Dr Tríona Stokes

Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education

School of Education
(01) 474 7409


Tríona Stokes worked as both a primary teacher and drama practitioner in schools before joining the former Froebel College of Education as the lecturer in Drama in 2007.

She served as a member of the Bachelor of Education Review Committee and acted as rapporteur, culminating in the introduction of the revised Bachelor of Education programme in 2011-’12. She co-designed and has co-taught modules in the Personal and Professional Skills for Teaching and Learning since this time.

Tríona was coordinator of the inaugural Arts Council residency in Dance from 2013-2016, which marked the transition from College of Education to university department at Maynooth.

In 2016, Tríona graduated with an Education Doctorate from Queen’s University, Belfast. Her doctoral thesis investigated the perceptions of young children in school-based pretend play.
From 2008-2018, Tríona served as founding committee member on the Froebel HOPE Teacher Education Partnership, which contributes to the education work of the HOPE Foundation in supporting teachers in Kolkata in play facilitation and promoting Froebelian active learning methods.

Tríona is chairperson of the departmental Development and Intercultural Education (DICE) committee and School Placement Engagement Officer: Arts in Schools. She is currently acting secretary to the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education Research Committee. Tríona has served in a variety of roles for the Association of Drama Education in Ireland (ADEI) since 2012, most recently as vice-chairperson from 2017-2020. She continues to serve as secretary to the ADEI Sub-committee for Curriculum Matters. 

Research Interests

Play and Pretend Play

Drama Education and arts facilitation

Children's Rights-Based Research and children's voices


Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
Froebelian Principles in the 21st Century: Play environments and play opportunities for young children experiencing stress Lead researcher, MU This is a critical, participatory investigation of play environments and play opportunities afforded for young children experiencing stressful situations in Irish ECEC, home and community contexts. Underpinned and informed by an ethos of Froebelian principles, their critical relevance in society in the 21st century, and the right to play as enshrined in the UNCRC, our project addresses the question ‘How is and can play be supported in ECEC settings, at home and in the community for children experiencing disadvantage and stress in their life situations?' The premise for the study is that many children in present-day Ireland are experiencing high levels of disadvantage for multiple reasons, including homelessness, poverty and migration. Currently one in five children in Ireland experience growing up in poverty (Social Justice Ireland, 2019) and numbers of children growing up in emergency homeless accommodation are consistently high (Focus Ireland, 2019; Simon, 2019). In addition to persistent, endemic poverty of significant parts of the population, forced migration into Ireland has added to the stress factors young children experience, often depriving them of social reference points (Turner, 1996) and supportive social (peer, family) networks. It is well understood that play is a means for children to understand, find their place, manage and make meaning of their worlds. Consequently, play is a valuable resource for children, a potential counter measure to trauma and stress. However, conditions for early childhood educators and families coming together to create supportive play environments in contexts of deprivation are critically under-researched in the Irish context. Our study adopts a highly innovative participatory approach combining principles of participatory action research with the ‘future workshop’ methodology (Jungk) that will empower participants to take concrete steps towards change. The project has the potential to impact policy and practice across the Irish ECEC system from a dedicated Froebelian perspective. 03/02/2020 31/01/2022 31590
Creative Ireland Deskbound Study PI Creative Youth is a plan to facilitate the creative potential of every child and young person in Ireland ‘by securing an opportunity for [them] to become creative citizens’ (2017:1). A key proposition of the associated Creative Ireland Programme is that individual, community and national well-being is promoted through engagement in cultural and creative activity. The Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) has eighteen actions in its Creative Youth Plan, which include furnishing an initial research report to plan for undertaking future actions. Research findings will inform the programme design of a continuous professional development (CPD) input planned for implementation in 2020 with key stakeholders in early years’ provision. The CPD programme aims to offer support to early childhood practitioners, artists, carers and parents in the facilitation of quality arts experiences for the main stakeholders, the children. This desk-bound research project aims to develop knowledge and insight into the cultural participation of children aged 0-3 in receipt of non-parental care, further to the many benefits of their arts and cultural participation, as outlined in the Growing up in Ireland Study (Arts Council/ ESRI, 2016). There is a dearth of Irish research about the arts participation of very young children, despite the recognition of the significant opportunity universal preschool education presents for a wide of arts experiences across dance, drama, painting and music (Arts in Education Charter, 2013). The research outputs will take a number of distinct forms. These will include a roundtable discussion informing key stakeholders of the main findings of the written report and its glossary. It will also articulate the key principles underpinning creativity, and play and arts aspects of early childhood care with reference to the three related policy publications (Síolta, 2006; Aistear, 2009; The First Strategy, 2018). It is planned to deliver the research targets through a dedicated review of pertinent literature, followed by an identification both of quality features in arts practice engagement in early childhood care and education, and examples of excellence engagement therein. An associated glossary of terms will be collated as the research process unfolds. 04/12/2019 31/12/2019 3354
TU Civic Theatre Monkeyshine Arts in Education Project PI 21/06/2022 01/11/2022 4064.73
Department of Children and Youth Affairs Desk-bound Study PI This research project funded by Creative Ireland and granted by the DCYA requires a report distilling principles of arts facilitation practice to support play and creativity in the early years sector 30/09/2019 31/12/2019 5000

