Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Síolta – Our Journey

By: SHARON SKEHILL

Tuesday 29 May 2018

While our sector is inundated with paperwork, inspections and training opportunities in recent years, one might question why one would take on more work with the Síolta Quality Assurance Programme. Our full day care facility has just celebrated ten years of service and while we began the Síolta QAP process confident of our practice, our experience, our qualifications, and felt competent of our knowledge of the Síolta standards of best practice, there was still that vulnerability of having our work assessed and judged on one day of inspection. The Síolta QAP, although a huge commitment, enabled us to establish our own methods of validation – to evaluate and reflect on our work in the early years, and to make decisions as a team, on how to develop and extend our practice. With the wonderful support of our mentor Fiona from Early Childhood Ireland, we really started to learn what a child centered approach looks like – how every aspect of our service comes down to the rights of the child, and being able to prioritise their wants and needs over everything we do.

Childcare service play area - Síolta – Our Journey

We became more aware of the complexity of our role in supporting each child’s development, and that all of this stems from our view of children - seen, at times, through a physical lens of a camera during Fiona’s mentoring visit! Although a daunting experience, these reflections on our interactions and our environments on screen, made us more mindful of the physical and emotional spaces we are creating for children here. As the Manager, this also made me realise that the Síolta journey is not one that you can walk alone; it has to involve the whole team – and so it did! Our service is split into two settings, the Nursery (0-3 years) and the Granary (3-5 years), with a team of thirteen staff. This Síolta QAP meant that I learned more about professional practice here, and enabled me to really recognise the strength of the team; to see the capability, the initiative and the commitment as they took on responsibilities for their key groups and their own environments. With the guidance of the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide, we reflected on all aspects of service provision here, setting goals and targets that gave renewed purpose to our role.

Outdoor area in childcare service - Síolta – Our Journey

We were now looking at spaces and interactions with a critical eye; debating on how we could make interest areas more inviting to children; observing each one’s interests, strengths and their needs – having their voices heard; becoming more mindful of our relationships with parents and how better to involve and support them. Sometimes, working in the early years’ sector can be an isolating experience, and I know that we were working to the best of our abilities and our knowledge prior to this Síolta QAP experience. However, we have discovered that the Síolta QAP journey is a long road that leads you off on many paths, detouring as we decided to take on further training to learn more about some element of practice; redefining our mission statement and the ethos of the service, which in turn led to further development of the curriculum or changes in the environment. And although we have had our Síolta validation visit and received the maximum grading of Level 4 across all 16 standards of best practice, we know that we have not reached the end of that road. I think, as a team, we have been inspired to never feel as if we are ‘there’ – that we have this enthusiasm and confidence to keep on developing our practice.

Childcare setting - Síolta – Our Journey

There are many conversations about professional identity within the sector, but I think I can speak for all my colleagues here, when I say that we have emerged from this process feeling proud of what we do – and to call ourselves Early Years’ Teachers and Educators. It is not just about the piece of paper that we receive at the end that says we are a Quality Early Years’ Setting, it has been about the process of reflection and of growth, and that real sense of satisfaction and confidence of knowing that what we do really matters!

Outdoor area in childcare service with painted tyres - Síolta – Our Journey

 

