Explorers Education Programme™ teachers training, now running for over ten years

Dr Noirin Burke, Explorers Education Programme with teachers from Maree National School, Galway during the annual week long teachers training, learning about how to use marine themes on the primary school curriculum.  Photograph Cushla Dromgool-ReganThe Explorers Education Programme™ teachers training, which is run in conjunction with the Galway Education Centre held its tenth annual week long workshop recently with 24 primary school teachers to help raise their knowledge of the ocean and its impact on our daily lives at the Marine Institute.

Now in its tenth year, Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated the team involved in the delivery of the teachers training workshop. "Collaborations with Galway Education Centre and Galway Atlantaquaria help us excel in providing teachers and students with hands on experiences learning about the seashore and ocean through the Explorers Education Programme; and as a consequence helping as a nation develop a thriving maritime economy and future healthy marine ecosystems in Ireland," said Dr Heffernan.

Ms Jan Sinnott, teacher at Maree Primary School, Galway was delighted to take part in the workshop again this year after facilitating the first Explorers training course in her class in 2005 with the Marine Institute stating "this is an outstanding course and provides excellent examples of how we can overcome some of the challenges of teaching students about the marine in the class using cross curricular lessons and planning".

The enthusiasm of the course trainers and the seashore fieldwork reminded us of how we have a great resource at our doorstep and how easy it is to create inspiring lessons across all of the strands" Ms Sinnott further said.

With the expansion of the Explorers Programme run by outreach centres around most coastal counties in Ireland, the programme will be reaching over 20,000 students by the end of 2017. Dr Noirin Burke, Galway Atlantaquaria, who oversees the coordination of the Explorers Programme, noted that "The programme has diversified so much over the last ten years. As well as the DES approved summer course we now also offer whole school CPD training for schools in the west of Ireland who want to introduce ocean literacy and cross curricular subjects such as environmental awareness and care into the curriculum within their school."

Schools may also apply to have marine themed modules delivered by a member of their local Explorers outreach team. These include creating marine themed projects, seashore visits and marine workshops, primarily for 5th and 6th class students. "Over the last year we have seen a wealth of amazing marine projects which have being completed by teachers and students covering subjects ranging from sciences, geography, art, history and english to name a few. A number of these have been shared with their local community such as the Cleggan "Our History, Our Sense of Place" book or have featured in national exhibitions including the Galway Science and Technology Festival as well as SEAFEST- Ireland's National Marine Festival,". It was a pleasure to work with centres and schools to help promote the ocean around Ireland and how we are connected to it, Dr Noirin Burke added.

For more information relating to the Explorers Education Programme centres or to download free lesson plans and resources see the Explorers website www.explorers.ie