Dept of Humanities Hosts Seminar on Early Childhood Experiences


Dept of Humanities Hosts Seminar on Early Childhood ExperiencesThe Department of Humanities recently hosted a seminar in partnership with Early Childhood Ireland that offered the early childhood sector and ECEC students an opportunity to reflect and discuss the critical importance of quality early childhood experiences for children under six years of age.

Specifically, the seminar reflected on national and international practice with a focus on the San Miniato approach for babies and young children.

The seminar was part of a four nations tour organised by Early Years Northern Ireland, Early Years Scotland and Early Years Wales; each country hosted a seminar led by Aldo Fortunati and Barbara Pagni from La Bottega di Geppetto, the International Research and Documentation Centre on Childhood Gloria Tognetti in Tuscany, Italy. 

Dr Sheila Long from the Department of Humanities made a presentation illuminating the core elements of a child rights-based approach to the education and care of babies and young children.  Drawing on her research and teaching of children’s rights education with ECEC students, Sheila’s presentation was thought provoking and participatory.   With a particular focus on the importance of unhurried interactions with babies and young children, she emphasised the parallels with time and space needed for ECEC students to critically reflect on contradictions in theory and practice.

Veronica Byrne from the Department of Lifelong Learning, IT Carlow presented on interactions with under-threes. Veronica highlighted the importance of creating an early learning setting that promotes positive interactions through relationships and how to support the child interacting within this environment. She discussed how we need to reflect on our role within this environment and, in particular, how we can foster more positive interaction through our everyday routines with young children.

In her opening address Dr Eileen Doyle Walsh, Head of the Department of Humanities, said the seminar has come at an exciting time within the Early Years sector.

“For the first time the Department of Education has engaged in extensive collaboration with Early Years practitioners and the Higher Education Institutions which has led to the publication of the Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines for Level 7 and Level 8 Early Year programmes. This is an important milestone which marks the growing professional status of those who support the learning and care of young children and recognises the competencies required for high quality graduates in the sector”, said Dr. Doyle Walsh.

“The presentations and discussions that following on from the seminar today will afford our students and professionals within the sector the opportunity to reflect on national and international policy and practice and future developments within the Early Years sector”, she concluded.

Pictured at the seminar, from left: Dr Sheila Long, Lecturer, Department of Humanities, IT Carlow; Debbie Mullen, Early Childhood Specialist, Early Childhood Ireland; Veronica Byrne, Lecturer, Department of Lifelong Learning, IT Carlow; Dr Eileen Doyle-Walsh, Head of Department of Humanities, IT Carlow; Aldo Fortunati, President of La Bottega di Geppetto - International Research and Documentation Centre on Childhood, Tuscany, Italy; Barbara Pagni, Scientific Co-ordinator of La Bottega di Gepetto; Mary Beare Aust, Lecturer and Course Director, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education and Care; Catherine McHugh, Early Childhood Specialist; Milica Atanackovic, Training and Practice Manager.