An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Katherine Zappone and their representatives met with Mayo County Childcare Committee (Mayo CCC ) last week, to discuss current issues and challenges facing the childcare sector in Mayo.
The meeting discussed the pivotal role that early years education and care can play in the social sustainability of the county. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs have invested over €6 million through the national childcare funding programmes in Mayo during the 2014 to 2015 academic year. More than 650 people are employed in the sector in Mayo with 2,205 children expected to enroll in pre schools in September 2016.
The meeting discussed the importance of early years education and care to each individual child, and the important role that childcare workers in the formal sector and voluntary notified childminders can play in the delivery of quality early years education and care.
County childcare coordinator Jim Power described the collaborative structure which operates in Mayo, where the County Childcare Committee is housed within the Local Authority Directorate of Planning, Economic & Community Development. “This structure enables Mayo CCC to contribute to the development of social sustainability in the county. This social sustainability work complements the stated vision of Mayo County Council which is to develop a county that is sustainable, inclusive, prosperous, and proud. An example of this work is the County Childcare Committee's role in the Refugee Resettlement project. Over half of the refugees coming to Mayo through this programme will be children. Mayo County Childcare Committee and Mayo County Council are committed to making the Refugee Resettlement project a success in the county.”
Mayo County Childcare Committee also highlighted the many challenges being faced by childcare services, particularly over the past few months, describing to the Minister how childcare services are experiencing a very heavy workload. The sector requires additional resources and increased pay levels to avoid what could potentially result in highly skilled and knowledgeable workers leaving the sector.
These issues were noted by both the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Minister Zappone. The meeting concluded with the acknowledgement from all present, of the importance of early years education and care, the role it can play in the development of a sustainable community and, most importantly, the role it can play in the positive development of each individual child. Jim Power extended his sincere thanks to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Zappone for taking the time to visiting and meeting with the Mayo County Childcare Commitee.