Immersion Education

Immersion Education

In the immersion education model pupils learn all subjects, except English, through the medium of Irish. Irish is the language of communication and instruction of our school. Pupils attending our school follow the standard curriculum as laid out by the Department of Education and SkillsScience. Through the immersion system pupils achieve a high level of fluency in both English and Irish.

Various models of immersion education are practices internationally. Similar models, based on international best-practice are practiced in Ggaelscoileanna. Below you will find further information on the model practiced in our school.

Full Early-immersion Education

In our school we practice full early-immersion education. This means that we delay the introduction of the teaching of English until the second term in Senior Infants. This ensures that Irish becomes the language of communication in the school at an early stage. And also ensures, in a sensitive manner, that the children have enough competency in the language to be able to contend with other curricular areas, and thus achieve their potential.

Through this process the child acquires enough spoken Irish to learn pre-literacy skills through Irish, which are then translated into English during the formal teaching of English. Translating literacy skills from the minor language (Irish) to the majority language(English) allows for better competency of both languages than if the child were to begin with English and transfer to Irish.

We understand that different parents have different levels of Irish, but we would ask that parents use as much Irish as they can around the school, if even just “Go raibh maith agat/Slán”. This helps the child understand that there is a connection between the school and home and that there is a respect for the language at home.

Why should I choose immersion education for my child?
• It provides high quality education in all subject areas, including English.
• It is proven to be the most effective way of learning the Irish language.

What role do I play as a parent?
There are many ways in which parents can help, including:
• Play an active part in your child’s schooling. Advice is available from staff and Parents’ Committee.
• It is vital to show an interest in your child’s homework as well as encouraging reading in both English and Irish.

Is is necessary for me as a parent to speak Irish?
• While it is not necessary for you to be able to speak Irish, it is an advantage to your child if Irish is spoken at home (even at some level), as they can see that it is not just a school language.
• Children from all linguistic and cultural backgrounds are welcome in Gaelscoileanna.
• Irish-language support will be provided as much as possible to parents who wish to improve their skills.
• A positive mental attitude is fundamental to your child’s development, as it is for children in Gaelscoileanna.

Advantages of Immersion Education
Some of the documented advantages of immersion education include:

CURRICULUM ADVANTAGES:
• Greater academic success
• Easier to learn 3rd and 4th languages
COMMUNICATIVE ADVANTAGES:
• Bilingualism (the ability to speak two languages fluently)
• Biliteracy (the ability to read and write in two languages)
• Wider communication (extended family, community, friends, employment)
CULTURAL ADVANTAGES:
• Broader exposure to and appreciation of the value of various cultures (enculturation), deeper multi-culturalism, greater tolerance and less racism
COGNITIVE ADVANTAGES:
• Thinking benefits (creativity, sensitivity to communication)
CHARACTER ADVANTAGES:
• Raised self-esteem
• Security in identity
FINANCIAL ADVANTAGES:
• Economic and employment benefits