Bio: 
Sharon Skehill has worked in the early years' sector as Manager and Room Leader of her full day care facility in Abbeyknockmoy, Tuam, Co. Galway,  for over ten years, along with her team of 13 staff. She is currently studying for her PhD in Early Years' Education with Mary Immaculate College.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Research Conference 2019(1) New Appointments(1) dining experiences(1) Twitter(1) Children's Rights(2) Map(1) Irish(1) Laugh(1) Intention(1) Trigonometry(1) Performing(1) Siolta blog(2) Little Buddies(1) Exit interview(1) Penguins(1) Plastic(1) pets(1) purpose(1) Grief(1) Advocacy(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Albert Einstein(1) Inclusion(3) outdoor play(6) Mindfulness(2) documentation(2) Creativity(4) Meal time(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Magnavacchi(1) preschool(2) Learning Story(1) Vertical grouping(1) Xbox(1) Games(1) Identity(5) EM Standing(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) maternity health(1) Participation(1) Rituals(1) Magic(1) animals(2) College(1) science week(2) Creative(1) Professionalisation(4) Facebook(1) Well-Being(8) education(2) Buddy Bench(1) Builders(1) risk assessment(1) Afghanistan(1) ReCreate(2) ECEC(1) Through the looking glass(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Routines(1) Academics(1) Spiders(1) refugees(1) STEM(2) ERASMUS+(3) Socioemotional development(1) Communications(1) Arts(1) early years research(1) under 3's(3) Exploring(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Prexit(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Glitter(2) Norway(2) Playschool(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) RTE Investigates(1) Awards(2) Nuturing interactions(1) Treasure(1) social media(1) HR(1) books(4) Growing up Outdoors(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Maths(4) Diversity(1) Feeding(1) Budget 2019(2) Treasure Chest(1) School Age Childcare(1) Event Guide(1) Budget 2018(1) Italy(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Empathy(1) Change(1) AsIAm(1) PIP(1) Scents(1) CIT(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Interaction(1) Culture(2) Home Corner(1) Budget 2020(1) Employee(1) Fantasy play(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Story(1) Touch(1) Party(1) Visual Impairment(1) Running(1) Visitors(1) Self-regulation(1) story time(1) Nonverbal(1) Shapes(1) Maths Week(1) Trade union(1) blog(28) Primary School(2) Mayo(1) San Miniato(4) Decision Making(1) Decisions(1) Human Resources(1) Community involvement(1) trust(3) Upcycling(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) role playing(1) Cognitive development(1) Margy Whalley(1) Vietnam(1) Smiles(1) eating(1) Jenga(1) NCCA(2) listen(1) Syria(1) Childcare(2) Eritrea(1) Workforce(1) babies(7) Breathing(2) early childhood educator(1) Mathematicians(1) Window(1) parents(5) Learning Story Awards(1) interacting(2) Bereavement(1) supportive environments(2) play stories(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Graduation(1) Snacks(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) National Pyjama Day(1) CCTV(1) Traditions(2) University(1) Halloween(2) IGL(1) Support(1) Academic Skills(1) Love(2) EECERA 2016(1) journey(1) United Nations(1) Exercise(1) Masterclass(2) Giraffe(2) Independence(1) emotional environment(1) Craft(1) Capable(1) Stress(2) Arithmetic(1) dining(1) christmas(8) value(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) curiosity(3) Brain(1) Kids Own(1) Light table(1) NAEYC(1) Mental Health(3) Patterns(1) Síolta(105) Arlene Forster(1) Whole Group(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Leprechauns(1) Nutrition(1) Celebrations(4) Early Years(1) Seas Suas(1) Children(1) Recycle(1) scéalta(27) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Learning journals(1) Online(1) Self Help Skills(1) Buddies(1) Sculptures(1) Book Club(2) Competent(1) Celebrate(1) Teamwork(1) INTO(1) Drawing(2) grandchild(1) Thinking(1) Family(1) Iceland(1) Sustainable(1) National Awards 2018(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Awards 2018(3) Early Years Educators(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Care-giving routines(1) Role play(1) Weather(1) Line-ups(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) emotions(2) Thanks(1) Reggio(1) Relaxation(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Confident(1) Japan(1) Qualifications(1) Appreciation(1) budget(1) feisty(1) dogs(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Children's Research Network(1) Kerry(1) Universal Design(2) Snack Time(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Consent(1) GDPR(1) Flowers(1) Degree(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Trick or treat(1) Affordability(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Wendy Lee(2) Supernanny(1) Performance Management(1) Reflective Practice(1) Plants(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) relationships(15) Traffic Lights(1) Limerick(1) Art(6) Policy(2) ECCE(6) outdoors(3) Belonging(3) Ceremony(1) toddlers(3) Pen green(1) educarer(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Sleep(1) Frustrations(1) Death(1) Interests(1) Valentine's Day(3) Confidence(1) Workplace Relations(3) overhear(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Inter-generational(1) Graduate(1) Wrapping paper(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Horizon 2020(1) risky play(2) Motor neuron disease(1) Sport(1) Behaviour(3) Summer(1) Environment(2) San Minia(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Educator of the Year Award(3) Santa(2) Dance(1) routine(2) Easter(1) National Awards 2019(1) Technology(2) Health(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) AIM(2) Malaguzzi(1) Winter(1) MECPI(1) bonds(1) Interactions(2) Mud kitchens(1) Imagination(3) Loss(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Tuscan Approach(2) UD(1) Mo Scéal(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Orla Kenny(1) development(8) reading(5) Child mental health(1) Mealtimes(1) educating(1) Recycling(2) Obesity(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Administrative Burden(1) Photographs(1) UN(1) Wilenski(1) mushrooms(1) Ariana Pucci(1) MA(1) Biting(1) Settling in(4) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Yoga(1) Social Skills(1) Challenges(1) collaboration(1) RIE philosphy(1) Care routines(1) Mixed age groups(2) Wonder(1) Training(2) Shoes(1) Our Little Seed(1) research(6) baby room(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Síolta QAP(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Family wall(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) TRAP(1) Favouritism(1) Self-Esteem(1) stories(2) DCYA(4) Special Needs Assistants(1) worries(1) Autism(3) Educators(1) Engineering(2) Storytelling(2) Engineers Week(2) Laughter(1) CPD(1) Mantra(1) listening(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) environments(1) communication(4) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Blocks(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) ears(1) friendships(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Iraq(1) conversations(1) Meet the Members(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Impact(1) Adoption(1) Maternity Leave(1) Gratitude(1) respect(5) memories(1) Staff Motivation(1) Playdough(1) community(5) Exclusion(1) Scéalta Blog(87) Oireachtas(1) First 5 strategy(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) First 5(1) Maria Montessori(1) Body Language(1) Mount Everest(1) Montessori(2) European Project(1) Mark Twain(1) outdoor space(3) Wesco(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Sequins(1) Maynooth University(1) Thank you(1) Design(1) Funding(1) Cork(1) Leaders in Practice(1) dublin(2) child-centred approach(1) planning(1) Leargas(1) Sustainability(3) food(1) Names(1) Titles(1) risk(2) Gardening(1) The Jelly King(1) Time(1) Quality(4) Communicating(1) Sweets(1) curriculum(5) play(30) Pobal(1) Queues(1) Workplace well-being(1) UNCRC(1) SPICE Framework(1) Inspirational(2) experience(1) TOY Programme(1) National Holiday(1) Trade Unions(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Childhood(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Awards 2019(1) Music(3) Aldo Fortunati(4) Snakes(1) ICBN(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Magda Gerber(1) Aistear(108) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) meals(3) Anxiety(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Leadership(1) Engagement(1) Positivity(1) Painting(1) transitions(10) Research Seminar(1) science(3) Kilkenny(1) Lego(2) InspireMe.ie(1) learning(15) Investment(2) Exploring and Thinking(1) Potential(1) Learning Stories(8) Fabric(1) Time Out(1) Study Trip(1) linc(1) Maynooth(1) Certificate(1) Maths Week Ireland(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine