Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Síolta – Our Journey


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


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:

purpose(1) INTO(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Community involvement(1) Traditions(2) Thinking(1) Mo Scéal(1) Quality(4) United Nations(1) Sweets(1) AIM(2) SPICE Framework(1) Japan(1) Ceremony(1) Trick or treat(1) Margy Whalley(1) interacting(2) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Early Years Educators(2) environments(1) Light table(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Penguins(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) risk assessment(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Pen green(1) Giraffe(2) Graduate(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Christmas Creativity(2) Liz Kerrins(1) Belonging(3) Síolta QAP(1) Albert Einstein(1) feisty(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Brain(1) ICBN(1) Fabric(1) Wonder(1) National Awards 2019(1) Traffic Lights(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Nonverbal(1) Rituals(1) Reggio(1) mushrooms(1) development(8) Sociodramatic play(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Social Skills(1) Sculptures(1) Learning Stories Award(3) First 5(1) Qualifications(1) educarer(1) life long learning(1) European Project(1) Maynooth(1) Mark Twain(1) risky play(2) Breathing(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Recycle(1) social media(1) Health(2) Interests(1) Line-ups(1) Children(1) Bereavement(2) Irish(1) Workplace well-being(1) ears(1) play stories(1) overhear(1) Inspections(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Sequins(1) Montessori(3) Music(3) Socioemotional development(1) Trade Unions(1) ERASMUS+(3) Pobal sector profile(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Mindfulness(2) Shapes(1) Identity(5) Maths(4) Awards 2018(3) Cognitive development(1) Self-Esteem(1) Names(1) Horizon 2020(1) Plants(1) Home Corner(1) Autism(3) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) reading(5) learning(18) Exercise(1) relationships(17) Care-giving routines(1) Support(1) Snack Time(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Touch(1) Patterns(1) food(1) Children's Rights(3) Magic(1) Winter(1) bonds(1) Dance(1) Sustainability(3) Competent(1) DES Inspection(1) Mantra(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Games(1) Awards(2) documentation(3) Spiders(1) Seas Suas(1) Communicating(1) babies(7) Iraq(1) Whole Group(1) E.coli(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Children's Research Network(1) Interaction(1) Training(2) Obesity(1) Advocacy(1) Childhood(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Investment(2) Malaguzzi(1) emotional environment(1) Research Seminar(1) Sustainable(1) Facebook(1) Staff Motivation(1) Through the looking glass(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Exploring and Thinking(1) New Appointments(1) RTE Investigates(1) Craft(1) worries(1) Summer(1) Role play(1) Weather(1) conversations(1) Design(1) TOY Programme(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Technology(2) Meet the Members(1) transitions(10) Jenga(1) Death(2) Employee(1) Grief(1) Lego(2) Creative(1) Nuturing interactions(1) HR(1) curiosity(3) grandchild(1) Norway(2) Laughter(1) Supernanny(1) Human Resources(1) Relaxation(1) friendships(1) education(2) Titles(1) Blocks(1) Maths Week(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) story time(1) Italy(1) Valentine's Day(3) Builders(1) UNCRC(1) trust(3) Time(1) Playdough(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Eritrea(1) Photographs(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Well-Being(9) Motor neuron disease(1) Sleep(1) Change(1) Playschool(1) Afghanistan(1) Budget 2018(1) early years research(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) budget(1) Behaviour(3) Administrative Burden(1) CCTV(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) linc(1) Favouritism(1) Impact(1) Rich Documentation(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) play(32) Mealtimes(1) Infectious diseases(1) PIP(1) Smiles(1) Family(1) Flowers(1) parents(5) Maria Montessori(1) books(4) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Certificate(1) Snakes(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) listen(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Halloween(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) stories(2) Communications(1) Upcycling(1) Frustrations(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Scents(1) Nutrition(1) listening(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Oireachtas(1) Biting(1) Academic