Pre-School System in Crisis as Castleisland area Operators Join Dublin March

Castleisland area Early Childhood Education and Care sector operators preparing to join the nationwide protest in Dublin today. Included are from left: Kadie Harnett and Noreen Keane, Scartaglin Childcare Centre; Caroline Kearney and Chris O’Sullivan, First Steps Montessori, Castleisland; Marguerite Egan and Kathleen Brosnan, Muire Gan Smál, Castleisland; Anna Bergin, Happy Days, Scoil Íde, Curranes and Maura Cronin, First Steps, Montessori, Castleisland. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Early Childhood Education and Care sector operators in the Castleisland area have come together with their colleagues throughout the country to organise a huge protest in Dublin this Wednesday, February 5th.

Their aim is to highlight, on a national stage, what they see as the ongoing crises in the sector they’re responsible for and its impact on the little people they’re dealing with on an ongoing basis.

This is a big step for the operators as they have to close the doors to their playrooms and their storybooks for the day and not without a keen awareness of the consequences that will have on the parents they serve.

Little Clients and Friends

The organisers have sent the following letter of explanation to the parents of their little clients and friends in the run-up to this week’s day of action:

Dear Parent / Guardian,

“As you may be aware a national protest will be held on Wednesday 5th February in Dublin to highlight the ongoing crisis in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.

We have made a decision to close school on this day in order to attend the protest.

We are very aware of the fact that the closure may be an inconvenience for you, but we sincerely hope that you will support us on this decision.

Why Is The Early Years Sector Protesting?

Due to a chronic under investment in Early Childhood Education and Care, the sector now finds itself in the midst of an ever-deepening crisis of affordability, low pay and sustainability.

Only the government can make the investment needed to reduce fees for parents, improve pay for early childhood educators and ensure that services are financially sustainable.

Double Investment Needed

We are protesting to demand that the next government make Early Childhood Education and Care a priority and to:

Double investment in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector over the lifetime of the next government; Reduce fees for parents by introducing a new funding model; Ensure the financial sustainability of services and Improve pay for Early Childhood Educators.

Vital Public Support

Public support is vital in achieving this aim of securing a substantial increase in investment for the sector which will secure the delivery of accessible, affordable, high quality services for parents, providers, educators and children.

We would appreciate it if you could raise the issues with the politicians looking for your votes.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.

Your support with this matter would be greatly appreciated.”

Yours sincerely, Maura Cronin, ‘First-Steps’ Montessori School, Glounsharoon, Castleisland.