A city primary school was the only school in the Galway West region selected to take part in a pilot literacy summer programme.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn will award certificates to the 36 children aged seven to 10 years who participated in the week long course at Claddagh School tomorrow (Friday ).
The city facility was one of 40 schools throughout the country taking part in the the Department of Education and Skills initiative.
Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, who is a former teacher and lecturer in children’s literacy, says literacy is the passport to learning and life opportunity.
“From a nationwide roll-out of 40 schools I want to congratulate Claddagh NS and its principal Michael Gallagher on being the only school selected in Galway West for this summer course. This summer course will give these 36 children a head-start in literacy before the school term begins. This will be a timely boost and should enable them to be more ready for the demands of the new school term.
“As part of our government strategy of investing in literacy, this course is an example of one approach to assisting children with literacy and learning difficulties. For the last three and a half years of the previous government’s term, I worked side by side with Ruairi Quinn on the Oireachtas Education committee. I am now heartened to see that so many of our ideas are being implemented. The results of this one week summer course will be a key determinant in deciding a wider roll-out of similar courses nationwide in subsequent years. For this reason this will be a heavily inspected course.”
Areas covered in the programme include literacy, comprehension, word attack and reading and thinking skills through a project-based approach with an emphasis on art and activities. The children get breakfast and lunch each day.
“It is great to see the mix of approach so that children will be enabled, in part at least, to learn unknown to themselves. This is a very important feature for children who may have low confidence in their own literacy and learning abilities.
“Most especially, the school breakfast is particularly welcome. The international evidence supporting the relationship between good nutrition, particularly a breakfast, and learning is very strong. If it was up to me I would provide breakfast in every school across the country. It gives a focus to the day, a sense of belonging to the children and it takes the pressure off so many working and cash-strapped families to get food into children who are frequently reluctant to eat first thing in the morning. Moreover, children are more motivated to eat when they see their peers tucking in. I really look forward to the results of this course. I will be present at Friday's ceremony to hear the children speak about how it helped them. I believe it will be a winner.”