Leading Inclusion – Beverton Pre-School Wins LINC Award
The award was sponsored by the LINC Programme as part of the Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) National Awards, which took place virtually on the 8th of October 2021.
The 8th of October was a day of great celebration for INclusion COordinator (INCO) Nickola Cullen and the staff of the Beverton Pre-school as they were awarded the LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion in a virtual award ceremony broadcast live from Croke Park.
The Early Childhood Ireland National Awards celebrate the commitment and quality of the work of early childhood teachers within the early childhood sector in Ireland. The LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion seeks to recognise a service that embodies the aims of the LINC programme—focusing on the pillars of Inclusive Culture, Inclusive Practice and Inclusive Pedagogy.
The LINC Programme is a one-year, Level 6 Special Purpose award delivered by a consortium led by Mary Immaculate College (MIC), which includes Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University-Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education. The course is designed to facilitate practising early childhood teachers in promoting the inclusion of all children within early learning and care settings.
Accepting the award, Nickola Cullen, INclusion COordinator in Beverton Pre-school in Donabate, Co. Dublin said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this award on behalf of the staff at Beverton Pre-school. When we hear the word inclusion, we can often forget its real meaning. Inclusion is more than just a system of strategies and approaches; it is about belonging, feeling valued and having choices. It is about recognising that all individuals are unique and by providing the right environment and the necessary supports, we can allow all children to participate fully and become the best version of themselves.“
Commenting on behalf of the LINC consortium, Shirley Heaney, National Coordinator of the LINC Programme said: “The LINC award for Leadership in Inclusion was designed to recognise the fantastic work of Inclusion Coordinators, who support and advocate for the inclusion of all children within the Early Learning and Care sector. We are delighted that their dedication to inclusive practice can be highlighted with this award, and we can see first-hand from the entries we have received, the positive impact that they and their colleagues are having on the lives of children who attend Early Learning and Care settings across the country. We were delighted with the high quality and the number of nominations for the award this year, it was extremely difficult to choose a winner. On behalf of the three LINC Consortium members, my sincere congratulations to Beverton Pre-school, and, in particular, to the LINC Graduate, Nickola Cullen, who is the Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) in the service.”
Also shortlisted for the award this year were: Louise McCabe from Happy Kids Montessori in Navan, Co. Meath, and Úna Mulvihill from Catkins Early Years Service in Co. Longford. Well done to all the shortlisted nominees, your dedication to inclusive practice is commendable.
Further information about the Early Childhood Ireland Awards and eligibility can be found on the Early Childhood Ireland website www.earlychildhoodireland.ie.
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