In this series, specially written for Independent.ie, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), offers some valuable pointers to parents across a range of different learning areas. PDST is a Department of Education and Skills support service.
This article, An Ghaeilge sa Bhaile, is the seventh in the series, and looks at how to support children’s Irish language skills at home in an enjoyable way.
An Ghaeilge sa Bhaile
Dia daoibh go léir inniu! Tá súil againn go bhfuil ag éirí go maith libh na laethanta seo.
There are many benefits of speaking Irish at home with your child. Interestingly, recent studies show that switching between two or more languages improves our attention, planning, memory and problem-solving skills. You can help your child build on their confidence and improve their Irish by giving them lots of opportunities to hear, speak and use Irish throughout the day. Also, if they see that you are enthusiastic and positive about the language, they will be too!
In bringing Gaeilge to life at home, perhaps you could select some phrases from this list and try them out. It may be useful to start out by selecting and using nathanna cainte or phrases that you are comfortable with. These nathanna cainte can always be extended at a later point.
There is a wide range of material available online as you which may be useful to support your child’s Irish language while they are away from school. These online resources provide interactive, enjoyable and interesting ways to use Gaeilge at home and we hope that they will help make Irish part of your daily routine. Some resources focus on developing the child’s oral language skills while others help to develop either reading or writing skills in Irish.
Déan Comhrá (Gaeloideachas) is a booklet full of simple, practical vocabulary that can be used at home on a daily basis.
Children acquire language by listening to and watching cartoons, videos or programmes on television or via YouTube or apps.
Bia Linn is a great resource from TG4. Here you will find cookery demonstrations for children. Muireann and her team chat informally in Irish while they cook delightful tasty child-friendly dishes with úlla, seacláid agus pasta to name but a few. Another fun part of the site is the song section where you can click on each of the programme’s songs, get the lyrics and sing along!
Singing songs repeatedly can help children acquire new language while improving pronunciation. Also, here are some great resources available on YouTube suitable for older children.
CEOL 2018 is a music album with Irish language translations of popular songs by well-known artists such as Kodaline, Picture This, Gavin James and The Academic. Many of the songs have lyrics on screen, which help to embed the language structures. Material can also be accessed for older age groups at TG Lurgan where you will find covers of popular songs as Gaeilge.
Go n-éirí libh as you “Give Gaeilge a Go” at home.
In previous weeks, the PDST shared tips on how to make the most out of reading time, how to support children in developing digital storytelling, how to keep happy, healthy and learning movement skills , how to measure a minute, how to make the best use of digital libraries and how to support wellbeing.