Press Release

Hanafin launches National Children´s Nurseries Association Centre of Excellence Award Programme

Ms Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Children, today (22 March 2002) launched the National Children´s Nurseries Association´s (NCNA) Centre of Excellence Award Programme.

The Centre of Excellence Award will be presented to individual providers who have achieved excellence in their service provision over the previous year. It will demonstrate to parents, visitors and members of the public a commitment to quality.

Assessment will be based on a range of criteria including:

  • Activities and Programmes for Children,
  • Partnership with Families,
  • Policies and Procedures

Minister Hanafin said “The Government is committed to developing quality childcare and significant funding is available through the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme to maintain existing childcare places and develop new places and to support the National Voluntary Childcare Organisations. The €110m allocated to date has created and supported over 30,000 childcare places. The total fund available amounts to €436.79m.”

The Minister described quality in childcare as an evolving process as new standards, learning and understanding are developed. “A range of elements contribute to a quality service: staffing ratios, adequate space, equipment, the curriculum used, the policies in place and ultimately the wellbeing and development of children, the skills and creativity of staff and the parents confidence in the service,” said the Minister.

During the launch the Minister referred to the significant contribution of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations, 1996 and (Amendment) Regulations, 1997 to the upgrading of standards in pre-school services. A Review of these Regulations is currently underway.

“I encourage providers and parents as well as the relevant organisations to make submissions on the Review in response to the invitation for submissions published in the National and Provincial Press recently – Closing Date is 7th May 2002,” said the Minister.

“Good quality childcare can only be provided in partnership between all interested parties. The Government is committed to providing extra places in safe, quality environments,” concluded Minister Hanafin.