Fine Gael bye-election candidate for Dublin South West, Senator Cáit Keane has confirmed that she is campaigning for a second free pre-school year.
“There is an increasing body of Irish and international evidence proving the benefits of early intervention for pre-school children in terms of improving outcomes and delivering significant returns to the state, both in terms of economic and societal benefits. The existing free pre-school year has benefitted thousands of families in Tallaght, Terenure, Citywest and Firhouse – providing educational and social stimulation for pre-schoolers, allowing parents time to work, knowing their children are in a safe and nurturing environment,” she stated.
“I believe a second free pre-school year brings positive educational and developmental outcomes for children of this area, equipping them with the tools for learning that will stand to them throughout their lives
“In addition to the obvious benefit to the children, the provision of a second free pre-school year free of charge would save parents between €2,500 and €3,000 in playschool or montessori fees per year. As uptake on the year is likely to be high, additional staff would have to be recruited, generating between 4,000 and 5,000 jobs around the country.
“This is something I have raised with my Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly TD,” Senator Keane continued. “From my discussion with him, I understand that a full review of the existing free pre-school year must be completed in the first instance, but the extension of the scheme to run for a 2nd year is something he is also in favour of, so we will be working together to try to achieve this goal,” Senator Keane concluded.
This post was written by on September 29, 2014