Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

What Next?

By: FIONA KELLEHER

Tuesday 03 April 2018

I don’t think I will ever forget the day I graduated from DIT with my certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education. After 2 years I had achieved a third level education and was ready to start my career working with children. This was also the day that I insisted on having every possible graduation photograph taken (obviously I wasn’t footing the bill) much to my mother's objections. As she said I would probably go on and do more; “what’s next Fiona? It probably won’t end here”…… what’s next? go on and do more? – what an insult! Was this not enough? Was my qualification not good enough?

All I can say is that 20 years and 3 graduations later as I study for my ‘MA in Leadership and Advocacy in the early years’ with IT Sligo – mothers are always right!

Why am I now currently studying and working and trying to juggle both? Well the answer is simple - I want to be the best that I can be in the career that I chose for myself all those years ago. I had the good secure pensionable job (as my mother called it) with the civil service but I wasn’t happy or passionate about it. It just wasn’t for me. So I left and returned to a life of working with children in a large full day care setting and my passion was reignited. I was happy going to work, I loved being with the children, other staff members and the parents – it all just felt right. Even though the money was poor and the sector as a whole is undervalued, it was intrinsic motivation that made me return. All my friends and family could see a light shining out of me as I relayed stories of what the children said and did – something new every day!

So people ask me now, how did I get my current job? Again, I saw first hand the challenges facing the sector and I wanted to help in any way that I could. I wanted to try and make some difference. I consistently worked on any quality programmes I could when I was in the sector, to always keep myself ‘ahead of the game’ if you want. I put our setting forward for any pilot programmes or research opportunities that was available. But most importantly, I always ensured that I went to every conference, national and local, that I could go to. It may have meant giving up my Saturday but it was important for me to hear what was happening in the sector and to network with others in the field.

For me it was attending these events and meeting these people that definitely inspired me and also guided me on my career path options. There is yet a conference, meeting or workshop that I have gone to that I did not get something from – be it make a contact or acquire new knowledge, expand my skillset or hear some ‘fresh off the press’ news relevant to the sector.

Now here I am working for an organisation who delivers these conferences and workshops. I have a seat at the table with the people that I admired from the audience down through the years. I have a voice in how they are planned and I always do my best to wear my ‘early years practitioner hat’ when I am there having my say. I witness firsthand the amazing work that goes into planning this national event and the thought, care and attention that is given to ensure its success – what a privilege that is!

So if you want to have your voice heard, if you are thinking of taking up a seat at a table that may influence change or you would like to gain some valuable knowledge which may inspire your practice, come to Early Childhood Ireland's conference. It is planned for you.

And hopefully I will complete my MA and graduate in November. I will take all the photos I want as I will be footing the bill and I will raise a glass to my mother who continually asked me the question - what next?

The Early Childhood Ireland Annual Conference and AGM is being held next weekend, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th April. For more information and to book your place, please click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio

Fiona Kelleher works with Early Childhood Ireland as an Early Childhood Specialist and Siolta Mentor. She has a BA (Hons) degree in early childhood care and education and is currently undertaking her MA in Leadership and Advocacy in the Early years with IT Sligo. Fiona has worked with NCNA/ECI for 13 years. She works with full and part services in delivering the Siolta Quality Assurance programme in the west of Ireland while also delivering training and mentoring across all areas of Early Years Practice. Fiona has recently completed her Marte Meo Colleague Training as this is a particular area of interest for her.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

friendships(1) Mixed age groups(2) staying connected(1) annual conference(1) European Project(1) reading(5) pablo(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Arts(1) ECEC Setting(2) educarer(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Queues(1) Prexit(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Consent(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Learning Stories(9) mental health problems(1) National Awards 2019(1) toddlers(3) baby room(1) Certificate(1) risk(2) child-centred approach(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Supernanny(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Recycling(2) Belonging(3) Sequins(1) Trick or treat(1) Workplace well-being(1) College(1) Mealtimes(1) Appreciation(1) transitions(10) Quality(4) Decision Making(1) EECERA 2016(1) Sessional service(1) art of the relationship(1) Social Skills(1) play(34) Cognitive development(1) worries(1) Afghanistan(1) Well-Being(9) community(5) show and tell(1) NCCA(3) dining(1) Grief(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Time(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Book Club(2) Photographs(1) Shapes(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Interests(1) Design(1) Frustrations(1) Margy Whalley(1) Interaction(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Potential(1) ELC(1) Santa(2) AIM(2) Mantra(1) New Appointments(1) early childhood educator(2) Book Review(1) Covid pandemic(1) journey(1) dublin(2) PIP(1) Nonverbal(1) Reading Time(1) value(1) Xbox(1) STEM(3) story time(2) Feeding(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Winter(1) TRAP(1) Gratitude(1) MA(1) refugees(1) Recycle(1) Blocks(1) movement behaviours(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Training(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Party(1) Equality(1) Identity(5) Pobal sector profile(1) Reggio(1) Community involvement(1) Sleep(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Titles(1) Mud kitchens(1) Italy(1) Ariana Pucci(1) collaboration(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Music(3) Reggio Emilia(1) Celebrations(4) Children(4) Touch(1) Sustainable(1) Inspirational(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) MECPI(1) Yoga(1) Sustainability(3) Whole Group(1) Magic(1) Easter(1) Magnavacchi(1) education(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) National Holiday(1) relationships(17) Laughter(1) Treasure Chest(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) First 5 strategy(1) Laugh(1) Child Care(1) Shoes(1) maternity health(1) Weather(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Technology(3) Care-giving routines(1) Graduate(1) Learning journals(1) Summer(1) Early Years(1) apps for children(1) Support(1) Snacks(1) stories(3) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Wonder(1) Maynooth University(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Visual Impairment(1) Family(1) Visitors(1) Independence(1) Behaviour(3) Dance(1) Early Years Educators(3) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Upcycling(1) Maria Montessori(1) Snack Time(1) pets(1) Professionalisation(5) Imagination(3) NAEYC(1) animals(2) Vertical grouping(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Funding(1) Síolta QAP(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) University(1) Awards Night(1) Limerick(1) Pobal(1) Degree(1) Little Buddies(1) preschool settings(1) primary education(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Síolta(120) Rising to the Challenge(2) planning(1) Youtube Series(1) ERASMUS+(3) respect(5) Body Language(1) Buddies(1) awards 2020(1) Budget 2018(1) Names(1) Snakes(1) Albert Einstein(1) Mo Scéal(1) Digital(1) Elders(1) Patterns(1) Bereavement(2) learning bias(1) Confidence(1) outdoor play(6) Arlene Forster(1) Mark Twain(1) Super Shed Stories(2) interacting(2) COVID-19 Reopening(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) meals(3) RTE Investigates(1) continual professional development(1) social media(1) Our Little Seed(1) educating(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) The Jelly King(1) emotional environment(2) Primary School(2) Communications(1) Magda Gerber(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Mental Health(3) reopening(1) World Health Organisation(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) play pod(1) Trigonometry(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Trade Unions(1) Awards(2) Infection Control(1) SPICE Framework(1) Buddy Bench(1) Study Trip(1) Digital Devices(1) Culture(2) Awards 2018(3) bonds(1) Plants(1) Love(2) AsIAm(2) Advocacy(1) environments(1) Family wall(1) Stress(2) Leadership(1) Document Learning(1) parents(6) Sociodramatic play(1) Self-regulation(1) Settling in(4) Research Seminar(1) Favouritism(1) Inter-generational(2) play therapy(1) Affordability(1) Performing(1) Facebook(1) childcare services(1) food(1) Pre-School Services(1) Anxiety(2) Together Old and Young Programme(1) youdoodle(1) Graduation(1) Loss(1) phone apps(1) Iceland(1) Budget 2019(2) eating(1) children development(1) early years research(2) documentation(4) Twitter(1) risk assessment(1) Spiders(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Irish(1) learners(1) science week(2) science(3) Special Needs Assistants(1) Rituals(1) outdoor space(3) Wilenski(1) Early Childhood Ireland(4) Universal Design(2) EM