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2018 Dr Triona Stokes and Dr Ruth Forrest (2018) 'Reviewing Peer-Placement in Initial Teacher Education: Cleamhnas, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, and the seven-year itch' In: Education Matters Yearbook 2017-2018. Castleisland, Co. Kerry : Education Matters/ Walsh Colour Print. [Link]
2017 Susan Marron and Dr Triona Stokes (2017) 'Partnership as key: cultivating Facilitator-Artist Relationships in Teacher Education in Arts Council Dance Residencies' In: Education Matters Yearbook 2016-2017. Castleisland, Co. Kerry : Education Matters/ Walsh Colour Print.
2016 Triona Stokes (2016) 'Dancing to Life: Reflections on the Experience of the Dance Artist-in-Residence at Maynooth University' In: Education Matters Yearbook 2015-2016. Castleisland, Co. Kerry : Education Matters/ Walsh Colour Print.
2007 Triona Stokes (2007) 'Drama' In: Voice and Choice Curriculum Framework. Limerick : Mary Immaculate College and Limerick City Childcare.
2023 McCormack. M., Silke, A., Kearns, A., O'Toole, L., Stafford, P. Stokes, T. Urban, M. (2023) 'Pedagogies of hope: exploring play opportunities for young children in an urban environment' In: The Bloomsbury Handbook to Friedrich Froebel. London : Bloomsbury. [DOI]

Edited Book

Year Publication
2021 Arnott, Lorna and Wall Kate (Ed.). (2021) Research through Play: Participatory Methods in Early Childhood. London: Sage,

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2019 Stokes, T (2019) 'Using participatory methods with young children; reflections on emergent 'ethically important moments' in school-based research'. Irish Educational Studies, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Stokes, T (2019) 'Using participatory methods with young children; reflections on emergent 'ethically important moments' in school-based research'. Irish Educational Studies, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2018 Dr Triona Stokes (2018) 'Ameliorating free-flow play for young children through increased access to school play spaces indoors and out: Reflections on an Irish context' Textbook of Maritime Medicine (2nd Ed.), 6 (2) :20-24. [Link] [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2017 Dr Triona Stokes (2017) Exploring the Literacy Landscape: Celebrating 40 Years of Research and Practice . In: Culligan, B. and Mehigan, G eds. 'You get dead!’ Examining narrative structures and endings through children's agentic pretend play scripts
2009 Triona Stokes (2009) Consultative Conference on Education Irish National Teachers' Organisation Creativity and the Arts in the Primary School: Drama
2008 Triona Stokes (2008) 6th International Drama and Theatre Conference . In: Hellenic Theatre Network eds. Re-imagining Identity through Drama Education Greece,
2014 Triona Stokes (2014) Language, Literacy and Literature: Re-Imagining Teaching and Learning, 37th Literacy Association of Ireland Conference O Reason not the Need!’ Examining Opportunities a Reciprocal Relationship for Drama and English through the use of a movie stimulus for Oral Language Development

