Childcare Services Grants and Resources

 

<strong>Useful Publications for Early Year Service Providers</strong>

Below please find some publications and resources which you may find helpful.

National Quality Guidelines for School Age Childcare Services

Treoirlínte Náisiúnta Cáilíochta do Sheirbhísí Cúraim Leanaí ar Aois Scoile Treoirlínte, Comhpháirteanna agus Gnéithe

National Childcare Scheme Policy Guidelines: NCS-Policy-Guidelines-2

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Charter and Guidelines for  Early Childhood Care and Education: Diversity-Equality-and-Inclusion-Charter-and-Guidelines-for-Early-Childhood-Care-Education

Quality and Regulatory Framework for Full Day and Part Time Day Care: QRF – Full Day Care Service and Part time Day Care Service

Quality and Regulatory Framework for Pre School Services: QRF – Sessional Pre School Service

Quality and Regulatory Framework Childminding: QRF – Childminding

Code of Professional Responsibilities and Code of Ethics for Early Years Educators: Code of Professional Responsibilities and Code of Ethics for Early Years Educators

Draft Childminding Action Plan: Draft Childminding Action Plan

First 5: A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families https://assets.gov.ie/26691/98d3322cc8b64637976cf23f33f084f6.pdf

Management of Infectious Disease in Childcare Facilities and Other Childcare Settings: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/lifestages/schoolhealth/File,13445,en.pdf

Download CHILD CARE ACT 1991 (EARLY YEARS SERVICES) REGULATIONS

Download CHILD CARE ACT 1991 (EARLY YEARS SERVICES) (AMENDMENT)

Download CHILD CARE ACT 1991 (EARLY YEARS SERVICES)

Download Children First Act 2015

Download Child and Family Agency Act 2013

Download A Guide to Planning Requirements for Early Years Services, Re-Registration and Change of Circumstances, August 2019

Download Siolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (CECDE 2006)

Download National Vetting Bureau Acts 2012-2016

Download Fire and Planning Requirements for Early Years Services Re Registration

Download Fire Safety in Preschools

Download PUBLIC HEALTH (TOBACCO) ACT, 2002

Download DPER Circular 13 2014

Download Freedom of Information Act 2014

Download Questions asked to Tusla Inspectorate

Download Childcare Support Act 2018

Aistear Siolta Practice Guide (NCCA 2015) can be found here:  http://aistearsiolta.ie/en/

Aistear Guidelines for good practice- https://ncca.ie/media/4151/aistear_theearlychildhoodcurriculumframework.pdf

Fire Services Act, 1981 can be found here:  http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1981/act/30/enacted/en/print.html

Food Hygiene Regulations 1950-89 can be found here http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1989/si/62/made/en/print

The European Communities (Hygiene of Foodstuffs) Regulations can be found here http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2006/si/369/made/en/print

National Standards Authority of Ireland can be found here https://www.nsai.ie/

Data Protection Commission can be found here https://www.dataprotection.ie/

Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) Rules for 2019/2020 can be found here https://aim.gov.ie/news/publication-of-aim-rules-for-2019-2020/

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 https://assets.gov.ie/25844/b90aafa55804462f84d05f87f0ca2bf6.pdf

<strong>School Age Childcare</strong>

New Registration System Brings School Age Childcare into Affordable Childcare Scheme

  • School age childcare services to be registered for first time with Tusla
  • Minister Zappone signs the Childcare Support Act 2018 (Commencement) Order 2018 and the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018, enabling school age childcare services to register and participate in new Affordable Childcare Scheme
  • The families of over 17,750 school age children benefited from government childcare subsidies last year. Thousands more could benefit in 2019 through the Affordable Childcare Scheme
  • Regulations represent an important first step in the full regulation and inspection of school age childcare services
  • Another major milestone to quality affordable, accessible childcare

Only registered school age childcare services will be able to provide services under the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

National Quality Guidelines for School Age Childcare Services

Treoirlínte Náisiúnta Cáilíochta do Sheirbhísí Cúraim Leanaí ar Aois Scoile Treoirlínte, Comhpháirteanna agus Gnéithe

Download FAQ’s  Registration of School Age Childcare

<strong>Quality and Regulatory Framework</strong>

This Quality and Regulatory Framework applies to all registered Full Day Care and Part-Time Day Care Early Years Services.

