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NCI Congratulates Dr Josephine Bleach, Inaugural Recipient of the Paul McNaughton Award.

National College of Ireland is proud to congratulate a brilliant member of our staff. On Friday, May 3rd, 2024, Dr Josephine Bleach became the inaugural recipient of the Paul McNaughton Award from basis.point.

Dr Josephine Bleach, Director of NCI’s Early Learning Initiative, has been recognised for her hard work addressing early childhood educational disadvantages. At NCI, we are immensely proud of the commendable work that ELI (Early Learning Initiative) does for the community, and we are delighted that Josephine’s passionate efforts have been applauded. 

As Josephine herself said in her acceptance speech, “Ní neart go cur le chéile; there’s no strength without unity, strength comes from collaboration.”

Here at NCI, we want to take this opportunity to congratulate the entire ELI team as the ELI programme is made up of a dedicated team of outstanding staff members who are united in their goal to provide parents, guardians, and children with the highest levels of support in areas of need so that those children, and their families, can thrive academically and socially.

What Does ELI Do? 

The Early Learning Initiative at National College of Ireland was developed to address the problem of educational underachievement in marginalised communities. ELI’s mission is to work with communities in areas of greatest need, to provide world-class parent and child learning support programmes. 

Research conducted in Ireland and beyond shows that early learning is the foundation for all learning that will follow in a child’s life. Differences can be seen in language and numerical developments between children from wealthier vs disadvantaged backgrounds from as early as three years of age. This gap will only continue to widen if it is not addressed before children go to playschool. It is an unfortunate reality that without early interventions from programmes like ELI, for many children from disadvantaged areas, their chances to thrive as they grow up are decided before they even have the chance to enter formal education. The Early Learning Initiative aims to break those generational cycles by making education accessible to all through various methods of supporting families. 

How Does ELI Achieve These Goals? 

The work of ELI is made possible because of the many people who come together to ensure that young people and their families are given the support they need to develop the skills and knowledge needed to allow them to thrive and achieve their academic, career, and personal life goals. This support comes in the form of training, activities, and supports for children, parents, guardians, and educators from birth, delivered by ELI’s network of parents, guardians, Public Healthcare nurses, community and youth workers alongside corporate volunteers and educators from primary to third level.

To learn more about the Early Learning Initiative and how you can show your support, visit the official ELI homepage. 

What Is basis.point? 

Established in 2014, basis.point is the charity of the Irish funds industry and its wider ecosystem. The aim of basis.point is to give children in Ireland equal access to a brighter future through education. The work of basis.point is made possible because of dedicated industry members giving their time, energy, efforts, and resources to combat educational disadvantages. 

There is a shared goal at basis.point, a shared vision that everyone is looking towards, and that is to give children who wouldn’t normally have access to support the structures they need to allow them to thrive because every child deserves the chance to flourish personally, emotionally, and academically. 

There is a wide range of programs offered by basis.point that focus on helping children develop their literacy and their numeracy, as well as helping children to develop soft skills such as confidence, engaging with others, and building self-esteem. These skills are crucial when it comes to ensuring that a child grows up able to reach their full potential. 

To learn more, visit the official basis.point website.

Celebrating a decade of helping young people achieve life goals

As Dr Josephine Bleach shared in her wonderful acceptance speech, the success of ELI continues to grow. “Last year, in 2023, ELI supported 16, 433 people across Ireland.”  

Dr Bleach was delighted to be the inaugural recipient of the Paul McNaughton Award for services to young people and families, and she looks forward to continuing the journey to helping young people thrive and prosper.