A GROUNDBREAKING programme to support parents and children from Knocknaheeny from pregnancy through to the early years in primary school has been launched in City Hall.
The Young Knocknaheeny Programme will meet families during pregnancy, provide language programmes from nine months and support childcare staff in early years settings and teachers in schools.
Through the programme, 2,500 children will have the benefit from its services by Christmas.
Launching ‘Getting every child’s life off to the best possible start: Prevention and Early Intervention for Early Childhood Development, Relationships and Environments’, the Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said.
“In my year as Lord Mayor, I will be acknowledging the contribution of parents and services in making lives better for all children in our city”.
"Early intervention is vital so that every child's life can get off to the best possible start" and will visit pre-schools and creches as part of his education visits to schools.
Katherine Harford, Manager of the Young Knocknaheeny Programme, also spoke at the launch of the document.
“We want outcomes for children which are better than ever before. It’s a child’s right to reach their potential to fully participate in society.”
“We start at the very beginning. In pregnancy, we are privileged to meet families in their home, establishing relationships with them and in turn supporting their relationship with their baby. This is the key to building the necessary brain development, for social and emotional development as a key task for self-regulation, equal to physical development."
"It doesn’t stop there, our language programme introduces communication strategies with parents of babies at nine months, we are assessing and supporting language development of every junior infant child in the area. We have supported our colleagues in Early Years Care and Education settings, in their aim to become the best publically funded centres you can be. The transformation has been astounding.
We support teachers to have strategies for behaviour management, social and emotional development, language development.
We promote reflective practice, interagency collaboration and change. Ireland spends less on education, childcare and the first years of life than most other European countries,” she said.
The launch was attended by the Lord Mayor and guests of Young Knockhaneeny including community reps, families, staff, interagency colleagues, NICHE, education, early years, health & maternity services, UCC and Cork City Council staff.