'Sometimes I like to take a step back from all of the issues to reflect on a job that I love...'
Dearbhala Cox Director of Childcare at Giraffe Childcare
'Having started a career in childcare over 25 years ago, I started out as an assistant in a Montessori creche in Dublin and I have learned about my sector from the ground up.
"Moving into management was a natural step - but not one that I'd planned at the onset of my career. Sometimes it happens like that.
"I discovered that I wanted all of the team to share my passion for ensuring that children were nurtured to love learning, to investigate and to grow into happy, confident and secure learners for life.
"Nothing made me happier than to observe a child exploring a puzzle or the sand and to see them fully engaged, concentrating on the activity and sometimes singing along to themselves, completely mesmerised by the new skill they were learning or indeed perfecting. It is so rewarding.
"Sometimes, I like to take a step back from all of these issues to reflect on how fortunate I am to do a job that I love and what delights me most is the simple things, in that I still have contact time with children, I hear their laughter and I can share in the wonder and delight of their learning.
"I have worked in central government, developing childcare policy and regulation, and more laterally in local government, managing funding and investment in childcare services in Westminster, I have seen all sides of the coin.
"What continues to surprise me is that change in the sector is so slow, we are still grappling with the thorny issue of affordable childcare for working parents, the dedication, commitment and passion of the early years workforce is still mainly unrecognised and we still do not value the earliest years of a child's life as being the most important time for shaping and nurturing their love of learning.
"Childcare is now becoming politicised and being caught up in the quagmire of election politics. It is pointless citing models across Europe without looking at the infrastructure and costs to deliver this.
"I am asking that we take a much broader and holistic view about developing a childcare sector that that works for families, which is properly funded, where parents have choice, staff are recognised for their commitment and dedication, children's learning is supported in quality environments and they have a sense of self-worth in everything they achieve."
Sunday Indo Business