Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Rising to new challenges

By: AISLING HEARNE

Tuesday 09 October 2018

As a member of the Policy and Communications team at Early Childhood Ireland, I have been exposed to a vast amount of knowledge in my first few months on a new team. Last Thursday, 4th October we hosted our very first Meet the Members event. This event brought together our members and members of the Oireachtas so that our collective voices, as advocates for early years in Ireland, can be heard directly by our elected representatives. Timely planned, this event coincides with our 2019 Budget submission Rising to the Challenge. A huge success on the day, our event provided a chance for our members to breathe life into something that can feel static to those working on the ground. Budgets, government initiatives, submissions; these are all concepts and words that can often feel intangible to a workforce within a sector that feels significantly undervalued.

So, to really strip it back, let's imagine for a moment you have worked tirelessly to build a home. You have spent several years gathering all the materials you need. You invested in the right supports, adhered to all the rules and regulations, yet still, the support frame you need to hold the building together feels so very far out of your reach. Disheartened and tired you know that if you spoke with the right people you could get your hands on the glue that could help hold it all together. But, when the opportunity arises to source what you need you are unable to attend. Why, why…when this is the vital piece you need are you not the first person in the queue? The answer is simple. If you let go of the bricks, everything will fall around you.

Yes, I am aware this is a very simplistic analogy, but unfortunately this is the reality for most Early Childhood Ireland members I spoke with over the last month. These are providers that desperately wanted to attend this event. Providers that seek an opportunity to voice their opinions to those with influence, the true depiction of the early years sector in Ireland today. The irony being that the same providers could not attend due to ratio issues and relentless administration, to name only a few of the factors involved in their constant staffing crisis. The glaring injustice being that these are the very same people who forego wages so that their staff can have a salary and the families they serve can have a summer camp. As our Chairperson, Jillian van Turnhout, addressed last Thursday, 'These people are the backbone of our sector and we need to strengthen and sustain them.'

What was evident and what truly stood out for me working on this event were the numerous champions for change. Travelling the length of the country to attend, they are true advocates; passionate and willing to tell their story. History teaches us that there is something so undeniably powerful about the collective voice, about networking and coming together as a force for change. So much so, Professor Brene Brown, inspired millions with her Ted Talks  on the power of vulnerability. Brene explains how when we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending. So, when an elected representative is faced with a provider in a vulnerable sector who is standing right in front of them, face to face, telling their story, it is impossible to ignore. We saw a surge of advocates progress from our ‘Real Voices’ campaign last year to ‘Real Faces’ last Thursday.

Members of the Oireachtas heard that day about the issues of staff recruitment and retention being the most challenging area facing our members, and one which needs a sustained focus in Budget 2019 and beyond. They heard how it is an issue that impacts on quality, sustainability, and affordability for the early years sector. A qualified and valued workforce is the magic ingredient that will be transformative in delivering the best for children, families, communities, and society at large. Rising denotes succeeding, taking a stance, overcoming obstacles, so we now ask: will our government rise to the challenge?

 

  • The challenge to increase investment in our sector.
  • The challenge to ensure there is universal access to quality experiences for all babies, all children & all families.
  • The challenge to build a world class early years system in Ireland.

 

Today on Budget day, let’s try to remember the words of the great activist for change, Maya Angelou.
'Still, like air, I rise...'

 

