744 at the end of 2020.  

ECI Impact

+

Our membership grew by 21% from 3,530 at the end of 2016 to 4,267 at the end of 2020

+

By the end of 2020, EYES saw an increase of 43% on calls and an increase of 224% on emails compared to 2019. 

Over 13,000 staff in the sector had engaged with Early Childhood Ireland’s Learning Hub, which launched in June 2020.

The number of annual unique visits to our earlychildhoodireland.ie website rose from 202,377 at the end of 2016 to 330,744 at the end of 2020.  

Each year Early Childhood Ireland engages with policy makers to increase the level of investment in childcare, with a focus on the annual Budget process.

Early Childhood Ireland makes submissions on a range of areas which impact on our members, so that policy makers are informed about all of the challenges our sector faces and that they are offered viable and credible solutions.

Each year since 2018, we publish our annual Childcare Barometer which tracks public support for early years and related issues, through a nationwide RedC poll.

Early Childhood Ireland manages and contributes to research which provides valuable evidence about our sector to policy makers and those who support our case for high quality care and education for babies and children.

Advocacy

Early Childhood Ireland advocates for a quality national Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare system which values and supports childhood, children and services. Ireland continues to invest the lowest level of public funds in childcare across the OECD. We work to change this by raising the profile of our sector with decision makers and the public. We also monitor current spending and service delivery. Early Childhood Ireland proposes evidence-based policy changes which prioritise the needs of babies and children in high-quality, sustainable, publicly funded early years and school-age care provision which is available to all families.

Each year Early Childhood Ireland engages with policy makers to increase the level of investment in childcare, with a focus on the annual Budget process.

Early Childhood Ireland makes submissions on a range of areas which impact on our members, so that policy makers are informed about all of the challenges our sector faces and that they are offered viable and credible solutions.

Each year since 2018, we publish our annual Childcare Barometer which tracks public support for early years and related issues, through a nationwide RedC poll.

Early Childhood Ireland manages and contributes to research which provides valuable evidence about our sector to policy makers and those who support our case for high quality care and education for babies and children.

Advocacy

Early Childhood Ireland advocates for a quality national Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare system which values and supports childhood, children and services. Ireland continues to invest the lowest level of public funds in childcare across the OECD. We work to change this by raising the profile of our sector with decision makers and the public. We also monitor current spending and service delivery. Early Childhood Ireland proposes evidence-based policy changes which prioritise the needs of babies and children in high-quality, sustainable, publicly funded early years and school-age care provision which is available to all families.

What We Do

Membership

Join Early Childhood Ireland today and become part of the leading organisation in the sector working to ensure quality experiences for children in Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare settings.

As an organisation, we are fully committed to supporting you to provide quality experiences for children. Our strategies are based on professional experience and on national and international research, policy and best practice.

Research And Learning

Early Childhood Ireland believes in the importance of the Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare supporting children and families in accordance with best practice and current knowledge and research.

Members also have access to Early Childhood Ireland’s Learning Hub that provide a range of compliance training, IT training and Personal Development training, (usually at no extra cost).

Events

Early Childhood Ireland take pride in organising excellent quality events. We host an Annual Conference with renowned national and international speakers.

Our National Research Symposium provides a platform for undergraduate and post-graduate researchers to share their research with their peers, academics and policy makers.

What We Do

Membership

Join Early Childhood Ireland today and become part of the leading organisation in the sector working to ensure quality experiences for children in Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare settings.

As an organisation, we are fully committed to supporting you to provide quality experiences for children. Our strategies are based on professional experience and on national and international research, policy and best practice.

Research And Learning

Early Childhood Ireland believes in the importance of the Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare supporting children and families in accordance with best practice and current knowledge and research.

Members also have access to Early Childhood Ireland’s Learning Hub that provide a range of compliance training, IT training and Personal Development training, (usually at no extra cost).

Events

Early Childhood Ireland take pride in organising excellent quality events. We host an Annual Conference with renowned national and international speakers.

Our National Research Symposium provides a platform for undergraduate and post-graduate researchers to share their research with their peers, academics and policy makers.

Careers

Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) is the leading national membership organisation known and respected for the quality and impact of its leadership, advocacy, training and resourcing on behalf of babies and young children. Joining the Early Childhood Ireland team means helping to shape the future of the early childhood sector in Ireland, the future of our organisation and at the same time – your own future.

We are looking for people who share our passion for our vison, mission and innovation, buy into our ethos and will add value to our team. We offer flexible working arrangements and are focused on the importance of employee well- being. We are also committed to learning and development as we believe in empowering people to be successful in their jobs and encourage our staff to contribute with hearts, minds and creativity.  If this sounds like the perfect organisation for you then we would love to hear from you. 

In line with our strategic plan, from time to time we seek to fill a number of positions on both a temporary and permanent basis across key areas of our work. Early Childhood Ireland is committed to equal employment opportunities.
Please check our current openings.

Quick Links

Meet the Team

We value our staff and appreciate their commitment and dedication to the organisation. We aim to be an employer of best practice.

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Board Members

Meet our board members responsible for the governance of Early Childhood Ireland.

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Governance and Annual Reports

Read a synopsis of our yearly activities, achievements, and financial reviews.

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Quick Links

Meet the Team

Meet the team responsible for delivering on our mission, vision and values.

Board Members

Meet our board members responsible for the governance of Early Childhood Ireland.

Annual Reports

Read a synopsis of our yearly activities, achievements, and financial reviews.

Contact Us

You can learn more about our services and procedures and ask us your questions online via contact form! Our representative will gladly reply to you shortly!

Contact Information
Hainault House, Belgard Square Tallaght D24 RFV0
01 4057100
info@earlychildhoodireland.ie

Early Childhood Ireland Membership Renewal

Your Early Childhood Ireland membership is now due for renewal. Renew online before 30 September 2021 to be in with a chance of winning one of our weekly prizes of a personal tablet.