Fourteen pre-school services in Mayo received their Healthy Ireland status at an awards ceremony celebrating the second annual Healthy Ireland Smart Start Awards in Athlone Institute of Technology. The award recognises pre-schools across Ireland that have participated and achieved Healthy Ireland status. Mayo’s early childcare providers now have a cumulative 18 Smart Start Awards (including the four awards received in 2016 ).
This year, 219 pre-school services at national level received their Healthy Ireland Award from the Health Service Executive (HSE ). There are more than 300 additional pre-school services at national level currently undergoing training to deliver the programme.
The 14 pre-school services awarded representing Mayo were, Coillte Childcare; First Steps Créche; Glor na Nóg; Guardian Angel Montessori; Mount Carmel Academy Montessori School; Naíonra Céimeanna Beaga; Outdoor Explorers Preschool; Robeen Rascals; Smarties Montessori School and The Growing Tree.
Development and delivery of the programme has been a collaborative effort between HSE Health Promotion and Improvement and the National Childhood Network (NCN ) (formerly Border Counties Childhood Network ). The programme, built upon the Healthy Ireland Framework, is funded by the HSE and supported by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The programme is open to all pre-school providers; private or community, sessional or full day care, regardless of size or location. Registered childminders are also welcome to participate in the training. A pre-school provider can retain the Healthy Ireland Smart Start award for three years by implementing the programme throughout their daily curriculum and upon completing an annual assessment process, and thereafter ensuring the programme is sustainable within the daily life of the service. For more information about the programme, parents and pre-school providers should visit: www.ncn.ie or telephone (047 ) 72469.