National Childhood Network (NCN) exists to support the achievement of high quality standards in a range of early years and school age childcare services for children aged from 6 months- 14 years. Established 21 years ago as the Border Counties Childcare Network with financial support from the Special EU Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and the Department of Health the Network has provided a valuable forum for representatives from a range of voluntary, private and statutory agencies to work together to support the development of care and education services that promote children’s health, well-being, learning development. Initially formed to support service development in the Southern Border Counties the Network has expanded its remit in recent years to support service delivery across the island of Ireland thanks to both receiving funding from and working in partnership with a range of agencies including the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the HSE, the Department of Employment and Social Protection. Managed by a voluntary board of management, the organisation is non profit making and employs a core staff team and panel of trainers with expertise in promoting children’s care and education.
NCN has a broad based programme of work to support the delivery of both early years and school age childcare services. This includes:
Development and dissemination of a broad range of information resources for service providers and parents on all aspects of service delivery and the promotion of children’s health, well-being, learning and development
Development, delivery and accreditation of nationally certified training for the early years and school age childcare workforce
Development and delivery of in-service training e.g. the Healthy Ireland Smart Programme for Pre-school staff and creation of opportunities for Continuing Professional Development for both trainers and practitioners
Provision of onsite mentoring support visits to services participating in quality development initiatives such as the Governments Siolta Quality Assurance Programme for early years services
Facilitating and engaging in inter agency, cross sectoral, cross border networking to increase resources and support for the sector to assist the achievement of high quality standards
Informing, influencing and contributing to policy development at national level
Promoting the best interests of children in all that we do
In striving to find different ways of supporting the childhood sector to deliver higher quality services and to communicate better with parents as to how experiences in services promote children’s holistic development, NCN has worked to inform and support the development of Child Paths. As a quality support agency for many years involved in the development and implementation of Siolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Education and Aistear the National Curriculum Framework for Early Education, NCN has been well placed to inform the development of this valuable app which benefits service providers, staff, parents and most importantly children.
The Crann Support Group is a proven innovative model of management, born out of the need for community childcare facilities to remain sustainable while providing quality, affordable childcare to parents. Over a 10 year period, the group has expanded to directly manage 9 Early Childhood Care and Education centres, and they provide ancillary supports to an additional 12 childcare/community enterprises. The Crann Support Group is directly responsible for 292 staff; it supports 720 families and almost 1000 children daily in Co. Meath. The group administers almost €6.2M annually and maintains assets to the value of €5.6M.
This model of Management demonstrates that by working with partnership Community and Voluntary Organisations can access services and supports not usually available to them. The Crann Support Group is a non-profit making organisation and renders to its childcare members and non-members ancillary services such as:
Management support for Community Enterprise
Human Resource Management Support
Research and Development
Preparation of Accounts to Audit Stage
The expertise and commitment of the Crann Support Group to early years education and care in the community sector led to the initiative of the development of a National Forum for Community Childcare services in 2015. This initiative arose in response to a number of major challenges facing community and voluntary organisations. This was supported by the National Childhood Network (NCN) who observed at first hand the many difficulties facing the community sector when assisting a number of services to meet national quality standards as outlined in the Siolta Quality Framework. The Crann Support Group represents the Community Forum in an advocacy role on many National Committees and Sub-groups, where issues such as service viability, recruitment, communication, apprenticeship training pilots, professionalisation and quality standards are explored and developed.
Through our knowledge and experience, we’ve contributed greatly to the success of Child Paths. As mentioned the Crann Support Group is directly responsible for 292 staff, we support 720 families and almost 1000 children daily in Co. Meath, so we know what it’s like on the ground day to day, the challenges our staff and parents face daily. By working together with Child Paths we’re developing a product to assist Early Years settings in their battle to overcome many of the daily challenges like cutting down on the amount of time spent reporting, saving services money, working to create a better platform to communicate more with parents but more importantly to benefit the child.
We are a Multi-Disciplinary team made up of
Speech and Language Therapist
Our aim is to provide a Full service to Children, Teenagers and Adults in the assessment process. We liaise with preschool and schools in order to get a fully rounded picture of a child’s development and offer a full care pathway following assessment for educational and therapeutic needs.
Children Age 0-18 years
Speech and Language Impairments
All of the above assessments are available to teenagers along with Therapeutic input for
Low Self Esteem
Our team of Clinical Psychologists are trained to the highest standards and uphold all practices in lines with the PSI.
We are supporting Child Paths through our introduction of the Child Milestones tool which we have been working on for some time. Through our work with preschool and schools, we are aware of the need for all who work with children to understand child development and the importance of early intervention in child’s life. We are delighted to be a part of Child Paths as we feel we are giving Pre-schools teachers and parents an opportunity to really tune into the key areas of their child’s development and monitor their progress. We would like to see a shift in addressing difficulties that children may present with and how quickly these difficulties are addressed in order for each and every child to have an equal opportunity.
Brendan Morrissey - Founder
Do you know somebody with Dyslexia or ADHD, they’re not alone. Sometimes they may feel that way. It’s estimated that 1 in every 10 people have Dyslexia. iDyslexic is a fantastic new social network for people with Dyslexia and ADHD. Here you can connect with others, share your experiences, get support and help. iDyslexic is a non for profit company developed by serial entrepreneur and tech founder Brendan Morrissey. He developed it for personal reasons as Brendan, and his son was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD. Brendan is doing some fantastic work around the world connecting people and also in helping with early intervention.
We are delighted to partner with iDyslexic to help bring awareness to this fantastic social network and the support it can offer children and adults here in Ireland. Users can download the app free at www.idyslexic.com. For anybody who doesn’t know who Brendan is you will find some of his amazing work Here
Cork College of Commerce
GOBNAIT BURKE - Vice Principle
Cork College of Commerce is once again showing great innovation and is to the forefront in its delivery of Further Education to our students. We are delighted to partner with Child Paths, and by doing so give our students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in using childcare software. This is the first time that a college of Further Education and a childcare software company have worked in partnership on such a project.
The early year's sector is one that is continuously evolving. We are aware, from liaising with early years practitioners locally, that more and more services are using software to document their curriculum, record observations, track attendance and to communicate with parents. We want to ensure our students are current and well equipped to join the workforce when the finish their education with us. Child Paths is an excellent software tool that we are delighted to use with our students. Some of our early year's teachers have received training from Child Paths to ensure they are competent in passing on their knowledge to our students. They, in turn, have given feedback to Child Paths on additional features that would further enhance the software – this is good to share knowledge and expertise and Ciaran and his team are very open to this. We look forward to seeing further additions to the Child Paths software system in the months ahead and continuing our partnership with this company.
Dublin City University,