science and technology in early years

[northern ireland]

From their earliest days, children try to make sense of their world. They are naturally curious about their environment and the people around them and frequently ask questions. They enjoy using their senses to explore the immediate indoor and outdoor environments. Through their natural curiosity and by providing them with a wide variety of activities and experiences in play, children begin to develop a range of skills and concepts including observation, experimentation and free exploration of their surroundings. Interaction and discussion with adults further develops these skills and concepts and helps to promote the use of appropriate language…Children can also learn about the world around them from books, pictures, posters, photographs and by using appropriate ICT.”

Northern Ireland Preschool Curriculum (2006)

Science and Technology is embedded in the area of World Around Us in the Northern Ireland curriculum and is key to students further developing their observation, experimentation and exploration of their surroundings. As children are naturally curious it is at this stage that as educators we nurture and instil an inquisitiveness around the world in which we live. This area is delivered to students through the playing of activities and understanding the key curriculum documents for Northern Ireland. Technology plays a key role in the delivery of our courses. Students use active learning through technology to enhance their experience. This is reflective of the world in which they live, whereby technology is forever evolving and changing a very much a part of their life. Within Early Years there is debate as to the level of use of technology for children and therefore part of our role is to aid students to find the correct balance. North West Regional College has a dedicated team to support staff development around technology – The Technology Enhanced Learning Support (TELS) team. The TELS team put in place a technology strategy to promote, encourage and support the use of technology in the college. TELS mentors provide dedicated support to individuals and course teams and within the Early Years team the uptake of this training has been very strong. The TELS team are currently involved in a research project around the use of tablets effectively in primary schools. . As staff teach across different courses the breadth of Early Years courses benefit from the use of technology to further aid lecturer’s pedagogy. This is further support by the Department for Economy (formerly Department of Employment) and Learning 2012 set an eLearning Policy which aimed to; 1.Enhance the classroom experience, 2. Develop a robust learner support protocol and 3. Engage learners and promote real life experiences.

Students will:
– Develop friendships.
– Have opportunities to advance their English language skills.
– Have opportunities to experience Northern Ireland Early Years settings (Creche, nursery school and primary school).
– Have opportunities to explore science and technology in the early years through both indoor and outdoor activities.
– Experience use of Technology Enhanced Learning.
– Have opportunities to explore local culture through planned activities (Quiz night, Karaoke Night, Pub crawl, Game of Thrones excursion etc).

Methodology of learning experience includes:
     a) Classroom activities –use of mobile technologies, creative and practical activities, discussions, presentations and group work.
     b) Outdoor activities – bringing the classroom outside, using science and technology activities in the outdoors

The program includes:
– accommodation in a shared house (with three to four students) in Derry
– pick up at Derry Bus Station
– welcome meal
– local transport
– visit and trips as presented in the program
– all needed workshop materials
– organisational costs

total price is: €860

[The cost will be (party or completely) covered by Erasmus+ grant. Please check the amount of the grant in your country.]

Where are the classes?
The classes will take place in North West Regional College (www.nwrc.ac.uk). Some outdoor activities will take place in the local park areas as well as an educational visit to W5 – Interactive Discovery Centre (https://w5online.co.uk/) or the Giants Causeway (https://www.ireland.com/en-us/amazing-places/giants-causeway/)

Where do you get accommodation: Foyle International in conjunction with NWRC has its own accommodation service and provides a variety of self-catering houses and home stay accommodation.

Other important notes
Please bring with you: good walking shoes, rainy weather clothing and a mobile technology device if possible (i.e. tablet).

School and module
– Enriching lives, building careers and supporting communities…North West Regional College (NWRC) has been at the heart of life in the North West of Northern Ireland for more than 100 years. Across the passing of time it has stood as an important institution renowned for delivering an extensive range of learning and career opportunities to thousands of learners.
NWRC has a modern learning environment, the highlight of which is the magnificent new build developments at our Strand Road Campus, Derry-Londonderry, featuring a unique footbridge above and across the Strand Road which links two College buildings (Strand & Foyle). This includes a new 150-seat modern theatre, dance studios, music recording, technology and performance spaces, student social areas and canteens, as well as state-of-the-art Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy salons overlooking the River Foyle, and new workshops for Construction & Engineering programmes.
– The module hopes to bring technology and science from indoors outside so that all the benefits of outdoor can be explored.
– The module also focuses on the fact that early STEM development for children is vital as we could be working with the next Einstein in our early years settings!

City
Derry City is Northern Ireland’s second city which is described by National Geographic as a vibrant, modern urban center with one of Europe’s youngest populations. It’s heart is cloaked in 17th-century stone, an enduring engineering marvel of the age. Nearly a mile of stone walls, built between 1613-1618, encircle inner Derry-Londonderry and provide a pleasant stroll around one of Europe’s very finest surviving walled cities. The ramparts are studded with seven gates and one of the continent’s greatest collection of cannons including Roaring Meg—famed for the terrifying sound she unleashed during the 1689 Siege. Derry is famed for its Halloween festivities when the whole city area comes to life through song, dance and entertainment. The city boasts a beautiful Peace Bridge which has placed emphasis on the water way and this has been captured through the Maritime and Clipper festivals.
Learn more about the city’s fascinating history at the several museums the city is home to:
– The Guildhall.
– Tower Museum, Union Hall Place, Derry.
– Railway museum, Foyle Road, Derry.
– Harbour Museum, Harbour Square, Derry.
– Workhouse Museum, Dungiven Road, Derry.
– Genealogy Centre, Butcher Street, Derry.
– Free Derry Museum, Glenfada Park, Derry.
– The People’s Gallery, Rossville Street, Derry.
– Old Gaol, Fountain, Derry.
– Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall, Society Street, Derry.
– Amelia Earhart Museum, Ballyarnett Country Park, Derry.
Further local information available at http://www.visitderry.com/