As well as studying Early Childhood Care & Education at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Orlagh McDonald, from Lucan has just had her first children’s book 'Sonas and Daithí' published.
Orlagh’s book was the winning title for The Design a Book Project. Her book will be published and made available in Libraries, to support the development of children's personal, social and emotional development for children up to six years of age.
The winning book was selected for publication by a panel of judges, including ITB Lecturer Margaret O’Donoghue, children’s author Joe O’Brien and Senior Executive Librarian of Fingal Libraries Yvonne O’Brien. The selection was made following two showcase events in the early childhood care and education room in ITB where the students read their stories to two junior infants’ classes from Sacred Heart of Jesus, Huntstown, Dublin 15.
There were also two runners up of the Design a Book Award, 'Mossie the Monster Goes to School' by Eileen Griffin from Tralee and 'Sam and a Long Day' by Jordaine Cunningham from Poppintree.
The Design a Book Project, is a new collaborative project between the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and the Libraries Department, Fingal County Council, developed through a civic engagement approach between Yvonne O’Brien, Senior Executive Librarian in Fingal County Council, Libraries Division and Margaret O’Donoghue, Lecturer on the Early Childhood Care and Education course in ITB.
As part of the Year Four module ‘Creative Interventions for the Personal Social and Emotional Development of Children’ in the Bachelor Arts (Hons) degree programme Early Childhood Care and Education, 33 students were required to design and develop a story book that could support the development of children's personal, social and emotional development. The target age group was children under six years of age. As part of the assignment, the students were required to read their stories to senior infant children from a local school.
Margaret O’Donoghue, Lecturer at ITB, had this to say about the project:
“The feedback from the students having completed the module was very positive. They particularly enjoyed engaging with the children and the very practical aspect of the project.
For myself one of the most enjoyable aspects of the project was to welcome our youngest students from the Sacred Heart of Jesus primary school to ITB. The day the bus drove up to our campus and the children got off is a day I will remember. There was a great buzz around the place.
That in essence is what I see as a critical element of our ECCE Degree Programme at ITB, although our students do go out on work placement we have not up to now enjoyed and shared the company of children as young as 3-6 years of age in our ECCE room. This is part a project that will continue to develop between ITB and Fingal libraries.”
Yvonne O’Brien, Senior Executive Librarian in Fingal County Council, Libraries Division said of the project,
“This has been a very exciting project to develop. The feedback from the students has been very positive. While it was a challenging module, the students enjoyed it.”
“It was a pleasure working with ITB and its students who designed and developed a storybook that could support the development of children's personal, social and emotional development. Children’s author, Joe O'Brien and I were both amazed at the very high standard of books presented at the show case events in the ITB. The level of work, creativity and thought that went into each book was amazing and was reflected in the children's engagement with each student's presentation. ”
The book 'Sonas and Daithí' by Orlagh McDonald was launched on 26th January 2017 at the Fingal Co Council offices in Swords by Councillor Howard Mahony.