The Young Knocknaheeny Programme

The Young Knocknaheeny Programme is underpinned by an innovative Infant Mental Health Framework and draws on best international evidence and practice. The implementation of the programme is achieved through community and systems change. This means Young Knocknaheeny works first through a relationship based model directly with families, guided by an Infant Mental Health Interdisciplinary framework complemented by the delivery of evidence-based parenting programmes and groups. Second, it supports the development of quality skills and environments using coaching, modelling, mentoring and continuous professional development of practitioners working with children aged 0-6 and their parents.

The Young Knocknaheeny Programme consists of four interconnected strategies supported by an integrated research and evaluation process. The strategies are connected by their common approaches of capacity building, integration and ongoing quality improvement to ensure that all children can be happy, well and able to learn and reach their full potential. The four strategies are Infant Health and Wellbeing, Speech, Language and Literacy, Early Childhood Care and Education, Pro-social Behaviour and Self-Regulation

Summary of the Young Knocknaheeny Programme

Young Knocknaheeny is an interdisciplinary whole community approach to early childhood development, relationships and environments. It provides universal to targeted services, with an emphasis on interagency working, co-facilitation across services, capacity building and systems change. Supported by an integrated research and evaluation strategy.


1.      Infant Health and Wellbeing Strategy to develop knowledge, skills, practice and services for the pre-birth to 3 years period development. Including: preparation for parenthood; interdisciplinary Infant Mental Health Masterclasses and ongoing Network Groups; interdisciplinary Infant Mental Health Home Visitation Programme (Michigan Model) with Parent and Infant Groups; integration of Kidscope Child Development Assessment Clinic.


2.      Early Years Care and Education ongoing quality improvement strategy across all services including pre and post assessment, curriculum training, oral language programme, environmental enhancement, leadership support, standardised transitions, mentoring, PR and parental engagement.


3.      Speech, language and literacy Strategy supports and strengthens emerging oral language development. Including “babbling babies” clinic with parents and baby at 9months; participating in interdisciplinary home-visitation model; Hanen programmes for teachers and Early Years Practitioners; Language Assessments of all junior infant children across the area with ongoing referrals and consultation.


4.      Prosocial Behaviour and Self-Regulation Strategy implements The Incredible Years suite of programmes that develop positive parent-teacher-child relationships prevent and treating behaviour problems and promoting social, emotional, and cognitive development. Includes Basic Parent Programme, Whole Classroom Dina and Teacher Classroom Management working toward accreditation and “train trainer”.