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The Quality Development Service

The Better Start Quality Development Service is a national initiative, which is available to all Early Learning and Care settings in Ireland. We provide professional development to settings catering for children from birth to 6 years. We offer mentoring and coaching on national frameworks, enhancing quality practice and positive outcomes for children. Your child may be attending a setting engaged with Better Start Quality Development Service. Here is some information on who we are and what we do.

Why is quality important in your child's Early Learning and Care setting ?

  • High quality Early Learning and Care settings play an important role in promoting children’s well-being, fostering children’s development as confident and competent learners and working in partnership with parents to enable our youngest children to reach their full potential.
  • It is recognised that delivering high-quality Early Learning and Care is essential to provide in providing the best experiences and outcomes for young children. Research nationally and internationally has helped build our knowledge of why high-quality ELC settings are so important. for children. Our national early childhood frameworks, Síolta and Aistear are based on established national and international research and consultation to enhance quality in Early Learning and Care settings in Ireland.
  • For more information: National Frameworks

What we do

  • Our team of qualified and experienced Early Years Specialists provide professional development to your child’s setting to enhance quality and early learning experiences for your children.
  • The Early Years Specialist will work collaboratively with the team in joint assessment using the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide self-evaluation tools, identifying what is working well and opportunities for development.
  • The Early Years Specialist work collaboratively with the team to set quality development goals and actions and agree realistic timeframes for implementation their implementation.
  • The Early Years Specialist will use a range of mentoring, coaching and modelling strategies with the team to work towards identifying and implementing goals and actions.

Questions you might have

  • Who is an Early Years Specialist and why are they visiting my child’s setting?

    Early Years Specialists are qualified (Level 8/9) early learning and care professionals with a wealth of practice experience. They have received training in mentoring and coaching in early learning and in using evidence-based strategies and resources.  They have experience of implementing the National frameworks (Síolta and Aistear) in a range of settings and across age groups from birth to 6 years and can provide professional development to build on the knowledge and experience of practitioners to enhance the quality of care provided in the settings to children.

  • Will Better Start work directly with my child?

    Early Years Specialists work primarily with practitioners in your child’s settings. During mentoring visits, the Early Years Specialist will interact with children, modelling strategies and responding to the child’s own questions and enquiries.

  • What type of observations may an Early Years Specialist conduct?

    Early Years Specialists observe the daily routine by spending time in the children’s room and noting how practitioners plan for and interact with the group of children present. Observations take place in the setting at the beginning of the quality development process and during the process to review and reflect on children’s learning experiences. Feedback from the observations, together with the setting’s own self-evaluation, helps the setting to identify quality development priorities and goals.

  • Will photographic photos or videos recordings of my child be taken?

    As part of the mentoring process, the Early Years Specialist may capture children’s learning and play through photographic images or video recordings. These photographic images and video recordings may be used in feedback as part of the mentoring process with the setting practitioners. Photographic images and video recordings that have been taken for the purpose of mentoring with practitioners will be deleted immediately following feedback and no backup copies will be retained on server systems or the cloud.

    If you do not wish for your child to be included in photographic images or video recordings, this will be accommodated. The Early Years Specialist will be advised by the setting and the Early Years Specialist will make note of which children are not to be included. 

    Separate consent is sought from the setting for the use of photographic images and/or video recordings that may be shared externally. Sharing externally includes sharing with other settings for training and quality purposes, in any print or online publications, materials or presentations such as leaflets, posters, reports, newspapers, quality development and training or on the Better Start website, social media platforms or other Better Start publications.

    Any personal information provided as part of consent to Better Start will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, in accordance with our obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018.

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