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Oasis Childcare Centre – Freshford, Co Kilkenny - NCIP
24 September 2015 |

​Oasis Childcare Centre – Freshford, Co Kilkenny - National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP)
Built in 2009, Oasis Childcare Centre is located in Freshford, a small town in the northwest of Kilkenny.


This community-based childcare service was an initiative of local community activists who identified the need for such a service in their area. Having conducted a wide needs analysis and in consultation with the County Childcare Committee (CCC), the local community group, 2020 Ltd opened the doors of the service  to 20 children on February 2000 and employed two staff.  The service successfully applied for funding under the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) in December 2003 and were awarded €1,200,000 in capital funding to build a childcare facility that would meet the needs of local children, families and the community.

Today, there are 91 pre-school children and 12 “after-schoolers” enrolled. Oasis is a full-day childcare centre, open from 8am – 6pm for children between the ages of three months to pre-school as well as the afterschool service which was recently established. The service offers the ECCE, CCS and TEC programmes facilitating 72 families and 91 children from the community. Last summer as a result of huge local demand for ECCE places, the service successfully applied for an Early Years Capital grant in order to convert a large attic space into a second preschool room.
The staff team consists of 11 early years staff; three of whom hold degree level qualifications and two have completed FETAC Level 6. The remaining six staff have FETAC Level 5 and almost all are studying at present for FETAC Level 6.  All members of staff completed Highscope training during 2014 which is now being implemented throughout the centre.  Staff development and training is considered central to the enhancement of quality in the centre.
Oasis has a policy that all children play outdoors every day regardless of weather.  In summer of 2013 the service received a Capital Grant from Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) for the ‘Hedge School’ project. This enabled the service to purpose-build an outdoor classroom, invaluable for all outdoor pursuits including an eating area for when weather is a bit of a challenge. 
 Local collaborative working relationships have brought considerable benefits for the service. Through liaison with the local wildlife ranger, heritage officer and Kilkenny CCC, the service has developed a forest school activities programme.  The service has been able to utilise a local nearby wooded area; thus extending the outdoor play area for the children. This has enabled staff to ‘bring the outside in’ in a very enriching way and affords the children the opportunity to engage with nature and learn about their local eco-system. The parents have readily embraced the children’s enthusiasm to explore the natural world on their door steps. Staff are currently involved in training in Forest School activities and biodiversity with a view to all ECCE children spending one day per week in the woods – this programme will begin in May 2015.
The development of the service has taken thought and careful planning which has been all worthwhile. Oasis would encourage other services to engage in the outdoors as much as possible; as, from their experience; early year’s education has just gotten more interesting, more enriching and where the approach could potentially have lifelong benefits.
Pobal’ role
• Appraised application for initial and subsequent grand funding
• Provide on-going compliance visits.
• Supply on-line and IT support for child registration
Quotes from parent:
As a local working mum, unable to drive, therefore I would be unable to travel 14 km to the nearest childcare centre.  Oasis provided me with an excellent child care facility at a price I can afford.’  Teresa Rafter.

Quote from Childcare provider: “The community and surrounding area have benefited greatly as a result and Oasis has now become a significant support to local families. Kilkenny County Childcare Committee has also been an important pillar of support in assisting and developing the growth and evolution of our centre and developing projects.  In recent times we have been working with the County Childcare Committee to develop our outdoor programme.  The support from Pobal and DCYA grant funding has been invaluable as we now have both an outdoor classroom and wild garden which the children spend time in every day. We are delighted with how these outdoor projects have now become a key aspect of the work we do in Oasis and we are particularly grateful for the capital funding and support from Pobal to enable us to bring these projects to completion.” Oasis Childcare Centre