Thursday 18 January 2018

Chantel wins at the Early Childhood awards for her work on inclusive project

Chantel Johnson with her brother Eoin
Chantel Johnson with her brother Eoin

A Raheen woman picked up a top award at the Early Childhood Ireland awards recently.

Chantel Johnson from Raheen who is a Montessori teacher at Carraig Briste childcare service in Enniscorthy created an inclusive curriculum practice along with staff members.

Chantel who also home schools her autistic brother Eoin (13) said there is an understanding of special needs in early education. The AIMS programme inspired the setting to create diverse and inclusive experiences for the children.

Her brother Eoin also visited the children to talk to them about how he feels and showed the pupils at Carraig Briste his sensory basket.

Chantel said: 'We also worked in partnership with the Enniscorthy workshop to bring special needs and early years together. The children visited the workshop to see Santa. These experiences brought our community, parents, staff and children in our work closer together. We will continue to work in partnership with the community workshop and Eoin still visits the children regularly.' Chantel stressed the importance of teaching children about diversity and special needs in order to create an open-minded, inclusive, happier society.

Chantel said she was honoured to receive the award from Adam Harris, the founder of

'Adam is an inspiration to us all and reminds us to be proud of who we are. Adam gives every child and adult with a social need or disability the confidence to believe in themselves.'

Chantel said children will encounter differences wherever they go, adding that by creating inclusive experiences for them their ability to adapt to a primary school environment.

'I think every pre-school needs to see the importance of raising awareness of special needs in their curriculum and in their school environment. As Adam said at the awards ceremony, children are oblivious to differences, so if we teach them about special needs they will grow with understanding and acceptance.'

Carraig Briste childcare service won the 2017 Early Childhood Ireland Inspired Practice of the Year Award for inclusion and diversity.

The project, 'An Inspired Inclusion Approach in a Rural Early Years Setting', considered ways to make the children more aware of the challenges faced by those with additional needs.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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