Sherpa Kids Ireland | Before, After School & Holiday Programmes


Sherpa Kids & A Lust for Life

Did you know that in Ireland, 1 in 3 children experience mental health difficulties before they reach the age of 13 while 3 in 4 principals feel insufficiently trained to help deal with mental health challenges in their schools? That’s quite a striking statistic, isn’t it?  At Sherpa Kids Ireland, it has always been important to us to take care of our children’s mental health and emotional well-being, recognise when children need mental health support and teach children to communicate their thoughts and feelings by providing them a safe and non-judgemental space to do so. That’s why we have teamed up with ‘A Lust For Life’ which is Ireland’s multi-award winning mental health charity that supports and encourages children to take care of their minds while also leading as a shining example by exposing the fact that mental health truly matters.  A Lust For Life aims to reach every child in every primary school in Ireland and we are in full support of this. This would mean principals, teachers and special needs assistants would be trained to recognise and deal with mental health challenges in their school environment. It would also mean every child in Ireland will have access to mental health support, which we know will stand to them for life.  A Lust For Life offers a free, emotional well-being and resilience programme for children which provides children a set of mental health tools to equip them for challenges relatable to young people. Tools such as emotional awareness, resilience and literacy are some of the few in which A Lust For Life offers.  We believe that no child should be left behind. We believe that children deserve a better world and to be better equipped for the challenges that today’s world presents them. We understand the pressure that children are under within a fast-paced society and we are inspired to encourage children to take a breath, to listen to their feelings and to trust that we have got their back along the way.  Mental health matters, it always has and it always will.  By Valerie J. Deady, Sherpa Kids Ireland!

Adventure Programme: Inspiring creativity and teamwork!

As part of our Adventure Programme, we are launching our two new categories Power Teams and Creative Inventors.  We believe being part of a team isn't just in a classroom or in a sport that we are part of or that we follow. Being part of a team is being part of a tribe, a family, a community. It is a group of people who come together with not only a common goal but having a deep understanding of why they are together, why they are passionate about working with each other and why they trust each other. A team isn't just about knowing what roles we play as a collective, it is about being fearless, selfless and devoted to pursuing common goals. We want children to feel like their input is valuable, that they have a say and they are listened to not only by staff but by their peers as well. We want our children to feel like they can ask for help and have a sense of belonging. We encourage children to work things out together, support each other and to be kind to one another. So, we are very excited to launch Power Teams as part of our Sherpa Kids Adventure Programme.  As for the purpose of our Creative Inventors, we believe that creativity goes beyond the colouring lines. It doesn't always follow the rules. It experiments and gets messy. Creativity can turn into thousands of other things before it gets to the end result. We believe it can make mistakes and most importantly it's allowed to. Creativity is thinking outside the box, doing something different and expressing it confidently. At Sherpa Kids, we encourage our children to be creative because we love mess, we love ideas, we love expression and we love freedom!  We are so excited to see these two categories unfold as part of our Adventure Programme. Teamwork and creativity, what a perfect pair.  By Valerie J. Deady, Sherpa Kids Ireland!

The importance of play

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein Numerous studies have proven the importance of play in a child’s life. Through play, children can channel their curiosity and learn about themselves and the world around them. They get to connect with themselves and others, learn the art of risk and messy play, as well as understanding their likes and dislikes. Children get to know their preferences for play through sports, arts & crafts, science experiments and well-being activities. Research shows that play influences everything from a child’s physical skills to problem-solving, teamwork, creativity and emotional abilities to connect through empathy, self-regulation, listening and communicating.  At Sherpa Kids, our holiday care programmes are designed to encourage our children to take their minds out of the classroom’s learning environment and into a world of imagination, with the support of our staff who are just as enthusiastic about getting messy in art, curious in a science experiment, energetic for a sports game and calm in a well-being activity. Our staff are trained to not only support but encourage children to pay without their involvement, so we can observe how children interact with others and the activities that are being offered as part of the holiday care programme. Over the Easter holidays, we would like to encourage everyone to play. Playing doesn’t stop at 18, neither does our brain development. Play is the highest form of research for everyone and what better way to connect, to get to know ourselves and as a result, get to know our kids through the gift of playfulness.  By Valerie J. Deady, Sherpa Kids Ireland!

Thank You to John & Anne Marie!

Behind the success of Sherpa Kids Ireland stand two visionaries: John Miles and Anne Marie Hegarty.  In 2014 they started their mission to transform the childcare landscape, prioritising the well-being and development of every child in their care. Their leadership, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence have shaped Sherpa Kids into what it is today – a trusted name in childcare, known for its quality, integrity, and professionalism. But their impact extends far beyond the walls of our centres. John and Anne Marie’s infectious energy and genuine passion have inspired not only the children we look after but also every member of our team. Their vision has created a culture of collaboration, innovation, and empowerment, making Sherpa Kids a place where everyone thrives from children to adults and its community!  As we celebrate Sherpa Kids’ 10th anniversary, we extend our deepest gratitude to John and Anne Marie for dedicating their time and unwavering commitment to making Sherpa Kids what it is today!  Here’s to many more years of impact and excellence! 💖  “For Sherpa Kids, in recognition of 10 years of outstanding innovation in the School Age Childcare sector in Ireland, setting a gold standard and leaving a legacy that will only continue!”.

Celebrating 10 Years of Sherpa Kids Ireland!

