Montessori Alliance

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    1. Creating a structure to support & strengthen Early Years services in Ireland
    2. Montessori Exercises mapped to the Aistear Curriculum Framework
    3. Providing a rich online knowledge base for practitioners & parents
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  • The First 5, A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, 2019-2028

    Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2018

    The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone has today launched The First 5, A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, 2019-2028.  The press release on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs website states the following

    The ambitious ten-year plan will deliver:

    1. A broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring
    2. A new model of parenting support
    3. New developments in child health, including a dedicated child health workforce
    4. Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, including a new funding model
    5. A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

    Details of the strategy and a report into the consultation process with young children which informed the strategy can be downloaded from the DCYA.





    In Ratio – Admin #6

    Posted by Administrator on November 12, 2018

    This is the 3rd week of my experiment and the first day I am in ratio covering for a member of staff who is on a training day.  I found that being a member of staff impacted on my view of why I was in the setting.  I didn’t feel as free as I had felt being ‘other’.  I reverted to being adult and actually reminded children to sit down or tidy up. Using instructions to stamp my authority and alert the children to my new role as teacher.  I think this need to establish myself as a teacher in the children’s eyes was for my benefit rather than theirs.  On reflection I realise I was nervous. It had been a long time since I had inhabited the role of teacher and I panicked. I became the teacher who had to be in control.  The type of teacher I became was not the one I had been in my own career.  This was a teacher who was unsure of herself and who was scared.  Fortunately I recognised what was happening so I consciously put that teacher aside and started playing with the children.  There’s nothing like being around young children to ground you and force you to relax and be yourself.

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    Finding my place – Admin #5

    Posted by Administrator on November 5, 2018

    A whole week has passed but this is only my second day in the Early Years setting.  I’m getting to grips with the children’s names and they are getting used to me being there.  I don’t know how the children ‘see’ me or what role they’ve assigned me.  Do they see me as a teacher, visitor, adult or as ‘other’; someone they can’t quite categorise yet?  I have a feeling this is something which bothered me more than it did them as can be clearly seen in the following observation.

    During play outdoors 3 children were cooking in the mud kitchen.  The teacher said it was time to come in but as they weren’t ready they got a few minutes to finish what they were doing.  When the extra time had elapsed I said it was time to go.

    “Only a teacher can say that”, said Paul who is 4 years old.

    “Am I not a teacher?” I asked curiously.

    “No!” said Paul, Fred and Keith (children) emphatically.

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    The First Day – Admin #4

    Posted by Administrator on October 10, 2018


    My day started at 6.00am; up and out walking the dog by 6.10am; back home by 7am; shower; toast and half a cup of tea; coffee in travel cup; out the door and in the car by 7.45am.  This whole getting ready for work and actually being on the road before 8am is something I haven’t done often in the last 8 years.  Being self-employed working in a web based business means my day is generally my own.  Unless I have a conference to go to or a meeting to attend I generally don’t start work until 12pm but the flip-side is that I don’t finish until 9pm.

    The staff in the Early Years setting arrive at 8.30am but the children don’t arrive until 9am. The staff use this time to update records; share information; prepare the room and discuss the implementation of short term plans. I was welcomed by my friend and her staff; shown where to put my stuff and found myself sitting at a table, having a conversation over headless Lego pieces, with a young boy who took the time to introduce me to everyone who walked in.

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    The Early Years Setting – Admin #3

    Posted by Administrator on September 29, 2018

    When an idea keeps popping up and invading your thoughts on a weekly or even daily basis you know the universe is trying to tell you something.  That’s how it was with me. I had this constant refrain “I need to spend time with young children” running around in my head like an ear-worm.  So eventually I acted upon it and organised to spend regular slots of time in my friend’s Early Years setting.  It was left up to me to define what I wanted to do while I was there but before any of that could start I had to be Garda Vetting.  I have been vetted on numerous occasions both for work and for volunteering roles so this wasn’t a new experience for me, it was pretty straight forward and was processed quickly.  With everything in place I was free to start my new adventure.

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    Poppets Library – Eileen O’ Brien

    Posted by Administrator on September 24, 2018

    It struck me in the middle of the night (as it does!) that I should write a blog extolling our experience with books.  I love books! In my 24 years in Poppets it still amazes me how children of all ages, nationalities, abilities and with differing needs can sit engrossed in stories for quite lengthy periods. I only stop reading when interest wanes!

