Physical, Emotional, Active, Cognitive, Health Project

PEACH is a project led by two neighbouring, Cork city-based all-girls’ primary and post-primary schools, in collaboration with the state school inspectorate. The UCC team were approached to evaluate a holistic wellbeing project designed by the schools. The project includes the implementation of cognitive, emotional and relationship skills programmes over a three year period (2018-2020).

This research team has: 1) developed a quantitative instrument (a health and wellbeing survey) to map the children’s lives; 2) undertaken a number of participatory and creative research exercises with 5th class students (6th class by the second year of the project) to generate knowledge of the girls’ experiences and desires regarding food consumption, physical activity, community and school belonging. These exercises have explored three themes:

  • Nutrition, healthy eating and food consumption at school and local area
  • Wellbeing and belonging at school and in the community
  • Social media and body image
Project outcomes:

Horgan, D., Fernández, E., Kitching, K. (2022) ‘Walking and talking with girls in their urban environments: A methodological meandering’, Irish Journal of Sociology,

Fernández, E., Kitching, K and Horgan, D. (2022). School Food Policy in Ireland: What Can We Learn from What 11-year-olds Think of Food? In Dorte, R., Torres, I. and Powell, D. School Food, Equity and Social Justice: Critical Reflections and Perspectives. London: Routledge.

Fernández, E. Kitching, K. & Horgan, D. (2021): 'Young girls’ experiences of ‘good’ food imperatives in a working class school community: rethinking food desire?', Cambridge Journal of Education 

Kitching, K., Fernandez, E. and Horgan, D. (2021) 'Sweets are ‘my best friend’: belonging, bargains and body-shaming in working class girls’ food and health relationships' Children’s Geographies.  

Project Details

Project Duration: June 2018- December 2020

Research Team: Dr Eluska Fernández (Applied Social Studies), Dr Karl Kitching (Education) and Dr Deirdre Horgan (Applied Social Studies).

Contact: Dr Eluska Fernández (PI)

The project is supported by a Department of Education and Skills Excellence Fund award to participating schools.

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30