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News Blog

Cork Preschoolers Go Wild in 2014

Cork City and County Childcare have teamed up with Fota Wildlife Park to launch a new educational pack for preschool children based on the animals at one of Ireland’s most loved attractions.

The pack named “A Talk on the Wildside” was launched by Minister for Agriculture & Food Simon Coveney sets out sample activities that can be done with the children before the visit, whilst at the Wildlife Park and after the visit back at preschool. It has been designed to demonstrate how childcare practitioners can structure the learning of young children when on a visit to Fota Wildlife Park.

The pack was written by Karen McDonnell from Cork County Childcare and Aine Heffernan Cork City Childcare.  Karen is no stranger to animals having previously worked as Education Officer at Jersey Zoo and Head of Education at Dublin Zoo.   Aine also knows the value of taking kids out of the classroom having run her own preschool.

Karen believes that “almost everything a child does is part of their learning experience, even sleeping!  Children are learning all the time, so we need to make sure that we are making the most of every learning opportunity”.  The pack is aligned to Aistear and Síolta programmes and has been designed to support the development of literacy and numeracy skills".

Speaking about the link head of marketing at Fota Wildlife Park Stephen Ryan says it’s a perfect link for the park “having two small kids myself I know the influence animals can have over them, you only have to turn on any kids tv channel, open a kids book or go to a kids toy shop to see that animals play a big part in their early development. I believe this pack brings classroom learning to life in a fun but also educational way as they get to do things like count how many meerkats are in the park or find out where an emu comes from”

The park which will be made available to every preschool in Cork City & County includes animal ‘crib’ sheets that give basic information which should help answer any of the questions that the children (or other adults) might ask. Cork City & County Childcare will also facilitate information sessions to help childcare providers become familiar with it.

To celebrate the launch Fota Wildlife Park is offering a special discount rate of €5 to any preschool that is using the pack at the park. To book they can call 0214812678 or email education@fotawildlife.ie for details.

For all further queries please contact:

Karen O'Sullivan
Cork County Childcare Committee
Market House
Co. Cork

Tel: 022 23880
Email: kmcdonnell@corkchildcare.ie