Children’s service wins Early Childhood award

By Maurice Garvey

A CHILDREN’S service in Clondalkin have picked up a national award in recognition of their outdoor work with kids.

The Children Service in Deansrath Family Centre won an Early Childhood Ireland Innovation in Outdoor Provision award.

deansrath family centre 

The pre-school currently have 24 children attending morning preschool session and 16 in the afternoon session.

Offering a play-based curriculum, children get to play outdoors for at least one hour per day, rain or shine.

Staff felt children were showing a keen interest in nature, and that they needed to explore wilder spaces beyond their courtyard.

To facilitate this, staff developed a project that invites each child attending morning pre-school be immersed into nature for one full pre-school day a week, over a six week period.

The initiative takes place in nearby Corkagh Park at no extra cost to parents.

Staff worked in partnership with the park rangers to develop a curriculum of well thought-out aims and objectives for children on their adventures.

Síle Hassett, Children Services and Small Group Dina Coordinator, Deansrath Family Centre, said parental participation was “integral to making this project a success.”

She said: “The project is in its first year, but results have been extremely positive and it is hoped that the project will continue. Deansrath Family Centre aims to inspire other services to make use of their local parks and nearby natural spaces.

“The children revelled in the freedom and the shared adventures. It is highly researched that movement in the early years builds body and brain. Spending time in nature supports the health and wellbeing of the children.”

Deansrath Family Centre have been shortlisted for the overall Early Childhood Innovation award.

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