Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Together we can do so much


Tuesday 17 September 2019

“Decisions made about staff are decisions made about quality”- Síolta Standard 11, Professional Practice.

I have so many fond memories from my years in Tir na nÓg. I have to say, one of the best feelings is sitting around with my family and team after a big event such as graduation or the Christmas show day. We would chat and laugh and recall stories about how we made this occasion happen for the children and their families. We talk about how proud we were of the child saying their lines, or singing their songs. How honoured we felt when a parent complimented our hard work. We shared a sense of accomplishment that we had achieved something great, together.

As the years went on, I really understood the true meaning of having a good team around me. I have a vision for Tir na nÓg that every child that enters the doors will meet their full potential, will be happy, feel loved, have opportunities to explore, communicate and be free to grow at their own pace. But this is something I cannot do alone. As my service grew, I realised that it was my turn as the leader, to grow leaders. Leaders that can help these children be safe, happy and grow while they are here with us every day. Leaders that can make a difference in the life of a child.

About two years ago, with the support of our Early Childhood Ireland mentor, Debbie, we decided to undertake an in-house research project. We wanted to find out what our team looked for in their role as an educator, factors that influenced their work, their decision to stay in our service or move elsewhere and their satisfaction levels. This movement, through reflection and collaborative action, was aimed at creating a higher standard of quality for the children and families in our service. The findings of the study concluded that the team found training opportunities and support most important to fulfill their role. Wages and financial incentives of course came up, with the sector we are in. The study aimed to voice the existing employee’s feelings and opinions, help them achieve their goals and lead to a greater retention of staff in the future.

With these findings established, we decided to make change to create a more supportive working environment; where each educator can flourish. We introduced new in-house training opportunities where we tailor training to the needs of our team. A new mentoring programme was established for formal and informal mentoring opportunities. A new employee package was developed, Better Together, that offered simple, yet meaningful financial incentives to our team to show them they are valued and appreciated. We have found that these changes in our centre have developed a culture of engagement and participation from employees; there is collaboration, support, constant communication and brain storming, an openness and eagerness to learn and pass along learning. There is a real sense of team.

Creating a confident and passionate team of educators is very important to me. I truly believe that quality stems from the team. If they feel happy, assured and supported in their role, they will be able to facilitate the best experiences for the children and nurture their development. I feel this can be done through continuous team meetings, CPD, support and supervision, mutual respect and collaboration, informal and formal check-ins and for myself to be open-minded and approachable and recognise that this group of professionals bring their own strengths, knowledge and experience with them. They carry their own invisible backpack with their own capabilities.

Tir na nÓg is a community that we have built and continue to keep building. After 23 years, I still learn something new every day and I want to continue my journey of growing and learning as a leader, educator and mother. The end goal is to create somewhere that is meaningful and fulfilling for young children. Once the child is satisfied, this has a positive effect on their families and the team. I think there are no truer words than the old African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.”


Kathleen Cash, a Kilkenny woman but living in Athy, Co. Kildare is mother to Lorraine (28) and James (27) and married to Jim for the last 31 years. Upon wanting to return to work after having her two small babies, Kathleen could not find suitable care for her children. So, in 1996, Kathleen opened up Tir na nÓg Early Years Centre. When it first opened, Kathleen had one member of staff and eight children. Tir na nÓg has grown over the years, continually striving to ensure the best care and education for the families here. Tir na nÓg's ethos is to create a home from home setting where each child feels loved, happy and can reach their full potential. Kathleen’s family have a huge role to play with the running of our centre. Jim commits every evening and weekend to fixing, painting, building and maintaining. Lorraine works alongside Kathleen every day, having recently completed her Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Childhood Education & Care. James is currently a software designer for a big tech company in Dublin, but he helps out where-ever and whenever needed- usually on the IT side of things!

