An Ocean of Stories – created by over 300 school children on the Atlantic Coast

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme are delighted to launch the book An Ocean of Stories – An Anthology of Children’s Ocean Stories, by children from County Clare and County Limerick, leading up to World Oceans Day on the 8th of June. The book published by Explorers Education officer, Carmel Madigan of the Loophead Summer Hedge School, includes over 50 stories, artwork and poems that were inspired by children’s ocean experiences and highlights the major role the ocean has in our everyday life.

Patricia Orme, Joint Acting CEO of the Marine Institute, congratulated Carmel Madigan and the Explorers team on the launch of the book. “Carmel always puts the children first and this book has helped children find a positive place in a time that has been challenging for many in primary schools over the past year. While we celebrate “World Oceans Day – The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”, this book reminds us of our childhood experiences and our love for and relationship with the sea.”

“Reading the stories of children jumping off piers and their stories of the adventures of rock-pooling reminds us of how fortunate we are to live on an island surrounded by the ocean, where we can enjoy amazing beaches and coast-line. Each of the children’s stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our inter-connection with the sea. I am sure many will treasure this wonderful book in years to come,” Ms Orme added.

Carmel Madigan, Explorers Education Officer from the Loophead Summer Hedge School ran the Explorers project with 14 classes over the last school term in Clare and Limerick, to engage teachers and children in the idea of documenting their experiences and memories of the seashore and the ocean. With the production of an Explorers Personal Story Writing Guidebook, and a series of short videos, as well as zoom sessions, the children were guided through the process of capturing their own stories about the ocean, through a series of creative writing exercises.

“I am delighted that I was able to bring something to the classroom that was fresh and new to the children with this project. Working with the teachers, and the Explorers team, we created a positive experience for the children promoting a sense of wellness and well-being. The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking. Some are pure fact and some are pure fiction – all were a joy to read! The children should be very proud of their contributions. They are truly beautiful, engaging and thoughtful, making for wonderful insightful reading, whatever your age,” said Ms Madigan.

Over 300 stories were produced by the children, highlighting the importance of including marine themes on the curriculum. “The stories and poems produced by the children conjure up many memories of ‘sand in the sandwiches, being tumbled by waves, to having a big ice-cream on the way home! I am sure that for many who read this book, they will also turn the pages smiling with similar recollections of their own seashore and ocean experiences,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Strategic Education Manager, and the Camden Education Trust.

“Carmel has delivered a number of valuable projects with children over the years and her experience as an artist, author and ocean enthusiast is reflected in her work for the Explorers Education Programme. I sincerely hope that this book inspires those that read it. As one of the stories written about a sailor’s adventure traveling across the seas says: the Ocean may separate us physically around the world, but it provides us the opportunity to bring humanity together! Well done to all!” Ms Dromgool-Regan added

The Explorers Education Programme is managed by the Camden Education Trust. For further information about the Explorers Education Programme, see the Explorers contacts page.

Teachers, educators and those interested in marine education may also like and follow us on Facebook: @ExplorersMarineEducation and Twitter @explorersedu for great ideas and fun facts about the ocean.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state agency for marine research, technology development and innovation.

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