Back to future as pupils urged to engage with 1916 centenary
It was the school where Pádraig and Willie Pearse completed their primary and secondary education.
And yesterday it was the fitting setting for the launch of the Ireland 2016 Schools Programme.
The two brothers were pupils at Westland Row CBS, a short distance from their home on what is now Pearse Street, but what was called Great Brunswick Street before being renamed in the 1920s.
An extensive nationwide programme of activities, research projects, competitions and awards is being rolled out in primary and post-primary schools from this month as part of the Youth and Imagination strand of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
Highlights of the programme, which has been developed in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills, include:
- An invitation for pupils to write their own Proclamation for a New Generation, culminating in a special Proclamation Day next March 15, when schools will showcase the results of this and other creative projects relating to 1916 that they have developed.
- A 1916 Ancestry Project encouraging pupils to trace their family (or another family) tree back to 1916.
- The Schools' Collection 2016, providing an opportunity for pupils in primary schools to collect local history and record it digitally. A collaboration between the Irish Independent, UCD Decade of Centenaries, the Department of Education's schools' technology service and the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, it takes its inspiration from a folklore project in the 1930s, when more than 50,000 children from 5,000 primary schools collected stories and wrote them into their copybooks.
- A range of all-island arts awards and competitions, based on themes relating to 1916 or Ireland in 2116, developed in partnership with the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.
All of the national cultural institutions, such as the National Museum and the Abbey Theatre, are creating diverse programmes of events and activities to engage young people and children, not just with the events of 1916, but also to explore and express their vision as young artists for the Ireland they want in the future.
Among these projects is an opportunity for students to write a drama based around any aspect of the events of 1916, film the performance and submit the short video to RTÉ.
A public vote will be launched to select the best plays, with the winning schools invited to perform them in the Abbey Theatre
Another will see a special exhibition featuring work by students on the theme of Ireland 2116 hosted by the National Gallery of Ireland.
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan said the programme offered lots of opportunities for teachers and students to explore the events of 1916 and also to reimagine Ireland's future through initiatives such as the Proclamation for a New Generation.