Welcome note from Chairman

You are very welcome to this first edition of PEIN POST – keep it somewhere carefully, it could become a collector’s item!
We plan that this will be a quarterly newsletter for our members and supporters. Please let us have your feedback and suggestions. One suggestion is to profile the work of a PEIN member in each edition, so let us know if you want to have your work profiled.
The last six months have seen a number of significant developments in PEIN, so read on for a quick highlight of our news:

November 2020: Annual General Meeting and election of a new executive:
Marian Quinn stepped down from the position of Chairperson of PEIN, which she has held with distinction for more years than she cares to admit to. For my sins, I have stepped up to fill the role for the next two years. I am very happy to hear from anyone directly at [email protected]

The AGM agreed to the election of an incoming Executive of twelve members whose details can be found here. It is very much a working executive, with members agreeing to take on key roles in our various working groups, for example on homelessness and Direct Provision (more information about working groups and contact details can be provided upon request).

Core funding achieved

PEIN concluded very positive discussions with our colleagues in Tusla and has now secured core funding. This is a very significant step in PEIN’s development and we greatly appreciate the contribution of everyone who helped us to achieve it.

Farewell and welcome:

In January, PEIN bid farewell to Lyndsey Anderson who had been our Coordinator since 2019.

We wish Lyndsey well in her new role in the Irish Social for Social Housing and thank her for her contribution to PEIN.

In February, we welcomed Maria O’Dwyer as our new National Coordinator. Maria will be well known to many PEIN members for her previous work including leading Start Right, the Limerick ABC Programme. Maria brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.

In May, we recruited the arrival of the first ever PEIN National Administrator and the person will be in post in the coming months.

May also marked the retirement of Aileen O’Donoghue from Archways. Aileen has made a very significant contribution to the PEIN Executive over many years and has served as Vice Chair. And congratulations to Hugh Doogan, another longstanding PEIN member, who has been appointed to Archways as CEO.

The Covid bonus – PEIN moves office to Limerick

Like everyone else, PEIN has moved online since the start of the pandemic. As a result, we decided that the location of our office would be flexible. Following Maria’s appointment, PEIN is now seeking to secure an office in Limerick.

New PEIN relationships

Since the start of 2021, opportunities have arisen for PEIN to deepen its links with two other parallel organisations:

Parenting Network: Under PEIN’s funding agreement with Tusla, PEIN will be providing a range of supports to the Parenting Network. There is much commonality of both interests and membership between the two networks and we look forward to working together more closely and exploring future strategic opportunities.

Home Visiting Alliance: The Home Visiting Alliance was established in 2020 as a forum for collaboration between Irish evidence-based early childhood home visiting programmes. It has now been agreed that the Home Visiting Alliance will operate as a Working Group of PEIN. We look forward to the benefits of this new development.
Thank you for your continued support and to all you readers who are not yet members, please consider joining us. 

Francis Chance, Chairperson




‘Supporting Children and Families to emerge from the Shadow of the Pandemic’.

A PEIN webinar exclusively for members will take place on May 28th from 10am to 1pm, with contributions and support from Dr. John Sharry and Dr. Eileen Brosnan of Parents Plus – along with inputs from PEIN members. The event will provide a forum for members to share thoughts on the likely long-term impacts of Covid on children and families, and consider how best to intervene across all age groups and particular populations. This think-in will help to flag the range of service responses likely to be required and identify what supports PEIN can offer our members.

To book your free place, please e-mail [email protected].

Click here to join PEIN now

Ireland’s first National Model for Parenting Support Services

In 2020, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth commenced work on the development of Ireland’s first ever National Model for Parenting Support Services. The work is led by Ciara Pidgeon and Zara Lafferty in the Parenting Support Policy Unit with the support of Catherine Whitty from the Centre for Effective Services. The core wok is undertaken in meetings every two weeks of the Working Group and progress is reviewed and critiqued periodically by a Challenge Panel. PEIN was delighted to be invited to nominate members onto both the Working Group and the Challenge Panel, with Francis Chance and Marian Quinn nominated to the respective groups. In addition, our colleagues in the Parenting Network are involved alongside representation from the DCEDIY, Tusla and the HSE. PEIN established a Reference Group of members which has acted as a valuable sounding board for Francis and Marian in their work. It is hoped that the Model will be finalised in 2021 and will be accompanied by an Implementation Plan. More information on the development of the model is available HERE.

