Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre beats off all the competition to scoop FOUR national awards!

Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre in Ballinahown is savouring their success from the Early Childhood Ireland annual awards and the National Childhood Network Smart Start Healthy Ireland Awards. Recently the team in Stepping Stones were awarded four awards highlighting their commitment to health and wellbeing, play, innovation and high quality early learning experiences for young children.

The awards highlighted the services focus and commitment to developing a child focused early learning centre where fun, learning and health and wellbeing coexist seamlessly together.

Lorraine Farrell, owner of Stepping Stones said;

“We’re thrilled to receive these accolades in recognition for our efforts in bringing high quality early years services to the area.  But more importantly, we’re delighted to see the positive impact our commitment to quality has had the children in our care. While we are thrilled to have received these awards this year, they would not be possible without the children and families who participate in them. We want to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to all families utilising our service.”

Among the awards was Siolta validation. Siolta is the Early Years Quality Framework in Ireland. It assesses services on 75 different aspects of quality provision including play, curriculum, the rights of the child and partnership with parents among others. Stepping Stones was thrilled to be awarded the highest possible score of 4 across all 75 components.

Stepping Stones provides preschool experiences to children of Ballinahown, Castledaly and the surrounding areas. Two sessions are available per day free of charge to children aged three and over. If you would like to view this award winning service or book a place for your children please contact Lorraine on 0868302261 or Louise/Michelle on 0870894700.



Early Childhood Ireland represents over 3,600 childcare members who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool and full daycare provision nationwide. Its work includes quality enhancement, publications, advocacy, training, business support and information for a sector that employs 25,000 people today.

Healthy Ireland Status is awarded to a pre-school when they have participated in the training programme and achieved over 80% of criteria following assessment.

The Healthy Ireland Smart Start programme is specifically designed for pre-school children aged between three and five years of age and encompasses all aspects of an holistic healthy lifestyle: health promotion, oral health, physical activity, health & safety, emotional well-being & literacy as well as nutrition/healthy eating.

The programme is open to all pre-school providers; private or community, sessional or full day care, regardless of size or location. Registered childminders are also welcome to participate in the training. A pre-school provider can retain the Healthy Ireland Smart Start award for three years thereafter ensuring the programme is sustainable within the daily life of the service



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