by the Tuam Herald
THE community outreach outlook at Carnmore NS ensures that parents can play a big part in what is taught there, even getting Irish lessons if they wish, while pupils and staff reach out to the older community too by having open days for them and visiting the local day care centre as well.
John Reilly, Príomhoide, says that as the school wants to be “the heartbeat” of the Gaeilge in the area parents are offered Irish classes if it helps them and their children get a better appreciation of the language.
“We are also involved in the Beó heritage project with Brendan Smith from the DERI Institute at NUIGand there has been great feedback for that with many older people giving the pupils vital information, plus old photos from times past,” says the principal.
He added that music and Irish dancing are very much a part of school life and the children play a wide variety of instruments including banjo, fiddle, concertina, with weekly music lessons in tin whistle for every child from first class upwards. They also stage a popular Christmas music pageant for parents.
“Last year the school band visited local nursing homes and played music for the residents while we also invited in those who attend the Claregalway Day Care Centre for an afternoon of tea, coffee, biscuits etc plus music and a sing-song, with some of the residents joining in the older songs with the band,” added the principal. There is also a Grandparents’ Day while the pupils sometimes just join other schools for Christmas concerts as well.
Many of the girls, and some of the boys, also learn knitting, crochet and sewing from a local lady who calls to the school to improve their dexterity with the knitting needles and it is also proving to be very popular.
But while the school is anxious to keep the old traditions and crafts alive. It is also very much ahead in science and computers with the Discover Primary Science project.
This has links with NUIG and GMIT – Cell explorers (NUIG), Michael Dugon (zoology, NUIG), Plastic Oceans (Talk on plastic in the oceans by GMIT). There are also strong links with the Galway Aquarium and the pupils enjoyed a recent talk by Noirín Burke from the marine science department of the aquarium.
In the areas of computers, and IT research, the senior children make Powerpoint presentations in class and they are also given opportunities to present to other classes as well as to groups in the assembly hall.
They have talks on the Scratch computer programming with Brendan Smithy who also gives them talks on technology. Other talks and presentations are given by parents on countries they have travelled to such as France, Italy, etc.
A wide variety of sports are catered for at the school which has over 178 pupils. While it is situated on a secluded side-road it is still very close to Claregalway and Galway City with the new and continually expanding Coláiste Bhaile Chláir only a stone’s throw across the fields.
The pupils are encouraged to get involved in local art competitions as well as with Claregalway Agricultural Show.
They have won half a dozen Green Flags and aim to add to that number this year. The Readathon under the guidance of teacher and local actor Niamh Kelly Smith is also a big hit with the boys and girls.
Not far from the computer room where the pupils of second class are now working on the Scratch programme and Coder Dojo there is a large black and white picture on the wall of a class from the school in 1967 with some of the boys barefoot – it is nice to know that the children have an appreciation of the hard times the pupils of the past had while the Carnmore school also embraces the new technologies of now and of the future.