May 20, 2013: Speaking at a seminar organised by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) today, CDI Strategy and Corporate Services Manager Michelle Butler outlined steps that can be taken in the design and delivery of education to better support outcomes for children in disadvantaged areas.
The recommendations were drawn from seven prevention and early intervention programmes that CDI has delivered in Tallaght West including initiatives to support child literacy, social behaviour, speech and language, health in schools, early years services, community safety and crime prevention.
“We are encouraging education professionals who design curricula, organise training and plan services to integrate what we have found works into the system. We have evidence that these steps will help children in disadvantaged areas,” Ms. Butler said.
The key recommendations which CDI outlined include:
Early Years Training
• Training in the support of speech and language development, and information regarding local service provision, for early years practitioners, teachers and related professionals.
• A speech and language needs awareness module in all Early Years practitioner training, and develop models of multi-agency delivery to roll out more on-site speech and language therapy;
• Parent training included as part of an integrated Early Years programme. This has a positive effect on the home learning environment and highlights the importance for parent training programmes of an evidence-based, manualised programme that is supported by a well-trained and accessible mentor.
• Health promotion and mechanisms to support inter-agency collaboration should be included in training and continuous professional development for teachers and related professionals
• Restorative Practice training included in teacher training courses
• Pre-service training for professionals working with children should include mandatory modules on engaging parents.
Community Development Training
• A community engagement module should be developed for delivery to both managers and front-line staff on an interagency and cross disciplinary basis for those organisations whose work requires engagement with residents, particularly in areas of disadvantage. This would include local authorities, Gardaí, probation and youth services.
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.
Full Evaluation Reports on CDI’s programmes and summary Policy Briefs can be found at www.twcdi.ie
CDI is one of three Prevention and Early Intervention Programme (PEIP) organisations, jointly funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Atlantic Philanthropies. The other programmes are in Ballymun and Dublin 17 and all of the PEIP organisations are exploring new methods for improving outcomes for children in disadvantaged areas.
Ronan Cavanagh, Communications Coordinator, Childhood Development Initiative: (086) 317 9731.