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Grainne McKenna


Contact Details


T: Ext. 2283
E: Grainne.McKenna@dcu.ie


Grainne McKenna is an Assistant Professor in early childhood education at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. She has worked as a primary school teacher and qualified as a Developmental and Educational Psychologist from Queen’s University Belfast in 2006.  Grainne has worked for government and national voluntary organisations in Ireland, the United States, the UK and British Overseas Territories.  She has been a member of Irish inter-departmental working groups including; the National Early Years Children First Committee and the Supporting Access to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme.  Prior to commencing her role with DCU, Grainne was Principal Inspection and Registration Officer with Tusla, Child and Family Agency, with responsibility for statutory regulation of early childhood settings under the Child & Family Agency Act (2013). 

Grainne has special interest in early intervention, developmental disorders and child poverty.  She has been involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based initiatives to support better outcomes for children and families.  These include; family literacy practices in Ireland (National Adult Literacy Agency), universal parenting supports (National Early Years Access Initiative), children’s access to Early Childhood Care and Education (Fingal Childcare Committee) and population level assessment of educational engagement and achievement (Department for International Development).  

Conference Contributions

  Year Publication
2014 OMEP Ireland,
Grainne McKenna, Jacqueline Maguire, Seoidin O'Sullivan, Professor Noirin Hayes, Carmel O'Sullivan (2014) 'The Wonder Project'. A collaborative early-years music, drama and visual arts programme for Traveller children and their mothers. [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], OMEP Ireland, Cork, Ireland , 03-JUL-14 - 03-JUL-14 [Details]

Honours and Awards

  Year Title Awarding Body
2006 Praxis Prize: ‘The social Play of children with Asperger Syndrome in a mainstream setting’ Praxis/Queen University Belfast School of Psychology


  Employer Position From / To
Government of St. Helena. Educational Psychologist/Advisor 26-JAN-14 / 04-MAY-14
Rowlands Gill Primary School Primary School Teacher 01-SEP-02 / 01-JUL-05
National College of Ireland, Early Learning Initiative Educational Psychologist/Researcher 01-JUL-08 / 31-JUL-09
Tusla, Child and Family Agency Inspection and Registration Manager 01-MAR-15 / 30-SEP-16
Institute of Technology Blanchardstown Lecturer- Early Childhood Care and Education (Part-Time) 01-OCT-10 / 31-DEC-13
Education Authority (Southern Board) Educational Psychologist 01-JUL-08 / 01-JUL-09
Fingal County Childcare Committee Manager 01-SEP-09 / 28-FEB-15


  Year Institution Qualification Subject
2001 Queen's University Belfast Bachelor of Science (Hons) Psychology
2006 Queen's University Belfast Master of Science Developmental and Educational Psychology
2002 University of Newcastle upon Tyne PGCE (U.K.) Primary Education

Research Interests

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Child Development 
  • Early Language and Family Literacy
  • Child Poverty and deprivation
  • Inequities in Early Childhood including; child poverty and marginalised communities
  • Safeguarding and child protection

Research Projects

  Title Funder From - To Role Award
Education Needs Amongst Children Experiencing Homelessness Living in Emergency Accomodation Children's Rights Alliance 04-MAY-17 - 31-AUG-17 DCU Co-PI 2,845.49
Fingal Parenting Initiative National Early Years Access Initiative 01-SEP-10 - 31-DEC-15 Chair 330,000.00
Investigation of Family Literacy Practices in Ireland National Adult Literacy Agency 01-JUL-08 - 01-JUL-09 Appointed Principal Investigator (concluded role in July 2009) 30,000.00

Internal Collaborators

  Name Institute Country
Dr. Ger Scanlon DCU, Institute of Education IRELAND