Provide an Overview of the Development of the Early Childhood Care and Education Sector in Ireland. Provide an Overview of the Development of the Early Childhood Care and Education Sector in Ireland. over

In pre-1960’s Ireland, schools looked after formal education while childcare was the responsibility of the home. This sector was mostly unregulated, however when Ireland joined the EEC (EU), and The United Nations began to look at child care worldwide, major changes took place in this area. Since the mid 1990’s several acts and initiatives, both statuary and advisory, have been passed and implemented. The areas covered include the rights of children, the types of services provided, legislation on the quality of services and employment conditions.
One of the most fundamental developments was the implementation of the 1991 Child Care Act in 1997. Support was given to the disadvantaged, children’s needs were put at the centre of planning, there was greater focus on the quality of education and there was intervention when child welfare, family and school attendance issues emerged.
The establishment of the DCYA in 2011 demonstrated the government’s commitment to improving childcare.
As more and more of mothers joined the workforce there was an increasing need for early child care and education services. The ECCE scheme introduced a free school year for children between 3 and 4 and gradually a broad range of services became available. These included, full day care, Montessori and Steiner schools and various types of creshes. The focus was on child development and learning through play.
Legislation was needed to regulate all these new services and a series of acts and reports concerning health and safety and employment followed. One important law placed legal responsibility on carers to act in the child’s best interests.          
Guidelines which focused on best practice in child protection and the role of the Gardaí in this area were issued
Finally, employment legislation was also introduced and among the aspects covered were working hours, maternity leave, equality and disability....