Group Photo in Coimbra, Portugal.

Learning Visit exchange to University of Coimbra, Portugal.

 In January 2019, 12 participants from Ireland, Norway and The Netherlands went on the second Learning Exchange Visit of the PINN project to Portugal. It was facilitated by the faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, at the University of Coimbra (FPCEUC).

Our participants included; Hazel Murphy Youngballymun practitioner, Orla Tuohy National Parenting Advisor Tusla & Lifestart Foundation, Claire Gleeson, Development Officer the Genesis Programme and Margaret Curtin, Chairperson of the Young Knocknaheeny ABC programme.

The focus of this PINN exchange visit was Prevention and Intervention in the Early Years. With special attention give to connecting academic research, practice and professional development of educators and caregivers.

Participants were impressed with the National Early Childhood Intervention System (SNIPI).  This system is implemented across Portugal by three Ministries (Health, Education and Social Affairs) and is overseen by an inter- ministerial committee. Parents no longer have to shop for supports and help, but instead are supported by a Local Intervention Team (ELI) and a mediator to help them identify their need(s).

Participants had the opportunity to visit an ELI in Coimbra when they were there, to hear and see first- hand how it works to support parents of young children.

Sharing knowledge at the University.

 

Another highlight of the exchange was seeing the inclusive practice in pre-schools for children with additional needs.  Visiting the Dandelio APPACDM Centre, participants were impressed by the facilities and outdoor spaces for the children but also the high-level qualifications of the staff working with the children, that included university degree graduates and specialist such as speech and language.

 

The enthusiasm and commitment of the University staff and students, the National Early Childhood Intervention System staff, and preschool practitioners to improve prevention and early intervention opportunities was impressive. We were also convincingly persuaded of the benefits of collaborations between research, practice and policy. During the visit, there were lots of opportunities to exchange information about good practice examples in Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway.

Reports and Presentations 

Report of Coimbra Learning Visit

Participants Reflections on their Learning Visit – Presentation by Orla Tuohy (TUSLA, LifeStart Foundation, Hazel Murphy (YoungBallymun) & Claire Gleeson (The Genesis Programme)