For Full Day and Part Time Services download Quality and Regulatory Framework (Full Day) Quality and Regulatory Framework (Sessional)

For Sessional Services download Quality and Regulatory Framework (Sessional)

<strong>Directory of Childcare Services and Parent and Toddler Groups in Laois</strong>

Laois County Childcare Committee has developed a directory of services which outlines if services are community or private and which of the national schemes they offer. The directory is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to parents of which service to use. We recommend that parents visit services to choose one that suits their family’s needs.

You will find our directory on our website.  Click on the link for a shortcut to that page: https://www.laoischildcare.ie/directory/

<strong>Useful Publications for Parents</strong>

Below please find some publications which you may find helpful.

Download Child Care Act 1991 Early Years Services Regulations 2016

Download Right From The Start

Download Children First Bill – April 2014

Download A Parents Guide to Pre-School Regulations

Download Choosing a Childminder

Download Barnardos – Learning Together

Download Our Children First – A Parents Guide

Download  ChildrenWithSpecialEdNeeds

Download Siolta – A Guide For Parents

Download Child and Family Agency Act 2013

<strong>Choosing a Childcare Service</strong>

There are many types of childcare services some distinguished simply by the opening hours or management structures, other by the curriculum of education they use. Services can be privately run or community based. Community based services are operated on a not for profit basis and are run voluntarily by a management committee. Private services are operated by a self-employed service provider.

Quality within childcare service provision has many aspects to it and means different things to different services/parents. Aspects that contribute to quality within childcare services include:-

  • Standard of the building
  • Qualifications of Management and Staff
  • Programmes/activities offered within services
  • Promotion of play within services
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Feedback mechanism to parents etc.

Download the NCNA’s publication: 9 Steps to Choosing a Childcare Service – A Parent’s Guide

Tusla’s Tips for Parents: https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/tips-for-parents/

What to expect from an early years service: https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/102442_TUSLA_-_What_to_expect_from_an_early_years_service.pdf

<strong>Where to get advice if I have a difficulty or a complaint about a service</strong>
Introduction

If you are concerned about the quality of an early years service, you should first speak to the staff/manager or childminder. If following this conversation you wish to further highlight your concerns or make an official complaint you can do this  through the services complaints policy and procedure. Each service is required to have a complaints policy and procedure. The complaints policy must specify how the complaint will be dealt with and the procedures in place for keeping the complainant informed  regarding how the complaint is being managed. The registered provider is required to keep a written record of  all complaints; this record must state how the complaint is managed and the record of complaints must be available for inspection by Tusla Early Years Inspectorate. A sample complaints policy for a service is available here.  If your complaint has not been satisfactorily addressed through the services complaints policy and procedures or if the concern cannot be resolved, you can contact the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate by:

Phone: +353 (61) 461700

Email:early.yearsui@tusla.ie

or Download and complete the concerns form

This form can be emailed to: early.yearsui@tusla.ie  or posted to:

Tusla, Feedback and Concerns Team, Early Years Inspectorate, 2nd Floor, Estuary House, Henry Str., Limerick

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<strong>Who can raise concerns about an Early Years Service?</strong>

If you are worried about a child in an Early Years Service or you have concerns about a Service and you have failed to have your concerns resolved by the Service Provider then you should bring these to the attention of the Early Years Inspectorate Complaints Office. Concerns can come from a number of sources including; parents, guardians or relatives of a child attending the service, staff of the service or the general public.

Please note that any information you present about an Early Years Service will not affect any aspect of the quality of service provided to a child or their family.

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<strong>What should I do first?</strong>

Before you contact us, you should attempt to solve your issue directly with the Service Provider concerned. You can do this by speaking to the person in charge of the Service. The Service Provider will have a Complaints Policy outlining their procedure for dealing with such matters and this should be used in the first instance. You may also wish to put your concern in writing. In many cases, concerns can be resolved at this stage.

If you fail to resolve your issue directly with the Service Provider you should then contact the Early Years Inspectorate Complaints Office.

