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Exciting New European Collaboration at DkIT

29 October 2020

Dundalk Institute of Technology along with its partners in Europe has been awarded funding for an exciting and innovative new project focused on music and mindfulness for children.

The project will create opportunities for staff and students at DkIT to collaborate on an international project aimed at inspiring and supporting teachers to work with arts & mindfulness in their educational practice.

The Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music will work with the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years on the Erasmus + Strategic Partnership 'AMiE' - an acronym that stands for Arts & Mindfulness in Education. The project aims to help to meet the need for preventive measures aimed at children to support their mental health. We hope to provide European teachers with inspirational and supportive tools regarding the introduction of mindfulness in pre-primary and primary education (age group 3 to 12).

AMiE is unique in that it uses the power of art and creative processes as a starting point for the introduction of mindfulness in a school context. The AMiE consortium consists of three European higher education institutions (AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts Antwerp, Belgium; Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland; Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway), a private music school in Porto that offers training courses at the level of Pre-School, First Cycle, Basic Course of Music, Secondary Course of Instrument and Music Training (Curso de Música Silva Monteiro, Portugal) and a company specialised in STEAM, playful learning and mindfulness in an educational context (Speel je wijs, the Netherlands).

In a previous Strategic Partnership this consortium has already built up extensive expertise and experience in STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) it was clear that artistic processes are important tools in supporting student learning and development. From a transdisciplinary approach the arts can also serve to creatively introduce mindfulness into the daily practice of pre-primary and primary schools.

Eight Belgian, Irish and Norwegian students from each of the three higher education institutions involved in AMiE will actively contribute to the various intellectual outputs and the (national and international) multiplier events of this Strategic Partnership in which student entrepreneurship is central. The intellectual outputs that are the result of this AMiE Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership.

The involvement of pre-primary and primary schools from each of the five European countries directly involved will be an important dimension to the project. A number of these schools each focus on specific target groups with whom we work on arts & mindfulness (children from culturally diverse backgrounds; children of refugees; children with a mental disability; children from socioeconomic vulnerable families). In this way AMiE contributes to the objectives of the European Commission regarding equity, diversity and inclusion. Much attention will be paid to dissemination activities that encourage a much wider group of both international higher education partners and European pre-primary and primary schools to introduce mindfulness through the arts into their educational practice. A sustainable embedding of arts & mindfulness in the European educational context is therefore the intended impact of AMiE in the longer term. The embedding of this form of educational innovation in the curricula of all partners in the AMiE consortium and a consistent ambassadorial role regarding arts & mindfulness at the European level are the first steps in this direction.

This Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership is financially supported by DIKU - Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education with Western Norway University of Applied Sciences acting as overall Project Coordinator. Speaking about the project, DkIT project manager Dr Adèle Commins, Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music, noted;

It is an exciting time starting this new project with our European partners with whom we have worked successfully with in the past. The opportunity for our students to work collaboratively with students from other European institutions will bring an added dimension to their learning experience at DkIT. We are also very much looking forward to working with our colleagues and students from the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies.'

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