The first in-depth study of primary schools in Ireland, Children’s School Lives (CSL), has launched its third report giving a unique insight into the infant classrooms in Irish schools.
The early years of primary school are crucially important for children, not just in terms of their academic development, but as a foundation for their holistic social and emotional development and wellbeing. The latest findings of the study highlight the work of teachers in creating a positive learning environment in junior infant classrooms, and the value placed on this by families.
Led by Professor Dympna Devine and Associate Professor Jennifer Symonds, along with co-investigators Assistant Professor Seaneen Sloan and Assistant Professor Gabriela Martinez Sainz, all UCD School of Education, the five-year study is the first of its kind in Ireland, involving almost 4,000 children in 189 primary schools, commissioned by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).
The CSL Junior Infants Report captures the experiences of 1,663 children starting primary school in 128 junior infants classes in 83 primary schools across Ireland. It provides a unique perspective of children’s learning, their wellbeing and engagement and their experiences of equality, diversity and inclusion at the beginning of their school lives.
Key findings from the report were:
Assistant Professor Seaneen Sloan said: “We are delighted to launch this third report from the Children’s School Lives study, which gives a unique insight into infant classrooms in Irish primary schools. The early years of primary school are crucially important for children, not just in terms of their academic development, but as a foundation for their holistic social and emotional development and wellbeing. Our findings highlight the work of teachers in creating a positive learning environment in Junior Infant classrooms, and the value placed on this by families.”
Chief Executive of NCCA Arlene Forster commented: “This report is the third in the series from Children’s School Lives, an innovative, longitudinal research study involving almost 4,000 children in 189 primary schools. One of the defining features of the study is the strong emphasis it places on listening to and learning directly from children about their experience of being in primary school in Ireland.
“This particular report introduces us to the youngest children in the study. The multiple perspectives gathered from the children themselves, their families, teachers and school principals, converge to provide us with a rich, detailed picture of the children’s first year in school. Uniquely, this period incorporates the months just prior to the arrival of the Coronavirus on Irish shores and the weeks immediately after the commencement of the first national lockdown in Spring 2020.
"The NCCA also thanks and commends the UCD research team led by Professor Dympna Devine, Associate Professor Jennifer Symonds, Assistant Professor Seaneen Sloan and Assistant Professor Gabriela Martinez Sainz. Their carefully chosen and executed research methodologies maximised the children’s involvement giving prominence to these young voices and perspectives, a feature of the study to be celebrated."
The full report is available at: cslstudy.ie/news.