Specialist support service for early childhood educators and childcare service providers

Meantóir

Meantóir is a specialist support service for early childhood educators and childcare service providers working with babies, young children and their families. With over twenty years’ experience in early childhood care and education including management, academic training and development, CPD mentoring, research and policy – we offer an extensive package of supports to assist you to become a high quality service that provides positive experiences for children.

One-to-one specialist support that provides intensive mentoring, advice and CPD will improve your professional practice through collaborative learning and working. In addition, as identified in Governments First 5 Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-28, participating in ongoing quality development activities will help you achieve enhanced funding by meeting specified quality indicators.

Meantóir offers tailor made supports on a local, personal and confidential basis. Whether it is one to one mentoring to assist you with a specific area of your work or continuing professional development for your team we will respond to your unique requirements. We can also offer HR supports, Policy and Procedure development or help in drawing up a Business Plan for a new venture. So don’t feel that you are isolated or on your own with all the challenges of providing a quality early childhood service – call us to see how we can support you!

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Our Services

Specialist Mentoring

Specialist Mentoring Supports

Are you a little stuck in a particular part of your practice? Does your routine seem stale? Do you think you have made progress and are now unsure how to move to the next stage? Do you just want another set of eyes on your documentation to see if you can improve anywhere? Or would you like some guidance following a Tusla inspection to help you improve in specific areas in a short time frame?
Then tailored Mentoring around specific areas of practice could help you greatly. Following an initial consultation meeting, a mentoring plan will be developed specific to your needs, time frame and budget.

Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development

Are you new to Aistear or looking to develop your practice in using Aistear further? Either way, Continuing Professional Development in line with the principles and objectives of Aistear the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide will ensure you and your team are delivering quality early childhood experiences and adhering to professional levels of practice.

Following a consultation meeting, we can identify the most appropriate CPD needs of your team or individuals and take it from there! You may decide to attend a CPD session with other early childhood educators or avail of a private delivery in your own setting with scheduled follow up implementation supports. The choice is yours!

LIST OF CPD PROGRAMMES

Aistear in Practice 0-3 and 3-5 years
Positive Behaviour Strategies for Young Children
Assessment for Learning – The Learning Story Approach
Curriculum Documentation and Planning
Strengths Based Writing Techniques
Meaningful Interactions with Children
Mo Scéal: Moving from Preschool to Primary: Supporting Young Children and their Families with Transition
Developing, Documenting and Implementing and Individual Education Plans
Understanding the Tusla Quality Regulatory Framework

Tutorial Sessions

Tutorial Sessions

Are you a Childminder or mature student undertaking FETAC/HETAC training in early childhood education or training? Are you under a particular time constraint to gain a qualification to access a DCYA funding programme?

Would you like some structured guidance on doing research, completing modules or writing up assignments? Then you may benefit by participating in 1:1 tutorial sessions to support you during your period of study.

Business Supports

Business Supports

We offer a range of supports to Childcare Service Providers to assist them in a range of areas including:

Start Up Supports including a practical research of need and compiling a Business Plan.

Funding Application Support to increase your chances of submitting a successful funding application.

Developing Policies and Procedures for your service

Support to meet Tusla Registration and Compliance.

HR Supports such as interviewing staff, mediating disputes and setting up efficient work systems.

Meantoir Early education
Policies & Procedures Package

Policies & Procedures Package

As a key part of your quality standards and processes, it is essential that your policies and procedures suit your early childhood service, the families who use your service and are unique to the particular context of your service. One size does not necessarily fit all. It is also important that you embed your policies and procedures within your everyday practice were appropriate and that all staff have a high awareness of the rationale behind each statement.
Meantóir Policy, Procedure and Statement Packages are specifically developed for they various types of early childhood service for compliance with the Child Care Regulations (The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) ( Amendments) Regulations 2016 and Part II, Article 5(4) Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018.

Each package option is available in electronic PDF format and is fully personalised to your service. Policy content is developed in line with the Tusla Quality Regulation Framework (QRF) 2018 to ensure inspection compliance. These are grouped and presented under 3 main headings:

Governance (6)
Health, Welfare and Development of the Child (6)
Safety (9)

Packages options include a full policy package, a single section package or a School Age Childcare package.
Each package provides detailed policies, procedures and statements that will become you ‘go to’ guide on different areas of your practice with children. Each policy is linked to the relevant underpinning legislation, outlines clear processes for good practice and provides staff guidance where necessary.

Our Consultants

Avril McMonagle

Lead Consultant

Avril has dedicated her working life to early childhood care and education and possesses a diverse skills-set consisting of practical, academic and policy experience and expertise. She has a comprehensive understanding and working knowledge of the early childhood sector in Ireland from a variety of perspectives accumulated over the years.

Avril is an accomplished and respected expert in the field of early childhood care and education. She has consistently promoted a professional quality agenda for early childhood as a core component of her work over the years. The legacy of her work and being at the forefront of a range of pioneering initiatives to enhance early childhood education locally, regionally and nationally; is well evidenced.

Over the years, Avril has made an active contribution to early childhood policy development and is a frequent contributor to local, regional and national media on early education policy and practice. Avril is currently the nominee of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the Council of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

Avril who lives in Inis Eoghain, holds an MEd from Queens Graduate School of Education and a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies from Queens University Belfast.