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<strong>How concerns are processed</strong>

If you are not satisfied with the standard of service provided by an Early Years Provider, you can bring this to the attention of The Early Years Inspectorate Complaints Office, who will aim to process your concern promptly, thoroughly and fairly.

We will first make sure that your concern falls within the remit Child Care Act 1991 Early Years Services Regulations 2016.

We will then decide the appropriate process for investigation and in particular whether your concern will be investigated by the Early Years Inspectorate or referred back to the Service Provider for investigation.

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<strong>What to expect</strong>

The Early Years Inspectorate aims to provide a procedure that is accessible, efficient, effective, standardised and fair.

Once your concern has been submitted you will receive a letter of acknowledgement. This letter will outline how your concern will be processed. There are a number of possibilities depending on the nature of your concern as outlined below.

  1. Your concern will be investigated by the Early Years Inspectorate. You will receive correspondence outlining the process for investigation you can expect. Your concern may fall into one of three categories;
    • It may require an onsite complaint investigation
    • It may trigger a full inspection of the service
    • It may form part of the next scheduled inspection of the service
  2. Your concern will be referred for investigation to the Service Provider in line with their Complaints Policy. The Service Provider will be required to furnish a report of their investigation to the Early Years Inspectorate.
  3. Some aspects of your concern may fall within the remit of the Early Years Inspectorate and will be examined accordingly. You will receive correspondence outlining the process for investigating the aspect of your concern that falls within the remit of the Early Years Inspectorate which will result in one of the following;
    • It may require an onsite complaint investigation
    • It may trigger a full inspection of the service
    • It may form part of the next scheduled inspection of the service
  4. All or part of your concern does not fall under the remit of the Early Years Inspectorate. It may be more appropriate for another agency to investigate your concern and, where possible, contact details of this other agency will be provided to you.
    The full content of the Early years Inspectorate procedure as to how unsolicited information including complaints relating to registered services are managed can be here
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<strong>What information should you provide when raising a concern?</strong>

When raising a concern, please provide the following details:

  • Your full name, address, telephone number & email address.
  • Your relationship with the Early Years Provider i.e. parent, staff, other.
  • The name, address and contact details of the Service Provider.
  • Time and date(s) i.e. when did the incident occur?
  • Name of child or children involved.
  • Details of any other persons involved.
  • A factual account of what happened. Please provide as much detail as possible and please enclose copies of any relevant documentation you think might help us.
  • Please state whether or not you have used the Service Providers own Complaints Policy. If you have used the Complaints Policy of the Service Provider please state the outcome. If you have not used the Complaints Policy of the Service Provider please state why.

A complaints form can be accessed here and submitted to us at the contact details below.

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<strong>How long will it take to deal with my concern?</strong>

It is not possible to say exactly how long it will take. The time it takes us to investigate your concern will vary from case to case.

We will do our best to resolve your concern as quickly as possible and you will be informed of the outcome of the investigation once completed.

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<strong>How to Contact Us</strong>

If you wish to contact us regarding a concern you have about an Early Years Service you may do so by email:  eycomplaints@tusla.ie or phone: 061 461 380

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Childminding

<strong>Childminding Information</strong>

A Childminding Initiative has been rolled out over the last few years aimed at supporting those providing childminding services or those thinking of becoming childminders.

Broadly speaking there are three main areas of work.:

  • Training childminders pic
  • Networking
  • Information

If you are thinking of becoming a childminder please see below resources

A Guide to becoming a Childminder

Childminding Sample Policies and Procedures

Download our guide Choosing a Childminder

We would advise anyone thinking of becoming a childminder or operating as a childminder to read the National Guidelines for Childminders

Quality Framework

The definitions for services are taken from the Child and Family Act 2013. Under this Act, an Early Years Service is a service providing a pre-school service, or a school age service. A pre-school service is any pre-school, play group, day nursery, crèche, day-care or other similar service which caters for pre-school children.  The Act defines a pre-school child as a child who is under six years, and who is not yet going to a recognised school. In this Framework, the regulatory terms ‘pre-school service’ and ‘early years service’ are used interchangeably throughout.

This Quality and Regulatory Framework applies to all registered Childminding Services.  Please click on this link to download this Framework for Childminders Quality and Regulatory Framework (Childminders)

Childminders Database

Are you a Childminder? Would you like to be included on our database? If so please contact our office on 057 86 61029 or email info@laoischildcare.ie

Parent and Toddler

<strong>Parent and Toddler</strong> <strong>Information</strong>

Parent and Toddler groups are a great place for parents (both mothers & fathers) but also grandparents, guardians, childminders and carers to get together and provide a fun filled environment in which their children, usually under 5, can play. A small charge usually arises for participants, which helps pay for the toys, insurance, craft activities and refreshments. You can attend a Parent & Toddler Group with a new born baby, a baby who has just learnt to sit, a toddler and a pre-schooler, or a combination of the above.

It provides children with a great starting point to get used to a populated setting which can make the transition to pre-school easier. Group activities also help children build their social skills as it gives them the opportunity to interact with other children. For parents these groups can be a great source of support. It provides an opportunity to meet with other parents in your locality and share experiences, tips and information.

Groups can organise speakers to address the parents on issues that interest them e.g. nutrition, child development, speech therapy and the value of play or arrange a meeting with the public health nurse etc. There are currently 17 Parent & Toddler Groups in Laois.

Parent and Toddler grants are generally available on an annual basis.

LCCC offers support and advice to those wishing to set up a group or those currently operating groups within the county. If there is not currently a Parent & Toddler Group in your area and you would like to set one up, please see the parent and toddler information booklet below or contact LCCC on 05786-61029 for further information.

Download Parent and Toddler Information Pack

Go to our directory page for a list of Parent and Toddler groups click on the link https://www.laoischildcare.ie/directory/

Aistear and Síolta

<strong>What is Aistear? What is Síolta?</strong>

What is Aistear?

In October 2009, the NCCA published Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. Aistear is for all children from birth to six years. It is the outcome of extensive research, consultation, planning, and development by the NCCA in partnership with the early childhood sector. Aistear can be used in a range of early childhood settings including children’s own homes, childminding settings, full and part-time daycare settings, sessional services and infant classes in primary schools.

Aistear celebrates early childhood as a time of being, and of enjoying and learning from experiences as they unfold. This early learning lays important foundations for later learning, as early childhood marks the beginning of children’s lifelong learning journeys.

Highlighting the fact that children learn many different things at the same time, the Framework uses four interconnected themes to describe the content of children’s learning and development: Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking. Aistear highlights the critical role of play, relationships and language for young children’s learning. In doing this, it provides a guide to using play, interactions, partnerships with parents, and assessment to help children progress in their learning and development.

The NCCA is updating Aistear, a consultation is currently open and will remain open until 31/12/2021. More information can be found here – https://ncca.ie/en/early-childhood/early-childhood-education-developments/updating-aistear/

Principles and themes and guidelines for good practice – PrinciplesThemes_ENG.pdf (ncca.biz)  & guidelines-for-good-practice-supporting-learning-and-development-through-assessment-pp-72-102-.pdf (aistearsiolta.ie)

What is Síolta?

Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, was developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills

Core Elements of Síolta

Síolta is comprised of three distinct but interrelated elements: Principles, Standards and Components of Quality. The 12 Principles provide the overall vision of the Framework, while the 16 Standards and 75 Components allow for the practical application of this vision across all aspects of ECCE practice. The Components of Quality are further explained by a set of Signposts for Reflection and ‘Think-abouts’ which are intended to discuss their current practice.

The manual was designed to support engagement with the Framework and may be used by a range of early years professionals, who work with young children from birth to six years.

It was published in 2006, following a three-year developmental process, which involved consultation with more than 50 diverse organisations, representing childcare workers, teachers, parents, policy makers, researchers and other interested parties.

What is the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide?

The purpose of the Practice Guide is to support practitioners in using Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009) and Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (2006) together, to develop the quality of their curriculum and in doing so, to better support children’s learning and development. The Practice Guide is based on the understanding that settings are compliant with or are working to become compliant with The Child Care Act 1991, Early Years Services Regulations 2016. The Practice Guide includes a range of resources to help practitioners to critically reflect on their curriculum and to identify what is working well for them.

 

The practice guide can be accessed online through the following link: https://www.aistearsiolta.ie/en/

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