The Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education is committed to providing the highest quality teacher education to meet the developing needs of the Irish primary-school system within the context of the wider educational continuum. As part of this ongoing process, Departmental faculty undertake a variety of research modes and projects which develop and sustain enriching linkages between curricula, theory and practice. The Department’s research mission is to act as an innovative force in interdisciplinary, reflective and school-based contexts in order to stimulate better practice, policy and theoretical approaches in the Irish primary and early childhood sectors.
The research profile of Froebel Department staff reflects their commitment to fostering a research culture and the philosophy of lifelong learning among Departmental undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as supporting the crucial ongoing role of teacher as researcher. The Department works in partnership with a range of cognate bodies such as the other Irish colleges of education and third-level institutes, SCoTENS, NCCA and Early Childhood Ireland in order to scaffold linkages between theory and practice for all aspects of teaching and learning in the primary and early childhood education sectors from induction to in-service.
The Froebelian philosophy of play, social justice, child-centredness, the importance of the environment, active learning and the social construction of knowledge informs the Department’s research activity, hence the staff’s strong commitment to evidence-based research in classroom practice within many primary and early childhood settings in Ireland and abroad, especially in developing countries such as Kenya and India. In recent years, the Department has hosted a number of highly successful national and international conferences on primary and early childhood education. The biannual International Froebel Conference, Froebel open events and research gatherings have showcased the work of Froebel Department faculty, student teachers and alumni.
Current research in the Department is exploring a number of themes ranging from investigating the cultural impact of university life on teacher education, understanding how ‘American Girl’ dolls negotiate ideas of national identity and gender to exploring the effects of intercultural education in teaching and learning experiences. You can explore overviews of some of the Department’s research areas below:
Children’s and young adult literature and youth popular culture
Early Childhood Education
Inclusive Education and Special Educational Needs
Language and additional language teaching and learning
Mathematics and Scientific Enquiry
Teachers’ identities, attitudes and experiences