Minister Fitzgerald launches two books in DIT

15 November 2012: Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald TD, was welcomed to DIT Mountjoy Square this evening by Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT and Dr. Kevin Lalor, Head, School of Social Sciences and Law. The Minister came to launch two ground-breaking books with a strong DIT flavour, and a direct connection to her portfolio as Minister. In her opening remarks, she complimented DIT on its long history in the area of early childhood education, and she welcomed the publications which she regarded as most timely.

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Professor Brian Norton, Dr. Máire Mhic Mhathúna, and Minister Frances Fitzgerald launching “Early Childhood Education & Care”, co-edited by Dr. Mhic Mhathúna and Dr. Mark Taylor (IT Sligo)

Early Childhood Education & Care was co-edited by Máire Mhic Mhathúna (DIT) and Mark Taylor (IT Sligo) and includes chapters contributed by educators, practitioners and policy experts from across Ireland. An ideal text book for students of early childhood, it introduces readers to the theories from a number of social scientific disciplines, thus helping them to make sense of a child’s place in the world. It also examines different approaches to early childhood education and care, looking at a number of pre-school learning models. While exploring the topic of Pedagogy and Learning, it stresses the importance of engaging with parents and the community and probes the unique character of the ECEC sector in Ireland, looking in particular at the issues of ethics and diversity.

The idea for this book grew from discussions at the meetings of PLÉ, the organisation for lecturers teaching on early childhood education degree programmes. The acronym PLÉ stands for Pedagogy, Learning and Education and calls to mind both ‘Plé,’ the Irish word for discussion and ‘Play,’ one of children’s ways of exploring the world. All royalties received from the publication of this book will go to Plé, to support its work.

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Minister Frances Fitzgerald, with l to r, Professor Brian Norton, Dr. Máire Mhic Mhathúna, Dr. Claire Hamilton and Dr. Kevin Lalor.

Thanking the Minister for launching the publication, Dr Mhic Mhathúna, Assistant Head of School, School of Social Sciences and Law, DIT pointed out that despite the economic downturn, the sector has recently witnessed a number of significant developments. She echoed the Minister’s comments on the huge take-up of free pre-school year for all children and welcomed the Minister’s suggestion that this should be extended to a further year. She also said she welcomed the launch of Aistear, the curriculum framework for younger children, and the imminent National Early Years Strategy, and further progress in the field.

Minister Fitzgerald also launched a second text book entitled Irish Social Work & Social Care Law, and complimented author Dr. Claire Hamilton on its clarity and significance. This is the first Irish publication introducing students to social care and social work law, concepts and structures in Ireland, and provides a clear and concise guide to both the legal framework and the substantive law relating to social care and social work law in Ireland. Dr. Hamilton, former DIT lecturer and now lecturing in Queens University Belfast, said she felt there was a real need for students of social care and practitioners to have a clear awareness of legal issues that impinge so immediately on their area of work. She emphasised the importance of practicing preventatively and of knowing when to seek legal advice. Dr. Hamilton also thanked Dr. Mairead Seymour, DIT, who contributed a chapter to the book.

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Authors together:  Editor Máire Mhic Mhathúna and authors of chapters in Early Childhood Education & Care

Irish Social Work & Social Care Law focuses on the specialist functions performed by social care professionals such as child protection, adoption and fostering, disability and mental health and discusses both child law and the law relating to vulnerable adults in an Irish context and considers the broader issues that affect service users in a social care context such as domestic violence, youth justice and the asylum system.

Both books were published by Gill & MacMillan and are available in bookshops now:

  • Early Childhood Education & Care (priced €34.99 )
  • Irish Social Work & Social Care Law (priced €39.99 )

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