· Additional funding of €10m secured under Budget 2020 for the programme, which provides both universal and targeted supports to help children with disabilities participate in mainstream pre-school
· Over 11,700 children in over 3,200 services nationally have received supports to date
Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone T.D, has today welcomed the shortlisting of the Access & Inclusion Model (AIM) for two significant international awards. The programme provides a range of both universal and targeted supports to help children with disabilities access and fully participate in free, mainstream pre-school.
AIM has been shortlisted for an Innovation award as part of the European Social Services Awards, as well as a Zero Project Award, in recognition of the programme’s significant contribution to children’s inclusion.
AIM supports respond to the needs of the child and to the needs of the pre-school setting the child is participating in. They promote inclusion for children with disabilities in mainstream pre-schools, and access for all children to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) free pre-school programme. AIM was launched in June 2016, with the first supports rolled out in time for the 2016/2017 pre-school year.
Since the launch of the scheme, over 11,700 children in over 3,200 services nationally have benefited directly from targeted supports. In an independent review carried out in the second year of AIM’s operation, 78% of parents reported their child had benefited, and 76% of services said that AIM had made the culture at their preschool more inclusive.
Minister Zappone recently announced €10 million in additional funding for AIM under Budget 2020.
Welcoming the nominations, Minister Zappone said:
“Participation in pre-school benefits all children, and the benefits can be even greater for children with disabilities. We want to make sure early learning and care providers are given all the supports they need to make all our pre-schools truly inclusive.
The increased funding for AIM under Budget 2020 will enable up to 1,000 more children to benefit directly from targeted supports.
I am delighted that the AIM programme has been recognised for its innovation and its impact, and wish the team the best of luck in the awards.”
For more information on AIM, check www.aim.gov.ie.