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Holy Family plan for Incredible Years

CHILDREN, parents and staff of the Holy Family Junior School in Ennis are all benefiting from interagency training they have received under the Incredible Years programme.

Suarla Fitzsimons, Clinical Psychology Service HSE, Noreen O’Connell, Claire Kavanagh, Liliana Lacka, Kate Quinn, Richard Egan, Department of Education psychologist and  Sarah McCarthy interacting with pupils Roja Rahman, Wiktoria Kieltyka, Jack Kavanagh and Rowin O’Donnell as part of the Incredible Years project at the Holy Family Junior school in Ennis. Photograph by John KellyThe Holy Family School is the third school in Clare to have completed the scheme, with Scoil Chriost Ri in Cloughleigh and Scoil na Maighdine Mhuire in Newmarket-on-Fergus having previously completed it.
Principal of the Holy Family Junior School, Sharon Dilger, explained that the Incredible Years programme is an interagency initiative in existence since 2004.
“The initiative was born out of a recognition among professionals in the support services for children and families in Clare that early intervention is crucial in assisting children to develop social and emotional competence. Collaboration between parents, schools and family services is at the cornerstone of this community based initiative and, therefore, primary schools in Clare have been the natural focus for the delivery of the Incredible Years parent, teacher and child training programmes,” she said.
Three key child and family services in Clare have joined together to pool their skills, resources, and expertise in an innovative and cost effective way to implement the Incredible Years Programmes.
“The agencies involved in Incredible Years Clare are ClareCare Family Support Service, HSE West Clinical Psychology Service and the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS),” the principal added.
Ms Dilger explained that as a junior school, they are delighted to adopt the Incredible Years Programme.
“The positive approach to behaviour management as promoted by this programme, complements the school’s code of discipline and the use of positive reinforcements, reward systems and puppets is ideally suited to our pupils. We are particularly delighted that parents have become involved in training, as collaboration between school and home is central to the success of any intervention programme.”
The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Programme commenced at the Holy Family Junior School in July 2009.
“Twenty three members of staff participated in five workshops between July 2009 and February 2010 despite floods and snow. The groups were facilitated by Dr Suarla Fitzsimons and Niamh Lynch, HSE West Clinical Psychology Service, Richard Egan NEPS psychologist, and Eve Brennan Incredible Years Clare coordinator, Clarecare,” she explained.
The Incredible Years Parent Training Programme began in January 2010 and 16 parents of children attending the Holy Family Junior School participated over 12 weekly sessions. The facilitators were: Cathy McHugh, community child care worker, Clarecare; Jacinta Reavey, family support social worker, Clarecare and Joanne Perill, co-ordinator Clarecare Springboard project.
Now the Holy Family Junior School staff is planning to launch the Dina Dinosaur Child Training Programme in their classes at the beginning of the new school term in September 2010.
Evaluation studies of Incredible Years Clare have shown promising results.
“Teachers showed improved levels of confidence in managing children’s behaviour, in their use of limit setting strategies and positive approaches with parents. Parents showed improved relationships with their children, a reduction in stress and enhanced self-confidence. Children showed a significant reduction in hyperactivity and increased self-control,” the principal concluded.


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