Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Inspiring Practice in Pen Green

By: VALERIE GAYNOR

Tuesday 24 April 2018

The staff of Creative Kids and Co. from Dublin, were very lucky to spend the February mid term break on a visit to the Pen Green Centre for Under 5’s and their families. The visit was planned to inspire practice, and to get new ideas for our spaces.

Pen Green is located in Corby which is near Birmingham and offers high quality care and education for children and their families. It was established in 1983 as an integrated service for families within the local community of Corby, and was staffed by a multi-disciplinary team including a teacher, social worker, early years worker and early health practitioner. Over the years it has grown and now includes support services, health interventions and adult education. There is a teaching school and early years educators can study there to achieve a Foundation, Bachelors, Masters and PhD degrees in Early Education. They also deliver short courses and conferences throughout the year. (https://www.pengreen.org)

For us, it was an early 4am start in Dublin Airport. It was there we met Geraldine Delahunt and Cathy Steenson who were also coming along to see Pen Green. Geraldine is the owner of Wigwams in Ballysax and Cathy is the manager in Carrs Child and Family Services in Dublin.

After a short plane trip and a long bus journey we arrived in Pen Green. We were given a very warm welcome and a lovely cup of tea. There were 15 of us and 7 other childcare workers from the UK.      

We then attended a classroom session, which outlined the foundation of Pen Green and their philosophies and included information on research that was completed by the centre. We were amazed to learn that it had started in very humble beginnings and it has grown over 30 years to become the centre it is today. It was interesting to note that the nursery school which is equivalent to our ECCE is fully funded and staff are paid directly by the state.

We were taken on a tour of the centre and were able to see all their spaces. It was midterm so there weren’t many children present, but those who were there are obviously well used to visitors and didn’t give us a second glance.

The experience was inspirational and my colleague, David King, had the following to say
“I was very inspired by how they used their outdoor space, how areas are sectioned off. There was lovely documentation outside; I think we could add this to our own practice. I also had a real sense of pride as I saw so much of our own practice there. It was great to walk around the centre and say “we do that”.

Geraldine Delahunt described the day as a “Wonderful experience, some similarities to my own centre. There was an aura of warm nurturing service and it was affirming that we are offering quality early years experiences in our settings".

The only complaint anyone had was that it wasn’t long enough and we would have loved to sit and play with the children and explore the spaces.

There is great evidence of the voice of the child throughout the setting, each child's uniqueness is celebrated and there was great evidence in the rooms of the cultural diversity in the setting. Each child has their very own space to keep their special things. The documentation is very much like our own framework Aistear. There were so many different areas and spaces and we took so many great ideas for our own practice. We saw how easy it can be to create comfortable spaces for children to be in.

Reading space in childcare setting - Inspiring Practice in Pen Green

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and we would recommend any service to visit. It was a fantastic team building experience for all involved.

 

Bio:
Valerie Gaynor is the Manager of Creative Kids and Co in Walkinstown Dublin 12 which is a part-time service catering for over 150 preschool and afterschool children.

Valerie is a member of the policy and implementation panel in ECI and sits on business consultative group for the Affordable childcare scheme in DCYA.

Creative Kids have won inspired practice and learning story awards and are currently undergoing the Siolta QAP hoping to submit by June 2018

