Exploring Nordic approaches to early childhood education and care. The Early Childhood Research Centre at Dublin City University (DCU ECRC) and the FILIORUM-The Centre for Research in Early Childhood Education and Care at the University of Stavanger have been awarded the prestigious project by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Education and Research. The purpose of the study is to shed light on the values and principles that have guided the evaluation and assessment of the quality of early childhood education and care in the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden. The research project undertakes a systematic investigation into the development over time, and the current practice of evaluation in the Nordic countries. Furthermore, the study explores whether there is a coherent view on evaluating and assessing the quality of early childhood education and care that can be described as specifically ‘Nordic’, and how this links to the quality and development of early childhood education and care, its pedagogical practices and to the wellbeing, development and learning of children. ECRC project lead: Mathias Urban. ECRC researcher: Jennifer Guevara.

TOY to Share, Play to Care impact evaluation. TOY to Share, Play to Care is a learning project that provides practice-based evidence for the development and implementation of inclusive, community-based and -embedded services for young children and their families. The impact evaluation focused on what making a difference mean looks like in specific contexts. ECRC project lead: Mathias Urban. Researchers: Gillian Lake, Geraldine French, Fiona Giblin, Thérèse Farrell.

Froebelian Principles in the 21st Century: Play environments and play opportunities for young children experiencing stress. This study proposes a critical, participatory investigation of play environments and play opportunities afforded for young children experiencing stressful situations in Irish ECEC, home and community contexts. Underpinned and informed by an ethos of Froebelian principles, their critical relevance in society in the 21st century, and the right to play as enshrined in the UNCRC, this project addresses the question ‘How is and can play be supported in ECEC settings, at home and in the community for children experiencing disadvantage and stress in their life situations’? The premise for the study is that many children in present-day Ireland are experiencing high levels of disadvantage for multiple reasons, including homelessness, poverty and migration. This study adopts a highly innovative participatory approach combining principles of participatory action research with the ‘future workshop’ methodology (Jungk) that will empower participants to take concrete steps towards change. ECRC project lead: Mathias Urban. ECRC researchers: Marlene McCormack, Aishling Silke. 

The design, development and delivery of bilingual oral narrative programme "Tell-a-Tale | Inis Scéal" to support language development in linguistically diverse junior infant classrooms. Doctoral thesis. Tell-a-Tale | Inis Scéal is a specially developed and piloted bilingual English-Irish oral narrative programme with an overarching aim to support oral narrative retell in the junior infant classrooms. It is underpinned by sociocultural and interactionist views of language acquisition (Bruner, 1983; Vygotsky, 1978). The programme seeks to provide an opportunity for English Language Learners, in particular, to develop oral language skills in the initial years of primary schooling. The integrated English-Irish narrative pedagogy derives from the recently introduced Primary Language Curriculum and a gap in the literature pertaining to adopting this approach in Irish classroom settings. The study explores teacher professional development experiences, perceived pupil responses to the programme and insights on the English-Irish narrative pedagogy approach. ECRC researcher: Aoife Merrins

Let’s Talk about STEM: Language Supports for Girls’ Early Science Engagement. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Programme (2018), this interdisciplinary project by a team of researchers at the IoE and CASTeL partners with educators, parents, and children to consider the role of language and how we talk about science in motivating and encouraging girls’ science engagement in early childhood education. ECRC project Lead: Sinead McNally.

Governance in Early Childhood Education and Care: the case of Argentina. Postdoctoral project. The project examines the Early Childhood Education and Care system in Argentina, looking to understand the strategies of governance across different layers (individual, institutional, inter-institutional), and different levels of government (national, provincial, local). ECRC researcher: Jennifer Guevara.

Early childhood development, education and care with and for rural populations and contexts in Colombia. Doctoral thesis. This investigation seeks to understand early childhood development, education and care in rural contexts through a case study in Colombia. The national early childhood policy framework De cero a siempre provides a comprehensive early childhood programme. However, challenges remain in rural diverse territories given their cultural patterns, knowledges, needs, understandings about childhood, ways of social organization, among others. Considering this complex scenario, this research enquires into: What are the characteristics of early childhood development, education and care in rural contexts of Colombia? How do rural peasant communities conceive and experience early childhood development, education and care? ECRC researcher: Diana Gómez Muñoz.

Early childhood development(s), education and care from a scenario of peace building. This investigation is framed by current public policies assuring the rights of young children in Colombia (De Cero a Siempre and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the final agreement for the termination of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace. This doctoral project takes up the debate around the rights of children, public policies, language and culture in order to (re)conceptualize early childhood development(s), education, and care grounded in the social realities and assumptions -knowledge(s), practices and values- of children, families, and communities towards peace building. ECRC researcher: Germán Camilo Zárate Pinto.