Minister Fitzgerald has high praise for the work of the County Childcare Committee
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, visited the Offices of Monaghan County Childcare Committee last Friday, Feb 17th to meet Childcare Workers, Primary School Teachers, Parents and the Childcare Committee’s staff who support them through training, information and advice.
Bernie Bradley, Chairperson and Breda Mc Kenna, Co-ordinator welcomed the Minister on her first visit to the Childcare Committee Offices and Training rooms where she was
given a briefing on innovative projects developed and delivered by the Childcare Committee throughout the County.
The Minister was accompanied by Heather Humphries TD, Sean Conlon, TD, Caoimhghin O Caolain TD, Cllr. Ciara Mc Phillips and Seymour Crawford as she toured the offices and training facilities. Minister Fitzgerald was very impressed with the range of additional projects that have been developed by the Childcare Committee staff and are delivered to children attending pre-school and full day care services throughout Co Monaghan. She spoke at length to Primary school teachers, parents and childcare workers involved in delivering the projects to children and said such supports should be available nationally.
She was delighted to see the pilot Pre-School to Primary School Transition Project in County Monaghan. This is collaboration between the Childcare Committee and Monaghan Integrated Development. The project aims to build the links between the pre-school and Primary school sector. It is currently been piloted with 10 services and primary schools in Co Monaghan and involves a number of “getting to know you” sessions, a workbook to be completed in the pre-school and at home, to be presented to the Primary school teacher at enrollment.
The Minister was very interested in The Chatterbox Service which is a very successful collaboration between the HSE, Dublin North East and Cavan and Monaghan Childcare
Committees. It involves the screening of Pre-school children for Speech and Language delay, training for Childcare workers and the employment of a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant who works directly with children and staff in Pre-schools.
Alexia Mc Kenna, Family Support Manager with the HSE spoke to the Minister about the value of interagency working on parenting supports. The Minister then met parents who have
completed the Swings and Slides Parenting Course and highlighted the value of parenting supports delivered by the local Childcare Committee. Bernie Bradley, Chairperson, gave an
overview of how supporting parents through peace building formed part of the Peace 111 projects funded through Monaghan County Council.
Breda Mc Kenna, Co-ordinator with Monaghan Childcare Committee said that while the majority of Childcare workers in Co Monaghan have reached the required FETAC Level 5, the minimum requirement for Childcare Workers, they continue come out and attend training in the evenings and at weekends. Most of this training is undertaken in their own time and attheir own expense.
The Minister had an opportunity to talk to Development Worker with the CAWT Social
Inclusion Project, Colette Deeney about Health Improvement Programmes for Women in Co
Minister Fitzgerald expressed delight with both the Respecting Difference and Play for All resources for Pre-schools. Susie Erskine, Development Worker explained that the Respecting
Difference project is a Cross Border Project developed by the Early Years Organisation NI
and delivered to Pre-school services in Counties Monaghan and Cavan with the support of the
Dympna Mc Kenna, Tru-beginnings Childcare Service explained how she implements
the “Play for all” resources in her services. She acknowledged the hard working staff of Monaghan Childcare Committee in supporting services with advice, information and training.
On completing her tour of the Offices, the Minister and her delegation agreed that this was a most informative and enjoyable afternoon.