The primary function of the Early Years Specialist is to provide support and training to improve quality within all Early Years member groups. This includes advice and support on curriculum issues as well as working with the management/management committee on governance issues and developing and implementing effective systems, policies and procedures. This also includes support on recruitment and selection of key staff.
The EYS will encourage the development of a partnership with parents approach within all member groups. The EYS supports settings to pursue the Early Years Quality Assurance Accreditation Scheme for Playgroups, the All Ireland Centre of Excellence Award for Daycare Nurseries or the HighScope Accreditation Scheme. Support to access relevant funding streams is also provided. The EYS supports the development of the local Branch of Early Years to provide a networking forum for all members in the area.
At the beginning of the year the EYS, staff and management/management committee will agree a focus for the support visits over the year. The EYS will work with staff and the management committee on a three year development plan for their centre. Action plans will be drawn up and reviewed at each visit. In addition to site visits, ongoing communication with staff and management committees is maintained through telephone calls, emails and at networking events.
There are a number of different membership categories within Early Years:
Each setting will require different support from their EYS in order to use limited resources for maximum impact. Support from an EYS is regarded as the most effective way of ensuring an emphasis on continuous improvement.