There are 153 Gaelscoileanna in Ireland at present with a further 3 opening this year and an additional 6 to open in 2006, including one for our own children here in Athenry!
Off to a Quick Start
An Information Night was held in Athenry last February hosted by committee members along with the Principal of Gaelscoil Riabhach, Loughrea.
Approximately 40 interested parents attended this meeting and heard from the speakers about the setting up of the Gaelscoil in Loughrea and about its successes to date. As a result of this meeting and the strong interest shown by those present it was decided to establish a Gaelscoil in Athenry, opening in 2006.
The first step in this process was the setting up of a Foundation Committee.
The following Committee members were elected:
Chairperson: Páraic Mac Donnchadha
Assistant Chairperson: Gerry Flynn
Secretary: Adele MacCullagh
Assistant Secretary: Maire Duggan
Treasurer: Helen Jennings
Assistant Treasurer: Denis Rabbitte
Public Relations Officers: Maire Duggan and Coreena Gibbons
Fund Raising Committee: Maire Gibbons and Rob Jarvis
Building Committee: Fiona McCann and Peter Lyons
Qualifying Criteria for School Recognition
In order to open the school in September 2006 the following criteria must be met:
1. 17 Junior Infant enrolments are needed (20+ children for a second teacher)
2. All children must be 4 years old by 30/08/2006
3. Enrolment will only be up to 2nd class
4. Any child starting 2nd class must have previously come from a Gaelscoil.
Building on the early Momentum
Following on the enthusiasm and strong interest shown from the outset, the Committee organised an Information and Enrolment night in the New Park Hotel in April, in order to get the all-important list of Seventeen Names started. A further 30 or so interested parents and other supporters of the project attended this meeting and heard from 2 parents about their reasons for, and experiences from sending their children to a Gaelscoil.
Enrolment Target and Progress to date
Many enrolments were accepted on the night. To date great progress has been made in reaching the enrolment target. It now stands as follows:
Junior Infants 12 (2006, ’07, ’08, 09)
Senior Infants 11 (2006)
First Class 3 (2006)
Second Class 2 (2006)
So, our new Gaelscoil is still a little short of numbers we just need another 8 Junior Infant “candidates” for a second teacher and the Funding Committee will be eager to hear from you if you have children who match the criteria laid out above!
Some reasons for sending your child to the Gaelscoil in Athenry:
Department of Education funded/non-fee paying school
One less subject to learn so your child can concentrate on other subjects
Please Note: Even though it helps, obviously, you do not need to be an Irish speaker to send your child to an all-Irish speaking school!
Option for multi-denominational school
Small class size
Your child will learn Irish through music, play, gesture and rhymes. S/he will enjoy learning the language and be proud to be able to speak it. International research shows that being bilingual helps intellectual and cognitive development. Being bilingual will help your child learn a third and fourth language when s/he is older.
The next step for the committee is to choose the religious ethos of the school. The ethos of the school can be either: One denominational e.g. Catholic, Interdenominational i.e. Catholic and Protestant, Multi — Denominational i.e. many religions.
If the multi-denominational option is chosen, the children will learn about all the different types of religion during school hours and then after school, 2 days a week, Catholic children will have an extra half an hour of Religion in order to prepare them for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Finding a suitable Site/Building
The Building Sub-Committee is at Present checking the suitability of vacant buildings in Athenry that could be used as a school premises and also sites on which temporary buildings could be erected. Some promising avenues of exploration are being pursued in this regard. We’d like to hear from You!
A Further public meeting will be held later on this year and all interested parties will be welcome. In the meantime, if you wish to enroll your child in the new Gaelscoil or would like any additional information you can contact either Adele MacCullagh on O87 9076892 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Máire Duggan on 086 8515420 or email@example.com