SPIKEY'S JOURNEY: an Exploration Box

A new science toolkit designed to teach children about environmental science will  be distributed to 16  1st and 2nd class teachers (1 per school only) throughout Meath and Louth on a first come first served basis. 

Launched during the 2018 Science Week at Scoil Iosef Naofa, Oranmore, Co. Galway, the free educational toolkit ‘Spikey’s Journey: an Exploration Box’ is the culmination of a two year-long European project developed in Ireland by NUI Galway Cell EXLORERS, ProActivate Ireland, and Toodlelou Creativity Lab.

Using the hedgehog as the principal character, the toolkit takes first and second class pupils on an explorative journey using storytelling, hands-on activities and games to learn about four key topics in environmental science. The primary aim of the toolkit is to promote active learning based on observation and experimentation.

The exploration box contains a ‘Kamishibai’, a storytelling theatre that teachers can use to take their class through the story of Spikey. Each chapter of the story introduces students to a new learning topic, such as understanding the key characteristics of living things, the food web and how it functions, habitats and hibernation and the vital role we all play in protecting the living environment. Through hands-on projects, activities and games, these topics are explored, discussed and examined to reinforce new learning.

Muriel Grenon, Director of the Cell EXPLORERS programme at NUI Galway, said: “This project was a great opportunity to collaborate with some of the most successful and innovative science outreach programmes in Europe as well as with enthusiastic teachers from local national schools. There was a rich exchange of practical knowledge and experience and from this collaboration emerged a freely accessible online resource which can benefit the children in Ireland.”

Classrooms throughout Ireland will benefit from the development of this kit containing a new combination of teaching methods and tools to support primary school teachers prepare and conduct engaging science lessons that will stimulate children’s natural curiosity. Teachers across four European countries have been invited to use this toolkit, which is the result of an Erasmus+ European project linking researchers and education practitioners from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria and Poland. The toolkit has been produced in three languages for dissemination in each project country.

The content of the exploration box and its activities were reviewed and piloted in Galway by first and second class teachers Ronan Dunne from Galway Educate Together, Vivienne Kelly from Knocknacara Educate Together, Anna McGuire from Mercy Primary School, and Niamh Cormican from Scoil Iosef Naofa, Oranmore.

Teachers who use the toolkit in their classroom can share their feedback and comments through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #spikeysjourney and tagging @cellexplorers and @toodleloukids.

Schools who wish to use the toolkit as part of their application for a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Maths (DPSM) Award can provide images and feedback by social media, which will be posted to the Spikey’s Journey page of the Cell EXPLORERS website https://www.cellexplorers.com/spikeysjourney.  This link can then be used as a Logs of Evidence for the award application.

For further information on the InEdu Erasmus plus project material and access to Spikey’s Journey online toolkit logon on to the resource website bit.ly/Spikeysjourney.

Navan Education Centre have 16 toolkits available for 1st and 2nd class teachers (1 per school only) on a first come first served basis.  Please drop into the Centre to collect.

NEPS FRIENDS TRAINING DEIS PRIMARY

Information on Training in the FRIENDS Programmes for Primary Teachers in DEIS Schools 2018-2019

About the FRIENDS Programmes
‘Fun FRIENDS ’, ‘FRIENDS for Life’ and ‘My FRIENDS Youth’ are evidence-based anxiety prevention and resilience building programmes developed by Dr Paula Barrett in Australia. The programmes have an international evidence base, and the FRIENDS for Life programme has been cited by the WHO (2004) as a prevention programme for anxiety in children that is effective at all levels of intervention.
The 10 session FRIENDS’ programmes complement the SPHE curriculum. They help students, aged 4-16/17 years, to develop resilience by teaching them effective strategies to cope with the normal everyday challenges they face and by helping them to develop effective coping and problem-solving skills to manage emotional distress, including worry, stress, change and anxiety. Skills learned throughout the programme help students both now and in later life. Professor Paul Cooper and Barbara Jacobs, University of Leicester, authors of the NCSE commissioned research Report No. 7: Evidence of Best Practice Models and Outcomes in the Education of Children with Emotional Disturbance/Behavioural Difficulties: An International Review (2011), recommended the FRIENDS Programmes as a cost effective intervention that could be delivered by teachers in schools.
In order to deliver the programmes, teachers must attend an accredited training. NEPS psychologists deliver this training over two days. Following training, teachers can register as certified facilitators with FRIENDS Resilience based in Brisbane. They may then order materials and access resources for running the programmes in their classrooms.
Under the Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 and the DEIS Action Plan 2017, NEPS are continuing the roll-out of the FRIENDS programme to primary and post primary teachers, specifically targeting schools in the DEIS School Support Programme. Training in the Fun FRIENDS and FRIENDS for Life Programmes will be delivered to Primary School Teachers and Training in the FRIENDS for Life and My FRIENDS Youth Programmes will be delivered to Post Primary School Teachers.

