Faculty profile

Dr Margaret Kernan

Lecturer in Education (Primary)

PME in Primary Education
Contact information


Block B, Merrion Centre
Merrion Road
Dublin 4
D04 H2H4




Margaret has spent the last 35 years working internationally in the fields of education and development. She trained as a primary school teacher in the Froebel College of Education and Trinity College Dublin and worked in primary schools in Ireland, England and The Netherlands. Following a Masters in Psychology of Education from University of London, Margaret worked as a researcher and lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Technological University Dublin (formally the Dublin Institute of Technology). Margaret was a recipient of National Children’s Strategy Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholarship for her PhD research study: ‘The place of the outdoors in constructions of a ‘good’ childhood: an interdisciplinary study of outdoor provision in early childhood education in urban settings’ (awarded in 2007, University College Dublin).

Between 2009 and 2020 Margaret was a Senior Programme Manager at International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) in The Netherlands, an international knowledge centre about children growing up in difficult circumstances. While at ICDI, Margaret led multi-partner research, training and development projects focusing on psychosocial wellbeing of children, play and learning, children’s rights, diversity and inclusion. Since 2012, she has also led the award-winning intergenerational learning programme, Together Old and Young (TOY).

Margaret has worked as a policy consultant and early childhood education specialist with international organisations, governments and foundations such as the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment, Government of Ireland, Department of Education, UBS-Optimus Foundation & GHR Foundation, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Aflatoun Child Savings International and the Roma Education Fund.

Research interests

Margaret’s research interests include children’s play and development, psychosocial wellbeing, history of early childhood education and intergenerational learning. She has authored/co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, research reports, books and book chapters.



Kernan, M., Cortellesi, G. & Palazuelos, M. (forthcoming) ‘Intergenerational play’ in Jane Waters (Ed) Introduction to Play, Sage Publications.

Kernan, M. & Cortellesi, G. (Eds) (2019) Intergenerational Learning in Practice; Together Old and Young, Routledge – Taylor & Francis.

Giulia Cortellesi, Jessica Harpley and Margaret Kernan (2018) ‘Intergenerational learning for building and transforming cultural heritage between young and old’, in Neil Asher Silberman and Angela Labrador (Eds) Oxford Handbook of Public Heritage, Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press.

Kernan, M. (2014) Opportunities and affordances in outdoor play in L. Brooker, M. Blaise & S. Edwards (Eds) The Sage Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood, pp.391-402 London: Sage.

Kernan, M. & Singer, E. (Eds) (2011) Peer Relationships in Early Childhood Education and Care. London: Routledge.

Hayes, N. & Kernan, M. (2008) Engaging Young Children: A Nurturing Pedagogy. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.


Kernan, M., Cortellesi, G. & Alias Ribas, N. (2020) The Power of TOY: Skills for Practitioners about IGL Involving Young Children and Older Adults, Journal of Intergenerational Relations, 18, 2, 246-252.

Cortellesi, G. & Kernan, M. (2016) Together Old and Young: How Informal Contact between Young Children and Older People Can Lead to Intergenerational Solidarity, Studia paedagogica, [S.l.], v. 21, n. 2, p. 101–116, Jul. 2016. ISSN 1803-7437.

Kernan, M. (2010) Perceiving the affordances in early childhood education and care settings: adults’ and children’s perspectives, Children, Youth and Environments, 20, 1.

Kernan, M. (2010) Space and place as a source of belonging and participation in urban environments: considering the role of early childhood education and care, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 18, 2: 199-213.

Kernan, M. & Devine, D. (2009) Being confined within? Constructions of the Good Childhood and Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings in Ireland, Children & Society, 24, 5: 386-400.

Kernan, M. & O’Kane, M. (2006) Pre-school regulation in Ireland: learning from the past to improve young children’s everyday lives in early childhood care and education, Irish Educational Studies, 25, 2: 171-185.

Kernan, M. (2005) Developing citizenship through supervised play:the Civics Institute of Ireland playgrounds, 1933 – 75, History of Education, 34, 6: 675-687.

Kernan, M. (2000) Early Education in Ireland: Emerging Policy, Irish Educational Studies, 19: 175-188.

Kernan, M. & Hayes, N. (1999) Parent and Teacher Expectations of 4-year-olds in Ireland, Early Years, 19, 2: 26-37.

Kernan, M. & Hayes, N. (1998) Teacher Expectations and the Learning Experiences of Four-year-olds in preschool and primary school settings, Irish Educational Studies, 17.

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