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Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon, T.D. Launches STRANDS at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

STRANDS
Puppeteers "Kids on the Block"

Earlier this week Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon, T.D. launched an exciting, new and comprehensive book for teachers, entitled STRANDS, detailing methods and approaches for working successfully with children with general learning disabilities and Down syndrome. A first of its kind in Ireland, STRANDS is a richly informative and comprehensive book which has been developed by the Department of Special Education at Mary Immaculate College (MIC)

in collaboration with the Special Education Support Service (SESS) and has been published by the Curriculum Development Unit at MIC. Written by members of the Department of Special Education (MIC) and a member of the SESS, STRANDS aims to equip primary teachers and special education teachers with a wide range of instructional strategies that can be used to facilitate participation and learning among children with Down syndrome and general learning disabilities.

Speaking at the launch Eucharia McCarthy, the Director of the Curriculum Development Unit at MIC, explained that “STRANDS draws on current research and on the experiences of teachers working in both mainstream and special schools. The publication provides a wealth of practical strategies that can be used to enhance teaching and learning for children with Down syndrome in primary schools and special schools”.

Continuing she said that the text has 14 ‘strands’ relating to information about the needs and strengths of children with Down syndrome and provides specific research supported methods for teaching them in the major areas of the curriculum including language, literacy and mathematics. As the emphasis is on instructional practices that are responsive to the needs of visual learners, this book will be of interest to primary teachers who are teaching a wide range of children with general learning disabilities and special educational needs. This book also provides hundreds of visual illustrations of strategies and methods which teachers can apply in their classrooms.

Congratulating the authors and all contributors to the publication, Eucharia McCarthy said: “The CDU has a long established reputation for publishing educational materials of the highest calibre to support teaching and learning in schools. We are extremely proud to have published STRANDS which is overflowing with evidence-based strategies and practical ideas that are described in great detail and illustrated beautifully. This book will be an invaluable resource for teachers”.

Also speaking at the launch was Dr. Patricia Daly, Head of Special Education at Mary Immaculate College, who said: “The principles underpinning this publication ensure it is research supported, practical and applied, and easily accessible to teachers. We hope that STRANDS will make a valuable contribution to the teaching and inclusion of children with general learning disabilities and Down syndrome in primary and special schools throughout the country.”

In his welcome address, Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of Mary Immaculate College thanked the various organisations and individuals who worked to bring the publication to fruition saying: “This book will serve as a rich resource for teachers to empower them to work well with children with Down syndrome and those who learn primarily visually. Its publication is a wonderful achievement for the College as an organisation and for each of you who have contributed to it and we are very proud of your collaboration. I want to wish you all heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the College community”. In addition he paid particular thanks to the Department of Education and Skills, through the Special Education Support Services, for generously providing funding for the publication and distribution of STRANDS to all Primary and Special Schools in the Republic of Ireland.

Launching the book the Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D., said: “This publication is a testament to the outstanding commitment of the Department of Special Education and the Curriculum Development Unit at Mary Immaculate College as well as the Special Education Support Service”.

Bringing the procedures to a close he said: “The feedback that this publication has generated since its distribution to all primary and special schools is a fitting tribute to your work. It will continue to improve the quality of the educational experience being delivered in our schools in the years ahead”. While a copy of STRANDS has been posted to each primary and special school throughout the country, additional copies are available for purchase from the Curriculum Development Unit of Mary Immaculate College at 061-204366 or by email at: cdu@mic.ul.ie

Pictured at the launch of STRANDS were Eucharia McCarthy, Director of the Curriculum Development Unit at MIC, Dr. Patricia Daly, Head of Special Education at MIC, Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D., and Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of Mary Immaculate College.

 Click here to read a copy of the President's speech.

 

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