Working life: Teresa Heeney, CEO, Early Childhood Ireland

Working life: Teresa Heeney, CEO, Early Childhood Ireland

I have two teenagers, Dónal (16) and Ellen (14).


Our annual conference gets underway in UCD next weekend so the focus of the past few months has been on preparing for it.

Our biggest challenge currently is trying to make childcare more affordable for parents and economically viable for those who work in in it. It’s a crucial time for the sector.


I meet with the membership team to make sure everything is in place for the conference which gets underway with a research and practice seminar next Friday.

Professor Nóirín Hayes, a developmental psychologist, is the keynote speaker. We discuss ticket sales and communications strategy.


I meet with Aisling, one of our 30 staff members, for an update on monies raised through National Pyjama Day, our annual fundraiser, which took place earlier this month.

About 60,000 children from 1,300 creches and pre-schools were sponsored to wear their favourite Pjs to raise money for three children’s charities.

The Community Foundation for Ireland will administer the grants which will be awarded to three charities in the summer.


We have a training centre in Tallaght and we run different training sessions to upskill staff working in early years centres of which there are 3,600 nationwide.

At the moment, we are running a Kids Active programme in conjunction with the Irish Heart Foundation.

The programme supports educators in increasing physical activity levels among pre-school children. I meet with two members of our team to discuss an upcoming training session.


I head over to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to discuss the introduction of the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

It’s a new national scheme of financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare.


I attend my daughter’s parent/teacher meeting. I like to go for a walk in the evenings and I enjoy watching Scandinavian box sets.

* Early Childhood Ireland’s annual conference takes place March 31 to April 1 in UCD.

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