I AM BABA: Babies tread the boards

I AM BABA is a magical adventure of song, lights and textures for babies aged 0-12 months.  It’s a show about identity, agency and personhood.  For babies.

Many PEIN members will have had the opportunity to engage in the wonderful work of Anna Newell and her Baby Theatre Productions. Anna is touring her I AM BABA show later this year and has a number of dates available between September and November at a very reasonable cost. If you are interested in Anna and her team delivering a day of performances (in compliance with the current COVID regulations), contact Anna at [email protected] or via www.annanewell.ie.

Babbling babies rolled out nationwide

A book developed by Lifestart Services in Donegal, and funded initially through The Parenting Support Initiative (PSI), is now being rolled out nationally to Early Childcare Facilities. The book – Babbling Babies – proved so popular that a collaborative initiative under the Education & Learning Sub Committee of Donegal CYPSC (Children and Young People’s Services Committee) – which includes Lifestart Services, the Library Service and HSE Health Promotion & Improvement Service and with the support of the Katharine Howard Foundation, printed a further 7000 copies of the book to be distributed throughout Donegal in 2019 and included Arabic and Chinese rhymes in this edition. Studies show that if babies and children are read to early, they will enjoy reading and learning more, and do better in school. The aim of the book is to encourage language and reading development, and to promote the importance of reading to children. Rhymes and songs in English, Irish, Polish, Romanian, Hindi and Kiswahili (Kenya), Arabic, and Chinese are included. Dr. Mary Roche, author of ‘Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picture books: a guide for primary and early years’ students and teachers’ who is passionate about encouraging parents to read with babies and children and highlighted its benefits: “Saying and singing rhymes along with your child is great fun and also develops essential pre-reading skills. By reading aloud and discussing books with children you are: Stimulating their imaginations; Developing their understanding of how language works; Reinforcing the value of reading; Helping them to discover the joys of reading; Strengthening the relationship with your child; Giving them a great start to their education.

PEIN leading European school transition initiative

PEIN is delighted to be the lead partner on an Eramus+ project that focuses on supporting meaningful transitions from preschool to primary school. In collaboration with the European Parent’s Association (based in Brussels), Leeds Beckett University (UK) and the Marie Curie Association (Bulgaria), the 3-year project strives to increase awareness, understanding and capacity of professionals and parents to support children during their transition from preschool to primary school, and to enhance the understanding of what parents need to help them support their child’s transition. The project includes specific focus on parental involvement and children with additional needs.

On May 18th – ironically in-line with the Eurovision –  we hosted a transnational conversation with 18 parents, practitioners and teachers on transitions. PEIN member and early years champion Imelda Graham opened the conversation by advocating that school readiness needs to be explored in the context of how ready a school is to meet the needs of each child. Plenty of lively discussions ensued!  The experiences, practices and concerns of the 5 countries represented really highlight that meaningful transitions need two core components – planning and communication.  These salient points will guide the content and type of resources that are developed as the products of this really exciting collaboration.

Dolly’s Library a new chapter for many

More than 100,000 books have been delivered in Dublin 24 as part of Dolly Parton’s free book scheme, since the project began in February 2019.  The scheme, which is co-ordinated locally by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), sees a free, age appropriate book posted every month to children under the age of five who are living in Dublin 24 – and more than 6,700 children are signed up to the scheme, that’s 73 per cent of all kids under the age of five in Dublin 24. Books continued to be delivered during COVID lockdowns.  Parents living in Dublin 24 can sign their children up at www.cdi.ie/imaginationlibrary and they receive a free high-quality book to keep every month until they are five. The books are addressed to the child and posted directly to their home.  If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, please click here. For more information please contact [email protected].

We want to hear from you – do you have a story to share or something you’d like to highlight with the membership? If so email [email protected] and you might make the next edition!



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    The Southill Hub,
    Donough O’Malley Park,
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National Coordinator: Maria O’Dwyer

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