Developing a Healthy Ireland Pre-school Service


Invitation to participate in the Healthy Ireland Smart Start Training Programme

Autumn Training 2019


Pre-school providers, staff and registered childminders are invited to participate in the forthcoming Healthy Ireland Smart Start Training Programme. This programme provides the information, training, resources and guidance required to become officially recognised by the HSE as a Healthy Ireland Pre-school service that promotes children’s health and well-being.

The training will be delivered one evening per week over 7 weeks in

Westmeath County Childcare Committee Office,

Old Mullingar Area Office,


commencing Tuesday15th October 2019, 7pm-9.45pm. 

Please see attached schedule for remaining dates. 

Link to online booking facility at end of email.

Pre-school staff have a vital role to play in encouraging children to develop healthy lifestyle habits in their early years. The Healthy Ireland Smart Start Programme builds on and enhances the existing knowledge and skills of Pre-school staff in promoting children’s health and well-beingand also encourages staff to consider their own lifestyle choices.

The programme includes a focus on the following topics:

  • Health Promotion and the Role of Pre-school staff in Promoting Children’s Health and Well-being within the Pre-school setting

  • Emotional Well-being/literacy

  • Physical Activity

  • Nutrition & Healthy Eating

  • Oral Health

  • Health & Safety

Achieving Healthy Ireland Validation for your Pre-school Service

During the training, your tutor will discuss with you how the programme can be implemented into pre-school settings and the criteria that must be achieved forthe service to receive validation and the Healthy Ireland Award. When the training is completed, staff have 9 -12 months to implement the programme into their setting.

Evidence of programme implementation must be demonstrated through completion of a Self-Assessment Questionnaire. You will receive written guidelines on the self-assessment process. The Self-Assessment Questionnaire will require you to submit some additional evidence. Your tutor will highlight what is required during the training sessions.

When you have completed the process you may submit your completed questionnaire to the Healthy Ireland Validation Panel. There are two dates for submission of your evidence: 29th May 2020 and 11th December 2020. You may choose which deadline you wish to meet.

Please view the Healthy Ireland Smart Start Programme in Action.

Through the programme, participating staff are supported to achieve compliance with the requirements of the Tusla Quality Regulatory Framework (QRF) and with many of the requirements of both the Síolta and Aistear Frameworks. Feedback from Tusla and the Department of Education and Skills inspectors who visit participating services after programme implementation has been very positive. Staff from Better Start have also highlighted how the programme helps enhance the quality of servicesand children’s overall experience in addition to promoting children’s health and wellbeing.

Participation in the programme requires management approval and support to enable staff to attend training and implement the learning into everyday practice.  Staff must be made fully aware of the commitment involved in attending the training and implementing the programme.  Information on what is involved may be accessed on the NCN website www.ncn.ieA HSE/NCN help desk facility will be available during and after delivery of training to help staff understand what is required in implementing the programme and in achieving validation as a Healthy Ireland Pre-school service.

You may seek help by emailing your questions/queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or by contacting the HISS Administrator – Patricia Cassidy, NCN on 047 72469 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In recognition of the valuable role Pre-school staff can play in promoting children’s health and well-being, the programme is heavily subsidised by the HSE and participating services will receive a range of resources for their settings and for the parents. Cost of training is €40 per service and one or two staff members preferably may attend.

In order to participate in the Healthy Ireland Smart Start Training Programme you must agree to the following criteria:

  • - nominated staff must be willing to attend the full 21 hours of training or share attendance with other staff willing to share responsibility for   implementing the programme

  • - participating staff must be willing to share learning from the programme with other staff members  so as to implement the health promoting     messages across the pre-school setting and into everyday practice 

  • - a key person from the service must be nominated to liaise with NCN/HSE  and support other staff implement the programme

  • - participating staff must be willing to share information from the training with parents including holding a Parents Information night or   morning to inform them about the programme (this is an essential criteria for achieving the Healthy Ireland Award )

·         supply a copy of your most recent Pre-school Inspection report


To book a place for your service please visit our online booking facility.

For further information please contact NCN on 047 72469 or visit the Healthy Ireland Smart Startsection on our website.