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Communication is Key - Galway Childcare Conference 2010

Free play is a crucial component of children's development according to Patricia Broadhead, Professor of Playful Learning at Leeds Metropolitan University, who was a guest speaker at Galway City and County Childcare Committee’s recent annual conference, held in the Galway Bay Hotel. Professor Broadhead, author of Early Years Play and Learning: Developing Social Skills and Cooperation, has undertaken extensive research into how children become sociable and cooperative through play and how playful learning environments are created.
Her talk was an eye-opening examination of the area of cooperative play and outlined the opportunities for learning that children may uncover in the whatever you want it to be place, an open-ended role play area where ordinary resources are used resulting in high levels of co-operative play for both boys and girls. This free play area within childcare services gives children the opportunity to create their own environment, not only enhancing their communication and social skills, but also allowing them to achieve greater literacy and numeracy skills. Many of the children involved in Professor Broadhead’s research scored very high grades in later entrance examinations. 
Galway Childcare Committee also welcomed Anne O’Connor, Child Clinical Psychologist and founder of, who explored the creation of clear communication systems between childcare providers and parents. Anne’s presentation outlined the importance of considering all aspects of the relationship between parent and provider and provided a detailed analysis of various scenarios where problems may arise.
Jan Godfrey, HSE Information and Advice Officer - Children First presented her recent research into issues that both parents and professionals deem problematic and gave practical examples of resolutions reached in communicating sensitive issues.
Bríd Burke, HSE Children First Information and Advice Officer launched the ‘Concern, Contact, Consult’ Child Protection Reporting Procedure Poster. This poster is a simple, step by step guide for childcare service providers to deal effectively with child protection concerns and will be sent to all childcare services in Galway. This poster is also available to be used or adapted by any service or organization working with children.



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