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2023 Stokes,Triona (2023) Arts Society Conference Proceedings The Dynamic Changes From The Structure Of A Classroom To A Drama Workshop Space – Or Does It? : Exploring Questions Of Agency And Dialogic Exchange Within Arts Facilitation In An Irish School Based Participatory Theatre Project Krakow, .
2023 Stokes, T. and O'Toole, L. (2023) Children's Research Network Conference The Future is Ours: Making Provision for Outdoor Play in Dublin City University College Dublin, .
2023 Stokes, Triona (2023) Maynooth University Research Week 2023 Engaging in the Arts in Early Learning and Care: Exploring the Draft Principles for Arts Facilitation Maynooth University TSI, .
2023 Stokes, Triona (2023) Industry Thursday Civic Theatre Tallaght Pedagogy Supporting the Voice of the Child in Facilitated Experiences Civic Theatre Tallaght, .
2018 Dr Triona Stokes (2018) EDUlearn Conference/IATED 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning The Superhero Play Continuum: Reflections from an Irish Schools’ Perspective Palma de Mallorca, .
2017 Dr Triona Stokes (2017) Global Development Conference Investigating the case for Teacher Facilitation of Children’s Superhero Fantasy Play in Schools in the Irish Context: A playful outlet or a precarious pursuit? Lisbon, .
2016 Triona Stokes andLisa Cahill (2016) 1st National Arts Day Workshop and Oral Presentation IMMA, Dublin, 23/04/2016-.
2015 Dr Triona Stokes (2015) 7th International Froebel Society Conference Froebel and Pretend Play: Autotelic Interpretations Frankfurt, .
2015 Triona Stokes (2015) ESAI Educational Studies of Ireland Annual Conference Becoming ‘The Magnet Woman’: Researching with young children about pretend play using participatory methods Maynooth, Co. Kildare, .
2015 Triona Stokes (2015) Literacy Association of Ireland Annual Conference Literacy’s Seamless Integration into the Pretend Worlds of Infant Classrooms- Child’s Play? Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, .
2015 Triona Stokes (2015) Doctoral Conference Questions of Rigour and Reliability in Research with Young Children using a Participatory Approach University College Dublin, .
2014 Triona Stokes (2014) Advancing Children's Rights Conference Play for Play’s sake? Examining Implications for the provision of pretend play arising from General Comment 17 on Article 31 of the UN Rights of the Child Queen's University Belfast, .
2012 Triona Stokes and Ruth Forrest (2012) 7th International Drama and Theatre Conference Workshop title: The Other in Me - an exploration of empathy in practice Athens, .

Published Report

Year Publication
2023 Stokes, Triona (2023) An examination of the means by which Monkeyshine Theatre artists meet and support children to partner with artists using reciprocal and dialogic means. Arts Council, . [Link]
2022 Dr Triona Stokes (2022) Discussion Paper on Facilitating the Arts in Early Learning and Care: Towards Best Practice Principles. The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), . [Link]


Year Publication
2013 Triona Stokes (2013) 'Now, who's an ugly duckling?': Using Traditional Stories to Examine Drama in Education as a Medium to Explore Diversity and Difference in the Irish Primary Classroom. [Article] [Link]

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2012 Dorothy Morrissey and Triona Stokes (2012) Billie Butterfly’s Adventure, Ideas for Dance and Drama with Infant Classes. Dublin: [Magazine Article]

Electronic Publication

Year Publication
2019 Dr Triona Stokes (2019) 'Water Come to Me!' A Development Education Resource for infant classes. [Electronic Publication] [Link]
2022 Dr Triona Stokes (2022) Draft Principles for Engaging with the Arts in Early Learning and Care. [Electronic Publication] [Link]

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2017 Triona Stokes (2017) The Giant Catcher's Adventures: A Drama for First and Second Class. Dublin: [Magazine Article]

Video recording / TV

Year Publication
2016 Dr Triona Stokes; Lisa Cahill (2016) Reflecting on a University-based Dance Residency in Kildare. Kildare: [Video recording / TV] [Link]

Online Multimedia

Year Publication
2019 Dr Triona Stokes; Lisa Cahill (2019) Unfolding. https://repository.dri.ie/catalog/dr27bh262: [Online Multimedia]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Subcommittee on Curriculum Matters of ADEI( Association of Drama Education in Ireland) Secretary 05/09/2016 -
Association of Drama Education in Ireland (Vice-chairperson) National Drama Education support for teachers and drama practitioners 03/05/2008 - 20/01/2021

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/10/2017 MU Staff Exchange award MU International Office


Committee Function From / To
School Placement Committee Froebel Department School Placement Engagement Officer: Arts in Schools 10/10/2012 -
Doctoral Working Group Secretary 07/10/2019 -
Storyteller in Residence Interdepartmental Committee Membership Member 01/09/2016 -
Arts in Education Research Repository Committee Member 20/10/2017 -
Development and Intercultural Education National Management Committee Management Committee member 01/03/2018 -
Global Citizenship Education Education Steering Committee Chairperson 06/01/2013 -
Froebel Department Research Committee Secretary 01/09/2019 -


Employer Position From / To
Froebel College of Education Lecturer in Drama Education 01/11/2007 -
Mary Immaculate College Limerick Assistant Lecturer in Drama Education 07/09/2004 - 31/10/2007


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
Queen's University,Belfast Education Doctorate School-based pretend play
Warwick University Master of Arts Drama and Theatre Education
University of Limerick Post-graduate diploma Dance
Oxford University Research Integrity Concise Course Research Integrity Training

Other Activities

With the support of a departmental Artist in Residence Committee, I coordinated the inaugural dance residency of dance artist, Lisa Cahill. This involved weekly planning meetings, liaison with local schools, performance organisation and annual reporting to the Arts Council.

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
St Mary's BNS Maynooth Board of Management Civic Society Nominated as a community representative to St. Mary's BNS Maynooth Board of Management [Link]
Culture Night Kildare Civic Society 2014-2019 organiser of annual public workshop or lecture facilitated by the Arts Council Artist-in-Residence for Culture Night Kildare. [Link]
Froebel HOPE Teacher Education Partnership Civic Society A founding member of the three-person committee who established over ten years a professional teaching partnership with the HOPE Foundation, assisting with their Education programmes to support the work of Indian teachers in state schools and HOPE-run education centres through a sustained programme of Continuing Professional Development and a volunteer sending programme for graduating teachers from Maynooth to co-teach in Kolkata annually for five weeks.

Teaching Interests

Tríona teaches drama across the Bachelor of Education and Professional Master of Education degree programmes, as part of the Curriculum, Methodology and Assessment modules. Through predominantly workshop-style engagement, students are facilitated to learn through and about the art form of drama. A dialogic teaching approach is modelled in drama, which shares a thematic focus with all other curricular areas in the modules. Workshop content is drawn from a variety of sources, using rich narratives and reflecting topical issues affecting the primary school classroom and beyond. 
Tríona is coordinator of Personal and Professional Skills for Teaching and Learning across Years 1-3 of the Bachelor of Education modules, EDF133, EDF234 and EDF337. Student-teacher personal and professional development is the focus of the Bachelor of Education modules on which Tríona teaches, Personal and Professional Skills for Teaching and Learning 1 and 2. The content includes communication and presentation skills, group dynamics, teaching values, academic writing and Harvard referencing skills, each of which are introduced through a mixture of workshops , lectures and seminar-style discussion groups. Course reading equips students to collaborate on school-based case studies. 

Tríona has designed and taught a number of curriculum elective modules in arts education within the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education. These include Dance Education, Integrating Dance and Drama and Storytelling Theatre for the Classroom

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2020 Matthew Whyte

Internal Collaborators

Name Company Role Country
Arts Council of Ireland Shared Artist in Residence between Froebel Department and the Education Department at MU

External Collaborators

Name Role Country
Arts Council Artist in Residency Visual Artist in Residence Vera McEvoy Ireland
Department of Children and Youth Affairs Research Advisory Steering Group for Early Years CPD Implementation of Creative Youth's long term strategic objective of CPD for teachers working in early years. Ireland