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You are welcome to the first seminar in a CSER series intended to consider aspects of early childhood education and care1 [ECEC] from a policy, research and practice perspective and promote discussion and debate. In this introduction to the seminar I want to outline some of the thinking behind the topic for today and present - with limited elaboration - a personal reflection to add to the discussion and debate. In choosing to reflect on the development and impact of early childhood education and care policy in Ireland it is no surprise that the decade 1996 - 2006 should act as the framework. Taking any decade as a period of review has a certain danger to it, providing a definition to it which may give a false sense of the reality of policy development and practice. Nonetheless, it could be argued that ECEC became a serious policy issue in Ireland in 1996 following the signing of the final sections of the Child Care Act in December and the implementation of the Preschool Regulations in January 1997.
Hayes, N., Bradley, S.: A decade of reflection:early childhood care and education in Ireland 1996-2006. Proceedings of Centre for Social and Educational Research Early Childhood care and education seminar series 1, held November, 3, 2006. http://www.cser.ie