ChildLinks Issue 2: Education

Barnardos. (2002). ChildLinks Issue 2: Education.
Welcome to the summer edition of ChildLinks. As another school year begins, we thought it would be an opportunity to reflect in this issue on the subject of education. The 29th Dail is now formed, bringing with it the appointment of a new Minister for Education and Science Mr Noel Dempsey T.D. In his opening address at the launch of The National Forum on Primary Education: Ending Disadvantage, held in St Patrick's College Drumcondra, The Minister referred to the five workshops being held during the Forum on: 1. Diversity and Difference in Education, 2. Parents and the Wider Community, 3. Models of Best Practice in the Curriculum, 4. Multiple Perspectives on Teaching and Learning & 5. Education and the Arts. The Minister was obviously mindful of the Agreed Programme for Government which highlights the Government’s commitment to helping improve the level and quality of achievement and participation in education. The Minister stated that he accepted educational disadvantage was a complex and multi-faceted matter which called for an imaginative, co-ordinated approach from Government. The Minister also acknowledged that the issues raised at the Conference would advance efforts in relation to two key education targets of the National Anti Poverty Strategy (NAPS) — the reduction of the number of pupils with serious literacy problems and the retention of a greater percentage of pupils to the end of second level education. Only time will tell if these commitments are achieved. It is however the responsibility of all organisations concerned with the welfare, rights and education of children to ensure that these promises remain on the political agenda until they are implemented. We would like to welcome and thank our contributors to this issue. Kathy Synott describes the La Pilar Project, a new venture opening in the Autumn which will focus on working with children with special needs. Noirin Hayes of D.I.T. highlights the development of early childhood care and education in Ireland and the bridging of the gap between these two vital areas. High/Scope practitioner and trainer, Patricia Murphy, introduces us to the High/Scope Preschool Curriculum. Staying with early years, Tracy Costello of St. Nicholas Montessori Society, profiles Maria Montessori and the Montessori method. Liz Leonard, Policy Advisor, Barnardos, continues the debate on educational disadvantage. Barnardos participation in two Potential Early School Leavers Programmes is described by Anne Marie Higgins, of Barnardos Family Support Service in Mulhuddart and we are delighted that the front cover of this issue has been designed by Seamus, age 11, a participant on the programme. We hope you find this issue interesting and thought-provoking, and that you will join us again in the Autumn for the next issue of ChildLinks.