Childminding is a model of care, not education

OPINION: Childminding will not “fit” into the Department of Education and Children and young adults deserve, at the very least, a department dedicated to looking after their needs and their futures, writes Childminding Mairéad Hurley, Head of Childminding Services with Childminding Ireland

WE in Childminding Ireland have written to the three party leaders, Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan, to express our strenuous objections to the reported loss of a cabinet position for children and youth affairs.

Children and young adults will define our society and their choices and voices must be respected and reflected in the new Programme for Government as it is negotiated.

Childminding Ireland is deeply concerned by reports of a proposal to abolish the Minister for Children as a standalone cabinet-level position and that the Minister for Education become the Minister for Education, Children and Youth Affairs. We are calling on the party leaders, as matter of urgency, to retain the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Childminding will not “fit” into a department of education. Childminding is a model of care, not education.

Whilst children are constantly learning in childminding settings, developing life skills and enjoying protected childhoods, formal curriculum have no place in such a child-led environment.
Research shows that some of the unique benefits of childminding include family support, a child-led environment, fostering a child’s place in their community, nurturing a love of nature, building resilience through lasting relationships and allowing children the freedom to enjoy childhood.
There are estimated 88,000 children being minded in childminding settings throughout Ireland thriving from all of these unique benefits. We asked the party leaders to respect children and parents’ choices and voices by supporting and protecting childminding.

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