Mallow Maths and Science Primary Schools Initiative launched

Pictured at the launch of the Mallow Maths and Science Primary Schools Initiative; seated, Mary Hayes, Senior Executive Officer, Cork Co Council, Cllr Frank OFlynn, Dr Maeve Liston and John McDonnell; standing, Noel O’Connor, Willie John O’Flynn, Cllr Gearoid Murphy, Tom Cronin, Tadhg Curtis, Deputy Sean Sherlock TD, Sean Lynch, President of Mallow Chamber, and Sinead O’Connor, AIB. Pic, S Murphy.

The launch of the Mallow Maths and Science Primary Schools Initiative was held on Monday in the Mercy Centre. The event, which was very well attended, was launched by Cllr Frank O’Flynn, Chair-person of the Economic Development Strategic Policy Committee, who deputised for the County Mayor. Mr Tom Cronin, Chairperson of the Innovation, Education and New Technologies Pillar of Mallow Development Partnership welcomed those present which included representatives from Cork County Council, Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, and principals and teachers from the thirteen schools in the Mallow and North Cork area who are taking part in the primary schools initiative.  Mr Cronin said that the initiative was only possible thanks to significant funding from the Economic Development Fund of Cork County Council which have continued to support the maths and science schools project in Mallow over the past seven years.
Mr Jerry Lynch, liaison officer for the schools and Mary Immaculate College, outlined the importance of the programme, both for the schoolchildren and the teachers.  The maths and science workshops provided by Mary Immaculate College to the teachers greatly enables them to be at the cusp of new teaching methods in this area.  The workshops increase confidence and techniques, and showcase the fun side of teaching and learning in maths and science.
Dr Maeve Liston, Director of Enterprise and Community Engagement with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, explained that the main focus of the programme is to encourage and facilitate more child-led classwork, and ensure an effective learning context through project work and problem solving.  This will also address the transition from primary to secondary level education where project work and problem solving is a key element of the new Junior Cycle Reform.   Michael Browne, Project Coordinator with Mary Immaculate College, visits the schools on a number of occasions during the school year to work with the children on their projects. Michael explained to those present that the children eagerly engage in planning their projects, using skills such as discussion, design, investigation, demon-stration to achieve a successful outcome. The projects challenge the children to ‘think outside the box’ and encourage and facilitate the development of long term interest, understanding, knowledge and skills in STEM subjects in primary schools.
The current phase of the programme will begin in October in each of the schools.  Students are currently working on projects to exhibit at the upcoming Munster Maths and Science Family Fair which will be held on Sunday, 15th October, in Mallow GAA Complex.  The fair attracts in the region of 4,000 people each year and has free entry to a fun-filled family day out.  Exhibitors also include industry, academia, secondary schools, research and many more such as the Blackrock Observatory, Lifetime Labs, Blizzard Enter-tainment, Clever Mind Toys, Kostal, Institute of Physics, CIT Sports Science Department, Dairygold, Inland Fisheries, Outdoor Explor-ation Planetarium, to name but a few.
The Mallow Maths and Science Schools initiative is key element of the long-term goal of developing a community-led schools programme, and further positioning the wider Mallow area as a unique centre of future educational development involving all the relevant stakeholders.