Two Irish schools picked to take part in new Lego Learning Programme
Two schools in Ireland have been selected to take part in a global pilot of a new FIRST LEGO League education initiative, called Junior Discovery.
Developed for kids between the ages of 4 to 6 years old, FIRST® LEGO® League Junior Discovery is a non-competitive, hands-on STEM programme that is suited for junior and senior infant children, working in teams of four.
The two Dublin schools selected to take part are Malahide & Portmarnock Educate Together and the Central Model Infants' School on Marlborough Street in the city centre.
Just four countries throughout the globe were picked to take part in the pilot, with the two Dublin schools each getting seven teams of four senior infants children involved.
Through the pilot programme, the schools have direct input to the future development of Junior Discovery before its global launch next year.
The programme is run in Ireland by Irish education specialists, Learnit, in partnership with Professor Deirdre Butler from DCU’s Institute of Education.
LEGO FIRST - which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - aims to encourage children to think like scientists and engineers, developing hands-on practical solutions to real world issues.
Learnit's Ross Maguire explained that the Junior Discovery programme will present an exciting challenge - one which will light up the creativity of young children.
“Teams of four design a model and make it move, learning basic engineering and early STEAM skills.
"They document their work and celebrate their achievements, all the time operating under the FIRST core values of celebrating discovery and teamwork and having fun”.
Programme work takes place during class time and the school hosts a Discovery Event to showcase the work to family, students and the wider community.
The two Dublin pilot schools have education support resources from Learnit and DCU. They will also receive LEGO equipment and materials valued at more than €2,500.
This will them embed the programme within the school so that all children can engage with the STEM ideas, skills and principles.
The final Junior Discovery programme sessions will be taking place on Monday, November 26 next in the DCU LEGO Education Innovation Studio.
This will be a way to showcase and celebrate the brilliant and exciting work that the schools are doing.
Professor Deirdre Butler highlighted the importance of having the initiative linked with the DCU LEGO Education Innovation Studio, adding:
“The opportunity to be centrally involved in this initiative contributes to our goal of creating an interactive learning hub that will help DCU student teachers and Irish schools develop innovative and creative approaches to designing learning environments which ignite a passion for learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) concepts & skills from early childhood education right through to third level.
"By adopting Lego®’s playful learning tools, with a ‘Hands-on Minds-on’ mindset in a supportive learning environment, all students can develop key competencies such as creative thinking, problem-solving, team-working and communication”.
Learnit has introduced the FIRST LEGO League concept to a number of schools in Ireland in the past three years.
They have rolled out competitions for students aged from 11 to 16 years in the main League competition and a Junior League designed for those aged from six to ten.
More than 70 teams will participate in four separate Irish tournaments this year.
The new Junior Discovery programme is a non-competitive introduction for younger children.