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Evaluation of the Marte Meo Programme

November 21, 2014

Celebrating the Marte Meo Programme

On Friday, 17th of October Early Childhood Ireland and Marte Meo Centre (TUSLA) hosted a one day conference in Dublin on what might be the best kept secret when it comes to working with all children. ‘Marte Meo’ is a wonderful approach which transforms how early childhood educators support children’s social and emotional development through daily interactions (all the moment by moment communications we have with children; listening, responding, suggesting, leading and guiding).


At the conference we had the pleasure and privilege of hearing Maria Aarts, the Dutch woman who developed the Marte Meo approach. She delivered a powerful presentation and passionately advocated for building children’s ability to manage in their social world.


The Marte Meo Training Programme

Early Childhood Ireland and the Marte Meo Centre, are currently working together to promote this work in early years services and over the last number of months we have delivered a number of 4-week programmes in early years services. The programme consists of 4 sessions including:

  1. Nurturing attachment
  2. Supporting initiatives
  3. Leading and following
  4. How to provide extra support


Translated from Latin, Marte Meo means “On one’s own strengths” and, as the name suggests, it’s about building on the good communication skills that parents and educators already have and use. The Marte Meo approach uses interaction analysis (using video recordings) to identify people’s strengths and it is particularly helpful in working with children with additional needs.


The Marte Meo Evaluation

At Early Childhood Ireland, we are passionate about evaluating our work and understanding the impact of training programmes on the participants. Included in the evaluation were participants from 3 training cohorts in Dublin and 1 training cohort in Cork which included 72 training participants.

The questions we wanted to answer included:

  1. What impact did the Marte Meo training programme have on the participants?
  2. How did the Marte Meo training programme translate into practice within early years settings?
  3. How can the Marte Meo training be improved for future participants?


We used a variety of tools to gather the answers to the above questions including a programme evaluation questionnaire which was completed by all training participants after each session, an overall end of programme evaluation which was also completed by all training participants after the last session and two focus groups with 11 training participants which were conducted between 2 and 4 weeks after the training was completed.


A number of major themes were identified from the weekly evaluation questionnaire and are illustrated in the graphic below:

Marte Meo


The findings from the focus groups highlighted some important perspectives from the participants including the important of waiting, following and leading as well as the importance of taking your time to build relationships with children. Furthermore, the focus group participants spoke about the highlights of the Marte Meo 4-week training programme and how it could be built on for future participants. The findings from the focus groups are described in the table below.




Alongside the main findings from the evaluation, there were some valuable comments from the training programme participants. The following comment was made by the Manager of an Early Years Setting about the importance of ‘building in time to be with the children’:



One Early Years Educator spoke about the importance of the whole setting engaging in Marte Meo Programme:



This evaluation has really important implications for practice and we can confirm that:

  • This programme is effective in providing practical strategies to improve interactions in practice

  • This programme is effective in motivating participants to learn more about the approach

  • Early Childhood Ireland are committed to continued delivery of this programme and developing a follow-on programme


Would you like more information?

For more information about the Marte Meo Programme, please contact Lillian Joyce on


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