Avril McMonagle Childcare
A Word from Avril

Over the years, my education and career has had a sustained and consistent focus on early childhood care and education. I have always possessed a clear understanding of the critical nature of early childhood – who we are now, how we cope with life, how we treat others and our vulnerabilities and self-image are all imprinted upon us in childhood. I love the quote ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’ … This philosophy has shaped my choice of third level education, the care of my own children (and now grandchildren), my career and myself as a person.

On a personal level, I feel that I can make a unique contribution to this role as I have experienced many of the perspectives of the various people who make up the early childhood sector. I have walked in the shoes of a mother working to gain professional qualifications to enter the workforce following child rearing commitments. I have been a mature student juggling study, family and work commitments. I have progressed from a ground up perspective and believe that I have worked hard to make a contribution to how we educate young children.

‘Meantóir’ is the next step on my journey – I am excited about the future, grateful for the opportunity and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Career Summary

In her earlier career, Avril gained her practical experience and knowledge base by working directly with young children and managed a community based early childhood centre in Derry. She took the lead in applying for Peace and Reconciliation Funding and successfully developed a new, increased capacity early childhood centre. Working as the Project Manager for the new facility provided her with a wealth of community development and hands on experience.

Once qualified as an Early Years Specialist, Avril developed her training and mentoring proficiency through providing mentoring support, training facilitation, academic programme development and student assessment for adult learners in Northern Ireland.

Avril joined Donegal County Childcare as a Development Officer at a time when the infrastructure was being developed and alongside this development work, she quickly identified and addressed a gap for early childhood professional development. She subsequently developed and delivered a variety of training programmes for the early childhood workforce in Donegal and beyond.

Recognised for her expertise in early childhood, Avril joined the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment as part of a four-person team responsible for the development of Aistear the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework, which was the first national curriculum framework for early childhood education in Ireland. Avril was also part of the research team on NCCA’s Early Childhood Portraiture Study which was the first piece of consultative research carried out with pre-school children in Ireland.

Following the completion of Aistear, Avril took up the role of Manager of Donegal County Childcare. In subsequent years, Avril’s vision, dedication and hard work, witnessed many achievements to support the early childhood sector locally and nationally.

A Leading Expert

Over the years, Avril’s vision, dedication and hard work earned her a reputation as an expert in her field. She has authored of a range of publications, articles and submissions to academic journals not least OMEP Ireland– An Leanbh Óg and Education Matters Yearbook – NUI Galway. She has also developed a range of academic modules for the Early Childhood Degree programmes and has participated on numerous academic programme review panels on both sides of the jurisdiction. Her range of in-house training and CPD programmes and publications are closely aligned to the national frameworks Síolta and Aistear. The most successful of these programmes is a 10-week training programme on meaningful assessment for early learning called ‘Building Pictures of Learning’ which she developed and authored. In addition, her educator’s handbook, entitled Professional Pedagogy for Early Childhood Education, remains in high demand and has been reprinted 3 times since its initial publication.

Avril’s expertise and presentation abilities was endorsed when she was peer selected to represent Childcare Committees Ireland as a County Expert at a Peer Review on the provision of quality early childhood services in Prague in November 2015, where she shared the progress Ireland had made in recent years.

Avril has also researched and presented a range of academic papers on early childhood education at national and international conferences including NEYAI Evaluation Conference, Mansion House, Dublin; CECDE’s International Conference at Dublin Castle; the European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference in Prague, Czech Republic and the EECERA 16th Annual Conference on Democracy and Culture in Early Childhood Education in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Early Childhood Practice & Policy

• Through a state board appointment, Avril is currently the nominee of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the Council of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. The NCCA advises the Minister for Education and Skills on curriculum and assessment for early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools.

• Avril was the lead person in one of 11 national demonstration projects as part of the National Early Years Access Initiative, a three-year Government led initiative set to inform and influence early childhood policy in Ireland. This involved designing, implementing and evaluating a bespoke programme of professional development and mentoring supports to enable quality improvement in early childhood services participating on the project.

Avril held the lead role in the design, development and implementation of a bespoke initiative called The Professional Pedagogy Project (PPP). This was a framework of professional development and supports encompassing a training programme and a variety of follow-on mentoring supports aimed at enabling early childhood educators to make steady, quantifiable changes and improvements to their practice. The programme involved a baseline assessment of quality in the service and a range of performance measures to monitor progress along the way.

• Avril was the lead person in commissioning an independent research report on childcare for working families and implications for employment titled: ‘Supporting working families – Releasing a brake on economic growth’ launched in December 2013 by the then Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, TD. The proposal offered an examination of policy options to address childcare obstacles which may exist to increase employment and included a full cost benefit analysis. The report put forward key policy initiatives which could be undertaken to reduce barriers to employment arising from the cost of childcare for a targeted group of families and bears many similarities to the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. Avril co-presented the report to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

• Avril has actively contributed to the development of child and family political strategy and policy in the form of Pre-Budget Submissions, Private Members Business, Policy discussion papers, Manifestos and advisory submissions on a cross party basis. She has delivered presentations to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children and delivered thematic presentations to cross- party Think-ins and information briefings.

• Avril is an active contributor to radio interviews and debates, press articles, news features, podcasts and voiceover commentary on issues including the cost of childcare and the impact on working families, child poverty, special educational needs and early childhood care and education. Avril acts as a strong voice for supports for children with special educational needs – successfully advocating against planned cuts to services for local children in Donegal.

Projects
Inis Eoghain Participants

CPD- Learning Stories & Planning for Children’s Interests Event

CPD
emergent curriculum course meantoir

CPD – Emergent Curriculum Course. April 2019

CPD

Testimonials

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