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Allow me to introduce myself!

By: LIZ KERRINS

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Liz Kerrins - Director of Research and Professional Learning

I’m delighted to have recently been appointed Early Childhood Ireland’s Director of Research and Professional Learning.  I am really looking forward to meeting with members over the coming year, and to collaborating with you in learning programmes to enhance your professional practice.

Here’s a little bit of information about me. My academic background is in social policy, sociology and information studies. I’ve undertaken children’s research, policy analysis and development and advocacy in charities and third-level institutions, such as Dublin Institute of Technology, Children’s Rights Alliance, Trinity College Dublin, and Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I was the Early Years Manager with the Children’s Rights Alliance from 2016 to June 2019.  When I was younger writing my CV, I always felt wanting as I was never able to say that I loved team activities, which, apparently, is what every employer is looking for!  I enjoy gardening, reading and travel. I reserve my love of collaboration and group interaction for my work!

I believe that children should only ever experience environments and interactions that support their optimal development and early learning, and that help them feel secure. I’m passionate about bringing evidence (research findings) and knowledge (when research findings integrate with your existing knowledge, beliefs and practices) to bear to improve the early childhood system, and doing it in a collaborative way that places the child at the centre. That system contains your settings, national and local policies, inspections, funding structures, quality supports (including those offered by Early Childhood Ireland), and government departments.

Early Childhood Ireland’s organisational vision is what has drawn me to work here:

Every young child is thriving and learning in quality early childhood settings


This vision places the child front and centre in guiding how we develop strategies, make decisions, and act. Everyone walking through the door of our office in Tallaght is met with a pull-up banner proclaiming this vision. This child-centred vision provides the organisation with direction and purpose.  In a dynamic and rapidly transforming Irish early years sector, this vision helps keep Early Childhood Ireland on track.  

To achieve the vision, Early Childhood Ireland wishes to be an effective champion for quality in practice. We want to inspire and enable members to provide quality experiences for young children and their families, and to progress thinking and research for quality practice and policy. Realising that vision involves fostering curiosity amongst our members, our staff and our board, nurturing the desire for ongoing learning, and collaborating to continuously evaluate and improve services, practice and pedagogy. I am so happy to be working alongside the members, staff and board on this journey.

I’ve always been amazed by the self-motivation and generosity of early years educators, seeking out and voluntarily attending training opportunities, conferences and seminars. You attend events on Saturdays and in the evenings after work. Over 800 of you turned out to Early Childhood Ireland's amazing conference on Saturday, April 13 this year. I was there, and I was stunned by the buzz, by the pride that members had in their profession. That desire to always learn, to always improve the quality of the setting, practice, and pedagogy is precious. It should be guarded carefully as the workforce professionalises.

First 5: A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028 is already altering the systems within which settings operate and educators’ practice. First 5 represents an opportunity for Early Childhood Ireland to share our wealth of learning with members and early childhood thought leaders. It will also allow us to deepen our learning and engagement, to seek an evidence-informed approach to stimulating thinking and professional knowledge, and to ensure that practice and pedagogy are critically informed and up-to-date. 

 

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