Le Áinín Uí Chasaide
From October to December 2020, 5 families from counties Armagh and Monaghan took part in a new Glór na nGael scheme called Gaisce Glór.
In due course this scheme was made available to families and children back learning from home due to Covid-19 circumstances and the closure of schools. All the children are Gaelscoil children but the parents who took part in the scheme have different standards of Irish. So, and because the parents had to continue with the work, they were worried that the Irish language would fall apart and that the children would spend time watching English programs on television, reading English books. and playing computer games through English.
This scheme has helped to solve that particular problem. Each family was presented with a charter with 25 options for speaking Irish as a family, such as, “playing an Irish board game” and “putting up Irish signs around the house”. Also, they got a sticker to put on each goal once they had reached it. We asked the families to reach 15 of the goals before Christmas for a small prize from us, and they enthusiastically undertook, supporting and encouraging each other on our WhatsApp Group.
So, a few days before Christmas, I was able to present a certificate and a small prize to the children on their doorstep, and to congratulate them on their hard work in speaking Irish throughout.
It is clear that the scheme had a positive effect on the number of Irish spoken in the home, both children and parents. As one of them told me, “it is often difficult to encourage the children to speak Irish but this scheme was fun so they were very happy to try the stickers on the poster” and another felt that the parents themselves tried their best to use whatever Irish they had, “It did motivate us to try and use the Irish we have and search for the Irish we don’t!” As one of them told me, “ it is often difficult to encourage the children to speak Irish but this scheme was fun so they were very happy to try the stickers on the poster ”and another felt that the parents themselves did try better to use whatever Irish they have, “It did motivate us to try and use the Irish we have and search for the Irish we don’t!”
So it seems that clever tricks are needed from time to time to encourage children and adults to use their Irish. What methods do you use at home?