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Minister Zappone announces additional funding of €3.2 million for pre-school supports for children with a disability


Friday 12th January, 2018

Minister announces funding of €3.2 million for the latest addition to the suite of pre-school supports for children with a disability provided under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM).

AIM Inclusive Play is a set of resources to support inclusive practice within pre-school settings. These resources, which include equipment, toys and materials, also support the development of coordination and audio, visual and tactile skills among all children, and in particular, children with a disability.

AIM Inclusive Play will include a dark den, therapy putty, sand timers and kinetic sand, among a range of other resources.

The contract to develop AIM Inclusive Play was awarded to Learning Space (Belfast) Limited in November last year following a competitive tendering process.

From February 2018, AIM Inclusive Play will be distributed to more than 6,000 pre-school rooms delivering the ECCE Programme across more than 4,000 pre-school settings nationally. 

AIM Inclusive Play offers the potential to fully support the implementation of all Levels of AIM.

Many elements of Síolta and Aistear can also be supported by effective use of these Resources.

Welcoming the news, the Minister said:

“I am delighted to announce this important addition to the suite of pre-school supports for children with a disability.

AIM Inclusive Play reinforces an important message – that children’s play is a vital ingredient of childhood, essential for both growth and learning and an integral element of high quality pre-school provision.

This initiative is another important step in our efforts to create more inclusive pre-school settings where each child is welcomed and included on equal terms and can progress to his or her full potential”


Note to editors:
Learning Space is a Belfast-based company. They have an extensive portfolio of clients, products and services and have worked on a range of similar projects across Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) was launched in June 2016 to enable the full inclusion and meaningful participation of children with disabilities in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. The goal of AIM is to empower pre-school settings to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can fully participate in the ECCE programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education. AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the strengths and needs of the child and the early years setting.