PROFESSOR Emer Ring, Dean of Education at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has joined an Irish contingent invited to share Ireland’s experience of creating inclusive early childhood experiences for children at a recent international meeting of the Association for Early Childhood Educators in Singapore (AECES).
Professor Ring joined Leesa Flanagan, Manager at Little Seeds Childcare in Moyross who virtually attended the 5th Leadership Forum to highlight examples of effective inclusive practices in the early childhood education sector in Ireland and to hear from international colleagues on their own experiences.
Speaking after the forum, which was held last month, Professor Ring commented: “We at MIC have developed extensive expertise in early childhood education across all of our programmes and we are delighted to be invited to share this expertise with colleagues in Singapore.
“In particular, it was a pleasure to work with Leesa Flanagan at Little Seeds and to continue MIC’s commitment to developing partnerships and supporting the development of early childhood education in the region.
“Little Seeds has developed innovative, research-based and child-centred practices designed to make a difference in the lives of children. We look forward to further building on the long-standing relationship between MIC and Little Seeds”.
Reflecting on her involvement was Little Seeds Manager, Leesa Flanagan, who said: “The Forum provided an exciting opportunity to share practice, to reflect and to learn new practice. Seeing the value that MIC and early educators in Singapore place on inclusive education mirrors the ethos of inclusive practice at Little Seeds where we strive to ensure each unique child feels a real sense of belonging, achievement, empowerment and happiness.”
MIC leads the Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years (LINC) Consortium which also includes partners Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University. The programme is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award that is designed to support the inclusion of children with additional needs in the early years.
Commenting on the involvement by Professor Ring and Little Seeds was Dr Christine Chen, President of the Association for Early Childhood Educators in Singapore, who said: “We recognize that the LINC programme is world renowned and we are deeply grateful to have Professor Ring giving us the opportunity to hear from her directly.
“We are also grateful to Leesa Flanagan for sharing her experience of making inclusive practice come alive. Singapore has a similar population size as Ireland and we hope to visit Ireland to see its inclusive environment for preschoolers in practice”.