EDeNn and Start Strong Conference June 2013

EDeNn and Start Strong hosted a policy forum and conference for the ECEC sector on the 21st and 22nd of June 2013. The conference was fully booked and attended by ECEC practitioners, trainers, lectures and NGOs. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD opened the Conference complementing the breath of the work undertaken by EDeNn and acknowledging her commitment to issues of equality and young children. The Minister remained for the keynote from Louise Derman-Sparks and has invited EDeNn to meet with her. Louise Derman-Sparks gave a wide ranging address highlighting our duty under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Anti-bias in the Irish context and in practice. Louise was followed by the testimonials from parents relating to their own particular experience; disability, Traveller, migrant family and lesbian parent.

The conference was covered in the Irish Times

Below are comments from participants regarding inputs from Louise Derman-Sparks from parents: Maria Dollard (DESSA), Kathleen Mc Donagh (Pavee Point), Martina Ozonyia (CSER) and Toddy Hogan (LINC) and comments on the afternoon workshops. Their presentations will be available on the EDeNn website in the coming weeks.

Louise Derman-Sparks

Remarkable woman: Louise is amazing I could listen to her forever … complete inspiration

Louise’s speech was very easy to listen to. She spoke in simple terms using language that we all could relate within everyday lives.

Inspiring talk really motivating, really positive attitude to the Anti-bias approach and I’m open to change

Reinforced my beliefs practice and commitment; Powerful and reflective

Parents Voices

Each speaker brought both personal message and huge food for thought around practice, what can be done not should and how I can bring change in services

  1. Very powerful to hear lived experiences. Early Years practitioners need to hear this more often. The role that they have at a very critical time in children lives especially children with disabilities
  2. Kathleen opened my eyes to the challenges for me as a settle childcare worker to ensure that children of the Traveller community have a sense of belonging. We have a huge role to play in society. They have such a wealth of information re their culture that has been overlooked and lost in the way we try to ‘normalise’ everything
  3. Martina showed me how children can realise they are different at a young age and don’t want to be ‘outside the zone’ and the pressure on parents in deciding what is best for their children while still holding on to their identity and belonging
  4. Toddy’s experience made me realise that all need to do more and more, we think we do lots but we don’t do enough

The content exceeded the description and I enjoyed the diverse and real experiences of the parent that spoke today

I am going to talk to my manager about what I learned today and get more training


Persona Dolls

Anne made the session very enjoyable and left me want in to get proper training to implement persona dolls into my practice

Will be getting training in this area brilliant

Reflective Practice

A practical tool was introduced with lots of potential. It was useful and positive

Traveller and Roma Network

Good discussion on an area that needs a strong network

Really interesting more time needed


This was great good opportunity to give opinion and views .. felt that I was listened to

Anti-bias in practice: Voices from the field

It has made me aware of how much work I have to do in my setting

Identity and Belonging: Síolta, Aistear and the Anti-bias Approach

This has helped in making me aware of diversity and equality and inclusion and its link to Síolta and Aistear

Very good and easy to understand made me think if I do enough for children!