Historical Development Of The ECCE Sector In Ireland
History of ECCE provision in Ireland
Pre-school education did not really exist in Ireland apart from a few exceptions until the 1980s and 1990s. This was largely due to the fact that until quite recently the majority of Irish women did not work outside the home. Even if they did the childcare was usually provided by family members or childminders located in the community known to the family. Irish policy discouraged women from working outside the home. The ‘marriage bar’ meant that women working in the public service had to leave their jobs as soon as they go married and become stay at home mothers and wives. This ban was lifted in 1957 for primary school teachers, but it was 1973 before the ban was lifted for other women in the public service. Until resent years in Ireland, very few mothers worked outside the home. Therefore , there was little focus on pre-school education in Ireland until the late 1980s and 1990s Most of the progress in the area of pre-school education in Ireland has come from the privet rather than public sector.
Outside the state –funded primary school system, investment in pre-school provision was traditionally targeted to support children in need of specific interventions, including educational disadvantage and children with special needs. The ECEC needs of babies, young children and their families were met instead by a broad range of community, voluntary and private enterprise. ECCE service provision was unregulated until 1997. When the Child Care (Pre-School) Regulations 2006 came into effect, no stipulation was made regarding qualifications necessary to deliver such service, especially those provided by community and voluntary sector relied heavily on volunteer staff. Even in the private sector, salaries were low and conditions of employment poor. Opportunities for employment in