Government funding required for SNA’s in the Early Years Sector

Government funding required for SNA’s in the Early Years Sector

Recently there has been a lot of media attention surrounding the area of special needs supports in early childhood education. Currently there is no government body responsible for funding special needs supports in preschools.
Attending preschool, for many children, marks the first transition from the home environment to the learning environment, where children begin to socialise and make friends. As early years practitioners we are there to support children through this transition, but all children have different needs and meeting such a diverse range of needs is not always an easy task.
We constantly teach children about the importance of treating everyone equally and explain that treating children equally does not necessarily mean treating them the same but rather ensuring they receive the same opportunities. The growing concern among the sector is whether children with additional needs can be afforded the same learning opportunities when the correct and necessary supports are not in place. At Crawford Childcare, Glanmire we make every effort to meet the needs of all the children in our setting by working in partnership with families and early intervention services where appropriate. However, families with children who require extra support rarely receive this from outside bodies at this stage of their development.
Early Childhood Ireland is calling for a €36million investment from the Department of Education for special needs assistants for early childhood settings. This investment would mean children with additional needs could receive the support they need from the get go and ultimately ease them through the transition from home to the learning environment without feeling too overwhelmed, it also means that early years teachers would have more time to engage in learning experiences and activities with all the children both individually and in groups. In the meantime we anxiously await the October budget announcement and hope that it caters for the needs of all children.

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