    I wanted to write this blog to share the absolute joy of stories both read and told!   It’s only the beginning of term and we have already got into a routine first thing in the morning. When the children arrive they are asked if they would like to stay in and play or go out into the garden to play. My garden group get ready in a section of the room with comfy chairs and extra little chairs because the group has grown. When the children are ready they now wait without prompt sitting on their chairs….amazing. They know a story or two follows!

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    About Me – Admin #2

    Posted by Administrator on September 10, 2018

    I’m no spring chicken.  Despite appearances I am over 50 (well just!).  I have worked within the sphere of children since I became a mother which dare I say it, was over a quarter of a century ago.  It’s not a career I have consciously chosen but it is one which still fills me with curiosity and passion. I have learned a lot about myself and know in anything I have done I need to feel ownership of it; I need to understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it for it to be successful.  Otherwise I tend to spend too much time and effort trying to comprehend and decode someone else’s thought processes.  I’m one of those people who mumbles to herself when in the audience at conferences. It can be infuriating for the person I’m sitting beside who thinks I’m talking to them.  I like to question established ideas, not only ideas from other people but also my own ideas, and this leads me to vocalise my thoughts as mumbles.

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    Vacancies for Tusla Early Years Inspectors

    Posted by Administrator on September 6, 2018

    Do you want to join the Early Years Inspectorate team in Tusla? Closing date for applications is 12 noon 28/9/18. “The Salary Scale for the post is:
    55,893.00, 58,964.00, 60,225.00, 61,388.00, 62,563.00, 64,170.00”. Follow the link below for further information.

    The following is taken directly from the Job section on Tusla

    Skills Required
    Each candidate must have at the latest date of application: –

    • Be registered in the Public Health Division of the Register of Nurses & Midwives maintained by Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland) or entitled to be registered.
    • Hold a professional qualification in Social Care, Social Work, Early Years Care and Education, Bachelor of Education or Child Psychology to a minimum of Level 8.


    • Have not less than 5 years satisfactory experience as a Public Health Nurse in the Irish Health Sector.
    • Have not less than 5 years satisfactory experience within a professional setting with children congruent to your professional background in an analogous post in another jurisdiction.
    • An aggregate of five years such experience.


    • Possess the requisite knowledge and ability (including a high standard of suitability and management ability) for the proper discharge of the duties of the post.’


    Quality Regulatory Framework Published

    Posted by Administrator on September 5, 2018

    I attended the launch of the Quality and Regulatory Framework for EY today in Dublin and can safely say the QRF and the resources which come with it are going to be very useful not only to those who work in the EY sector but those who are studying EY or supporting EY students.  Visit the QRF section on the TUSLA website as all documents and books can be downloaded.  This section will be added to on a regular basis and already contains a wealth of resources. The following section is taken directly from the TUSLA website.

    The Early Years Inspectorate has developed a Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF), to support registered Early Years Services to comply with the 2016 Regulations. The QRF does this by setting out the core regulatory requirements in a transparent way, bringing together evidence-based, national and international research and best practice in Early Years. The QRF aims to support registered providers in achieving compliance with the regulations and enhance the safety and care of children who attend these services. The QRF is child-centred, with a specific focus on the quality and safety of the care provided directly to children using the services.

    Tusla Early Years Inspectorate, in collaboration with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, launched the Quality and Regulatory Framework on Wednesday the 5th of September 2018 in Dublin. (Tusla, 2018)




    A New Direction – Admin #1

    Posted by Administrator on August 9, 2018

    Listen here

    For the past two years I have been busy; busy doing a Masters; busy trying to keep Montessori Alliance up and running and busy guiding adults through degree programmes in Early Years Studies.  It’s been a chaotic, demanding and rewarding period in my life but I felt there was something missing.  The Masters I undertook was in Children and Youth with a focus on how the voiceless are finding their voice and the way in which it is or isn’t heard.  The programme centred on the rights of the child especially the right of the child to be consulted and have their opinions incorporated into policy and practice in issues which impact on the child’s life.  I’ll talk more about the masters programme in later blogs; I only mention it here because it is what led me to my decision to return to teaching young children.  The programme made me question my approach and how I interacted with young children.  To gain any further insight I needed to be with young children; to be in their company; to be engaged in their world on their terms and I needed to learn to recognise my own preconceptions and shortcomings.

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