Kathleen was the winner of the Early Childhood Ireland Educator of the Year award this April.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Degree(1) conference(1) blog(56) Learning Stories(9) Learning Story(1) Elders(1) learning bias(1) Role play(1) life long learning(1) Mental Health(4) bonds(1) Awards(2) natural environment(1) Playschool(1) Investment(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Qualifications(1) Horizon 2020(1) Norway(2) Jenga(1) healthy eating policies(1) Albert Einstein(1) Teamwork(1) Online(1) interacting(2) Laugh(1) structure(1) Sustainability(3) NCCA(4) risk assessment(1) youdoodle(1) Supernanny(1) Childhood(2) Malaguzzi(1) Impact(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Fabric(1) Family wall(1) Community involvement(1) Nutrition(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Síolta(139) Settling in(4) Breathing(2) Opportunities(1) Exercise(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Mayo(1) Montessori(3) Wendy Lee(4) Yoga(1) aistear blog(3) UD(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Decision Making(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Trick or treat(1) Plastic(1) First 5 strategy(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Nuturing interactions(1) maternity health(1) Recycle(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Home Corner(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Decisions(1) School Age Childcare(2) play(37) ECIAwards20(1) Self-Esteem(1) annual awards(1) ERASMUS+(3) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Japan(1) Interactions(3) parents(7) june29(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Graduate(1) European Project(1) New Appointments(1) Kerry(1) play pod(1) preschool(4) feisty(1) Whole Group(1) MA(1) Croatia(1) annual conference(1) Iceland(2) reopening(1) RTE Investigates(1) Treasure(1) Budget 2020(1) Wonder(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) coronavirus(1) AIM(2) SAC(1) story time(2) Little Buddies(1) Child Care(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Time Out(1) Weather(1) democracy(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Biting(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Masterclass(2) Well-Being(10) Maternity Leave(1) Line-ups(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Early Years Educators(3) Mixed age groups(3) Orla Kenny(1) Through the looking glass(1) Online Research Symposium(3) Universal Design(2) Creative(1) Scents(1) Identity(5) Administrative Burden(1) Magnavacchi(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) journey(1) Engagement(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Games(2) learning(19) UK Government(1) Awards 2018(3) Annual Conference 2017(2) Inter-generational learning(2) Childcare(3) iOS(1) Small World Play(1) Gardening(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) pablo(1) food(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Sleep(1) community(5) early childhood(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Arlene Forster(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Arithmetic(1) play stories(2) overhear(1) Irish guidelines(1) Event Guide(1) Lego(2) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Children's Voice(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) AsIAm(2) Patterns(1) ELC(1) Sweets(1) Titles(1) child led(1) Light table(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Ariana Pucci(1) partnership(1) early years learning(1) early childhood educator(2) Easter(1) Empathy(1) Sport(1) Sequins(1) child-centric(1) play pods(2) Pedagogy(2) online training(1) Italy(1) RIE philosphy(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Staff Motivation(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Quality(4) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Educators(2) Large Doll Play(1) Plants(1) code of ethics(1) Primary School(3) Sustainable(1) emotional well-being(1) INTO(1) Eritrea(1) preschools(1) education system(1) value(1) Leadership(1) family time(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Wilenski(1) Anthony Semann(1) Seanchaí(1) Children's Rights(3) Traffic Lights(1) Maria Montessori(1) Trade union(1) HR(1) UN(1) ECEC(4) Inspections(1) Regulation 23(1) upskilling(1) Budget 2018(1) Return to Work Training(1) Mathematicians(1) scéalta(58) racism(1) bloom app(1) Covid response(2) Valentine's Day(3) science(3) keezy(1) UNICEF report(1) EECERA 2016(1) ECEC Setting(2) World Health Organisation(1) Routines(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Party(1) Early Years(1) play therapy(1) Santa(2) listening(1) Professionalisation(5) Equality(1) child-centred approach(1) show and tell(1) TRAP(1) EM Standing(1) Fantasy play(1) Storytelling(8) National Awards 2018(2) primary education(1) Snakes(1) childcare services(1) Inspirational(2) worries(1) Performance Management(1) International Narratives(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Celebrate(1) Upcycling(1) TUSLA(1) Children's Book Club(1) Cognitive development(1) Brain(1) Infection Control(1) routine(2) social science(1) Self-regulation(1) COVID-19(18) responsive relationships(1) Budget 2019(2) Craft(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) worldbookday(1) Culture(2) education(2) Early Years Education(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) communication(4) The Jelly King(1) Arts(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Exclusion(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Challenges(1) Magic(1) Drawing(2) United Nations(1) Communications(1) Visitors(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Learning journals(1) Workplace Relations(3) Prexit(1) meals(3) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) relationships(18) inspiring interactions(1) Leprechauns(1) budget(1) Exit interview(1) National Holiday(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Workforce(1) MECPI(1) Seas Suas(1) early years settings(1) Irish(1) Window(1) curriculum(7) ECCE(7) Shoes(1) Looking Back(1) development(9) friendships(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) QRF(1) Maths Week(1) Winter(1) Competent(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Painting(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Women(1) The Lullaby Book(1) transitions(10) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) College(1) social