Who should attend?
Class teachers, special education teachers, principals, SPHE teachers and guidance counsellors will all benefit from attending training. Primary and post-primary schools should, as far as possible, facilitate a minimum of two teachers attending a programme.
Costs: The Department of Education and Skills will cover the cost of teacher substitution and lunches for the training. The DES does not cover the cost of programme materials for teachers or pupils. The current cost per facilitator manual is c. €16.00. The activity book cost ranges from c. €11 to c. €14.00 euros per participant (depending on the programme and exchange rate on date of purchase). Every child must have their own book. Schools will need to have considered the cost of programme implementation prior to application for training places.

FRIENDS Resilience no longer allows manuals or activity books to be supplied as part of training for teachers. Following training Schools and/or trained facilitators will need to order facilitator manuals and activity books for each pupil directly. from FRIENDS Resilience. Resilience.
The FRIENDS Programs and FRIENDS Programs Logo are registered trademarks belonging to FRIENDS Resilience Pty Ltd ©2016
NEPS Evaluation of the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ Programme 2013-2014: Twenty seven primary schools from across Ireland took part in the study. The sample included DEIS, non-DEIS, urban, rural, mixed and single sex schools. 57 teachers and 709 pupils aged 9-13 took part in the study. The study examined universal classroom delivery of the programme. Teachers were trained and supported by NEPS psychologists to deliver the programme. The effects of the programme on Anxiety, Self-concept, Coping Efficacy and School Connectedness were examined. Following the programme, pupils demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in anxiety as rated by their parents, and in specific types of anxiety, as rated by the pupils themselves. In addition, there were statistically significant increases in measures of self-concept, coping efficacy and school connectedness, which were chosen as markers of resilience. Qualitative data indicated that the FRIENDS for Life programme was very positively evaluated by children, parents and teachers.
NBSS Evaluation of the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ Programme 2012: The ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme was introduced to 14 post-primary NBSS partner schools as a Level 1 whole school support and a Level 2 targeted intervention. The schools that participated in the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ National Project were geographically distributed and included single sex as well as co-ed student populations. Of the 14 schools, two adopted a “universal approach” teaching the programme to all first year students (one a boys’ school, one a girls’ school). The remaining 12 schools elected to focus on small groups of first year students some of whom had elevated anxiety levels. The findings from the research project demonstrated significant reductions in anxiety levels following the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme. Positive gains in young people’s emotional wellbeing, reported in previous Irish and international research, were confirmed by students and their parents in both universal and small group settings in post-primary schools geographically distributed across Ireland. Learn more about NEPS and NBSS research on FRIENDS for Life at the following links:




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHYNhUlyyPA.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9ixEqO1h-I
See Irish Primary and Post Primary teachers/principals’ reflections on the FRIENDS for Life programmes at the following link:

Mindfulness for school staff (teachers and SNAs) .b Foundations with Richard Lowry

This is an 8-week programme delivered by a trained Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) .b Foundations teacher, Richard Lowry.

This 8 week programme is designed for teachers and other school staff who want to develop a mindfulness practice and enhance their well-being.

It will also enable participants who develop a practice to qualify for further training in order to teach .b (to post primary students) or Paws .b (to primary students).

 

In adults, mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. Research indicates that after taking a mindfulness course, participants have found they can learn more effectively, think more clearly, perform better and feel calmer and less anxious.

 

Interested school staff are invited to attend a free taster session and information evening on 6th February 2019, from 5.30pm to 7pm at Navan Education Centre.  You can register for this evening on www.ecnavan.ie

For those then interested in joining the 8 week course, it will commences on 28th February 2019 and runs for 8 weeks, with a break for two weeks over the Easter holidays. 

 

The cost of this 8 week programme will be €190 per participant (up to a max of 20 participants per course).

