Children brighten up Solstice for Christmas

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 16th December, 2009 4:48pm

'Make Christmas Brighter' was the theme of an arts project run by Meath County Childcare in which children were asked to make individual or group decorations to brighten up the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan over Christmas.

The response to the project was amazing with more than 500 children participating. Meath County Childcare Committee has thanked all those children, providers, childminders, parent and toddler groups, girl guides and national school students and teachers who made decorations. The beauty of all these decorations contributed to another special event on this night, the launching of 'A Sense Of Self - The Story'

A great Sense of achievement was felt by all at the launch of the project, held in the Solstice Arts Centre on Monday evening last. The launch was a culmination of 12 months' work. It began with an award of €10,000 to Meath County Childcare Committee in the AIB Better Ireland award in October 2008. These funds were used for the completion of an 'artist in residence' project in November 2009. The project targeted children from a variety of ages and abilities within the north Meath area.

The result is a giant book created by children that incorporates aspects of each of the senses, including music, sound and movement, touch and smell. It was designed to allow children with learning or physical disabilities to experience the book at its fullest.

The book, 'A Sense Of Self', was officially launched by Mary Morgan, manager of AIB Bank, Kells. She said AIB was delighted to be associated with such a wonderful project and praised the work of Meath County Childcare Committee and all involved in the project.

Chairperson of Meath County Childcare, Marian Guckian, thanked everybody who worked on the project and announced that the 'A Sense Of Self' book will be on display in Solstice for four weeks. She urged as many people as possible to visit the centre to experience it for themselves. The book was presented to Enable Ireland and HSE Disability Services to be used as a resource in its Navan centre.

Mary Fox, Enable Ireland, and Jodi Carey, HSE, said they were very happy to accept the gift on behalf of the children that use their services and praised everybody who had been involved with the project.

The County Childcare Committee has also thanked all those who made the event so successful, including St Colmcille's Boys Primary School choir, Ceoltoiro Carolan and Claire Smith from High-Scope Pre-school, Cherryhill, Kells, who switched on the lights, as well as Belinda Quirke, manager of the Solstice Art Centre.

Meath County Childcare Committee has helped hundreds of early childhood professionals get their childcare qualifications and provides continuing professional development opportunities through workshops and tailor-made training.  

As the childcare sector in Ireland is becoming more regulated, formal training has now become a requirement.

Having a formal qualification can give childcare professionals the skills and confidence to work in a variety of childcare settings and provide wider options in pursuing a career in childcare.

To obtain a FETAC Level 5 Certificate in Childcare, eight credits must be obtained by completing eight modules. An additional two modules can be chosen from a list of FETAC Childcare Modules which can be viewed at:

The FETAC Level 6 qualification in childcare, Advanced Certificate in Supervision in Childcare, is obtained by completing five credits, four of which are compulsory.

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