October 23, 2012: Almost 140 children are to benefit from improved reading and comprehension skills as a children’s literacy programme in Tallaght is being extended for an additional year – and being expanded to Limerick. The children will be taking part in Doodle Den, an after-school programme to improve reading and comprehension of 5-6 year olds in disadvantaged areas, which focuses on learning through games and fun activities. The development comes after Doodle Den was delivered to over 400 children in some Primary Schools in Tallaght since 2008. The programme was developed and coordinated by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) and completed this summer. Following rigorous independent evaluation the results showed a significant improvement in the skills of the children who took part.
Given these positive results the funders, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Atlantic Philanthropies, have agreed to fund Doodle Den in seven schools in Tallaght for a further year – and expand the programme to three new schools in Limerick.
90 children are set to benefit in Tallaght at Knockmore Junior School, Killinarden; St. Brigid’s Junior School, Brookfield; St. Thomas Junior School, Jobstown; St. Maelruain’s Church of Ireland School, Jobstown; St. Anne’s Primary School, Fettercairn; Sacred Heart Junior School, Killinarden and Scoil Caitlin Maude in Killinarden.
In Limerick 45 children are set to benefit at Our Lady of Lourdes, Rosbrien; Corpus Christi, Moyross and St Munchin’s Girl’s National School, Ballynanty/Moyross.
Additional funding is also being provided for CDI to continue a second of its programmes, an early intervention Speech and Language Therapy service, which has also been shown to be effective. Two speech and language therapists are to continue being funded in Tallaght until March 2013.
Thirdly, funding has been provided for CDI to continue its support for parents of children in Early Years services by employing a dedicated person to work with services and parents. Responsibility for the delivery of Doodle Den is being transferred from CDI to the School Completion Programme. The County Childcare Committee has taken on responsibility for employment of the speech and language therapists with support supervision from the HSE. The Committee has also taken on responsibility for quality assurance of the Early Years support service.
CDI Chief Executive Officer Marian Quinn said she was delighted that many more children would now benefit from Doodle Den, Speech and Language Therapy and Early Years supports.
“We are very pleased with the progress made in integrating these developments into national mainstream structures, whilst also recognising that we have some way to go before having confidence that these proven models will be sustained.”
The full evaluation findings and recommendations of the Doodle Den programme will be launched in early November and CDI is hopeful that publication of the work will provide valuable learning for the future development of interventions to improve children’s literacy.
CDI has worked in the community in Tallaght West since 2007 and in that time more than 2,000 children have participated in its programmes.
CDI is part of the Prevention and Intervention Programme (PEIP), a major project to improve outcomes for children in Tallaght West, Ballymun and parts of Dublin 17.
Ronan Cavanagh, Communications Coordinator, Childhood Development Initiative: (086) 317 9731.