The landmark Children’s School Lives longitudinal cohort study was launched on Thursday October 25th in the Confucius Institute in University College Dublin. This national cohort study of children’s lives in primary school is being led by Professor Dympna Devine , Associate Professor Jennifer Symonds and Assistant Professor Seaneen Sloan in the UCD School of Education.
The study will follow the lives of around 4,000 children as they progress through their primary schooling years. Prioritising children’s voice and experience, and drawing on a range of mixed methodologies this ground-breaking study will provide rich insights into the everyday lives of children in our primary schools as they transition through the system. The study will also explore how these experiences both shape and are shaped by schools as communities, institutions, and as a system.
Children’s School Lives (CSL) was launched by UCD Deputy President Prof Mark Rogers, the Chairperson of the NCCA Ms Brigid McManus and Professor of Education Dympna Devine. Speaking at the launch Professor Devine said “This landmark study recognises the centrality of children’s educational experience not only to their lived experiences as children but also their capacities to flourish throughout their lives. Over time it will facilitate curricular and wider policy planning informed by a rich evidence base located in the Irish context”. The launch was attended by a range of stakeholders and academics working across the education system.
Children were very much at the centre of activities, with 2nd class children performing a poem they wrote for the occasion and sending a video capturing their lives in school. Assistant Prof Deirdre McGillicuddy stated that this was particularly apt as children are at the core of the work of CSL.
The launch seminar was led by Associate Prof Jennifer Symonds, Co-Principal Investigator. She provided a detailed overview of the study design and the methodologies at the heart of the study. Assistant Professor Seaneen Sloan, Co-Investigator, welcomed Prof Maurice Galton, University of Cambridge and Prof Anne Trine Kjorholt, Norwegian Centre for Child Research, who contextualised the study in light of international research and highlighted the potential international impact of the research at the intersection of studies of childhood and schooling.
The study has been funded by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and will inform the NCCA’s work in reviewing and updating the primary curriculum to ensure it continues to provide a strong foundation for teaching and learning. The findings will likely also be useful to schools in reviewing and further developing their own policies and practices.