Children’s School Lives (CSL)

National longitudinal cohort study of primary schooling in Ireland.

Children’s School Lives (CSL)

Children’s School Lives (CSL) is an exciting new national longitudinal cohort study of primary schooling in Ireland. Launched on October 25th 2018, the study follows approximately 4,000 children across 189 schools through their primary school years. The study is now in year 3 and uses surveys and interviews with children, teachers and parents, as well as classroom observations. This ground-breaking study will provide rich and insightful pictures of children’s experiences in primary schools in Ireland. The study will also show how these experiences both shape and are shaped by schools as communities, institutions, and as a system.

Research plays a central role in all NCCA’s curriculum development work at early childhood, primary and post-primary. Children’s experiences, and the perspectives of their teachers, school management and parents on what happens in schools, are an important part of connecting practice with national policy. Aptly titled, Children’s School Lives, the study will inform the NCCA’s work in reviewing and updating the primary curriculum to ensure it continues to provide a strong foundation for teaching and learning. The findings will likely also be useful to schools in reviewing and further developing their own policies and practices.  

The study is being carried out by University College Dublin with the first wave on data-gathering begun in Q1, 2019.

11 December 2020 saw the publication of the first two reports from the study on the Children’s School Lives website. The Year One Report introduces us to the children and schools behind Children’s School Lives while a second report ‘Experiences of Remote Teaching and Learning in Ireland During the COVID-19 Pandemic (March – May 2020)’ provides insights into the impact of the extended school closure earlier this year on children, parents, teachers and school leaders.

The 25 of August 2022 marks the publication of Children’s School Lives: Preschool to Primary School Transition, the fourth report from the Children’s School Lives Study. The report focuses on the transition from preschool to primary school. This transition is a significant event not only in the lives of the children, but also their families. The report captures the experiences of children, parents/guardians, early years educators and primary teachers, and includes findings such as:

  • Children were generally very positive, saying they liked going to school, liked their teacher and had made friends in class
  • Teachers rated social, emotional and self-care skills as most important for children starting primary school
  • Almost all parents/guardians of children in Junior Infants reported that their child had attended an early years setting prior to starting primary school
  • There is a need to strengthen the collaboration and cooperation happening between preschools and primary schools in supporting children’s transitions.

Visit the Children's School Lives website here.