Using the not-for-profit franchise model, Fledglings is a social enterprise that provides high quality, affordable early years education in disadvantaged communities.
There is a significant shortage of high quality early years education places in disadvantaged areas in Ireland. For example in 2008 in Tallaght West there were less than 450 childcare places catering for a child population of more than 3,000. Due to the financial pressures on community early years services, educators are relatively low paid and many services work at the maximum legal staff ratio of 1:8 for pre-school children. This makes it hard to drive improvements in quality within early years services.
In response to this need, Dara Hogan set up Fledglings Early Years Education and Care in 2008 as a not-for-profit social franchise to support and mentor early years educators. Using the not-for-profit franchise model, Fledglings helps early years educators to set up their own affordable services. Fledglings use the highly acclaimed HighScope approach to early education and staff ratios better than the legal limit. Four sites have already been launched creating 150 new early years places for children and 38 new jobs for early years educators. Dara plans to open 10 sites by 2012 and to extend the Fledglings social franchise to other disadvantaged communities.
Research shows that children who benefit from HighScope early years education have much better outcomes in terms of educational attainment and personal development in later life. These additional childcare places not only provide early years places but also provide employment for the early years educators, as well as vital support for disadvantaged communities.
Our guiding principle is that education is the solution to poverty and disadvantage. I am following that principle by taking the training that we provide to our early years educators out into local communities.
Seán Coughlan visiting a Fledglings centre
Meet the Fledglings team
Fledglings provides high quality early years education