Marine Institute

Primary school teachers take on the ocean as marine themed teachers training courses increase

July 16, 2019

Twenty-five primary school teachers from Galway spent the first week in July (1st-5th) exploring rockpools, finding seashore animals, as well as playing games and creating art on the shore as part of the annual Explorers Education teachers training. Learning how to introduce marine themes onto the primary school curriculum, the DES approved course was organised by Galway Education Centre, and was held on a variety of seashores in Galway city, at the Marine Institute and at Galway Atlantaquaria. The Explorers Education Programme course was facilitated by the Explorers team Anna Quinn and Amanda Egan - Galway Atlantaquaria and is funded by the Marine Institute and managed by Camden Education Trust. Photograph Danielle Crowley, Marine Institute Bursary Student.Up to 100 primary school teachers from Galway, Kerry, Waterford, and Dublin took to the beaches in the first week of July (1st – 5th), joining the wave of formal educators around the country keen to introduce marine themes onto the Irish primary school curriculum.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute welcomed the significant expansion of the Explorers teachers training involving education centres and teachers across the country. "This is a significant achievement for the Explorers Education programme the aim of which is to build on Ireland's marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity. Working with the regional Education Centres and building long-lasting networks with teachers is key to inspiring a new generation of ocean champions and creating a community of ocean advocates."Primary school teacher, Maggie Kinsella from St Ita and St Josephs, Tralee pictured with Eleanor Turner, Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre, was among a group of up to 20 school teachers learning about animals on the seashore during the new DES summer course held by the Explorers Education Programme in Tralee.  Up to twenty teachers took part in the Explorers Education Programme teacher’s training held at the beginning on July (1st -5th), where they spent a week on the seashore and at Spa National School exploring rockpools, taking part in seashore games and creating art on the beach. Learning how to introduce marine themes onto the primary school curriculum, the DES approved course was organised by Tralee Education Centre the and held at Spa National School.  The Explorers Education Programme course was facilitated by the Explorers team Eleanor Turner and Rebecca White Murphy from Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre.  The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute and managed by Camden Education Trust. Photograph Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Camden Education Trust.

As part of the expansion of the Explorers Education Programme, Mr Bernard Kirk, CEO Camden Education Trust, who have been appointed to manage the programme on behalf of the Marine Institute, congratulated the Explorers teams and the Education Centres who have recently carried out the teachers Explorers training courses around the country. "Seeing more and more teachers from all over Ireland interested in teaching marine on the primary school curriculum, is encouraging in the efforts to mainstream marine education. Teachers are an incredible source of inspiration for children and stepping outside the classroom highlights the importance of going to the seashore to learn about our ocean is key to understanding our natural environment," said Mr Kirk.

"The outdoor environment particularly on the seashore provides children and teachers the space to develop problem-solving skills as well as opportunities to nurture their creativity, imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness. Exploring sand dunes to rock pools, finding living things in their natural environment, to creating art pieces from flotsam and jetsam are many of the things that give teachers and children a very unique opportunity to have contact with the natural world on the seashore," he said.

Twenty-five primary school teachers from Counties Waterford and Wexford spent the week on the seashore in Tramore and at Holy Family NS, where they explored rockpools, found seashore animals, created rock art and learned about Ireland's marine resource that is ten times the size of its land, all part of the new Explorers Education teachers training course.  Learning how to introduce marine themes onto the primary school curriculum, the DES approved course was organised by Waterford Education Centre, and was facilitated by the Explorers Education Programme team Glen Power - Oceanics Surf School and Gavin Bettlestone - Leave No Trace.  The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute and managed by Camden Education Trust. Photograph Cushla Dromogool-Regan Camden Education Trust.Now running for nearly 15 years in Galway, the Explorers Education Programme team, founded and supported by the Marine Institute have provided teachers with opportunities to learn about their local seashore through thematic learning. Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Education Programme Manager explained, "as an island nation, the ocean provides Ireland with an incredible resource that is at the heart of our heritage and culture."

With this in mind, the teachers training course now reaching another three counties in Ireland, has been further developed with a particular emphasis on providing teachers with new ideas for developing cross curricular marine skills in STEM subjects as well as geography, history, English, arts, drama, music and PE.

"Facilitated by the Explorers Education Programme outreach teams, one of the successful outcomes of the Explorers teachers training course is seeing teachers really enjoying the time and space to share their ideas and being inspired on how the marine can be used across the curriculum in thematic learning," Ms Dromgool-Regan said.

The Exploring the Seashore courses, approved by the DES were organised by Galway Education Centre, Tralee Education Centre, Blackrock Education Centre, and Waterford Education Centre. The Explorers Education Programme teachers training course was organised and facilitated by the Explorers team and guests including: Dr Noirin Burke, Anna Quinn and Amanda Egan, Galway Atlantaquaria; Eleanor Turner and Rebecca White Murphy, Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre; Glen Power - Oceanics Surf School and Gavin Bettlestone - Leave No Trace; Padriac Creedan from Galway Atlantaquaria and John Joyce, Spin Drift Press.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute and managed on their behalf, by Camden Education Trust. For further information see www.explorers.ie

ENDS

Media Contact:
Cushla Dromgool-Regan
Education Programme Manager & Communications Lead
(Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme)
The Camden Education Trust
C/o Galway Education Centre, Cluain Mhuire, Wellpark, Galway
Email: cushla [dot] dromgoolregan [at] thecamdentrust [dot] org
Website: www.explorers.ie