The Language Curriculum in Irish Primary Schools reflects the interactive relationship between Irish and English, and aims to give children an experience of both languages so that they can develop their cultural awareness and identity.
Gaeilge in Primary education is taught through two curriculums: one for English-medium schools and another for Gaeltacht and Gaelscoileanna schools. The language is taught in English-speaking schools to give pupils the opportunity to develop a Gaeilge competency that they can use through Secondary School and beyond. For Gaeltacht and Gaelscoileanna schools, the curriculum aims to improve children’s Irish language proficiency.
If you are a parent of a Junior Infant and are looking for some Gaeilge activity books that your child can take with them to school or use at home, this guide is for you. Here, we will outline some ways you can support your child with their Gaeilge practice at home and what to look for in a Gaeilge activity book.
Supporting your Junior Infant with their Gaeilge
Using songs and poetry is an excellent method of helping young children become familiar with Gaeilge sounds and language structures, and it is a fun way to start children on their journey into Irish culture. Einini (Little Birds) or Nead Na Lachan (The Duck’s Nest) are catchy traditional children’s songs in Gaeilge that are a great place to start.
A similar technique for increasing your child’s experience of Gaeilge is to introduce as much Irish-language media into the home as possible. This can include print such as books and visual arts but also television programmes, films, radio and also live events or exhibitions. By using a multi-media approach, you are helping to improve your child’s ability to recognise the language in different contexts.
Finding the right Gaeilge activity book for your child
The Gaeilge activity books that your child will need for their learning in the classroom will depend on the kind of school they are attending and the relevant curriculum delivered by their teachers. However, you may want to provide some additional resources for your child if they are attending an English-medium school and have limited knowledge of the language, for example.
Activity books should feature a range of different fun, age-appropriate exercises that children enjoy so that they can learn and use the language as a natural means of communication, with some guidance from you as their parent or their teacher. These books should encourage lots of different skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing either independently or with a friend/classmate. The Primary Language Curriculum emphasises that making mistakes when using the language is a key learning opportunity, so any Gaeilge activity book should offer plenty of opportunities for reflection and monitoring of progress.
An Gúm Gaeilge activity books
An Gúm resources are produced specifically for Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools but can be used in other Primary Schools as well. The Séideán Sí programme for the primary Irish curriculum comprises a variety of resources for teaching and learning in both the classroom and the home.
Edco Gaeilge activity books
This book is part of the Bua na Cainte language programme that uses a mixture of print and digital resources to help children use Irish in different settings and activities.
The Sin e! series is written in line with the curriculum and contains strand which use games, drama, songs and rhymes to develop listening, oral language and individual thought.
Children are encouraged to learn Irish with the characters from Sesame Street. Activities include mazes and spot the difference, and are designed to improve pre-writing skills, creativity, fine motor skills and language. Notes are included on every page to assist parents.
CJ Fallon Gaeilge activity books
The Céim ar Chéim programme uses a mixture of activities and exercises to practise Irish including oral work, listening, matching and eventually writing. It aims to gradually increase children’s confidence and proficiency in Irish language.
Other Gaeilge activity books
Follow Seán, Síofra and Oisín as they help readers learn Irish. Designed to meet the standards of the new integrated Language Curriculum, this book offers a fun and engaging approach to teaching and learning Irish.
This is a comprehensive Irish language programme that encompasses oral and aural work, reading and writing. The Junior Infants book features three fairy tales, expressive artwork and simple activities for children to complete independently.
This is a great book for young learners that are just starting their journey to reading and writing Irish.
An activity book for helping Junior Infants with phonics, As go Brach Liom uses a range of activities to help children understand Irish word sounds and how they relate to print.
Featuring resources that help engage children at pre-reading age and prepare them to learn Irish, this is an excellent foundational book.
This is a pupil’s book designed to improve all four language skills in an easy-to-use resource. Suitable for Junior Infant to Sixth Class, it includes cartoons, poems, songs, stories and much more.