Better Start is an initiative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in collaboration with the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Skills and Pobal to establish a single, cohesive approach to quality across the Early Childhood Care and Education sector in Ireland. The broader aim of Better Start is to bring co-ordination, cohesion and consistency to the provision of state funded quality supports and to work in alignment with statutory systems, i.e. regulation and inspection, in the Early Childhood Care and Education sector.
Better Start comprises three pillars: the City and County Childcare Committees, the National Voluntary Childcare Organisations and the National Early Years Quality Development Service.
One of the three pillars, the National Early Years Quality Development Service is hosted by Pobal (i.e. Pobal acts as the employer, provides office space etc.) It operates a Quality Development Service which provides on-site mentoring and coaching to early childhood care and education settings, working alongside early years providers and practitioners to support the implementation of Síolta – The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear – The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. Under the Access and Inclusion Model, it also provides expert advice, mentoring and support to providers and practitioners from specialists in early years care and education for children with disabilities.