From its infancy in the Social Services Centre in Rosscarbery village back in 1989 to the move to new premises at the GAA building in Ardagh in 2006, there have been over 1,000 children through the doors of Rosscarbery Community Playschool to date. And it’s as busy as ever there, with places filled for September 2016 and a waiting list in place. In fact bookings are already being taken for September 2017.
‘Many people have worked for and supported the playschool down through the years,’ says staff member Patricia O’Sullivan. ‘This has ensured its continued success, and ten years ago enabled the move to its current home. This has all helped the school grow to what it is today.
‘Rosscarbery Community Playschool is child-based and connects with children’s current interests and individual needs. Through hands-on experiences, children’s development is enhanced, thus boosting cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, creative expression and sensory integration.’
Patricia and Noelle Howarth are the dedicated core staff and both have years of experience working in childcare, with both holding Level 6 qualifications in Early Childhood Care and Education. Both are passionate about early childhood education and creating a homely learning environment in the school. They are continuously up-skilling and are dedicated to meeting the needs of all the children in their care.
Local parents have nothing but praise for Rosscarbery Community Playschool. Eileen McMahon is one such person:
‘As a parent of a five-year-old in junior infants and a three-year-old in playschool, I can only sing the praises of the team at the playschool, who nurtured my little boys and made the transition to primary school and from home seamless.
‘It provides a vital role in early childhood development and Noelle and Trish’s dedication and commitment to the school and their embracing of new learning experiences, through ongoing education, has given us well-rounded, sociable and fun-loving children who are ready to fully embrace and adapt to life in the “big school”.’
Caroline Sutton, a parent and a member of the playschool committee says that her two boys have benefited greatly from their time spent in the playschool.
And it’s not just the parents who are singing the playschool’s praise. Many of its former students, some of whom moved down with the team to the new premises 10 years ago, have fond memories of their time there. Jessica O’Sullivan remembers the new dress-up box in the improved facility and loved the fact that they were able to play outside.
‘The excitement of moving down and being the first class in the new playschool was amazing,’ remembers Aoife McSweeney.
Joan O’Donovan says ‘it was like going from home to home and Trish and Noelle were like second mothers to us all.’ Orlagh O’Gorman remembers the arts and crafts and one time for Father’s Day, they made a calendar with a picture of themselves on it and she says their fathers still cherish them to this day.
‘The friendships made back then are still as strong as ever and I’m sure the kids today will say the same thing when they are older,’ said former pupil Jessica Baker.
‘Our objective for the future is that our playschool will prosper and grow and that the community will continue to support us. Our links with the community and local families is very important to us and we value their contribution. As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and we believe a child has the best opportunity to become a well-rounded adult if the entire community takes an active role,’ said Noelle Howarth.
‘As part of our celebrations to mark 10 years in Ardagh, we will be having a fundraising Family Fun Run/Walk called ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ in the GAA Grounds in Ardagh at 2pm on Sunday, May 29th. This will be followed by a party and children’s disco. This idea came about as we here in the playschool promote a healthy lifestyle for the children and getting them out walking, running and moving is very important in the fight against obesity.’
Rosscarbery Community Playschool also has a one-hour afterschool for junior and senior infants, which runs from 1.45pm to 2.45pm.
For more information contact the playschool on 023-8831709 or check their Facebook page.