If preschools had the Ear of Government…

October 4, 2021

In this week’s episode we speak to preschool owners, Margaret Leonard (Teach Leanbh, Co. Longford), Paula Donoghue (Clever Clogs, Co. Cavan), and Phil Weldon (Phil’s Montessori, Co. Meath).

At the outset of the show Dr. Wendy gives us some key insights on the main causes of stress and burnout in the childcare industry today, and outlines some results of her studies into what parents really want from their childcare facilities (spoiler alert – it isn’t more paperwork!).

Click this image to listen on Spotify:


The effects of ‘teacher burnout’ are discussed intensely in this week’s episode:

“Studies show that over 30% of novice teachers are leaving the profession within the first three years – mainly due to burnout.” – Dr. Wendy Oke

Margaret, Paula and Phil speak of the huge commitment that their team put into their work and how they sometimes feel undervalued and ‘over inspected’.

Phil Weldon, from Phil’s Montessori in Co. Meath, talks about her love of the industry and how she wants to spend as much time as possible on the floor with the children. However, she finds the burden of paperwork fall in the evenings, when she should be winding down…

“When I come home in the evening, I’m straight in doing paperwork. It’s full on – there’s no let up, even through the summer months.” Margaret Leonard

Paula Donoghue, tells us how she moved to a small town after getting married, and not being a ‘driver’ she decided to open up a small creche in her home in 2008. The business grew to a point in which in now has over 150 children over two locations.

“Children have always been central to my heart – I love every bit of working with the children. However, I can no longer work with the children anymore, as I’m now full time in the office trying to be compliant. The amount of paper work it takes to maintain the minimum standards in today’s world is cruel.” – Paula Donoghue

Margaret Leonard, tells us how the death of her father at an early age, gave her a lifelong interest in children’s welfare. She wants to actively work in her business every year – with the exception of this past year due to all of the extra pressures of Covid.

“You can’t do both things well – being on the floor, or being admin. You need money to do this well, and staff need to be paid well.”

What would you ask the Government?

At the end of the podcast we ask all three of the preschool owners what they would ask the Government for, if they had their ear… the answers all pointed towards supports for the preschool staff.

Listen to our second episode of ‘The Everything Preschool Podcast‘ to see how these amazing preschool owners are avoiding burnout! Available here on Spotify!