Fermoy crèche first in Ireland to receive new evidence-based 6-week trauma awareness training for the Early Childhood Education and Care profession

Cork crèche hosts bespoke training in trauma awareness in collaboration with Munster Technological University

Blackwater Childcare in Fermoy is the first in the country to obtain bespoke, ECEC-specific trauma awareness training that has emerged from PhD research being carried out in Munster Technological University (MTU).

On 7th September, the crèche welcomed PhD Candidate Catherine Sheehan, who delivered a pilot training programme titled ‘An Introduction to Psychological Trauma for ECEC Professionals.’ Childhood trauma is an emerging public health concern and can have profound consequence right throughout the lifespan.

Given the prevalence of childhood trauma in ECEC settings in Ireland, this bespoke training programme designed by the research team including PhD supervisors Dr Judith Butler (Lecturer, Researcher and UNICEF expert trauma trainer) and Dr Cian O’Neill (Head of Dept of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies MTU) aimed to increase the knowledge, confidence, and skills of those working with, and on behalf of children. To facilitate this, the 12-hour CPD programme focused on identifying signs and symptoms of psychological childhood trauma, appropriately responding to trauma, and recognising that healing from trauma is through responsive relationships.

The pilot program garnered a very positive response from the 12 dedicated members of staff at Blackwater Childcare who actively participated. The staff enthusiastically expressed their appreciation for the programme, highlighting how it was exceptionally impactful and beneficial. One team member said that it was “a fantastic opportunity to have been involved in such a great pilot programme.”

Centre manager, Miriam Collins, thanked experts from Munster Technological University for the “wonderful opportunity” to engage in the training, stating that it was “extremely beneficial” for all the staff.

Principal research supervisor Dr Judith Butler said: “We take immense pride in the development of this customized trauma training programme, meticulously crafted by Catherine Sheehan as a direct result of her rigorous PhD research. This evidence-based initiative has a demonstrable impact on the well-being of children and their families. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Blackwater Childcare for graciously affording our PhD researcher the opportunity to pilot this program.

“Miriam and her dedicated team at Blackwater Childcare consistently go above and beyond to meet the unique needs of every child in their care. Their commitment is exemplified by their willingness to complete this 12-week bespoke training in their own time. Dr Cian O’Neill and I would like to express our deep appreciation to our exceptional PhD candidate, Catherine Sheehan, for her unwavering dedication in delivering this crucial training. The difference it makes in the lives of children and their families is truly remarkable.”

For any ECEC centres eager to partake in this training programme we wholeheartedly encourage you to get in touch with Catherine Sheehan at Catherine.m.Sheehan@mycit.ie. This training holds the potential to leave a profound and enduring mark on the lives of children throughout Ireland.