1 comments Comments

One Response

  1. Beautiful memories shared by wonderful company ,lovely piece Valerie well done . Ger Wigwams

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Sociodramatic play(1) Arlene Forster(1) refugees(1) Twitter(1) Builders(1) Child Care(1) Maths(6) Through the looking glass(1) preschool settings(1) Siolta blog(8) outdoor environment(1) Budget 2019(2) Fee Play(1) Maynooth University(2) Child mental health(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Family(1) Visitors(1) june29(1) Biting(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Cork(1) Our Little Seed(1) Autism(4) Creative(1) risky play(2) Giraffe(2) Childcare(3) Titles(1) Youtube Series(1) responsive relationships(1) Inspirational(2) Leprechauns(1) aistear blog(3) School Age Childcare(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Buddy Bench(1) Independence(1) Anthony Semann(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Competent(1) Celebrate(1) Return to Work Training(1) bloom app(1) UN(1) linc(1) research submissions(1) Human Resources(1) DES Inspection(1) Mindfulness(3) Norway(2) Liz Kerrins(1) Pedagogy(2) Primary School(3) Building Resilience(1) gender stereotype(1) conference(1) Awards Night(1) Belonging(3) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Routines(2) Grief(1) friendships(1) continual professional development(1) Sculptures(1) Administrative Burden(1) Frustrations(1) Self Help Skills(1) Scéalta Blog(104) UNCRC(2) toddlers(3) Love(3) Teamwork(1) E.coli(1) Large Doll Play(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Design(1) Care routines(1) ELC(1) Glitter(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Line-ups(1) Quality(4) Engagement(1) Stress(2) emotional well-being(1) RIE philosphy(1) Children and families(1) children’s learning(1) science week(2) structure(1) Wrapping paper(1) MECPI(1) Gardening(1) Book Club(2) dining experiences(1) Adoption(1) Nuturing interactions(1) man up(1) feisty(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Interaction(1) learners(1) Xbox(1) Certificate(1) Recycle(1) Snack Time(1) Queues(1) Engineers Week(2) development(8) Masterclass(2) Relaxation(1) First 5 strategy(1) Mo Scéal(1) Health(2) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Potential(1) developing motor skills(1) ICBN(1) Prexit(1) early years learning(1) Imagination(3) CPD(1) Party(1) Care-giving routines(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Academics(1) Yoga(1) Albert Einstein(1) books(4) Trade Unions(1) Smiles(1) annual awards(1) Children(4) Painting(1) CIT(1) HR(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Appreciation(1) reopening ireland(1) early childhood educator(2) Obesity(1) Kindness Challenge(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Kilkenny(1) social media policy(1) under 3's(3) outdoor play(6) research(6) bonds(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Leadership(1) Covid pandemic(2) Mixed age groups(3) St. Patrick's Day(1) education(2) Sequins(1) Online(1) Pobal(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Confidence(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Feeding(1) maternity health(1) Graduate(1) RTE Investigates(1) play pods(2) relationships(18) COVID-19(14) Online Research Symposium(1) listening(1) Intention(1) Map(1) learning hub(1) Maynooth(1) life long learning(1) Bereavement(2) Covid response(2) conversations(1) GDPR(1) Environment(2) Maths Week(1) playleader(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) ECEC(3) Small World Play(1) Blocks(1) Playschool(1) Social Skills(1) Mathematicians(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) DCYA(6) Gratitude(1) Trick or treat(1) Easter(1) Halloween(2) outdoor space(3) Advocacy(1) Challenges(1) TOY Programme(1) social media(2) Nutrition(1) Budget 2018(1) Sweets(1) Recycling(2) Identity(5) Plastic(1) educating(1) Anxiety(2) Scents(1) SAC(1) AIM(2) imotion(1) coronavirus(1) Decisions(1) risk assessment(1) reopening(1) Laughter(1) ears(1) Mud kitchens(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Learning Stories(9) Mental Health(4) Policy(2) Japan(1) awards 2020(1) CCTV(1) Role play(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Participation(2) documentation(4) Behaviour(3) Learning Story Awards(2) Light table(1) Digital Devices(1) Eritrea(1) Well-Being(10) Reading Time(1) Dance(1) Mealtimes(1) Winter(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Oireachtas(1) youdoodle(1) Meal time(1) Horizon 2020(1) worries(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Trade union(1) Exercise(1) Exclusion(1) Magic(1) education system(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Penguins(1) dining(1) babies(7) Leargas(1) democratic citizens(1) The Lullaby Book(1) ECCE(7) Patterns(1) ECEC Setting(2) Nonverbal(1) San Miniato(4) animals(2) EM Standing(1) Document Learning(1) grandchild(1) Pre-School Services(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Malaguzzi(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Spiders(1) phone apps(1) children development(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Degree(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) scéalta(55) Orla Kenny(1) Snakes(1) Traditions(2) Diversity(1) Síolta(136) transitions(10) Leaders in Practice(1) Sustainable(1) child-centric(1) Cognitive development(1) Arithmetic(1) listen(1) reading(5) play(35) environments(1) Qualifications(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Workforce(1) staying connected(1) multi-generational community(1) Valentine's Day(3) experience(1) food(1) Academic Skills(1) Inter-generational learning(2) mushrooms(1) ReCreate(2) Pobal sector profile(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Community involvement(1) European Project(1) Vietnam(1) Photographs(1) Little Buddies(1) play stories(2) show and tell(1) GoToMeeting