CitationBarnardos. (2017). Professionalisation of the Early Years Sector. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/172
AbstractThe issue of the professional status of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Ireland has been the subject of much discussion in recent years among both those working with young children and Government. There are many facets to the term ‘professionalisation’ including recognition and value as a professional; conditions of employment; training and qualifications; and professional practice. In ECEC, professionalisation is directly related to quality and best outcomes for children. This issue of ChildLinks considers this focus on professionalisation, highlighting both the progress that has been made in Ireland and the
existing gaps. It examines the work currently underway in the areas of qualification and continual professional development; the
establishment of a professional body; pay and conditions; the naming of the profession; and a common Code of Ethics. The first article in this issue looks at the journey towards professional status in early years services. It proposes the need for an Early Years Council, an autonomous single agency with responsibility for accreditation of education and training providers, developing key standards for education and training programmes, workforce registration and fitness to practice criteria. Other articles consider the training and qualifications pathway for those working in ECEC, examining very different models. The first of
these, from Early Childhood Ireland, considers the opportunity to develop an innovative apprenticeship programme that supports high quality learning and progression within the ECEC sector, which could provide a flexible learning route for individuals to work towards an accredited qualification in Early Childhood Education and Care. The second article gives an overview of the DCU, Institute of Education, Bachelor of Early Childhood Education programme, examining the key elements underpinning the programme – the principles, processes, pedagogy and approaches of professional practice. This article considers how degree programmes can support perspective graduates to become leaders in improving practice,transforming the sector and advocating for children’s rights. Professional titles are valued in society and the need to balance the self-identity of professionals working in early childhood education and care with one that resonates with all stakeholders is the subject of another article in this issue. It is
essential that the professional title used reflects the knowledge and expertise of those working with children as well as the important contribution that they make in the lives of children during their foundation years. Finally, an article from Heino
Schonfeld, Barnardos Early Years Development Manager, highlights the work currently underway to develop a Code of Ethics that
outlines the values and ethics underpinning the work of early years professionals in Ireland and offers a set of principles to guide day-to-day decision making.