Bio: 
Aisling Hearne is a Media and Journalism graduate working in the Policy & Communications team at Early Childhood Ireland. A lover of words, she is often found with a curious four-year-old, pocket journal and ink on her hands.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Educator of the Year Award(3) Art(6) Síolta(110) Rising to the Challenge(2) routine(2) educarer(1) European Project(1) MA(1) Snacks(1) community(5) dublin(2) development(8) Vietnam(1) Easter(1) risk assessment(1) Creativity(4) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Seas Suas(1) Quality(4) Magic(1) Siolta blog(7) Positivity(1) Maynooth University(1) man up(1) Infectious diseases(1) Settling in(4) collaboration(1) Learning Story(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) code of ethics(1) Maths Week(1) early years learning(1) University(1) MECPI(1) Maynooth(1) Weather(1) Empathy(1) Queues(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) First 5 strategy(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Eritrea(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) RTE Investigates(1) toddlers(3) education(2) TOY Programme(1) ECEC(2) Meet the Members(1) Valentine's Day(3) Childcare(2) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Glitter(2) Consent(1) Trade union(1) Gardening(1) Story(1) SPICE Framework(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Obesity(1) Autism(3) aistear blog(3) early childhood educator(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Mantra(1) relationships(17) social science(1) Nonverbal(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Early Years(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Children's Research Network(1) Fee Play(1) gender stereotype(1) Design(1) emotional environment(1) environments(1) Learning Journal(1) ECCE(7) Iceland(1) phone apps(1) Orla Kenny(1) Afghanistan(1) Well-Being(9) Research Seminar(1) annual conference(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Painting(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Sleep(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Health(2) Laugh(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Leargas(1) CPD(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) blog(28) Inter-generational(2) Wilenski(1) School Age Childcare(1) budget(1) Self-Esteem(1) parents(6) Decision Making(1) Masterclass(2) Trade Unions(1) research(6) IGL(1) Prexit(1) Shapes(1) Children's Voice(1) Dance(1) Imagination(3) grandchild(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Interests(1) Touch(1) Mathematicians(1) Light table(1) Online(1) Certificate(1) Albert Einstein(1) GDPR(1) Challenges(1) Degree(1) Party(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Research Conference 2019(1) Adoption(1) emotions(2) Scents(1) code of professional responsibility(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Performing(1) ears(1) Teamwork(1) Social Skills(1) Relaxation(1) Childhood(1) Human Resources(1) Brain(1) imotion(1) Spiders(1) Staff Motivation(1) Builders(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Professionalisation(5) Child mental health(1) Kids Own(1) stories(2) Kilkenny(1) risky play(2) Fabric(1) Intention(1) Celebrate(1) DES Inspection(1) Universal Design(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Sessional service(1) science(3) Halloween(2) Interactions(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Síolta QAP(1) communication(4) Inspirational(2) outdoors(3) Research and Professional Learning(1) Trigonometry(1) Study Trip(1) Time Out(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Children and families(1) Participation(2) Playdough(1) Community involvement(1) Engagement(1) Arithmetic(1) Exit interview(1) Mayo(1) Games(1) documentation(3) Mo Scéal(1) Policy(2) Competent(1) linc(1) journey(1) dining(1) Titles(1) Visual Impairment(1) Advocacy(1) Kerry(1) Exploring(1) worries(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Learning journals(1) Storytelling(5) outdoor play(6) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) San Miniato(4) overhear(1) Event Guide(1) keezy(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Book Review(1) Margy Whalley(1) Funding(1) Children's Rights(3) Family(1) conference(1) Infection Control(1) Identity and Belonging(4) research submissions(1) Sustainability(3) bloom app(1) preschool(3) christmas(9) National Pyjama Day(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Early Years Educators(3) Care routines(1) Blocks(1) Environment(2) Smiles(1) Qualifications(1) National Awards 2019(1) Shoes(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Time(1) Our Little Seed(1) UNCRC(1) Sustainable(1) The Lullaby Book(1) PIP(1) Socioemotional development(1) Interaction(1) Youtube Series(1) Inclusion(3) Pobal(1) Favouritism(1) Music(3) RIE philosphy(1) Capable(1) Academic Skills(1) Drawing(2) Identity(5) Twitter(1) Laughter(1) Plastic(1) Graduation(1) EM