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an update for members on the launch of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Ethics for Early Years

Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Ethics for Early Years

January 22, 2020

On Monday, 20 January, representatives from Early Childhood Ireland attended the launch of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Ethics for Early Years in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The codes represent an important milestone in the professionalisation of our sector and as a member of the Professionalisation Sub-Group of the Early Years Forum, Early Childhood Ireland was involved in its development with other members. Early Childhood Ireland is represented on the sub-group by our Policy & Research Manager Sinéad Keenan and one of our members, Louise Kilbane. Speaking at the launch, Louise outlined the importance of ethical and professional codes to underpin decision-making and practice in early years settings and how these inform the values that guide her own work.

The code is practical in that it sets out to guide the values and ethics which should underpin the duties and responsibilities of those working in the early years sector, regardless of role. Built on the twin foundations of Síolta and Aistear, the codes are a reference point for our sector to guide best practice in decision-making.  They situate the rights of the child at the heart of practice but also extend to the rights of parents/guardians and into the wider community. It is envisioned that early years practitioners/teachers will use the Code of Ethics as a foundation on which to develop policies, procedures and practice within their settings.

The codes are also an important point on the road to professionalisation for our sector in that they equip early years practitioners with a framework to exercise their own judgements in the professional setting. This is a fundamental aspect of early years pedagogy that is sometimes overlooked in the Irish context of a “top down” approach to quality assurance in early years. The constant calls for the sector to professionalise must be met with a concurrent understanding that those in the sector are themselves professionals and should be treated as such. Early Childhood Ireland is hopeful that the publication of the codes will go some way to assisting our members on that journey.

We are currently working with DCYA to ensure that a copy of the codes is sent to every setting across the country, and made available online shortly.

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