Monday 11 December 2017

Balbriggan school is educating children to great active citizens

Cillian, Luke, Judith and Clodagh at Balbriggan Educate Together NS for Community Week
Cillian, Luke, Judith and Clodagh at Balbriggan Educate Together NS for Community Week

Balbriggan Educate Together's held a 'Community Week' at the school last week with the aim of having the school, through the active-citizenship of the children, make a positive contribution to the community in which they live.

School principal, Fintan McCuthcheon said: 'The children learned about the power of their own voice, agency and advocacy on issues affecting the human rights and sense of community in Balbriggan and to think of enabling others to achieve their human rights.

'Community Week takes place in our school every second year and is tied in with our Human Rights Month, which is held each October. All of the learning and activity in this week is part of the teaching in English, Geography, SPHE, History and Science as set out in the National Curriculum for Primary Schools and Learn Together - the ethical education programme for Educate Together schools.

A whole range of special activities and lessons were held over the week to reinforce the themes of the event.

Junior and Senior Infants identified litter black spots on the school campus and listed them. They investigated the causes of the littering and helped clean it up as well as identifying ways littering might be prevented in the future.

Senior Infants also interviewed local guide dog users about their experiences of living in Balbriggan while 1st Class children learned sign language to use with children with special needs and tried to integrate the language into their daily lives in the school.

The 2nd Class pupils also concentrated on litter and examined the nearby Castlemills Shopping Centre for litter black spots. They will write to local businesses and Fingal County Council with their findings and a call for action to be taken to tackle litter black spots in the area.

The 4th Class pupils at the school designed a pamphlet for distribution in Balbriggan identifying where to find public defibrillators while they also promited a scheme where children can swap toys and books.

The school's 5th Class pupils learned about a local charity that brings food to the homeless and sought new ways to promote the charity's work and raise funds for the cause.

In 6th Class, the children were researching the role of Community Gardaí and also undertook a study to identify 'waste spaces' in the community and research the owners and obligations of owners to such spaces. They will identify possible better uses for these spaces and campaign and advocate to local politicians to this effect.

Other special groups within the school were involved projects during the week from the school's Global Citizenship Group, to its Green Team, the Student Council and Special Project Team who did a fascinating study on electric cars and whether Balbriggan has enough recharging stations to encourage the switch to electric motoring in the town.

All in all, it was a fantastic week of learning and active citizenship and huge congratulations goes to everyone involved.

Fingal Independent

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