Scoil Chríost Rí books in for family learning initiative

Scoil Chríost Rí books in for family learning initiative

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Photo: Eamon Ward

Clare County Library has embarked on an exciting new initiative with Scoil Chríost Rí in Cloughleigh, Ennis, focusing on family learning that brings parents, children, teachers, storytellers and librarians together to improve oral language and communication skills through sharing books and stories.

The initiative is being undertaken as part of the national ‘Spring into Story-time’ campaign which will see a range of story-time events for children of all ages being delivered in over 300 libraries throughout Ireland during April.

Partnering with the Clare Family Learning Coordinator of Clare Adult Basic Education Service, Limerick Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB), and with the Home School Liaison Co-ordinator of Scoil Chríost Rí, Cloughleigh, the programme of storytime sessions will get underway on Tuesday 17 April next and will run over six weeks.

The project is being launched by Dr Áine Cregan, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Language and Literacy Education in the Faculty of Education at Mary Immaculate College of Education, University of Limerick Dr Cregan has been a consultant to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) primary committee on English in the Primary Language Curriculum and is the author of two reports: Talking Posh: Sociolinguistic Perspectives on the Context of Schooling in Ireland and From Policy to Practice: The Oral Language Challenge for Teachers. A key focus of her research has been on the important role played by children’s literature in the development of language skills.

Patricia Fitzgerald, Children’s Librarian, Clare County Library, said, “Family Learning courses focus on parents and their very important position as their child’s first and longest teacher. All parents want to do the best for their child, so encouraging reading and use of the free library service as a regular habit is a very useful lifelong key skill.”

“A list of tried and trusted picture books has been compiled by Clare County Library staff that are ideally suited to improve children’s communication, social and language skills. The story sessions will be facilitated by professional storyteller Ruth Marshall who has extensive experience in storytelling with all ages and especially with children in schools and community groups. There will be special emphasis on how parents can use books to help develop oral language,” explained Ms. Fitzgerald.

At the end of the six weeks parents and children along with teachers, librarians and Clare’s Family Learning Co-ordinator will come together at a celebratory event at deValera Library Ennis where all adults involved will have an opportunity to evaluate and provide feedback on the project with a view to extending it to other schools in the future.

Meanwhile, the children of First Class at Scoil Chríost Rí will have a unique opportunity to further explore stories with Oisín the Brave, the hero of author Derek Mulveen’s books. Derek’s previous visits to Clare libraries have been lauded as some of the best events for young children.

The collaboration between Clare County Library, Clare Family Learning Project, and the Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) Scheme at Scoil Chríost Rí, is in keeping with the Government’s ‘Right to Read’ policy, the primary aim of which is to create an integrated and sustained approach to developing literacy in the local community.

For further details contact Clare County Library Headquarters Tel: 065 6899083, email mailbox@clarelibrary.ie.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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