Say hi to our wonderful admins!

Our administrators give their time and expertise voluntarily at Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland. They facilitate professional conversations, offer advice, share information, moderate discussions in our Facebook group, and edit our public Facebook page and website.

  • Sinéad Matson

    Sinéad Matson has been working in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector in Ireland since 2001 and founded Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland (MECPI) in 2008, when it was known simply as Montessori Teachers Ireland. For sixteen years Sinead worked as an early childhood educator, a Montessori school manager, principal of a Montessori primary school, Montessori tutor at level 6, and lecturer in Montessori and Early Childhood Education and Care. Sinead holds a BA in Arts, a Higher Diploma in Montessori, a Master of Education Degree, and is currently completing a PhD in Education.
    Sinéad has designed and written modules for various third level institutions and recently designed, wrote, and projected managed a new four year level 8 degree in Early Childhood Education and Care for a private training college in Dublin. She has also published reports and papers examining early childhood education and care in Ireland. She currently holds the role of External Examiner for a third level institute in Leinster.
    Sinéad won a competitive scholarship for her PhD with Maynooth University. Her research examines ethical research practices with three Early Childhood Education and Care classes in a preschool and primary school run by a not for profit Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) in urban India. Sinéad is passionate about professionalisation of the ECEC sector in Ireland and how we can have global conversations with other countries to help us reflect on our own practice.

  • Lee Herlihy

    Lee Herlihy is the proprietor and manager of Horizons Montessori School in Bishopston, Co. Cork. She has worked as a Montessori directress for 20 years and her school has been delivering quality Montessori experiences to children aged three to five years. In addition to her Montessori qualification, Lee successfully completed her honours degree in Early Childhood Education and Care with National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research on Children’s Friendship Formation in ECCE settings was so well received that she was subsequently invited back to NUI Galway to present it to their graduate programme.

    Lee has been a voluntary administrator /moderator of Ireland's largest online community of practice, Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland (MECPI) on Facebook, since its inception 12 years ago. In addition to the administrative aspect, Lee has mentored and advised members of the group on their professional practice - in particular mapping the Montessori ethos and curriculum to Aistear. Lee delivered a master class on this subject at Early Childhood Ireland's annual conference in 2017 and also presented with Early Childhood Ireland at the Montessori Europe Congress in Dublin in October 2019.

  • Clair Battle

    Clair Battle has been a admin of MECPI for ten years. Her background is in Montessori where she spent some time working on private montessori private schools before moving on to lecture in Saint Nicholas Montessori College Ireland (SNMCI) in Co. Dublin. Clair holds a higher diploma in Montessori Education and Scrum Master in Project management . She moved into the role of Head of Information Technology for SNMCI combining both her qualifications and years of industry experience. Presently, Clair works in the area of Peer Led Learning in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) while also generating content and Web design for early years services. Clair has amassed a wealth of experience in creating online and distance learning methods and content for programmes and degrees for third level institutions during the design and validation process by Qualifications and Quality Ireland (QQI). Clair has also consulted for third level institutes in this role.

  • Valerie Gaynor

    Valerie leads an award-winning service Walkinstown Dublin 12, as the manager of Creative kids and Co. She has a back ground in Business Management and a huge commitment to quality provision in the early years and afterschool services; and is always looking for ways to improve quality provision.
    Valerie entered the early years sector when she was project leader for the Childcare Information Bureau funded by Dublin City Childcare Committee. This role involved the development of an information service for all stakeholders in the South-Central area of Dublin. Valerie supported Childcare owners, childcare workers, childminders and parents in all areas relating to childcare.
    Valerie was involved in the Thematic Working Group for the development of quality school age childcare and a member of the childminders thematic working group in Dublin City.
    Currently a member of Early Childhood Ireland’s Policy and Implementation panel, Valerie regularly brings the issues faced on the ground by providers to the tables at policy level. Valerie is also currently a member of DCYA’s Business Consultative Group for the development of the new affordable childcare scheme.

  • Aylish Smyth

    Aylish Smyth is the owner and manager of Shining Stars Preschool in Leixlip, Co. Kildare. She is passionate about the rights of the child and the inclusion of all children within her setting. She follows the lead of each child and has been very successful in minimising transitions during the day. Minimising transitions has led to a very calm and relaxing environment which has been commented on many times by visitors to the setting. Following her degree in Early Years Teaching and Learning from Maynooth University, Aylish completed the Leadership for Inclusion (LINC Programme) and is presently an Inclusion Co-Ordinator in her service.
    Aylish believes strongly that the wellbeing of children and her team is paramount to the overall harmony in her setting. Her ethos is: “respectful relationships are key”

  • Míde Emans

    Míde Emans has been involved in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector since 1990. She worked in a full day creche for a year before opening up her own service.
    In 1996, she obtained an NCVA level II diploma from the Liberties College and subsequently went on to set up a créche in her home catering for children aged 0 - 4 years in 1998. Míde was very active in the Childcare 2000 campaign. The campaign aimed to provide quality, affordable childcare. During that time, she served on the committee for the National Children’s Nursery Association (NCNA).
    While her own four children were preschool age Míde ran her creche service, and in 2003 when her children moved to primary school, she changed the facility to an Afterschool Club where she provided the children with exciting opportunities and challenging, fun activities. She operated the Club from her home until she and a friend decided to set up an afterschool club together.
    Míde is active in the running of Explorers’. For three years, she managed Explorers’ Afterschool Club in Blackrock/Monkstown and since September 2016, she has been co-ordinator of all 3 Clubs.
    Míde speaks fluent Irish and this led to the opportunity to open Afterschool Clubs in the two Gaelscoileanna.

  • AnneMarie Kelly

    Anne-Marie has worked in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector since 2002. She holds a level 6 qualification in Supervision in Childcare. Anne-Marie has worked in all levels of an ECE service such as sessional, full-day and afterschool services. She has worked with children aged 2-12 years.
    Anne-Marie has a passion for the utilisation of loose parts in the early childhood classroom and the potential they bring for a child's imagination. She is also a huge advocate for having a wide variety of books available for young children.

  • Heather Ní Shé

    Heather Ní Shé has worked in Early Childhood Education and Care since 2013. She holds numerous qualifications in Early Childhood Education and Care including, but not limited to, a level 6 qualification in Early Years Education , Montessori certification, Special Needs Assisting certification and Therapeutic Play Skills certification.
    Heather is currently studying her BA in Early Years Education. She is passionate about Trauma and Psychology of Childhood and plans to branch out as a specialist in Informed Trauma Care in the future.
    Heather is also passionate about affordable childcare, particularly provision of quality care and education for parents returning to college. She currently works in a Not-For-Profit Early Childhood Education and Care center in Tralee Institute of Technology, in Co. Kerry.