Making local pre-schools more accessible to children with disabilities is  the focus of a new ‘Inclusive Play’ initiative launched by Dublin South West Minister Katherine Zappone at Dominic’s Community Centre, Tallaght. During his visit Minister Zappone delivered the first packs of sensory toys to begin a national roll-out of a €3m initiative.

In the coming weeks more than 6,000 packs will be sent to pre-schools  nationwide, including those in Tallaght, Rathfarnham and Citywest.

Making the announcement Minister Zappone said: “We are building an affordable accessible childcare scheme which will last for generations. In order to achieve our goal we must ensure that every child can enjoy and learn from every aspect of pre-school. The ‘Inclusive Play’ sensory toy packs together with special training for the dedicated people who run pre-schools and crèches is essential.  At the Dominic’s Community Centre I am thrilled to see the excitement the arrival of the first of the special packs has caused. Puppets, sensory balls, ribbons and special colouring in projects to name just a few of the toys have clearly struck a chord with children.

The packs and the very important special training developed to be included as part of this project will make a huge difference in ensuring our  pre-schools are truly accessible to all. The investment involved is significant at €3m. However we must accept that more will be needed as we correct decades of under-investment in childcare  across a number of successive Governments.