Integrating in the Early Years Conference, Oxford Island


A great day was had by all at this years Integrating in the Early Years conference at Oxford Island. The weather even held up for us all too!

While Roisin Marshall from NICIE opened the day (and you can see her remarks on our Facebook page here) the focus really was on STEM and Outdoor Play, with our keynote speaker Julie Mountain from Play Learning Life leading the way. If you were there you may have been as glued to her “Stepping Forward into STEAM” discussion as we were, but it is all available on the Play Learning Life website (let us know if you can’t find it!). The focus really was about learning outdoors, and encouraging children to explore and play – and not wrap them in cotton wool! As the Health and Safety Executive themselves said “No child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in
cotton wool.”

Our outdoor workshops were based around this as well, using what is available outside of the classroom to help children grow and learn, whether that was to go and explore their surroundings and use nature to support STEAM subjects (and do it all on a budget) or simply through play, lead by Julie Mountain and Kierna Corr. Staff from NICIE even gave a taster session on our Anti-Bias training, unfortunately inside, and you can read more about the course here.

In the afternoon Deirdre O’Reilly from Mill Strand Integrated Primary School discussed some of the inspiring ways they get children involved in STEAM. At the same time Andy from LearningSPACE gave a great presentation on the sensory impacts some children can feel and some ways of helping them to grow and participate each day.

Thanks to the IEF for organising and sponsoring the whole day, you may find some pictures of yourselves in the gallery below.

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NICIE - Early Years Conference - Oxford Island - 17th October 2019Photograph by Declan Roughan