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Revolutionising Education through Play and Voice Conference 2019


Mary Immaculate College (MIC) will host this major international education conference exploring play and voice in education on 5 October 2019, at its Limerick Campus.

Organised by a team from MIC, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and University College Cork (UCC), the event will focus on the potential for “play” and “voice” to revolutionise education settings from early childhood to post-primary level.

Confirmed keynote speakers at the event include Professor Laura Lundy (QUB) and Dr David Whitebread (formerly of Cambridge University). A number of parallel sessions will run through the day.

The event will close with a performance by the choir from Corpus Christi Primary School, Moyross, Limerick, who will perform their magical rendition of The Cranberries' song Dreams, followed by a celebration marking five years of CERAMIC (Centre for Early Childhood Research at Mary Immaculate College). 

Read and download programme below.


The conference steering committee is comprised of Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC; Dr Maurice Harmon, Head of Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education (Acting), MIC; Dr Lisha O’Sullivan, Head of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies (Acting), MIC; Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC; Professor Laura Lundy, QUB and Dr Domnall Fleming, UCC.

According to Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC and member of the conference steering committee: “Research continues to demonstrate that embedding play-based practice in education contexts from early childhood to post-primary level contributes substantially to all children’s learning and development. Equally research suggests that maintaining a focus on environments where children believe their voice is valued and listened to significantly impacts on children’s self-esteem, social compe­tence, resilience and overall achievement. Critically positioning both play and voice at the heart of education promotes a rights-based approach in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.”

Continuing, she said: Believing that the potential for embedding ‘play’ and ‘voice’ in education remains under threat from perceived pressure to introduce more formal and directive approaches, this conference is focused on presenting research-based approaches to support the inclusion of ‘play’ and ‘voice’ in policy and practice. We ask a wide range of international and national experts to tell us in 2019, how we can sup­port, in the words of Dolores O’Riordan, ‘a different way to be’ in our early childhood and school contexts. The theme of the conference also aligns well with the work of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment on curriculum across the education spectrum.”


Please register here.

Keynote Speakers

Confirmed keynote speakers at the event include Professor Laura Lundy (QUB) and Dr David Whitebread (formerly of Cambridge University).

Professor Lundy is Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights at QUB. Her expertise is in law and children’s rights, with a particular focus on children’s rights to participate in decision-making.

Dr David Whitebread is an internationally renowned expert on play, particularly in the context of early childhood and primary education.

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