This week, we are celebrating our ten years of Sherpa Kids Ireland and we are so excited and grateful. As we roll into a decade of serving our families and communities, we reflect on all the ups and downs, the achievements and the challenges as well as the learning aspects of being the leading breakfast and after school programme in Ireland. In 2014, Sherpa Kids Ireland started with the purpose of supporting families, schools and our communities by offering an affordable, safe and playful environment for children before and after school. As parents ourselves, we knew exactly how it felt knowing our children were happy, safe and well looked after and we wanted to reach out to as many parents who needed a service such as ours, to feel this way too. There’s no better feeling knowing our children are cared for and there’s also no better feeling when the children are having so much fun, they don’t even want to leave! At Sherpa Kids Ireland, we want to express our gratitude to everyone who is part of keeping our purpose alive, ten years later. We thank our managers, our programme coordinators and assistant programme coordinators for your devotion to making a difference in our children’s lives as well as supporting their families, their schools and their communities. We thank our families and school for giving us a chance and for supporting us. Most importantly, we thank our children for teaching us how to be playful and present in everything you we do. If anything, our greatest researchers we have found in the development of Sherpa Kids over the years, have been with our children and we are devoted to continue to hear them, see them and learn from them, so we make their world and the world around them a better place. Here’s to another decade! By Valerie J. Deady, Sherpa Kids Ireland!

Children’s Mental Health

“My Voice Matters…” Children go through many stages throughout their childhood. During this time of development, their brains are powerfully adaptable and ready to learn whatever they are being exposed to. It is during childhood that our core beliefs are planted and rooted which can set us up for better or for worse in our adulthood. An incredible amount of research and studies have shown that 80% of mental health issues in adulthood can be traced back to our childhood. This is why, at Sherpa Kids, it is so important to raise awareness, so our children are better equipped to deal with mental health issues in adulthood. The theme of this year’s children’s mental health week is “my voice matters”. Raising awareness on children’s mental health, gives us better opportunities to learn. We become aware of what causes children’s mental health issues and how we deal with them should they arise. We become more aware of signs and symptoms and how to listen and communicate with children, which gives them a better opportunity to become aware of their own thoughts and behaviours. At Sherpa Kids, we have spoken about behaviour, bullying, meltdowns and the importance of play and creativity and we will continue to speak about these topics beyond children’s mental health week. Our programmes foster young minds by encouraging outdoor games, yoga sessions, healthy eating, and activities centered around kindness, ensuring a holistic approach to nurture the well-being of children every day. At Sherpa Kids, children can trust that we believe their voice matters, that they are not alone and that we can help. We are in this together!

Sherpa Kids and A Lust for Life

Nurturing Hearts & Minds! ❤️   In light of recent statistics revealing a concerning surge in mental health issues among children, evidenced by an increase in those seeking assistance according to HSE data, we recognize the critical importance of proactive measures to nurture their emotional well-being. For us, prevention is paramount – educating children about the significance of discussing their emotions and normalizing these feelings, which everyone experiences and can sometimes find challenging to understand and deal with. And because we believe in it, we are proudly joining forces with A Lust For Life in 2024!   A Lust For Life began their commendable project during the pandemic, focusing on building resilience, enhancing emotional literacy, and increasing well-being among 1st to 6th-class students, offering school programmes designed by best practices in psychology, mindfulness, and education. Sherpa Kids has proudly chosen A Lust for Life as our Charity of Choice for 2024, dedicated to supporting the mental health of primary school children across Ireland. With 3,390 classrooms already participating in their programmes and 80,151 school pupils benefiting from their initiatives, A Lust for Life is already accessible in 35% of primary schools in Ireland. Their mission has seamlessly become a part of our own, and we are committed to supporting and contributing to their goal of reaching as many children as possible.   We invite everyone to join Sherpa Kids on this journey by supporting our initiatives and spreading the word about the incredible programmes offered by A Lust for Life, available free of charge to school teachers in Ireland from 1st to 6th class.   Together, let's make a difference in the lives of our children.   Their mission closely aligns with ours, aiming to reach every primary school pupil with tailored programmes designed to teach emotional expression and foster a sense of belonging.

Two-thirds of parents have struggled balancing remote working with childcare

Government must make clear distinction between early-years and “school-age” childcare as report finds nearly two-thirds of parents have struggled balancing remote working with childcare. As Covid-19 continues to disrupt work and education in Ireland, a leading childcare organisation has called on the government to follow European Commission recommendations and make clearer policy and funding distinctions between early years (0-3) and after-school or “school-age” childcare (4+). Sherpa Kids Ireland, which provides on-site after-school childcare services to children aged 4-12 in more than 50 primary schools across the country, has today published a new report, “No child left behind: reforming school-age childcare”, which details findings from a survey on Irish parents’ experiences of childcare during lockdown. Read more here>>

Parents feel child’s education affected by Covid

The majority of parents in Ireland feel their children’s education has been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic according to a report from Sherpa Kids Ireland. 67 per cent of parents surveyed said the virus had affected their child’s learning, while 59 per cent said it had taken a toll on their own mental health. Almost two thirds of parents said they struggled to find time to home-school their children during the school closure earlier this year and 60 per cent said their children would have benefited from structured school-age childcare activities during lockdown. Read more here>>

Impact of remote working for parents

A new study has revealed that almost half of parents saw their mental health impacted negatively after trying to balance remote working with childcare during the pandemic. Sherpa Kids - which provides on-site after-school childcare services to children aged between four and 12 in more than 50 primary schools - conducted the research and is now calling for greater recognition and investment in childcare for kids attending school. The 'No child left behind: reforming school-age childcare' report outlines findings from a survey on Irish parents’ experiences of childcare during lockdown. Read more here>>