Sign language and specialised training offered to childcare centres
“We must make childcare accessible to all”
Statement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone
Tuesday 9th January, 2018
Sign language, sensory integration and other specialised training are being offered free to childcare centres under a plan to make services accessible to all children, according to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.
More than 1,200 places are being made available to childcare professionals in courses on sign language, promoting language and social skills of children and specialised supports for children with complex needs.
The training is being delivered under the Government’s Access Inclusion Model (AIM) which was launched 18-months ago. Already an estimated 5,000 children have benefitted from targeted AIM supports. It is envisaged that the universal AIM supports have reached even greater numbers of children.
Announcing the new places Minister Zappone added:
“If we are to develop truly accessible affordable quality childcare then it must be open to every child.
Since the introduction of AIM we have made great strides to ensure children with disabilities can participate in free pre-school education alongside their friends. Now we are taking another important step.
We are offering free specialised training to the practitioners who deliver childcare in our communities. Over 1,200 places are being provided representing an investment of €500,000.
There will be training in Lámh - the manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland.
In addition training is being provided on the internationally renowned Hanen Learning Language and Loving It Programme. This programme was designed to help all children in the classroom build language and social skills, no matter what their learning and communication styles are, including children with additional needs.
There will also be online training in sensory integration.
These courses together with further developments in the AIM programme which I will confirm shortly represent a significant investment in improving the quality and accessibility of childcare.
They will benefit children in every part of our country.
Our work to turn one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best will continue in 2018.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Roll-Out of Level 3 Training under AIM: Additional Requirements in EYSS
The roll-out of additional training under AIM is set to commence in the coming weeks.
Level 1 (Universal)
The development of a training programme for pre-school practitioners to support the implementation AIM will be commissioned. Successful Tenderers will be required to work with the HSE and others (including professional and disability bodies) to:
· Develop a number of modules at an introductory level on a range of topics;
· Develop easily accessible training materials in a variety of media (e.g. downloadable booklets, podcasts, training videos); and
· Develop a train the trainer programme to support the delivery of the training programme.
The training programme will be developed and roll-out will commence from September 2018. The cost of development is estimated to be €200,000.
Level 2 (Targeted)
· The delivery of an online training programme in sensory integration for pre-school practitioners will be commissioned. 500 places per annum from 2018 will be offered.
· The delivery of the internationally renowned Hanen Learning Language and Loving It (LLLI) Programme will commence. LLLI was designed to provide pre-school practitioners with practical strategies for helping all children in the classroom build language and social skills, no matter what their learning and communication styles are, including children with additional needs. Early Year Specialists have been trained as LLLI tutors and 27 courses / 540 places will be offered in 2018.
· The delivery of Lamh to early years will commence. Lámh is the manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland. Lámh signs are used to support communication. Lámh is grant-aided by the HSE and is endorsed by the Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists and Down Syndrome Ireland. 30 courses / 350 Lamh places will be offered in 2018.
The distribution of Level 2 training places on offer across each CCC areas is given overleaf.
Level 3 (Intensive)
A €50,000 training fund is being established for specific training for pre-school practitioners working.