Better Start National Early Years Quality Development is a national initiative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), collaborating 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.

Better Start Early Years Specialist teams are qualified[1] Early Years professionals with a minimum of five years professional experience. Under Level 4 of the model “Expert Early Years Educational Advice and Support”, Early Years Specialists (Access and Inclusion) will provide expert educational advice to enable services to support the inclusion and participation of children with a disability in ECCE services. This includes:

    • Providing information, advice and strategies to support children’s inclusion in the ECCE programme
    • Coaching Early Years practitioners based on an in-depth knowledge of child development and high quality early years practice

Supporting services to document a child’s abilities, interests, needs and functioning in the setting to identify additional supports that may be required to adequately meet children’s needs

  • In exceptional circumstances for children with very complex needs, specialist clinical advice would be sought from HSE early intervention services
  • Liaison with the National Council for Special Education to support transition to primary school

Early Years Specialists (Access and Inclusion) will work collaboratively with pre-school services, parents and other professionals to develop inclusive learning environments that support all children and ensure children with a disability participate fully and meaningfully in the ECCE programme.



[1] Level 8 degree in ECEC or above