Donna Purcell is our resident Early Years Expert. A mum, an experienced childcare tutor and practitioner she will continue to update us on relevant and interesting topics in the Early Years Sector.

“First 5”

A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028

I’m interested to hear your views on the governments new first 5 strategies.

  1.  A broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring 2.    A new model of parenting support  3.    New developments in child health, including a dedicated child health workforce  4.    Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, including a new funding model 5.    A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

I have a few different viewing points on this, that come from being a Mother, a Tutor and as an Early Years practitioner in both the private and community sectors.

As a Mother As a tutorAs an Early Years Practitioner
I welcome this incentive with open arms and the recognition of the importance of the first five years of a child’s life. As a mother I know the difficulties of returning to work after maternity leave. The pain in your hearth leaving your new baby of 6 months (if you’re lucky enough to get six months leave) I had to return to work 6 weeks after my second baby as I was self-employed.

Step 1 outlines the following “Access to a broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring” and step2 outlines “A new model of parenting support”. Both strategies these steps echo the importance of supporting parents in getting a balance between working and caring for their child.

As a parent looking at this, it looks great and it sounds fabulous, but my question is WHEN is this going to happen, and will it be DELIVERED. It states 2019 – 2028 so is this just a lovely documented printed on shiny paper to be put in a frame and forgotten about!!!


I applauded this incentive and the ethos promoted in Step 3 “New developments in child health”

It states the following: “A key action will be the development of a dedicated child health workforce, focussed initially in areas of high population density and disadvantage.” This in my opinion promotes everything the Early Years sector has been campaigning for, for Years. The focus on children’s development in the first five years is so critical, as a tutor I have seen how hard students work and study for their qualification in this area, and they have a passion like no other. Students who complete their studies and are involved in the sector complete intensive study on not only the care of children but the development of children in areas such as Physical, Social, Emotion, Cognitive and Language. Students who complete their study and enter the years of Early Years and Education need to be recognised for their qualification, dedication and passion. Is this reflected in these strategies??


I have often gone into work and have been faced with the most challenging of situations, but knowing that you are an advocate for that child, and you can’t let them down is a motivating factor on a daily bases, knowing that you need to support that child and find “The Need Not Met”.

As an E.Y.P I welcome step 4 and 5 “Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system & A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty”

but as an E.Y.P I feel that this has always been the focus for many settings and have always ensured the Child is First. Is the support going to be rolled out across the board when it comes to access, is the Government going to put their money where their mouth is and allow settings whether private or community avail of the services needed to fulfil these strategies.



I just hope that when it comes down to delivering all these strategies, none will get lost or amended on the way.

I really hope it is not just another form filling box ticking exercise!


Questions? Contact me on 059 9721416 or

For full list of Childcare courses that Barrow deliver –