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MIC's EDNIP After-School maths camp wins national award for best community practice

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Pictured: Minister Norma Foley pictured with Dr Sheila Donegan of SETU & Maths Week with the EDNIP After-School award and entry

A STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) project at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has recently been announced, by Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, as the winner of a prestigious national award. The EDNIP STEAM After-School Club was unveiled as the winner of the Community Maths Eyes Project in the Have You Got Maths Eyes competition, a national competition highlighting leading maths work and practice in a community setting.

The camp began in November 2022 and involved 24 children from four Limerick primary schools (Our Lady of Lourdes National, Rosebrien; Presentation Primary, Sexton Street; Scoil Iosagáin, Sexton Street; and St John’s Girls’ and Infant Boys’, Cathedral Place) attending the After-School STEAM club at MIC for fourteen weeks.

The After-School club was delivered by EDNIP (Embracing Diversity, Nurturing Integration Project) and MIC’s Enterprise & Community Engagement Department. As part of the programme, the children submitted an entry to the Maths Eyes competition which saw them working in small groups, exploring the MIC campus and taking photographs of shapes and patterns of mathematical interest which they then captioned with a mathematical quote.

According to Áine Lyne, Acting TED Coordinator: “EDNIP was delighted to partner with the Enterprise & Community Engagement Department in MIC on a very successful STEAM After-School club. A key aim of EDNIP is to support families feel included in all aspects of life in Limerick and it was wonderful to see the children engage with the MIC campus and STEAM. The children and the EDNIP schools are very excited to win this prestigious prize and look forward to engaging more children on the MIC campus next year.”

EDNIP works with five DEIS Band 1 primary schools in Limerick City to deliver a strategic and systemic programme to foster inclusion. The five schools have a combined enrolment of approximately 1,000 children from 46 countries, speaking 36 languages and practicing 17 religions.

Nested within the work of the Transforming Education through Dialogue (TED) Project in the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) of MIC, EDNIP works within TED’s mission to ‘to improve and enhance educational outcomes for children by working in partnership with families, schools and communities’.

Speaking on the announcement was Dr Eleanor Walsh, STEM Project Outreach Officer at MIC who said: “The children loved exploring the campus in MIC with Maths Eyes and found shapes and mathematical concepts in many areas of the college – places that we walk past every day and might not even take any notice of.  We were thrilled to be shortlisted and now even more delighted to be category winners. It is an excellent competition to bring awareness to us all of the maths that surrounds us every day.”

The camp was partly held in the newly-opened CRAFT Maker Space at MIC. The first of its kind in the mid-west region of Ireland, the CRAFT Maker Space aims to inspire the public to connect with their inner designer, engineer, scientist, mathematician, inventor and artist through a wide range of energetic and thrilling STEAM activities and workshops. The CRAFT Maker Space was officially launched by Minister Norma Foley in March.