Comprehensive Overview Of the Historical Development Of The ECCE Sector In Ireland


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Until the 1980’s and 1990’s pre school education was not implemented in Ireland (apart from some exceptions) this was due to the fact that most women did not work and stayed at home with the children. There was also the ‘marriage ban’ which meant that women working in public service jobs had to leave when they got married this ban was only lifted in 1973. The needs of children and babies were met by community and voluntary enterprises. The ECEC service provision was unregulated until 1997.

Siolta (2006)

The National Quality Framework For Early Childhood Education
Siolta was established in 2006 the CECDE developed the framework for siolta this took over 3 years and involved more than 50 different organisations that represent policymakers, childcare workers, researchers, teachers and parents. Siolta aims to define assess and support all ECCE settings that care for children aged 0-6. This includes full/part time childminding services, day care centres. A new departure for the ECCE is the inclusion of infant classes in primary schools. Up until the publication of siolta in 2006 were treated differently. Now it is understood that children aged naught to six do not require a subject based curriculum but instead a developmental based curriculum regardless if the child is in a preschool or primary school setting. After the CECDE was disbanded the Early Years Education Policy Unit in The Department Of Education and Skills has been responsible of the implementation of Siolta.

Aistear (2009)

The curriculum followed by preschools were largely unregulated. This resulted in a variety of the quality of the curriculum by settings. The Primary School Curriculum was published by the NCCA in 1999. This then directed and regulated the curriculum that is followed in infant classes. However in 2004 the OCECD conducted a review that found education in primary school’s infant classes was too formal and directive.
Thematic Review of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy in Ireland (OCED 2004: 58)
National Forum on Early Childhood Education 1998

The minister for education and science, Michael Martin established the National Forum on Early Childhood Education in 1998, this brought together individuals and organisations with an interest in early childhood education, and this is where very worthwhile initiatives came eg. The White Paper on Early Childhood Education, Ready to Learn (Des 1999)

National Voluntary Childcare Collaborative (1999)

In 1999 the NVCC was established in in 1999, now the organisation comprises seven national non- governmental they can still receive government funding, these seven organisations are:
Children in Hospital Ireland
Irish Steiner Kindergarten Association
St Nicholas Montessori Society Of Ireland
Early Childhood Ireland
Forbairt Naionrai Teo
Childminding Ireland
These organisation promote the ECCE in Ireland.

White Paper on Early Childhood Education, Ready to Learn (1999)

The white paper sets out government policy on issues to do with early childhood education. The key theme of the white paper is quality of provision in the ECCE sector. They recognised that there was a need to standardise provision, the findings led to the Child Care pre-school Regulations (DoHC 2006), Aistear (NCCA 2009) and Siolta (CECDE 2006), all of these are concerned with the quality of provision.


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