Current Projects

Read about our current Research Projects including the Tallaght National Early Years Access Initiative and our Marte Meo evaluation.

Impact of Outdoor Affordances on a Child’s Development

Project Overview

Early Childhood Ireland are committed to the development of quality outdoor provision within the ECCE sector. This research was undertaken by Carol Duffy of Early Childhood Ireland, as part of her research understaken for her Master’s dissertation with the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) and Birmingham City University. Through her work as an Early Childhood Mentor she has experienced variable and generally poor outdoor provision for under threes within many ECCE settings.

Research aims and objectives

  • To carry out a longitudinal case study of the impact of outdoor affordances on a child’s development birth to three
  • To raise awareness of the significance of outdoor experiences and play in the life of infants birth to three
  • To develop training resources to promote quality outdoor environments and experiences in early years settings

Links to project report

You can read a presentation of the project findings here.

Research methods and approaches

An ethnographic longitudinal case study located within a naturalistic paradigm.

Funding

Non-applicable.

Research Partners

Non-applicable.

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project.

Conference presentations

Carol Duffy presented her research findings at the Children’s Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland, 10 December 2015.

Pay Rates in the Irish Early Childhood Care and Education Sector

Project Overview 

Higher wages and better working conditions affect people’s job satisfaction, work motivation and, indirectly, the quality of their teaching, caring and interactions with children (Huntsman, 2008; Moon and Burbank, 2004). Many countries experience difficulties with retaining the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce, with particularly high staff turn-over rates in the child care sector. The factors that lead people to leave the ECCE sector are often the same factors that discourage people from pursuing a career in the ECCE sector: low wages; low social status; heavy workload; and lack of career progression paths.

 

Research aims and objectives

The aim of this research was to investigate the rates of pay within the early childhood care and education sector. The research also aimed to describe rates of pay according to qualification, job role and county in which the respondent worked in.

 

Research methods and approaches

In January 2016, Early Childhood Ireland invited professionals working within the sector to complete an online survey. Survey participants (n=3036) reported information on their role, highest level of qualification obtained, the county in which they worked and the hourly rate of pay they received. Due to invalid data 20 cases were removed. The final analysis included 3016 responses. The survey was advertised on Early Childhood Irelands website and shared through the organisation’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Funding

Non-applicable.

 

Research Partners

Non-applicable.

 

Links to project report

The project report can be accessed here.

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project.

Technology Use during Early Childhood – Parents' Perspectives

Project Overview

At Early Childhood Ireland, we have been carrying out some new and exciting research about young children’s use of technology in the home environment. We wanted to find out how much technology is healthy? How much time are young children spending in front of the screen? And do parents feel knowledgeable enough about technology to make good decisions in relation to its use? Now that Christmas is fast approaching and many children have the latest technology on their list to Santa, we have some guidelines, tips and food for thought to help families engage with technology in a healthy way over the festive season and beyond!

 

Research aims and objectives

The aim of this research was to answer the following questions:
1.    What types of technology exist in Irish households?
2.    What percentage of children under 2 are engaging in screen-based activities?
3.    What type of information have children received about technology?
4.    What are parent’s thoughts on the use of technology in the home?
5.    According to parents, how does technology use impact young children?

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey with 332 parents of 0-6 year old children across Ireland

 

Funding

Non-applicable

 

Research Partners

Non-applicable

 

Links to project report

You can read about this research in our November 2015 edition of the ezine

 

Links to other publications

Media coverage for this research included:
The Irish Times
The Irish Mirror
Silicon Republic

 

Conference presentations

The results from Phase 1 – Parents’ Perspectives of this research project were presented as a poster presentation at Early Childhood Ireland’s Research and Practice Seminar as part of the Annual Conference 17th-18th April 2015 – ICT poster MHB FINAL 1604 2015

 

The results from both Phase 1 – Parents’ Perspectives and Phase 2 – Educators’ Perspectives were presented at OMEP’s annual Conference in Cork 25th April 2015 – OMEP presentation MHB v2 20 04 2015

 

Marte Meo Evaluation

Project Overview

Extensive research clearly tells us that high quality supportive interactions are key to healthy development and well-being in the early years. ‘Marte Meo’ is an approach which aims to transform 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). Early Childhood Ireland and the Marte Meo Centre, are working together to promote this work through the delivery of 4 week courses to services within Ireland. 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.

 

Research aims and objectives

The evaluation approach focused on the following aims and objectives:
1.    The early years educators acceptability of the training programme
2.    The impact of the training on the knowledge and skills in relation to the Marte Meo approaches and techniques
3.    The impact of the training on practice related to interactions
4.    The supports required by the early years educators to ensure the long-term use of the Marte Meo techniques and approaches

 

Research methods and approaches

Focus groups, questionnaires and case studies

 

Funding

Non-applicable

 

Research Partners

Marte Meo Centre (TUSLA)

 

Links to project report

The project report will be coming soon.

 

Conference presentations

O’Dwyer, M.V. (2014) Evaluation of the Marte Meo Programme. ‘Getting the best start: Developing through daily supportive interactions’ – with Maria Aarts, Dublin, Sept 2014. Available to Download here.

Aistear in Action Evaluation

Over the last 2 years Early Childhood Ireland has worked in partnership with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in implementing the Aistear in Action (AiA) initiative.  The initiative involved a multi-strand mentoring approach, involving training workshops, onsite mentoring and peer sharing among services. Using the learning from this initiative Aistear in Action is a support programme that enables early childhood practitioners in the company of peers and a mentor to:

  1. Explore, develop and demonstrate children’s learning using the Aistear framework
  2. Reflect on their current practice, identify improvements and make changes
  3. Compile documentation that clearly shows the curriculum in action

 

Research aims and objectives

The evaluation approach focuses on the following aims and objectives:

  1. The early years educators acceptability of the training programme
  2. The impact of the training on the knowledge and skills on the early childhood practitioners in relation to using the principles of Aistear in Action
  3. The impact of the training on practice related to interactions
  4. The supports required by the early years educators to ensure the long-term use of the Aistear in Action techniques and approaches

 

Research methods and approaches

Service ratings informed by Siolta, focus groups, and case studies will be used to ascertain the impact of the Aistear in Action Progarmme.  

 

Funding

Non-applicable  

 

Research Partners

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment  

 

Links to project report

The project report will be made available soon.  

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications related to this project  

 

Conference presentations

There are currently no publications related to this project  

 

EU COST-Action Ludi: Play for Children with Disabilities

Project Overview

This project aims to significantly add to the novel and autonomous field of research and intervention on play for children with disabilities. Play for children with disabilities is the object of a fragmented set of studies and it has given rise, in different countries and at different times, to niche projects (i.e. social robotics for autistic children, adapted toys for children with cognitive and motor disabilities, accessible playground areas). This theme is not yet a recognized area of research because of two main factors: a) disability represents a set of heterogeneous functioning frames; b) play is not leading the educational and rehabilitation contexts. The multi-disciplinary cooperation of researchers and practitioners in the fields of psycho-pedagogical sciences, health and rehabilitation sciences, humanities, assistive technologies and robotics as well as the contribution of end-users’ organizations will grant the right to play even for children with disabilities, and finally establish play as the main element for children’s development. LUDI will devote specific attention to the societal challenges identified in Horizon 2020 (i.e. the transfer of knowledge to clinical practice, the enhancement of the functionalities of children with disabilities through the implementation of technologies and practices).

Research aims and objectives

The network has three main objectives:

  1. Collecting and systematizing all existing competence and skills: educational researchers, clinical initiatives, know-how of resources centers and users’ associations;
  2. Developing new knowledge related to settings, tools and methodologies associated with the play of children with disabilities;
  3. Disseminating the best practices emerging from the joint effort of researchers, practitioners and users.

 

Research methods and approaches

Early Childhood Ireland will be contributing to the development of a systematic review on the topic

 

Funding

European Cooperation in Science and Technology (EU-COST)

 

Research Partners

24 countries within the European Union are involved in this project. Early Childhood Ireland is one of 4 organisations representing the Irish Management Committee.

 

Links to project report

More information regarding this project can be found here.

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project

 

Conference presentations

Not applicable

 

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