By Liam de Lása
Glór na nGael staff have spent time talking and conversing with parents from all over the country about the advantages and difficulties of raising children through Irish. The difficulties are undeniable but our focus over the past month has been on overcoming the difficulties. The growth of Irish-medium education over the last twenty years means that the Irish language plays a more central role in the lives of our children today than ever before. Parents want to give them the added advantage at home and make Irish a normal part of their lives.
The parents interviewed acknowledge that the vitality of the language was very important in the process and that the biggest challenge ahead is to provide many opportunities for children to experience the language in informal, fun settings outside the education system. The ‘Teanga Tí’ scheme has been very successful over the last few years. This scheme brings people together by organizing events where Irish is the main language of the event.
Glór na nGael’s experience is that simplicity succeeds when it comes to running Irish language events for families. Teanga Tí groups usually organise family walks, storytelling mornings, play mornings, music workshops, craft workshops and much, much more on a regular basis and it helps a lot for parents to create networks together and bring other families in their area on the language journey.
Families are encouraged to contact Glór na nGael if they would like to set up their own group and take advantage of the funding available to run enjoyable events. If you are looking for ideas to organize events yourself, the following events are easy to organize and are suitable for both the learner and the fluent speaker.
Invitation to a meal:
This one is very simple without much cost. One family invites other families with Irish to have a meal with them.
Play dates are very popular these days. It only takes two children to get together for a few hours playing in Irish. A wide range of games are available from www.udar.ie to put Irish at the center of the fun and enrich the children’s Irish with games such as ‘Monopoly as Gaeilge’ and the newly launched version of the board game ‘Cluedo as Gaeilge’, to mention just a few. The high standard of board games from Údar contributes to the role of the Irish language at the play dates.