Skills(1) Orla Kenny(1) San Minia(1) CPD(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) preschool(2) Learning journals(1) Workforce(1) Limerick(1) toddlers(3) Self Help Skills(1) EM Standing(1) meals(3) role playing(1) Twitter(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) value(1) Degree(1) Shoes(1) Fantasy play(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Child mental health(1) Loss(1) Universal Design(2) Workplace Relations(3) Imagination(3) Cork(1) Intention(1) Snacks(1) Confidence(1) dining experiences(1) Hand Hygiene(1) Gratitude(1) Book Review(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Leargas(1) Leaders in Practice(1) pets(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Vertical grouping(1) Trigonometry(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Childcare(2) Kids Own(1) respect(5) Tuscan Approach(2) San Miniato(4) Mixed age groups(2) Glitter(2) Family wall(1) Map(1) Research Conference 2019(1) christmas(8) ReCreate(2) Care routines(1) Study Trip(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Creativity(4) Environment(2) Easter(1) Buddy Bench(1) Mount Everest(1) Participation(2) MECPI(1) blog(28) Magda Gerber(1) Our Little Seed(1) Story(1) Pobal(1) Treasure Chest(1) Elders(1) Storytelling(3) Inspirational(2) STEM(2) routine(2) Yoga(1) Building Resilience(1) Maternity Leave(1) Diversity(1) Teamwork(1) DCYA(4) Adoption(1) Celebrations(4) Infection Control(1) National Holiday(1) Empathy(1) Exit interview(1) Visual Impairment(1) ECEC(1) Painting(1) Mud kitchens(1) Academics(1) Appreciation(1) Culture(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Engagement(1) under 3's(3) MA(1) Scéalta Blog(90) AsIAm(1) Wendy Lee(3) IGL(1) Art(6) experience(1) Drawing(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Challenges(1) scéalta(29) science week(2) Leprechauns(1) science(3) Positivity(1) dining(1) outdoor play(6) First 5 strategy(1) Recycling(2) The Jelly King(1) Mayo(1) Budget 2020(1) RIE philosphy(1) College(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Funding(1) Siolta blog(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Treasure(1) Laugh(1) Policy(2) Santa(2) NCCA(3) Arts(1) Learning Journal(1) curriculum(5) Learning Story(1) Aistear(110) Magnavacchi(1) Engineering(2) planning(1) Awards 2019(1) Anxiety(2) National Awards 2018(2) Graduation(1) Children's Voice(1) Book Club(2) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Learning Stories(9) supportive environments(2) Arlene Forster(1) baby room(1) Primary School(2) TRAP(1) ECCE(6) Decisions(1) Stress(2) Potential(1) Exclusion(1) community(5) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Confident(1) Settling in(4) Visitors(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) journey(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) educating(1) communication(4) early childhood educator(1) Kerry(1) Kilkenny(1) Early Years(1) dogs(1) refugees(1) Thanks(1) Leadership(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) outdoor space(3) Running(1) Little Buddies(1) Reflective Practice(1) School Age Childcare(1) outdoors(3) child-centred approach(1) Decision Making(1) Time Out(1) Reggio Emilia(1) UD(1) Celebrate(1) Affordability(1) Party(1) Window(1) Feeding(1) animals(2) University(1) eating(1) emotions(2) GDPR(1) Thank you(1) Professionalisation(4) NAEYC(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Budget 2019(2) Routines(1) Trade union(1) Inclusion(3) Wesco(1) Wrapping paper(1) Performance Management(1) Masterclass(2) UN(1) Meal time(1) Capable(1) Xbox(1) Plastic(1) maternity health(1) collaboration(1) Syria(1) risk(2) Consent(1) CIT(1) Children and families(1) EECERA 2016(1) Independence(1) dublin(2) Inspired Practice Award(5) Exploring(1) Inter-generational(2) memories(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Queues(1) Educators(1) research(6) Mental Health(3) Síolta(105) Maynooth University(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Fee Play(1) Interactions(2) Sport(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Prexit(1) Love(2) Online(1) Iceland(1) Wilenski(1) Buddies(1) Event Guide(1) Vietnam(1) Body Language(1) Performing(1) Arithmetic(1) Engineers Week(2) Mathematicians(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Self-regulation(1) Gardening(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine