Early Years: international masters gets the green light

Siobhan-Fitzpatrick-H S-pic---May-08Early Years – the organisation for young children is helping different countries that have experienced conflict to share their expertise.

On behalf of the International Network on Peace Building with Young Children, Early Years – the organisation for young children is launching a new Masters Programme on Applied Peace and Conflict Studies with early years children, in partnership with the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at the University of Ulster.

The International Network on Peace Building with Young Children is a three-year project, which has received £610,000 from the European Regional Development Fund under the PEACE III Programme and led by Early Years.

This pilot masters programme will build upon participants’ understanding of the origins, context and changing nature of conflict by providing a particular focus on child development issues and the impact of conflict on young children, their families and communities.

This is an applied masters programme that will enable participants to apply their own experience in this area while also looking at best practice programmes from across the world.

The aims of the masters programme are:

  • to advance the development of professionals concerned with young children and peace-building in conflict and post-conflict situations so as to positively impact on the development of research and innovative, high quality and evidence-based early years programmes;
  • to contribute to a more peaceful and inclusive society through the design and/or implementation of programmes, policies and research aimed at children in conflict and post-conflict situations;
  • to raise awareness of the relationship between children’s rights and child health, well-being and development in conflict and post-conflict situations;
  • to develop leadership and capacity in participants in order to advocate for children’s rights and promote peace and social justice through programmes working for young children; and
  • to develop leadership and capacity in supporting organisations and global regional networks in order to advocate for children’s rights and promote peace and social justice.

This innovative masters programme offers students a unique opportunity to undertake a graduate programme characterised by academic excellence within the context of a vibrant and culturally rich society emerging from conflict. Students will have access to leading academics and practitioners working both to address the causes and consequences of conflict locally and internationally and to promote better peacemaking and peace-building strategies. Students are also encouraged to undertake research that relates to their own organisation or their regional need and they are supported with their dissertation by a member of the International Network on Peace Building with Young Children, as well as by the university.

The Young Children and Peace Building module of the programme will provide participants with an understanding of the nature of early childhood development and the impact conflict has on young children, their significant adults and their communities. It will also highlight a range of successful early childhood peace building interventions and provide participants with the knowledge and skills to adopt a child rights-based approach to programme and policy development.

The International Network on Peace Building with Young Children has secured funding from the PEACE III Programme to fund a number of places on the masters programme. Five students drawn from Northern Ireland and five from the rest of the world will be awarded a bursary which will cover their enrolment fees for the course.

For further information on this Masters opportunity please contact Kevin Fearon, International Project Manager at Early Years on 028 9066 2825 or visit www.early-years.org/masters

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