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Audience waving their arms at a conference - Year in Review: 2016

Year in Review: 2016

January 10, 2017

2016 was a year dominated by change both here in Ireland and across the world stage.

Early Childhood Ireland’s main focus was on the developments which impacted on our sector such as the roll-out of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) and of course the Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS). I’m proud and delighted that as 2017 begins, our organisation can claim a strong policy win in the form of the agreement by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to accept the principle of the 52-week model in the ACS. While there is much still to be ironed out ahead of the Scheme’s launch, this decision is welcome and means that the Minister and her Department are listening to the sector, which is vital if the Scheme is to be sustainable.

Sustainability of the early years’ sector for staff and operators remains one of our core ‘red lines’ as we plan and implement our 2017 advocacy programme.  It was a key issue which we worked on ahead of the February 2016 general election, and we were pleased to see it get buy-in across the political divide. A big thank you to all members and parents who supported our #VoteforChildcare campaign.

There is much work ahead this year and we are already focussing on some key priorities such as:


  • Professionalisation of the Early Years workforce and improvement to their terms and conditions of employment. Workforce Planning must be a priority for 2017 if we want to recruit and retain the best people in this sector;
  • Capacity planning of early years and school age childcare to prevent displacement and to ensure viability;
  • The review of the first pre-school year and the application of the Aistear curriculum framework;
  • Review of Year 1 of AIM and highlighting its impact on children and members;
  • Building on our ‘Doing the Sums’ report to keep the cost of providing quality childcare high on the policy agenda, in the context of our work on professionalising the sector;
  • Influence the implementation of the announced additional 7 ECCE days to support services with administrative workloads;
  • Continue to press for a full assessment of the merits of a reconstituted single care-and-education inspectorate;
  • Keep working to bring Ireland on par with other European countries in our delivery of paid Parental Leave.


In 2017 we will continue to provide the highest quality services for members:

  • We will continue to maintain fast turnarounds in our Garda Vetting service given its critical importance for members;
  • Our 2017 Annual Conference weekend will be soon upon us on March 31/April 1 with Awards, Research and Inspiring Speakers, Expo etc. Watch this space.
  • National Pyjama Day 2017 will be on March 3 and this year it will raise money for children with additional needs. We are already very excited and you will shortly be able to order your packs from
  • We will have a week-long series of events in May focusing on the Outdoor Play Environment. Booking for these very special events will open shortly so keep an eye on our website to get updates.


We look forward to supporting you again in 2017 and please keep in touch. There are many ways to stay in touch: by joining our Policy & Implementation Panel, on our Facebook Page, by contributing to our Early Times magazine, or by phoning or calling into the office.


Sending you best wishes for 2017,

Teresa and all the team in Early Childhood Ireland

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