Early Childhood Ireland welcomes smooth reopening of childcare sector 3 months ago

Early Childhood Ireland welcomes smooth reopening of childcare sector

Phase three is now underway.

New health and safety measures introduced in response to the threat of Covid-19 will see crèches operating in pods to keep groups separated, parents making handovers outside the crèche buildings, and an increased emphasis on outdoor play wherever possible.

Early Childhood Ireland said they believe the majority of the 1,800 crèches which normally operate over the summer months will reopen from today, with most expecting to be working at 50 per cent capacity initially.

A further 2,800 centres are expected to reopen in September, if it is financially viable for them to do so.

Speaking about the reopening of childcare facilities, Elaine McQuillan from StartBright Early Learning Centres in Dublin said staff are well prepared for the day-to-day changes.

"A couple of our centres had already introduced greater outdoor play before Covid-19 so most of the staff had already undergone mentoring and upskilling, and we’ve invested in extra all-weather gear for staff and children so we can keep it up whatever the weather.

We’ve been working closely with the team over the past fortnight to ready the building and staff for reopening, so when we opened our doors this morning it was great to see families arriving, waving at each other as they waited for their allocated handover times. There was clearly a lot of excitement to get back, the kids were delighted to see each other. It all went smoothly, even for those couple of kids who would usually be unsettled when their parents say goodbye."

Teresa Heeney, Chief Executive of Early Childhood Ireland, said that the Government funding package which offered staffing, operational and capital supports has been critical to ensuring that childcare providers across Ireland can reopen safely and sustainably.

Early Childhood Ireland welcomed the news that the position of Minister for Children has been sustained and congratulated incoming Minister Roderic O’Gorman on his appointment.