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:

MA(1) Snack Time(1) Vietnam(1) Small World Play(1) keep in touch(1) Sessional service(1) Identity(5) emotions(2) family time(1) aistear blog(3) Inspections(1) Snakes(1) Valentine's Day(3) Valerie Gaynor(1) Malaguzzi(1) Sculptures(1) Inter-generational(2) play stories(2) Reggio Children Network(1) Book Review(1) Belonging(3) Loving Relationships(2) Support(1) Eritrea(1) Capable(1) Builders(1) Spiders(1) democratic citizens(1) ECEC(3) Rising to the Challenge(2) dublin(2) Creative(1) outdoor play(6) Affordability(1) Horizon 2020(1) play(35) Orla Kenny(1) Gratitude(1) Learning Journal(2) Graduate(1) Quality(4) Christmas Creativity(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) curriculum(5) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) ECIAwards20(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Biting(1) coronavirus(1) ECEC Setting(2) Engineering(3) social media(2) trust(4) developing motor skills(1) Workplace Relations(3) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) CIT(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Family(1) Sleep(1) Maynooth University(2) Learning Stories Award(3) food(1) Siolta blog(8) Equality(1) june29(1) Performance Management(1) collaboration(1) Kindness Challenge(1) Teamwork(1) Laughter(1) Building Resilience(1) EECERA(1) IGL(1) stories(3) RIE philosphy(1) Brain(1) Frustrations(1) structure(1) Document Learning(1) Awards(2) blog(53) Covid-19 lockdown(1) education(2) Montessori(3) Nuturing interactions(1) pets(1) Children's Rights(3) risk(2) Sociodramatic play(1) Nutrition(1) Learning Stories(9) story time(2) Administrative Burden(1) bloom app(1) ReCreate(2) early years settings(1) Sustainability(3) Challenges(1) Death(2) Pre-School Services(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) PIP(1) Routines(2) Arithmetic(1) Interaction(1) listen(1) Mud kitchens(1) Seas Suas(1) NAEYC(1) DCYA(6) St. Patrick's Day(1) friendships(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Learning journals(1) life long learning(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Sustainable(1) keezy(1) dining experiences(1) Laugh(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Behaviour(3) Recycle(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Kindness(1) preschool(4) Identity and Belonging(4) apps for children(1) community(5) Self Help Skills(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Large Doll Play(1) Reading Time(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) Role play(1) Bereavement(2) Counting(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Sweets(1) Patterns(1) International Narratives(1) Budget 2018(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) iOS(1) National Awards 2018(2) Research Conference 2019(1) Craft(1) quarantine kids(1) worries(1) Playschool(1) Imagination(3) Italy(1) early childhood(1) Inspirational(2) Maternity Leave(1) Child mental health(1) online training(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Home Corner(1) RTE Investigates(1) Gardening(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Children and families(1) memories(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Return to Work Training(1) research(6) Recycling(2) early life(1) Summer(1) Time Out(1) Scéalta Blog(104) Training(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Cork(1) UD(1) Thanks(1) Maths(6) Infectious diseases(1) Children(4) Hand Hygiene(2) Socioemotional development(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Pen green(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Confident(1) Elders(1) Creativity(6) CCTV(1) Culture(2) SAC(1) Exclusion(1) Party(1) supportive environments(2) Iraq(1) Looking Back(1) MECPI(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) E.coli(1) staying connected(1) Yoga(1) Intention(1) Mathematicians(1) Care routines(1) Visitors(1) linc(1) conference(1) Little Buddies(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Snacks(1) education system(1) ECCE(7) Line-ups(1) Looking Forward(1) Xbox(1) continual professional development(1) STEM(3) Youtube Series(1) annual awards(1) Covid response(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) parents(6) Kilkenny(1) pablo(1) reopening(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) Exploratory Play(1) Wilenski(1) Mount Everest(1) Sequins(1) Nonverbal(1) Early Years Educators(3) Well-Being(10) science week(2) Awards 2019(1) Through the looking glass(1) Design(1) Independence(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Fantasy play(1) value(1) maternity health(1) Magda Gerber(1) Upcycling(1) Proceedings Journal(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Leargas(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) outdoor environment(1) Glitter(2) Mealtimes(1) Appreciation(1) emotional well-being(1) planning(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Anthony Semann(1) Social Skills(1) Opportunities(1) Stress(2) Child Care(1) Children's Research Network(1) Wesco(1) educarer(1) Mantra(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Playdough(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Irish guidelines(1) Treasure(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Loss(1) Academics(1) AsIAm(2) Community involvement(1) Pretend Play(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Buddies(1) responsive relationships(1) Staff Motivation(1) lockdown(1) Employee(1) Afghanistan(1) World Health Organisation(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Easter(1) Plastic(1) Inter-generational learning(2) CPD(1) preschool settings(1) Universal Design(2) Exercise(1) scéalta(56) Thinking(1) Kerry(1) Empathy(1) Flowers(1) University(1) Buddy Bench(1) reopening ireland(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Queues(1) Exploring(1) Leadership(1) Aistear(130) Meet the Members(1) Time(1) ELC(1) an post(1) Childhood(1) Japan(1) purpose(1) Dance(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Mindfulness(3) quarantine(1) emotional environment(2) Maynooth(1) NCCA(3) Body Language(1) childcare services(1) Budget 2020(1) Self-regulation(1) DES Inspection(1) Adoption(1) ERASMUS+(3) Online Research Symposium(1) listening(1) code of ethics(1) Technology(3) Albert Einstein(1) Rich Documentation(1) baby room(1) Interests(1) Wrapping paper(1) Storytelling(7) Book Club(2) UNICEF report(1) play pod(1) gender bias(1) social media policy(1) feisty(1) EECERA 2016(1) respect(5) creche(1) Your place(1) overhear(1) Facebook(1) Seanchaí(1) School Age Childcare(1) environments(1) Funding(1) HR(1) Music(3) Potential(1) Graduation(1) grandchild(1) interacting(2) Drawing(2) bonds(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Santa(2) Iceland(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) experience(1) Certificate(1) peer group(1) Degree(1) Event Guide(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) play pods(2) research submissions(1) Study Trip(1) Trade Unions(1) Competent(1) Learning Story(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Celebrations(4) outdoor space(3) Norway(2) New Appointments(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) toddlers(3) Breathing(2) Arts(1) multi-generational community(1) The Jelly King(1) Consent(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) learning(19) European Project(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) social science(1) Margy Whalley(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Maths Week(1) Obesity(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Mental Health(4) Celebrate(1) ears(1) Communications(1) Lego(2) educating(1) inspiring interactions(1) Primary School(3) Autism(4) Childcare(3) Participation(2) Pedagogical leaders(1) Online(1) National Holiday(1) Academic Skills(1) Awards 2018(3) conversations(1) dogs(1) Blocks(1) San Miniato(4) early years learning(1) Confidence(1) Visual Impairment(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Workforce(1) Supernanny(1) Decision Making(1) Twitter(1) Relaxation(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Names(1) behavioural science(1) Painting(1) man up(1) Sport(1) EM Standing(1) Self-Esteem(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Plants(1) healthy eating policies(1) Titles(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Positivity(1) Early Learning and Care(1) UNCRC(2) Jenga(1) Children's Voice(1) movement behaviours(1) Early Years(1) science(3) Irish(1) Scents(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) journey(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Síolta QAP(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Environment(2) meals(3) Oireachtas(1) Reflective Practice(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) show and tell(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Inspiring Practice(1) Policy(2) Our Little Seed(1) Mayo(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Fabric(1) Digital Devices(1) Research Seminar(1) Art(6) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) democracy(1) Weather(1) Traditions(2) primary education(1) annual conference(1) Love(3) Window(1) Winter(1) Shapes(2) racism(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Trigonometry(1) Ceremony(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Magnavacchi(1) Feeding(1) Penguins(1) Light table(1) mental health problems(1) risky play(2) Magic(1) documentation(4) AIM(2) Running(1) Interactions(3) playleader(1) SPICE Framework(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) GDPR(1) Maria Montessori(1) Budget 2019(2) Early Years Education(1) Human Resources(1) INTO(1) Rituals(1) Vertical grouping(1) Kids Own(1) budget(1) College(1) COVID-19(14) transitions(10) Exit interview(1) child-centred approach(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Inclusion(3) Educators(2) Covid19 crisis(1) Touch(1) Síolta(137) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Digital(1) Change(1) Family wall(1) Health(2) Communicating(1) eating(1) learning bias(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) imotion(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) children’s learning(1) risk assessment(1) Care-giving routines(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Fee Play(1) First 5(1) phone apps(1) Trick or treat(1) early years research(2) development(8) Covid pandemic(2) under 3's(3) Shoes(1) Pobal(1) christmas(9) UN(1) Wendy Lee(3) Workplace well-being(1) Giraffe(2) Awards Night(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) role playing(1) Decisions(1) Mixed age groups(3) Games(1) InspireMe.ie(1) mushrooms(1) books(4) Smiles(1) children development(1) Treasure Chest(1) Favouritism(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) learning hub(1) Anxiety(2) Professionalisation(5) Grief(1) Pedagogy(2) Annual Conference 2017(2) babies(7) Pobal sector profile(1) Engineers Week(2) relationships(18) Cognitive development(1) First 5 strategy(1) Photographs(1) gender stereotype(1) curiosity(3) Map(1) refugees(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Mo Scéal(1) Limerick(1) Meal time(1) Impact(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) dining(1) TOY Programme(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) learners(1) early childhood educator(2) Performing(1) TRAP(1) Wonder(1) Whole Group(1) art of the relationship(1) Story(2) Masterclass(2) outdoors(4) reading(5) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Trade union(1) Engagement(1) Arlene Forster(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) youdoodle(1) Thank you(1) Infection Control(1) Diversity(1) Settling in(4) Prexit(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Traffic Lights(1) Leprechauns(1) The Lullaby Book(1) awards 2020(1) animals(2) Halloween(2) Syria(1) communication(4) Qualifications(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) ICBN(1) play therapy(1) National Awards 2019(1) United Nations(1) child-centric(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Advocacy(1) Investment(2) Reggio(1) Mark Twain(1) routine(2)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine