Trócaire's Insights: Early Years Development Education & Sustainable Development Goals

Collete Saunders Webinar_V1 (7)

Portobello Institute invites you to this exciting webinar all about Trocaire’s sustainable approach to Early Childhood education with Ms. Colette Saunders.   

Ms. Colette Saunders BA ECCE; MA by Research; PGCTLH is the Early Years Development Education Officer with Trócaire which gives her the opportunity to raise awareness of global issues such as justice, equality, and global citizenship.  The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals framework complements her work in this area and is integrated into the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) CPD workshops delivered to early years students. 


Having worked as an academic in Higher Education, it is no surprise Colette’s main areas of interest are related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Action Research, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Quality Practice and Provision in Early Childhood Care and Education, and Professional Recognition for the Early Childhood Workforce feature high on her work agenda. 

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Hear from a range of speakers on the night:

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Colette Saunders

Development Education Officer - Trócaire

For 15 years Colette Saunders worked in the financial services and customers services industry before returning to college as a mature student in 2009.  She completed a full-time degree in IT Sligo while working part-time alongside being a mum!  Her undergraduate studies, subsequent student placements and working in settings highlighted the importance and necessity of high-quality early years experiences and how this can be achieved by having a highly qualified, dedicated early years workforce.   Since joining Portobello at the end of 2017, on every module she has lectured on or has been a blended learning support tutor for, she draws on her own experiences of having been an undergraduate and postgraduate, a mother, an early years practitioner, a child-minder, a student on placement and a researcher.  These roles alongside her values base of empowerment and representation have all informed her professional knowledge and development to date, and continue to guide her in the work that she does.  Since January 2023 Collete has been the Educational Development Officer with Trócaire.



Fiona Kavanagh

Managing Director - Stepping Stones Childcare

Fiona Kavanagh wanted something different from her career in accounts management and she knew that if she followed her passion for early years education, she could use her skills to open her own preschool setting.

Children and how they learn was what initially sparked my curiosity. I then started researching in a general way and I was hooked. Early years education and care is an area in which you never stop learning and opening your mind to new possibilities.

“Studying with Portobello allowed me to achieve my dream of opening my own early years setting and this is something of which I am very proud.

“I now own and manage a full daycare setting. I was able to pursue my dreams and that is worth everything in my opinion. I am content and happy working in the early years sector. My qualifications ensure I have an in-depth knowledge of early childhood care and education"

Fiona gained her level 6 Early Childhood Care and Education qualification and her BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies at Portobello Institute and has now graduated from the MA in Early Childhood Studies.


rachel dunne

Rachel Dunne

Early Years Lecturer - Portobello Institute

Rachel began her journey in the Early Years sector in 2012. After spending three enriching years at IT Carlow, Rachel graduated with a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and Care, marking the beginning of her professional career in the field. Her initial roles included serving as a room leader in a preschool setting and working with children in an afterschool club, experiences she cherished.

Despite her enjoyment in these roles, Rachel aspired to further expand her knowledge and expertise. With this goal in mind, she made the decision to pursue a Masters Degree and relocated to Wales. There, she successfully completed the MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play at Swansea University, a journey that, while challenging, provided her with immense satisfaction and growth.


Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn  how you can integrate Trócaire's Education Development concept into your practice. Register now for our webinar on Monday, October 23rd, from 7:00-8:00pm.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Check out our latest EY Webinar on our YouTube Channel!





Watch this space for more information about our November and January webinar themes and guest speakers

November 27th | Guest Speaker: Dr. Carol-Ann O’Síoráin   

January 15th | Guest Speaker: Orlagh Farmer 

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If you would like further information, please visit our website or contact Jennifer Matteazzi, at






Register now for this webinar on October 23rd 2023 at 7pm