Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *training, *pedagogy, *didactics, 5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Social issues

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Technological University Dublin


This study investigates the concept, role and potential of intergenerational learning (IGL) as a pedagogical strategy in Irish early childhood education (ECE) services. It explores the perspectives on IGL of educators(5), children(70) and their parents(43) in five Irish ECE services in city, town and suburban locations. The theoretical and conceptual framework was informed by socio-cultural theories of learning aligned to key principles of IGL. A qualitative methodological approach was adopted to access these perspectives.Specifically, the methods used to gather data were semi-structured interviews with educators, draw and talk strategies with children and informal written feedback with parents. Educators played a key role in the study as they gathered data with children over time, enhancing the richness and authenticity of the children’s data (Sommer et al., 2013). Key findings demonstrated that children’s happiness, socio-emotional competences and executive functions, all key elements of successful learning and living,were strongly supported through IGL, reinforcing its potential as a relational pedagogy(Papatheodorou & Moyles, 2009).Additionally, IGL, by drawing on the resources of the community created rich opportunities for children’s participationand contribution as citizens in communities, underscoring the potential of IGL as a transformative pedagogy(Sánchez et al., 2018).The contribution of accessing young children’s experiences of IGL and the invaluable role which educators can play in facilitating children’s participation in research is also foregrounded in the study findings.The study concluded that IGL offers a strong pedagogical strategy for Irish ECE services and, significantly, highlighted the potential of IGL to enrich and expand the principles and aims underpinning Irish ECE policy frameworks (CECDE, 2006; NCCA, 2009). While the frameworks provide an enabling context for IGL, the success of IGL depends to a considerable extent on the commitment and expertise of educators. Furthermore, for IGL to become embedded as a pedagogical strategy in Irish ECE services would require that the concept be reflected in ECE policy and specifically aligned with principles, aims and goals of the curricular and quality frameworks.