- Early learning and care services will remain open for vulnerable children and children of essential workers
- Seas Suas Chair: “The first lockdown last March saw schools closed which demonstrated the central role and remit of early learning and care services in Ireland. It showed us that despite parents’ best efforts, it is virtually impossible to double-up as a full-time educator and a full-time, productive employee.
Seas Suas, the representative body for independent early learning and care providers (ELC), has welcomed the clarity and confirmation from Government this evening that ELC services will remain open for vulnerable children and for children of essential workers. We also welcome the continuance of the various government programmes and supports, together with any additional emergency support measures being planned.
The confirmation came at the Government press conference this evening, following today’s Cabinet meeting.
Seas Suas, who provide ELC to thousands of children nationwide welcomed clarity that ELC services can continue to operate for those vulnerable children and children of essential workers, as they have done so safely and to the highest standard of care over the course of this pandemic.
ELC provision is an essential service and key in ensuring the welfare of children during Covid-19 and as part of managing and supporting Ireland’s ongoing response to the pandemic.
While complex and challenging, ELC providers and educators across the country have successfully provided a safe, educational and caring environment, in line with public health guidance and official Government and HSE advice, for children and parents over the course of 2020.
Commenting, Chair of Seas Suas and Managing Director of Grovelands Childcare, Regina Bushell said:
“Early Learning and Care services play a central role in Ireland’s ongoing response to, and management of, Covid-19 while also contributing significantly to sustaining a level of economic activity during this pandemic. ELC services facilitates the continued presence at work for parents and families throughout the country and without childcare support, children and families would struggle.
“As providers and early years professionals across the country, we have continued to work hard and tirelessly to ensure ELC settings remain open for our children and allow parents to continue to work. As schools are set to close, this puts added pressure on families throughout the country and so we welcome the decision and reassurance from Government this evening. While it equally puts pressure on ELC services, we are keen to work with Government and public health authorities to ensure we can continue to provide a service to essential workers and vulnerable children at this critical time.
“The first lockdown last March saw schools closed which demonstrated the central role and remit of ELC care in Ireland. It showed us that despite parents’ best efforts, it is virtually impossible to double-up as a full-time educator and a full-time, productive employee.
“In the difficult period ahead, early years settings provide routine, education and care for our children which is key for their welfare as we navigate challenging times ahead.”