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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Inquiry Based Learning in ECE
Module Code EC413
School 77
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Sandra O'Neill
Semester 2: Sandra O'Neill
Autumn: Sandra O'Neill
Module TeachersSandra O'Neill
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
Essay, 30%. Digital project 70%

This module introduces students to key ideas about young children's understanding of STEM and about learning and teaching early childhood STEM concepts from infancy. Students will develop a critical awareness of a range of national and international perspectives on policy on early STEM development and inquiry-based learning. The potential of the everyday activity of infants, toddlers and young children both at home and in early years settings is emphasised. Students are encouraged to recognise the science and engineering ideas in children's engagement with their world. Theory and research about the development of a range of conceptual and procedural understanding is explored. Recommendations about the provision of high quality STEM experiences for 3-6-year-old children along with general pedagogical guidance provided in e.g. Aistear provide a starting point for a discussion about appropriate pedagogy. The role of play, playful pedagogy and talk are identified as key supports for all children’s early learning. The importance of countering gendered conceptions of STEM subjects and nurturing positive dispositions towards STEM are key foci

Learning Outcomes

1. Evaluate the potential of both child-initiated and adult-initiated opportunities for inquiry-based learning in everyday activities in early education settings
2. Interpret children’s play and thinking in relation to key STEM theories and research findings
3. Explain the importance of talk and discussion for promoting and assessing STEM learning and development
4. Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate pedagogical strategies in supporting inquiry-based thinking and activity and the provision of a STEM rich indoor and outdoor learning environment for young children.
5. Identify and evaluate key resources and materials for supporting STEM learning in early childhood settings.
6. Design, plan and implement a range of appropriate STEM experiences for young children in early education settings

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Face to face or online workshops
Independent Study103Reading and review of literature in preparation for class. Work required for CA.
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

• STEM and Inquiry-based learning

• Review of STEM policy in ECEC nationally and internationally

• Focus on STEM subject areas Science, Technology (robotics), Engineering (Ramps and pathways) and mathematics.

• Gender and STEM

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Loop QuizOnline Quiz assessing understanding of STEM in ECE30%n/a
Digital ProjectStudents will create a digital resource to explain and demonstrate an aspect/ aspects of STEM education in early childhood education70%Sem 2 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Pat Brunton,Linda Thornton: 2009, Science in the Early Years, SAGE Publications, London, 9781848601437
  • Dierdre Englehart, Debby Mitchell, Junie Albers-Biddle, Kelly Jennings-Towle, and Marnie Forestieri: 2016, STEM Play: Integrating inquiry into learning centers, Gryphon House, Inc., Lewisville, NC, United States, 9780876594032
  • Terry Russell,Linda McGuigan: 2016, Exploring Science with Young Children, Sage Publications Limited, London, 9781473912519
  • Shelly Counsell,Lawrence Escalada,Rosemary Geiken,Melissa Sander,Jill Uhlenberg,Beth Van Meeteren,Sonia Yoshizawa,Betty Zan: 2015, STEM Learning with Young Children: inquiry teaching with ramps and pathways, Teachers College Press, NY, USA, 0807757497
  • Ann S. Epstein: 2014, The Intentional Teacher:Choosing the Best Strategies for Young Children's Learning, Revised, Conran Octopus, 9781938113062
  • Department of Education and Skills (DES): 2017, STEM Education - Implementation Plan (2017-2019), DES, Dublin,
  • Department of Education and Skills (DES): 2017, STEM Education - Policy Statement (2017-2026), DES, Dublin,
  • Department of Education and Skills (DES): 2020, Digital Learning 2020: Reporting on practice in Early Learning and Care, Primary and Post-Primary Contexts, DES, Dublin,
  • English, Lyn and Moore, Tamara (eds): 2018, Early Engineering Learning., Springer, London, 9789811342
Other Resources

40128, Website, 0, Creative Little Scientists, http://www.creative-little-scientists.eu/, 40129, Website, 0, Little Scientists; Exploring STEAM birth to five, https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/school-readiness/teacher-time-series/little-scientists-exploring-steam-birth-5, 40130, Tip sheet, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 0, Role of the adult in supporting STEM education (Birth to 3 years), www.aistearsiolta.ie, 40131, Tip sheet, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 0, Role of the adult in supporting STEM education (3-6 years), www.aistearsiolta.ie, 40132, Tip sheet, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 0, STEM Glossary, www.aistearsiolta.ie, 40133, Podcast, SweetPea in the early years, 0, Understanding STEAM, https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hdWRpb2Jvb20uY29tL2NoYW5uZWxzLzQ5OTI0OTMucnNz/episode/dGFnOmF1ZGlvYm9vbS5jb20sMjAyMC0wNC0yODovcG9zdHMvNzU2ODE2Ng?hl=en-IE&ved=2ahUKEwjf9Iy9j6frAhX4Q0EAHV-DAnAQieUEegQICxAH&ep=6,
Programme or List of Programmes
BECEBachelor of Early Childhood Education

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