Standing(1) Snakes(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) trust(3) Wendy Lee(3) First 5(1) Culture(2) Sculptures(1) Visitors(1) Loss(1) Awards 2019(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Irish(1) Educators(2) experience(1) Craft(1) Pen green(1) Flowers(1) Sequins(1) Family wall(1) educating(1) Montessori(3) Mental Health(3) Workplace Relations(3) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Iraq(1) life long learning(1) Mark Twain(1) HR(1) Book Club(2) behavioural science(1) Supernanny(1) Treasure Chest(1) Employee(1) Inspections(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Primary School(2) Inspired Practice Awards(1) dining experiences(1) Academics(1) value(1) AIM(2) Through the looking glass(1) conversations(1) Potential(1) Engineering Ireland(1) play(32) Wrapping paper(1) Yoga(1) Appreciation(1) Traditions(2) Mixed age groups(2) National Awards 2018(2) Administrative Burden(1) Sport(1) Workplace well-being(1) Confident(1) Limerick(1) Learning Story Awards(2) continual professional development(1) Playschool(1) Mud kitchens(1) Belonging(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Awards 2018(3) Department of Education and Skills(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Italy(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Recycle(1) Treasure(1) Decisions(1) Trick or treat(1) social media(1) dogs(1) learning(19) Photographs(1) mushrooms(1) interacting(2) Nuturing interactions(1) learning bias(1) Mindfulness(2) food(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Celebrations(4) Impact(1) Home Corner(1) child-centred approach(1) Wonder(1) Penguins(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) pablo(1) apps for children(1) Window(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Inspired Practice Award(5) DCYA(4) Syria(1) UN(1) risk(2) Oireachtas(1) Independence(1) Children(3) Diversity(1) Behaviour(3) memories(1) Elders(1) pets(1) respect(5) Inter-generational learning(2) EECERA 2016(1) Patterns(1) TRAP(1) outdoor space(3) Snack Time(1) Feeding(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Mealtimes(1) Leadership(1) Digital(1) Magnavacchi(1) Little Buddies(1) Map(1) Running(1) curiosity(3) Japan(1) The Jelly King(1) meals(3) Arts(1) Magda Gerber(1) Learning Stories(9) STEM(3) New Appointments(1) supportive environments(2) Leprechauns(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) feisty(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Recycling(2) Whole Group(1) eating(1) Jenga(1) Giraffe(2) Facebook(1) Xbox(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) iOS(1) Budget 2020(1) Graduate(1) UD(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Frustrations(1) Self-regulation(1) scéalta(30) youdoodle(1) ECEC Setting(1) Ceremony(1) reading(5) maternity health(1) Nutrition(1) Thanks(1) Engineering(3) Sweets(1) Reggio(1) Horizon 2020(1) learners(1) Meal time(1) early years research(2) Traffic Lights(1) AsIAm(1) CCTV(1) Routines(1) Awards Night(1) National Holiday(1) Upcycling(1) Bereavement(2) Biting(1) story time(2) Technology(3) refugees(1) Rituals(1) Scéalta Blog(94) COVID-19(1) Buddies(1) Affordability(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Line-ups(1) books(4) Plants(1) Digital Devices(1) awards 2020(1) NAEYC(1) Reading Time(1) Buddy Bench(1) baby room(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Maths(5) Reflective Practice(1) Winter(1) Norway(2) Exclusion(1) ICBN(1) bonds(1) Mount Everest(1) under 3's(3) play stories(1) Fantasy play(1) science week(2) General Data Protection Regulation(1) listen(1) Rich Documentation(1) CIT(1) Arlene Forster(1) Maternity Leave(1) Budget 2019(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) E.coli(1) Role play(1) Thank you(1) Anxiety(2) Document Learning(1) Awards(2) Stress(2) Investment(2) Exploring and Thinking(1) Confidence(1) Lego(2) Vertical grouping(1) Change(1) College(1) Malaguzzi(1) Cognitive development(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Body Language(1) transitions(10) Pobal sector profile(1) NCCA(3) Exercise(1) Aistear(116) preschool settings(1) Santa(2) Grief(1) Breathing(2) Hand Hygiene(1) Building Resilience(1) Communications(1) Wesco(1) Summer(1) Care-giving routines(1) ReCreate(2) curriculum(5) Training(2) Performance Management(1) United Nations(1) listening(1) friendships(1) Super Shed Stories(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) animals(2) Workforce(1) Thinking(1) gender bias(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Communicating(1) Death(2) Gratitude(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) planning(1) Budget 2018(1) babies(7) Love(2) role playing(1) INTO(1) Cork(1) Learning Stories Award(3) St. Patrick's Day(1) Creative(1) purpose(1) Maria Montessori(1) Support(1) Engineers Week(2) ERASMUS+(3) Self Help Skills(1) Names(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine