Junior primary school children are set to meet Peigí the Cocker Spaniel and her friends, in a new children’s book that celebrates fairness and inclusion in science.
Written by Dr Shane Bergin and Dr Declan Fahie from UCD School of Education, Peigí’s Adventures in Science is specially written for young school children and follows Peigí and Co as they travel to space, learn to recycle, race a train, and grow a sunflower.
Written as four stories, the book provides a creative and age-appropriate way for teachers and parents to introduce young children to science and to the many people who do it.
The first story, Blast Off, Peigí!, gently explores issues of gender (in)equality and (dis)ability in tandem with space and materials. Clean Up, Peigí! introduces the concept of race and caring for our local environment. The third story, Catch Up, Peigí!, blends the concepts of time, speed and forces with (dis)ability. The final story, Grow Up, Peigí!, explores plants and animals alongside age.
Speaking at the launch of the book, Dr Bergin said: “We wrote Peigí’s Adventures in Science as a way to introduce children to science, inclusion and equality through story. With so many of the science books written for young children focusing on facts and figures, we wished to celebrate the diversity of people who do science and how science is for the benefit of all. We hope our book will lead to lots of rich conversations between children and their teachers and parents.”
Dr Fahie said: “Teachers understand the power of story, particularly for young children. Peigí’s Adventures in Science, with its colourful illustrations and loveable main character, Peigí, will be a welcome addition for school libraries across the country and is an easy, age-appropriate way of introducing issues of fairness and social justice through science.”
A free copy of Peigí’s Adventures in Science has been sent to every primary school in Ireland, thanks to funding from Science Foundation Ireland. Copies of the book in English, Irish and Braille, as well as other teaching and learning resources, can be found at peigisadventures.com.
Commenting on the book, Teacher from Divine Mercy Balgaddy SNS, Eibhlin Campbell said: “Schools will be delighted to receive this lovely resource! I know that the book will be put to very good use in our school. It’s a gorgeous way to introduce science and social justice.”
Welcoming the publication of Peigí, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ruth Freeman said: “We are delighted to have funded this children's book through the SFI Discover Programme. Creative projects such as Peigí's Adventures in Science ensure science is brought to life for our youngest members of society. SFI welcomes the clear emphasis this book places on kindness, diversity and inclusion. It is essential that these are reflected in how we introduce science to children if we are to build wider public trust in science.”
Peigí's Adventures in Science is written by Dr Shane Bergin and Dr Declan Fahie. Dr Bergin is a physicist and teacher educator from the UCD School of Education. Dr Declan Fahie is a sociologist, teacher educator and former infant teacher at UCD School of Education.
Illustrations are by Steve McCarthy. Book design by Post Studio.