This price includes course handouts and accompanying textbook with CD

NEPS FRIENDS TRAINING POST PRIMARY

The FRIENDS Programs and FRIENDS Programs Logo are registered trademarks belonging to FRIENDS Resilience Pty Ltd ©2016
Information on Training in the FRIENDS Programmes for Primary and Post Primary Teachers in DEIS Schools 2018-2019

About the FRIENDS Programmes
‘Fun FRIENDS ’, ‘FRIENDS for Life’ and ‘My FRIENDS Youth’ are evidence-based anxiety prevention and resilience building programmes developed by Dr Paula Barrett in Australia. The programmes have an international evidence base, and the FRIENDS for Life programme has been cited by the WHO (2004) as a prevention programme for anxiety in children that is effective at all levels of intervention.
The 10 session FRIENDS’ programmes complement the SPHE curriculum. They help students, aged 4-16/17 years, to develop resilience by teaching them effective strategies to cope with the normal everyday challenges they face and by helping them to develop effective coping and problem-solving skills to manage emotional distress, including worry, stress, change and anxiety. Skills learned throughout the programme help students both now and in later life. Professor Paul Cooper and Barbara Jacobs, University of Leicester, authors of the NCSE commissioned research Report No. 7: Evidence of Best Practice Models and Outcomes in the Education of Children with Emotional Disturbance/Behavioural Difficulties: An International Review (2011), recommended the FRIENDS Programmes as a cost effective intervention that could be delivered by teachers in schools.
In order to deliver the programmes, teachers must attend an accredited training. NEPS psychologists deliver this training over two days. Following training, teachers can register as certified facilitators with FRIENDS Resilience based in Brisbane. They may then order materials and access resources for running the programmes in their classrooms.
Under the Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 and the DEIS Action Plan 2017, NEPS are continuing the roll-out of the FRIENDS programme to primary and post primary teachers, specifically targeting schools in the DEIS School Support Programme. Training in the Fun FRIENDS and FRIENDS for Life Programmes will be delivered to Primary School Teachers and Training in the FRIENDS for Life and My FRIENDS Youth Programmes will be delivered to Post Primary School Teachers.

Who should attend?
Class teachers, special education teachers, principals, SPHE teachers and guidance counsellors will all benefit from attending training. Primary and post-primary schools should, as far as possible, facilitate a minimum of two teachers attending a programme.

Costs: The Department of Education and Skills will cover the cost of teacher substitution and lunches for the training. The DES does not cover the cost of programme materials for teachers or pupils. The current cost per facilitator manual is c. €16.00. The activity book cost ranges from c. €11 to c. €14.00 euros per participant (depending on the programme and exchange rate on date of purchase). Every child must have their own book. Schools will need to have considered the cost of programme implementation prior to application for training places.
FRIENDS Resilience no longer allows manuals or activity books to be supplied as part of training for teachers. Following training Schools and/or trained facilitators will need to order facilitator manuals and activity books for each pupil directly. from FRIENDS Resilience. Resilience.

The FRIENDS Programs and FRIENDS Programs Logo are registered trademarks belonging to FRIENDS Resilience Pty Ltd ©2016
NEPS Evaluation of the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ Programme 2013-2014: Twenty seven primary schools from across Ireland took part in the study. The sample included DEIS, non-DEIS, urban, rural, mixed and single sex schools. 57 teachers and 709 pupils aged 9-13 took part in the study. The study examined universal classroom delivery of the programme. Teachers were trained and supported by NEPS psychologists to deliver the programme. The effects of the programme on Anxiety, Self-concept, Coping Efficacy and School Connectedness were examined. Following the programme, pupils demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in anxiety as rated by their parents, and in specific types of anxiety, as rated by the pupils themselves. In addition, there were statistically significant increases in measures of self-concept, coping efficacy and school connectedness, which were chosen as markers of resilience. Qualitative data indicated that the FRIENDS for Life programme was very positively evaluated by children, parents and teachers.

NBSS Evaluation of the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ Programme 2012: The ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme was introduced to 14 post-primary NBSS partner schools as a Level 1 whole school support and a Level 2 targeted intervention. The schools that participated in the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ National Project were geographically distributed and included single sex as well as co-ed student populations. Of the 14 schools, two adopted a “universal approach” teaching the programme to all first year students (one a boys’ school, one a girls’ school). The remaining 12 schools elected to focus on small groups of first year students some of whom had elevated anxiety levels. The findings from the research project demonstrated significant reductions in anxiety levels following the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme. Positive gains in young people’s emotional wellbeing, reported in previous Irish and international research, were confirmed by students and their parents in both universal and small group settings in post-primary schools geographically distributed across Ireland. Learn more about NEPS and NBSS research on FRIENDS for Life at the following links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHYNhUlyyPA.
See Irish Primary and Post Primary teachers/principals’ reflections on the FRIENDS for Life programmes at the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDj1ny98hp0

FRIENDS TRAINING POST PRIMARY APPLICATION


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