media policy(1) Buddy Bench(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) memories(1) Pen green(1) learners(1) CPD(1) respect(5) babies(7) science week(2) Vertical grouping(1) Mealtimes(1) Engineering(3) EECERA(1) Academic Skills(1) Running(1) Queues(1) Thanks(1) Sessional service(1) Graduation(1) Mindfulness(3) Wrapping paper(1) Loving Relationships(2) Magda Gerber(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Behaviour(3) Engineers Week(2) mental health problems(1) timekeeping skills(1) Photographs(1) Socioemotional development(1) ICBN(1) Awards Night(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Trigonometry(1) Change(1) movement behaviours(1) Kilkenny(1) Obesity(1) Unesco(1) playleader(1) Laughter(1) Mud kitchens(1) Mark Twain(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Halloween(2) Training(3) books(5) Motor neuron disease(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) emotional environment(2) Study Trip(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Afghanistan(1) Positivity(1) role playing(1) Building Resilience(1) Appreciation(1) Pretend Play(1) Ceremony(1) STEM(3) SPICE Framework(1) social media(2) DCYA(6) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Funding(1) Confidence(1) Fire Safety(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) under 3's(3) ears(1) animals(2) Performing(1) Time(1) Limerick(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Capable(1) Art(6) research submissions(1) Autism(4) curiosity(3) early years research(3) children development(1) Maynooth University(2) Map(1) Consent(1) Playdough(1) Maynooth(1) Awards 2019(1) Book Club(2) Identity and Belonging(4) Covid pandemic(3) Interests(1) Cork(1) Infectious diseases(1) continual professional development(1) Treasure Chest(1) Learning Journal(2) built environments(1) Síolta QAP(1) Potential(1) Giraffe(2) Growing up Outdoors(2) Certificate(1) Inclusion(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Body Language(1) First 5(1) Employee(1) women in research(1) Children(8) Engineering Ireland(1) Workplace well-being(1) UK(1) Thinking(1) COVID(3) Vietnam(1) documentation(4) gender bias(1) Your place(1) Meet the Members(1) multi-generational community(1) Imagination(3) Mo Scéal(1) Snacks(1) Interaction(1) Dance(1) Kindness Challenge(1) partnership with families(1) Xbox(1) Blocks(1) Research Seminar(1) Syria(1) Child mental health(1) keep in touch(1) Iraq(1) Stress(2) Shapes(2) art of the relationship(1) staying connected(1) Story(2) Policy(2) Feeding(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Counting(1) Early Learning and Care(2) reading(6) Design(1) Document Learning(1) TOY Programme(1) Our Little Seed(1) Grief(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) apps for children(1) peer group(1) mushrooms(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) outdoor environment(1) dogs(1) outdoor space(3) Meal time(1) Participation(2) Social Skills(1) Aistear(132) Pre-School Services(1) STEAM(1) Environment(2) Children and families(2) Super Shed Stories(2) linc(1) phone apps(1) lockdown(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Diversity(1) Intention(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) an post(1) Touch(1) Penguins(1) Academics(1) Snack Time(1) Thank you(1) Exploring(1) democratic citizens(1) Book Review(1) Reggio(1) Exploratory Play(1) Inspiring Practice(1) children’s learning(1) Smiles(1) risk(2) Nordic model(1) Visual Impairment(1) Sculptures(1) CCTV(1) Advocacy(1) listen(1) NAEYC(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Recycling(2) Frustrations(1) Youtube Series(1) Sociodramatic play(1) imotion(1) outdoor play(7) Nonverbal(1) Facebook(1) Independence(1) planning(1) experience(1) Belonging(3) Department of Education and Skills(1) Summer(2) eating(1) Bereavement(2) Human Resources(1) pets(1) behavioural science(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Wesco(1) child safeguarding(1) Affordability(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Care-giving routines(1) Gratitude(1) educarer(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Confident(1) IGL(1) Pobal(1) DES Inspection(1) man up(1) ReCreate(2) Rich Documentation(1) Glitter(2) National Childcare Scheme(1) Buddies(1) Flowers(1) refugees(1) outdoors(4) Access and Inclusion Model(2) stories(3) Names(1) GDPR(1) Reflective Practice(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Family(1) trust(4) grandchild(1) UNCRC(2) developing motor skills(1) Kids Own(1) toddlers(3) San Miniato(4) presentation skills(1) Builders(1) environments(1) purpose(1) reopening ireland(1) E.coli(1) Relaxation(1) Mantra(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) Looking Forward(1) homeschool(1) dining experiences(1) quarantine(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) supportive environments(2) Self Help Skills(1) Care routines(1) early year’s classrooms(1) Skillnet(1) Loss(1) learning hub(2) Proceedings Journal(1) Support(1) Europe(1) Mount Everest(1) dublin(2) University(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Trade Unions(1) Death(2) risky play(2) research(8) Scéalta Blog(106) National Awards 2019(1) preschool settings(1) Maths(6) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) gender stereotype(1) Favouritism(1) emotions(2) Kindness(1) Return to Work(1) dining(1) Adoption(1) christmas(9) creche(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) educating(1) Fee Play(1) Inter-generational(2) collaboration(1) Digital(1) awards 2020(1) Rituals(1) conversations(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Spiders(1) Communicating(1) Oireachtas(1) Love(3) CIT(1) Celebrations(4) Traditions(2) Margy Whalley(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) quarantine kids(1) early life(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) baby room(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Siolta blog(8) World book day(1) Leargas(1) Twitter(1) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Creativity(7) Health(2) Technology(3) guardian(1) Reading Time(2) PIP(1) Anxiety(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Children's Research Network(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Music(3) Digital Devices(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine