A while back we were in the running for School Patronage in the Blackrock area.
This is a campaign that is run by the State in order to increase the diversity of schools for today’s youth. Throughout this campaign, the State chooses an area (Blackrock, for instance) in which the locals are asked to vote for a Patron of the new Primary school. Each potential Patron is then meant to advertise and campaign to the public in order to win the vote.
In April 2019, Peter Maguire, a journalist of The Irish Times, wrote an article on the subject of Patronage. Though Patronage in his article seems a ‘hot topic’, he features St Nicholas Montessori Society’s CEO, Dr Nicholas Breakwell, when discussing the ‘smaller patrons’ that have campaigned for the Patronage of the new school:
“One of the most significant of these smaller patron bodies is the St Nicholas Montessori Society which, as well as running the Montessori teacher training college, is patron of a private, fee-paying primary school in Dún Laoghaire.
What’s different about them? “Children are bunched into three rough age brackets: three-six, six-nine and nine to 12,” explains Nick Breakwell, chief executive of the society.
“We don’t use terms like junior infants, third class or sixth class. The curriculum is similar but the environment is prepared for the age group, with materials specific to each environment.”
To read Maguire’s article in full, please visit The Irish Times here.
Though St Nicholas Montessori Society did not win the Patronage in Blackrock in the end, it has opened up a new idea within the Society to found new Montessori Primary schools within the local areas. This, we hope, will lead to the awareness of the Montessori Method and its groundbreaking educational pedagogies in the 21st Century today.Read More
“Haon focail, dó focail, trí focail eile and I not knowing no focail at all!”
Resources/Tips to help you with Irish homeschooling work
by Sadhbh Bhreathnach
Homeschooling is no mean task especially when we find ourselves out of depth to the point that we are no use to our struggling children. Apart from Math being taught in a very different way to “the way I learned” at school, the word on the street is that Irish homeschool work can leave parents scratching their heads.
As a lecturer in St.Nicholas Montessori College in Irish, I thought that perhaps I could share some of the resources that I use along with tips on how to use them. Those of you who have tried to look for help online will realise that it is a minefield so my aim is to point you towards a few really useful and user friendly resources that should cover you across the board.
First of all you need to have a really good dictionary at hand and depending on the age of your child I would recommend you spend time teaching them how to look up words themselves. Luckily there is no need to go out buying big heavy dictionaries as there has been huge work put into some fantastic free resources online by Foras na Gaeilge.
TIP: The trick to using these resources is to choose to read them in English which you can do by clicking on that option up on the top right hand corner of the homepage on each one.
- Focail.ie aims “allow users to find every contemporary Irish word on one site, together with information about the sources in which those words may be found”. If you click on “About this site” it gives a detailed account on how to use the site and the related sites you can find more detail on the word in question. You can search those links directly from this site too which is really handy.
- Teanglann.ie is a vast database aimed at providing “users of the language with free, easy-to-use access to dictionaries and to grammatical and pronunciation information relating to words in the Irish Language”. It is brilliant for looking up verbs in all the tenses, finding words in their different forms and it has a phonetic database that allows you to listen to key words in the three main dialects which is a life saver when you are stumped by unfamiliar spelling! It contains a “grammar wizard” which is nothing short of magic when trying to find an adjective and how it might change after a noun. This site for me is my go-to one for finding new words and checking spelling and grammar.
The acquisition of sounds is a hugely important step in language learning and what better way than through music, song and rhyme.
- www.songsinirish.com is a wonderful resource with both old and new Irish songs including a range of well known pop songs featured. Each song comes with a video and the lyrics in both Irish and English. If the grammar homework is getting too much just leave it aside and sing a song together instead!
- https://www.altram.org/amhr%C3%A1in-agus-rannta – This resource is great for younger children. There are a range of simple songs to help with sentence structure and target language in a natural way.
- www.seideansi.ie – computer games are a great way to entice children to engage with language learning and this is a free resource with categories for all Primary School Aged children containing matching games, sentence construction activities and lots of other games along with regular opportunities to repeat the words and sentences as they go.
- www.dinolingo.com is a child’s version of the very successful duolingo APP. Unlike duolingo though it is not free and requires a subscription. You can try it out for free to decide for yourself but certainly if you are finding it hard to get your child to engage with the work being sent home it might be worth the investment.
- https://www.gaelchultur.com/en/phrase_of_the_day.aspx – Finally, the best thing you can do to help your child with their Irish is to use as much or as little as you can yourself with them throughout the day. Try these phrases below out for a start or get the “Frása an lae” App (Phrase of the day) on your phone to build up your own language skills:
- Dún an doras – close the door
- Bí ciúin – be quiet
- An bhfuil ocras/tart ort? – are you hungry/thirsty?
- An maith leat bainne? – Do you like milk?
- Ar mhaith leat cupán tae? – Would you like a cup of tea?
- Maidin mhaith – good morning
- Oíche mhaith – good evening
Also please post below any other resources that you have found useful. Let’s help each other out in these trying times! #fansabhaile #stayathome
For more help with homeschooling, please see our blogs here.