Mary Immaculate College, Children’s Books Ireland, the HSE and local libraries recently celebrated the launch of Book Seed Limerick. The important new scheme was launched by the Mayor of Limerick, Councillor James Collins, who joined student volunteers from Mungret Community College to help pack books for the scheme.
Organised by Children’s Books Ireland and funded by the JP McManus trust, this initiative encourages and supports parents to read to babies from the youngest age. A research team from MIC, led by Dr Mary Moloney and colleagues across the faculties of Education and Arts, Dr Jennifer Pope, Deirdre Breatnach and Dr Suzanne Egan, will be evaluating this worthwhile initiative.
Commenting on the scheme Dr Moloney said: ‘it is wonderful to work with so many organisations to foster a love of reading in the youngest members of society. In keeping with First 5: A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, the scheme promotes parent-baby-bonding, provision of information to parents and the value and role of books in young children’s development and learning. We are looking forward to meeting babies and parents over the coming months and getting their thoughts on the scheme”.
Book Seed Limerick will see three books being given to babies in Rathkeale, Southill, Croom, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale in their first year of life. The first two books will be given to the babies by Public Health Nurses during their 3 month and 9 month developmental check at the local health centre. Babies will be introduced to and given the final book at their local library on their first birthday.
Evaluation of the scheme will involve talking to parents during and after they receive the books. Dr Moloney said: “We are interested in hearing about their views about the books, introducing books to their baby in the first year of life, how their baby interacted with the books, their intention to continue reading with their baby and/or join their local library, as well as their recommendations for the scheme in the future. The evaluation will also involve interviews with the other stakeholders involved in the scheme in Limerick: Public Health Nurses and library staff to determine their attitudes towards the scheme, what worked well, what challenges if any, they may have encountered, their recommendations for any potential expansion of the scheme”.
Pictured in main image (L-R): Dr Suzanne Egan, Department of Psychology, MIC; Deirdre Breatnach, Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies, MIC; Mayor of Limerick, Councillor James Collins; Dr Mary Moloney, Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies, MIC; Bernadette Larkin, Children's Books Ireland and Liam O'Mahoney, Principal of Mungret Community College.