Standing(1) Biting(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) research(6) Eritrea(1) under 3's(3) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) SAC(1) dining experiences(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) scéalta(40) Painting(1) Leargas(1) Creativity(4) Exploring(1) mushrooms(1) listen(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Obesity(1) Policy(2) budget(1) Participation(2) Meal time(1) Mount Everest(1) Breathing(2) Arithmetic(1) Seas Suas(1) Games(1) Self Help Skills(1) Children's Research Network(1) purpose(1) Montessori(3) Maths Week Ireland(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) HR(1) Your place(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Staff Motivation(1) june29(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Halloween(2) Scents(1) early life(1) Challenges(1) grandchild(1) curiosity(3) imotion(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Window(1) gender bias(1) Irish guidelines(1) Learning Journal(2) Exclusion(1) Childcare(3) First 5 transitions for children award(1) conference(1) ECEC(3) Adoption(1) Performance Management(1) Iraq(1) CPD(1) Relaxation(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Syria(1) keep in touch(1) Intention(1) Builders(1) Change(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Penguins(1) Awards 2019(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Environment(2) TOY Programme(1) lockdown(1) racism(1) Exit interview(1) memories(1) Wesco(1) Siolta blog(8) Positivity(1) Communicating(1) Thinking(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Reflective Practice(1) experience(1) Engagement(1) Time Out(1) Learning Story Awards(2) structure(1) Exercise(1) child-centric(1) Qualifications(1) Orla Kenny(1) Workforce(1) Sculptures(1) Investment(2) Pedagogy(1) Inspections(1) Horizon 2020(1) Wendy Lee(3) development(8) Reggio Children Network(1) Story(1) conversations(1) healthy eating policies(1) Health(2) Drawing(2) Valerie Gaynor(1) CIT(1) code of ethics(1) overhear(1) Line-ups(1) Research Conference 2019(1) DES Inspection(1) Map(1) E.coli(1) UD(1) play pods(1) Childhood(1) Autism(4) Norway(2) Nutrition(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Traditions(2) behavioural science(1) Meet the Members(1) ReCreate(2) Pen green(1) Maternity Leave(1) Maths Week(1) Academic Skills(1) The Lullaby Book(1) aistear blog(3) Mathematicians(1) United Nations(1) Inter-generational learning(2) communication(4) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) DCYA(5) supportive environments(2) reopening ireland(1) Creative(1) Scéalta Blog(99) play stories(2) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Glitter(2) Valentine's Day(3) Lego(2) Competent(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) ICBN(1) Aistear(122) Sport(1) Child mental health(1) Brain(1) Self-Esteem(1) Home Corner(1) Maynooth(1) responsive relationships(1) gender stereotype(1) Masterclass(2) linc(1) curriculum(5) Care routines(1) babies(7) Vietnam(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) ECCE(7) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) First 5(1) Kids Own(1) routine(2) Kerry(1) outdoors(3) Budget 2020(1) San Miniato(4) Event Guide(1) iOS(1) Academics(1) Administrative Burden(1) Teamwork(1) family time(1) School Age Childcare(1) CCTV(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Children and families(1) bloom app(1) Celebrate(1) Light table(1) research submissions(1) Workplace Relations(3) Inclusion(3) Flowers(1) life long learning(1) Japan(1) Giraffe(2) blog(36) Gardening(1) Wrapping paper(1) Kilkenny(1) Interactions(2) dogs(1) Identity and Belonging(4) GDPR(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) books(4) Death(2) Socioemotional development(1) Oireachtas(1) social science(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Mindfulness(2) Engineering(3) Mayo(1) Fabric(1) Children's Rights(3) Routines(2) Role play(1) Engineers Week(2) Cork(1) INTO(1) Fantasy play(1) Craft(1) Plastic(1) Thank you(1) Rich Documentation(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Leprechauns(1) UN(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) COVID-19(6) Fee Play(1) Playschool(1) Human Resources(1) Learning Story(1) christmas(9) Research and Professional Learning(1) keezy(1) UNCRC(2) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Employee(1) early years learning(1) Treasure(1) Building Resilience(1) Decisions(1) listening(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Ceremony(1) IGL(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Impact(1) Thanks(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Educators(2) risky play(2) trust(4) Sweets(1) Trade union(1) Jenga(1) Infectious diseases(1) Running(1) Engineering Ireland(1) National Awards 2018(2) Leaders in Practice(1) Playdough(1) Maths(5) Confident(1) Through the looking glass(1) Malaguzzi(1) Diversity(1) man up(1) emotions(2) Online(1) Art(6) Children's Voice(1) learning(19) role playing(1) ears(1) Covid19 crisis(1) developing motor skills(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) feisty(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Storytelling(6) Traffic Lights(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Smiles(1) Empathy(1) RIE philosphy(1) Capable(1) Opportunities(1) preschool(4) Tuscan Approach(2)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine