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'CBI FINAL FINAL Logo

The F Word: Failure' we all know it, we've all seen it, but what have we learned from it? Our good friends over in Children's Books Ireland (CBI) are hosting their 24th annual Children's Books Ireland conference on Saturday 24th–Sunday 25th May, in the Light House Cinema, Smithfield, where they take this very interesting topic and invite guest speakers to reflect on their careers where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory!

For any of you out there who are not aware, Children's Books Ireland is the national children's book organisation of Ireland and they work diligently to raise awareness of the value of children's books, promoting, celebrating, and supporting books and reading initiatives for young people. This initiative is obviously very close to our hearts here at Imaginosity where we revel in sparking young imaginations. We were delighted to have been wowed by these young bright stars of the future in our (just completed) 2014 'What's the Story?' Competition. A huge success once again, with double the amount of imaginative, crazy and fun-filled entries as last year.

This year's very special CBI conference promises to be a jam packed two-day programme of stimulating and thought provoking discussion and debate which never fails to excite. Its weekend long celebration of the very best in children's books both at home and internationally, hosts a whole array of speakers who have been invited to discuss the numerous and innovative ways in which books and reading can be part of young people's lives every day.

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The task ahead of them was going to be tough, but armed with lots of passion, commitment, enthusiasm and a love of stories (and lots of tea and sambos!), our competition judges headed in to their final meeting to decide on the Winners and Runners Up in the Imaginosity 'What's the Story?' Story-Making Competition last week.

We received close to 500 entries from all corners of the country this year and Imaginosity staff had shortlisted the entries down to 5 or 6 entries in each of the 5 categories. The judges had been given two weeks in which to read all short-listed entries and make their decisions in time for last week's meeting. Some arrived firm in their stance on who should win in each category and were ready to battle it out with those who did not share their views! Others came undecided on some categories and certain on others. But each and every judge arrived filled with delight and wonder at the stories that they had spent the previous fortnight reading. Each commented on the quality, the standard, the imagination and the creativity involved in each story.

Judges Meeting 2014

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Roisin Ingle, Daily Features Editor with The Irish Times is a member of our 'What's the Story?' Judging Panel for this year's competition. Here Roisin tells us of her own little story-tellers and the places that their imaginations take them and the stories that they tell!

I live with somebody who can make hailstones the size of golf balls appear from the sky with just a flick of her hand. She has turned me into a statue twice today. It's her magic powers you see. I live with someone else who thinks she's my boss. I go home from work and she makes me sit at a desk with my laptop, barking orders. " Make more work," she says in her harshest "boss voice". She's got a smile Julia Roberts would kill for so all I can do is comply.

Living with two four year olds can be exhausting but mostly it is the best fun I've ever had in my life. Why? Because they don't have any limits on their imagination. The stories they tell are the tallest stories you've ever heard. There's the time they went out to our tiny back yard and found fairies hiding behind the daffodil shoots. They were busy packing for a holiday on the moon. Or the time they met a teddy bear made of jelly and decided not to eat him. "His Mum who's a butterfly and his Dad who's a giant would be so sad," they explained, their blue eyes shot through with sincerity.

They can't write yet but I'm encouraging them to start making stories, setting them down for posterity in crayon and colouring pencil, helping them realise the stories they tell have the power to entertain, astound, move and shock. They take out their pencils and draw a girl trapped in a tower. Suddenly there are orange flames leaping out from the wobbly turrets and a ladybird arrives on a horse to rescue her. Then their junior infants teacher Miss Walkin emerges from a corner of the page with a bucket of water. To look at the page, a colourful mass of pencil marks, you wouldn't know any of this, but I've been told the story. And every part makes sense. It's often said that the Irish are a nation of storytellers. And if that's the case the young people of Ireland are our laureates. I can't wait to read all the entries to the Imaginosity competition. I hope my two laureates never stop making stories. Best of luck to all of yours.

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In 2013, Imaginosity enabled over 12,500 hours of imaginative, creative, educational, engaging play for families here in our museum. We were bursting at the seams throughout the year with new and regular visitors, as the next generation of thinkers, leaders, problem solvers and creative geniuses climbed our stairs to enter a world of imagination and fun.

Imaginosity is bright, inviting, bubbly, friendly and fun, but underneath our friendly and inviting exterior, we take the job of learning through play very seriously indeed. 2013 was an extremely busy and successful year for us. There are probably too many achievements to list for the purposes of this blog, but our key highlights would be:

Science and Engineering Programming and Funding

Imaginosity was delighted to have been formally accredited as a nationally recognised DPSM (Discovery Primary Science and Maths) Centre by Science Foundation Ireland. This was great news following our probationary period with SFI and shows the museum’s dedication and commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in our educational programming activities and events.

Through Science Foundation Ireland we were the grateful recipients of funding which allowed us to develop an already existing exhibit into our new ‘Maths House’ exhibit which provides problem-solving and numeracy challenges for museum visitors. This particular funding also enabled us to engage with numerous primary schools around the Dublin area, allowing them to visit the museum free of charge throughout national Maths Week and take part in some exciting, uniquely educational curriculum-based workshops where maths learning was lots of fun.

We also took part in national Engineers Week and national Science Week, providing opportunities for primary schools and families alike to engage through games, investigative workshops and creative activities, in the wonderful world of science and engineering. Imaginosity is proud of the environments that we created this year that exposed children to active engagement with science, engineering and maths. We are extremely grateful to our corporate partner Audi, who has sponsored our Science and Engineering programming for the last three years (2011-2013). It is always wonderful to work with like-minded partners who appreciate the scientific need for play.

Awards

Imaginosity was the proud recipient of a number of accolades this year.

- Envirocom Awards: We were thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the Envirocom Awards renowned for showcasing the best melding of environmental and commercial practice by companies, not-for-profits and agencies operating in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Area.

- Mums & Tots Awards: Winner for Best Family Indoor Playhouse

- Primary Times Star Awards: Winner for Play & Activity Centre, voted in Top 3 in the School Tours Dublin and voted in Top 3 Family Visitor Attractions.

 Collaborations and Outreach Activities

Imaginosity loves nothing more than joining with organisations and individuals who are committed to children’s education through learning and the arts. We were delighted once again to have worked with the multi-media students from Stillorgan College of Education, in designing another great interactive exhibit for the museum. This year they created an eco-trail for the building, which is interactive, educational and touch-screen.

We’ve been busy with our Outreach Activities this year too. We have packed up the cars and taken the magic of Imaginosity outside the walls of the museum and on the road to places around the country. Our partnership with the Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow was a huge success this year. It gave us a wonderful opportunity to present some magical theatrical events and activities in the beautiful setting of Powerscourt House and Gardens. From scary spooky ghoulish tales, to Irish dancing for St Patricks Day to the gorgeous story of Rapunzel and more, we exceeded our own expectations and those of our friends in Powerscourt during 2013.

We visited our lovely friends Childvision, the National Education Centre for Blind Children for their Annual Day for Childvision Donors last summer providing educational, creative fun for the many families who came to celebrate the wonderful work of this great charity throughout the day.

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As we are closed tomorrow, for Christmas Eve, we felt it was important to say Goodbye and Thank You to our greatest smallest friend 'Elfvis'. Today was Elfvis's last day reporting at Imaginosity. He has worked tirelessly over the last 5 weeks, moving all over the museum, choosing a different hiding place every day and generally keeping a playful watch over all the boys and girls. It goes without saying that all the children who come to Imaginosity are well-behaved, kind and sweet so we are sure that Elfvis has nothing but good news to pass on to Santa in time for Christmas Eve. 

We have loved having you here Elfvis. You have brightened our days with your cheeky grin and big blue eyes as we searched high and low for you each morning. We look forward to welcoming you back to the museum for Christmas 2014.

To all the boys, girls, mums, dads, grandmas, grandads, aunties and uncles we wish you all a very merry, happy, safe, playful Christmas. Enjoy the magic and the sparkle and don't forget your cookie for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph! Thank you for coming to play during the year. See you all again once the big day is over, as we get set to welcome another year of fun, play, learning, laughter and good times at Imaginosity for 2014.

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