Early Childhood Ireland welcomes Covid-19 stimulus package and highlights work of Dublin childcare providers in preparing for re-opening

In a statement issued on July 24th last Early Childhood Ireland, the leading organisation in the early years sector, has welcomed the Government’s stimulus package, which was announced yesterday. The organisation said it will provide essential support for childcare providers in Dublin and nationwide. Early Childhood Ireland supports 3,800 childcare members across Ireland, who provide education and care for more than 100,000 children and their families.

Commenting on the stimulus package today (24.07.20), Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland, said: “We are really pleased to see the continuation of the wage subsidy scheme and other business supports. We have our first formal meeting with the Minister for Children next Tuesday afternoon, and we look forward to hearing more detail at that stage.

“It is critical that the stimulus package supports childcare services to re-open in the safest and most effective way possible. Our sector has previously availed of government supports to allow Summer services re-open confidently at the end of June. We now look forward to the full re-opening of the sector in late August.”

Almost 2,000 childcare workers in Dublin undertake Skillnet Ireland’s ‘ReBound – Back to Business Safely’ training in partnership with Early Childhood Ireland. Early Childhood Ireland said the commitment of the early years and school-age childcare sector to re-opening safely has been evidenced by the huge demand for training courses associated with re-opening.

Of the 1,500 childcare services that have reopened since Monday, 29th of June, over 92% have completed bespoke ‘ReBound – Back to Business Safely’ training in recent weeks. This includes 1,966 practitioners from 992 businesses in Dublin. Launched in collaboration with four Skillnet Networks, through its ReBound ‘Back to Business’ initiative, the training equips childcare providers and practitioners with the information and skills they need to re-open safely in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date, 6,907 childcare practitioners have registered from across 1,502 member organisations of Early Childhood Ireland for training delivered by Duhallow Skillnet, Limerick Chamber Skillnet, Midlands Border East Skillnet and Next Level Skillnet. Additionally, Early Childhood Ireland has hosted online workshops and training sessions for members on topics such as supporting children with additional needs, wellbeing and HR matters. These workshops and training sessions have been attended by an additional 2,048 practitioners.

Commenting on the high takeup of training, Ms Byrne said: “We’re delighted to have seen a total of 8,417 practitioners participating in online training with Early Childhood Ireland in preparation for reopening the childcare sector. These figures reflect what we’ve been hearing directly from our members – that staff are eager and energised to get back to work, and have embraced the new protocols and safety measures and upskilled themselves to ensure they can continue to provide an excellent standard of care and education for children nationwide.”

Michael Lynch, Network Manager at Midlands Border East Skillnet said, “Getting the country back to work has been at the core of the ‘The ReBound – Back to Business Safely’ initiative. Providing childcare workers with the tools and knowledge needed to reopen their businesses in a safe and sustainable way is a key step in building the sector and economy back up after the global pandemic.

The training is available free of charge through online webinars and can be accessed through either Duhallow Skillnet, Limerick Chamber Skillnet, Midlands Border East Skillnet and Next Level Skillnet.”

About Early Childhood Ireland

Early Childhood Ireland is the leading membership organisation in the early years sector.

Its 3,800 childcare members support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool, and full day-care provision nationwide. Early Childhood Ireland provides support services and advocacy for its members