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NCCA Children's School Lives


Posted by Schooldays Newsounds, on 11/12/2020. NCCA Children's School Lives Tags: Parenting Teachers


Children’s School Lives (CSL) is an exciting and unique research study which follows 4,000 children in 189 schools through their primary school years to learn, in detail, about and from their experiences.

The study reveals that First Holy Communion is a key event for children in Catholic ethos schools but was referred to mainly in material terms.

The 2nd Class study in CSL Case Study Schools had the following findings:

  • Money, holidays and possessions were key themes in children’s discussion of everyday life at home.
  • Activity calendars revealed a broad variance in out of school activities..
  • Children had vivid memories of starting school..
  • Classroom jobs were highly coveted..
  • Teachers highlighted 2nd class as a significant transition point in children’s lives, especially in terms of becoming more independent.


    • Play and friends were the most valued aspect of school.
      I love them. I think friends are
      important in school because they stick
      together… and help each other out

      (Girl, Rathlin primary)


    • Children noted increased homework and a more challenging workload in 2nd class.
      2nd class is literally just doing the same thing
      over again as first class just a bit harder…you
      get barely any time to play or anything, just
      to do work, work, work, work

      (Boy, Poolbeg primary)


    • Children spoke positively about their involvement in school committees.
      Well the good thing about this school is that
      there are good teachers, good students and
      it’s good that rules are fair’

      (Girl, Tuskar primary)


    • Each school had supports in place to help children with the transition.
      Grownups and them say that children don’t actually have real problems,
      but I think that’s not true, because we have different problems.
      Grownups sometimes don’t have like work, but we like, have a fight with
      a friend… so It’s just kids have different problems

      (Mixed girls’ group, Rathlin primary)


    • Teachers but especially principals referred to increasing levels of anxiety and worry among children arising from changing family and societal structures including poverty, family breakdown and working life.
      ‘You can’t learn if you are not fed... you
      can’t learn if you are cold. You can’t
      learn if other needs are not being met’

      (Principal, Mizen primary)

      There’s a huge rise in anxiety and
      its related to family issues, family
      problems… just little children unsure
      of their arrangements in the evenings,
      worried about a lot of things’

      (Principal, Fastnet primary)


    • The impact of digital technologies was also noted as a concern in terms of impact of extensive screen time on learning and safety.
      I think its dying (going to bed with a story)… there’s such a wealth
      of language and repetition of phrases - technology comes at a huge
      price, because if they don’t have the words, feelings, everything is
      through the same prism’

      (Teacher, Tuskar primary)

      They go from phones to tablets to ipads to computers…
      They are on snapchat, instagram, facebook… .our kids
      struggle to read and we see it in Junior infants

      (Teacher, Poolbeg primary)


    With regards to Extra Curricular activities, the report found that 72.4% of Children study never visited a Museum while 45% have visited a library.

  • 47.2% of children often played team sports and 39.5% often take part in music, dance,
    art of swimming lessons.
  • Children were most likely to report that they sometimes went to the movies (68.9%),
    the park (67.4%).
  • A small proportion of the children went to Saturday/weekend school sometimes (4.1%)
    or often (4.7%), and Sunday/religious school sometimes (7.3%) or often (6.8%).

    Minister for Education Norma Foley TD said: “I welcome the research being published by the NCCA and UCD’s School of Education today which is a significant study into primary education in Ireland. This innovative research gives a unique insight into the experiences of primary school children and will further inform policy making within this crucial area.”

    Report 1 introduces us to the children and schools participating in Children’s School Lives. It details aspects of their lives such as their place of birth; mother tongue; social, cultural and material resources; their family structure; home learning environment; and their involvement in extra-curricular activities. The report also provides insights into their experiences of attending primary school by providing findings such as:

  • children’s attitudes towards their learning in different subjects
  • children’s attitudes to and use of digital technology
  • teacher’s rate of enjoyment of teaching different subjects.

    You can access further information on the Children’s School Lives (CSL) Study by visiting CSL Study.

    Source: NCCA Press Release.



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