Report reveals over 75% of people want creche access for all children

A new report has discovered the attitudes of the Irish public towards early childhood education.

The findings of the Early Childhood Ireland Barometer have been released today, highlighting that three quarters of the public want high-quality, inclusive Early Years and School Age Care in their communities for all children.

The national opinion poll, which is in its seventh year, was conducted by RED C and gathered participants’ thoughts on all aspects of childcare.

In its main findings, 76% of the Irish public agreed that every child deserves to have access to quality early education, and that they should not have to travel far to receive it.

Meanwhile, 67% believe that education for children under five years old is just as important as education for those over the age of five. Over half of the population (54%) also agreed that Early Years and School Age Care staff with university degrees should have the same terms and conditions as primary school teachers.

In another point, 53% of those surveyed think that the Government should pay the wages of creche staff.

Alternatively, 62% of pollers noted that parents should be financially supported to stay at home for the first year of their child’s life. 54% also think that employers should be legally obliged to top-up new parents’ maternity and paternity benefits.

Referring to the report’s findings, Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland, stated her thoughts on the matter.

“What we’re seeing is overwhelming public support for access to high-quality Early Years and School Age Care for all children in our society,” she explained, adding: “This puts an onus on the current and on any future government to prioritise this vital area of children’s lives.”

She concluded: “Critical action is needed to make significant and sustainable progress on the terms and conditions of the 30,000-strong Early Years and School Age Care workforce.”