app(1) NAEYC(1) christmas(9) Infection Control(1) Socioemotional development(1) Jenga(1) Brain(1) Games(1) Positivity(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Self-regulation(1) lockdown(1) art of the relationship(1) Counting(1) curriculum(5) science(3) Workplace Relations(3) Ceremony(1) Wendy Lee(3) PIP(1) pablo(1) Pen green(1) Mantra(1) Learning Journal(2) Reggio(1) Supernanny(1) Afghanistan(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Awards 2019(1) Fabric(1) primary education(1) educarer(1) Funding(1) Thanks(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Summer(1) Self-Esteem(1) journey(1) Exploring(1) Music(3) emotions(2) purpose(1) keep in touch(1) respect(5) Budget 2020(1) Lego(2) IGL(1) Graduation(1) Home Corner(1) childcare services(1) story time(2) Pretend Play(1) Culture(2) Seanchaí(1) iOS(1) University(1) Research Seminar(1) Interests(1) Syria(1) Iceland(1) democracy(1) Children's Research Network(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Learning Stories Award(3) interacting(2) Family wall(1) Impact(1) National Awards 2018(2) Touch(1) play pod(1) Inter-generational(2) community(5) International Narratives(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Story(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Irish(1) collaboration(1) Early Years(1) play therapy(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Kindness(1) InspireMe.ie(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Affordability(1) The Jelly King(1) Drawing(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) World Health Organisation(1) risk(2) United Nations(1) AsIAm(2) Shoes(1) Confident(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Favouritism(1) Mount Everest(1) Universal Design(2) Identity and Belonging(4) Staff Motivation(1) Workplace well-being(1) Ariana Pucci(1) EECERA 2016(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Capable(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Children's Rights(3) Playdough(1) Learning Story(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Thank you(1) Magnavacchi(1) Weather(1) New Appointments(1) Arts(1) Thinking(1) Employee(1) Time(1) Early Years Educators(3) budget(1) Treasure(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) keezy(1) INTO(1) Aistear(130) blog(52) parents(6) family time(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Digital(1) learning bias(1) memories(1) value(1) mental health problems(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Empathy(1) healthy eating policies(1) Trigonometry(1) creche(1) National Awards 2019(1) Names(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Inclusion(3) Inspired Practice Award(6) UD(1) Sport(1) outdoors(4) First 5(1) stories(3) Síolta QAP(1) MA(1) Art(6) Italy(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Research Conference 2019(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) STEM(3) overhear(1) Facebook(1) early childhood(1) Laugh(1) Sleep(1) SPICE Framework(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Montessori(3) Study Trip(1) Investment(2) Engineering(3) Iraq(1) annual conference(1) child-centred approach(1) NCCA(3) social science(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Event Guide(1) ECIAwards20(1) Opportunities(1) early years settings(1) Treasure Chest(1) early years research(2) Wesco(1) peer group(1) Death(2) Motor neuron disease(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Vertical grouping(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) eating(1) Training(2) Children's Voice(1) Visual Impairment(1) Hand Hygiene(2) emotional environment(2) baby room(1) Storytelling(7) Christmas Creativity(2) Maria Montessori(1) Childhood(1) Sessional service(1) Rituals(1) Book Review(1) Communications(1) Creativity(6) Reggio Emilia(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) early life(1) gender bias(1) preschool(4) Seas Suas(1) Margy Whalley(1) Awards(2) Shapes(2) Celebrations(4) Magda Gerber(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Your place(1) Kerry(1) Performance Management(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) National Holiday(1) communication(4) Educator of the Year Award(3) Support(1) online training(1) Body Language(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Performing(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Mark Twain(1) Early Years Education(1) Running(1) planning(1) EECERA(1) Loss(1) Whole Group(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) trust(4) Reflective Practice(1) supportive environments(2) Kids Own(1) Exploratory Play(1) UNICEF report(1) Equality(1) Buddies(1) Settling in(4) Rich Documentation(1) Decision Making(1) code of ethics(1) role playing(1) Exit interview(1) Looking Back(1) Fantasy play(1) Window(1) Craft(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) dogs(1) curiosity(3) routine(2) pets(1) Plants(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) behavioural science(1) Traffic Lights(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Learning journals(1) racism(1) Professionalisation(5) Awards 2018(3) Mayo(1) Interactions(3) inspiring interactions(1) TRAP(1) College(1) Consent(1) Sustainability(3) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Snacks(1) Irish guidelines(1) Flowers(1) Loving Relationships(2) movement behaviours(1) Maternity Leave(1) Limerick(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Time Out(1) Inspections(1) dublin(2) Elders(1) Infectious diseases(1) Tuscan Approach(2) ERASMUS+(3) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Technology(3) Wilenski(1) Change(1) Santa(2) Breathing(2) Looking Forward(1) Wonder(1) Educators(2) meals(3) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Meet the Members(1) apps for children(1) learning(19) Communicating(1) Upcycling(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine