About the Big Toddle

All about how the Big Toddle for Barnardos helps to fund our Early Years Services for vulnerable children

Barnardos Early Years Work

The funds raised through The Big Toddle for Barnardos sponsored by Danone support our Early Years Work.  This incredible support ensures that some of the youngest and most vulnerable children we work with are best prepared for the transition to ‘big school’ and get the best possible start in life. 

These services aim to break negative behaviours and overcome the challenges that a child may face in an often chaotic environment.  Programmes are developed to build the child’s resilience – their ability to cope and to achieve their developmental, social and educational milestones, in spite of their circumstances.

Many of the children Barnardos works with come from particularly vulnerable backgrounds and need specialist care to enable them to get ready for milestones such as the big step towards primary school. 

The Need for Early Years Services

The children who are referred to Early Years Services come to us with some or many of the following issues:

  • They cannot understand or express emotions
  • They cannot manage conflict or demonstrate empathy for others
  • They cannot play in a co-operative manner or share
  • They do not know how to make positive choices
  • They cannot understand speech/language
  • They have poor gross and fine motor skills – standing, walking, holding a pencil, picking up items
  • They have a poor diet and limited access to good nutrition

Barnardos Early Years Services

Early Years Programme

A daily programme for children aged 2-3 years.  Focusing on supporting children to meet their developmental milestones, develop language, social skills, sharing, taking turns and resolving conflicts.

Tús Maith Pre-School Programme

A daily programme for children aged 3-5 years.  Focusing on social, emotional, language, phonological and literacy skills in preparation for transition to primary school.

Parents Group

Peer support group to increase parental understanding of their children’s needs, child development and behaviour.

Individual Parent & Child Work

Tailored therapeutic work in response to assessed needs with either the child or the parent.

Outcomes for children attending Barnardos Early Years include

  • Improved cognitive development, problem-solving skills, educational, speech and motor skills
  • Improved school readiness and pro-social behaviour
  • Improved eating and sleeping patterns and reduced rates of infection and ill-health
  • Reduced risk of social and emotional difficulties
  • Increased likelihood of school matriculation and school progression and completion later on
  • Decreased likelihood of participation in risky behaviour and criminal activity in later life


Children are taught to manage their emotions and regulate their behaviour. This is evidenced by children being able to:

  • Identify and name emotions
  • Be aware of their own/others' emotions
  • Understand and express emotions
  • Manage conflict and demonstrate empathy for others


Children experience positive relationships with their peers and early year's staff. This is evidenced by children being able to:

  • Manage their emotions
  • Play cooperatively participate and take turns
  • Solve problems
  • Share and make positive choices

Language, Literacy and Communication

Children have the necessary emergent language and literacy skills. This is evidenced by children being able to:

  • Express and comprehend language
  • Communicate effectively with peers and adults
  • Recognise letters, numbers and symbols
  • Demonstrate developmentally-appropriate fine motor skills


Children have healthy physical development. This is evidenced by children:

  • Having the ability to perform simple self-care skills
  • Having key gross motor skills
  • Eating a range of healthy food

Support from The Big Toddle for Barnardos sponsored by Danone will ensure children take their first steps towards a normal and happy childhood, allowing them to thrive, well in to their adult lives.

Register online today or call our Toddle Team on 1890 222 300 and help us to continue these vital services.