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Update: Reopening of Early Years Settings 2020

Update: Reopening of Early Years Settings 2020

May 13, 2020

We know that the reopening of the sector on 29 June has been a source of concern for many members who have been in touch with us over the last few weeks seeking guidance on arrangements for the reopening of early years settings post the lifting of the COVID Lockdown. As you are aware, we have been working on this issue for a number of weeks, researching what is happening internationally, analysing the issues and working with Irish and international experts in this area to ensure that we will  have the best advice for our members, the children in their care and their families.

Our work crosses many themes including:

  • The health and safety of our members, their staff and the families that attend our settings.
  • Funding arrangements which will be required to sustain our sector into the future and post COVID.
  • Implications for practice, children’s wellbeing, and relationships with parents.
  • Regulatory and policy considerations.

 

Member Consultation and Research

On Friday 8 May, we sent our members a survey designed to ascertain the concerns of our members about reopening and to garner your insights and expertise. The closing date for the survey was yesterday and we received over 1680 responses. Thank you to everyone who responded. Your views are essential in planning the next few months. As we all know, ours is a very diverse and complex sector and this high response rate allows us to capture all of the  issues which will need to be addressed. We will keep you updated on the results of the survey and on further members consultations. 

To enhance the survey mentioned above and our on-going work in this area, we are also completing a more in-depth research project with our members. The overall aim of this research project is to identify the main challenges that our sector will face upon reopening, based on our members’ views. The research will be based on a number of case studies that will be conducted over the next few weeks. This investigation will help to inform our own work and provide insights to the Reopening Working Group which has been organised by the DCYA to understand and address the challenges and opportunities the reopening of the sector will present.     

 

 

Media Communications and Advocacy

You may also have seen or heard our media work on this issue over the last week. We will be using all opportunities to raise issues of concern in the media in the coming weeks and months. Our CEO Teresa Heeney will take part in a Primetime programme due to air on Thursday evening 14 May 2020.

We will also use our existing relationships with politicians to emphasise the critical role which our sector plays in the lives of children and families and for our economy. These discussions are particularly important right now given Programme for Government discussions.

We were invited by the DCYA to join a working group on reopening. The first meeting was held on Tuesday May 12 and this group will meet weekly for the next 6 weeks. It is vital that this group receives public health expertise as well as hearing the views of operators of early years settings. To that end we will identify members from a cross section of our membership to assist with developing a road map for the safe and sustainable reopening of our sector.

Information and Support

As well as all the above, it is our intention to convene a number of webinars on reopening as soon as the guidelines become clear.  As always, we will continue to keep you updated through our website, we will include information in our weekly ezine and in our new ezine Early Pedagogy Times.  If there are any queries that you would like to raise in this regard, then please continue to contact our Early Years Employer Service on  (01) 405 7103 or by email on eyes@earlychildhoodireland.ie

 

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