DONEGAL and Ireland’s first outdoor play school in Glenswilly has been the major success story of a recent conference where they received three awards.
Located just outside Letterkenny in Glenswilly, the Glen Outdoor School is part of a trio of Early Learning Schools in Donegal where children spend 80 per cent of their time outdoors.
Last week they attended the Early Childhood Ireland ‘Play on the Brain’ conference, a two day event involving over 40 inspirational early years’ practitioners and practices from around the country.
The conference took place last weekend at the Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin and the awards were presented by Nóirín Hayes, visiting Professor at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin.
The awards were presented over three categories and Donegal’s Early Learning Schools owner and manager, Sally O’Donnell, and her team received two ‘Learning Stories’ awards. One was for the children’s Halloween story, “The Enormous Turnip” and the other was for their Christmas play story, which also won the overall award in its category on the night.
Speaking after their awards success, Sally O’Donnell said: “We really enjoyed our night in Dublin and it was great meeting so many other childcare professionals around Ireland. We were thrilled to win the two learning stories awards and the fact that we won the overall award on the night was the icing on the cake.
She concluded: “The conference was also really useful in terms of discussing key issues affecting our profession including commercial rates and VAT, ECCE issues, inspection processes, support for children with additional needs, as well as issues around recognising the childcare sector as a profession with appropriate pay and conditions.”