The plight of children who cannot get access to education in the third world is something which the pupils at Coill Dubh National School have a deep knowledge of.
The pupils have done a major project on the subject and were the only school in the county to recieve an award for the “Our World” Irish Aid competition. This is a huge achievement for the pupils as there were a huge number of entries.
Zoe Johnson explains that the awards were presented at a national ceremony at the Irish Aid Centre in Dublin. She tells how the pupils looked at education in countries like Malawi, Vietnam and Mozambique.
Emily Perrins tells how they had to write a diary from the point of view of a person living in those countries. She explains how a lot of young children don’t get to go to school as they have to work.
The school has lots to celebrate this year as it has also just been awarded its third green flag. The pupils and staff held an action day where they tried to conserve as much water as possible. They examined how much water is wasted by letting the tap run while washing teeth your teeth. They looked at how much water is used by toilets and how that could be reduced. They also calculated how much of this precious resource is used by washing your hands.
Reading is another popular endeavour. “Tiger Tiger” is their class novel at present. Jamie O’Brien outlines the storyline of the book about how two tigers, who are separated at birth, live very different lives. The pupils also use the school library to catch up on their favourite authors and stories. When it comes to handwriting, Robert Callaly is the king of neat penmanship. With two INTO handwriting titles under his belt he is vying for three in a row.
The school playground is very unique. There is not a metal slide, chain swing or artificial structure in sight. Made from natural materials, it is complemented by living Willow and a woven fabric hammock and large tent. What also makes it different is that the pupils helped create this haven themselves. Tito Teriba describes how they first experimented with weaving on a small scale before setting out to create the flaps for the tent and the hammock using various kinds of material.
Rhubarb, pumpkins potatoes are just some of the vegetables grown in the school garden. On Fridays, they even get to sample their produce with some rhubarb tart. At the end of the year, they have a banquet from everything they have sown. Deserts feature Gooseberry meringue pie and rhubarb crumble.
The pupils love undertaking projects and carrying out research. The class divide up into groups and inform the class of their findings on the various topics. They have been recently learning about the Romans, their diet, their clothes, their weapons, armour and the reign of Julias Cesar,
Sport also plays an important part in school life. The pupils play hurling, basketball, tag rugby, and gaelic football. Coill Dubh National school is also involved in the Active Schools programme.
The student council meets regularly, and one boy and one girl from each class is elected by their classmates to serve on it. The candidates have to stand up before the class and outline why they should vote for them. The elections are carried out in a professional manner using polling booths and the pupils learn how the voting system works. Once elected, they play an important role in organising activities such as bake sales, fund raisers and other events.
The students also run the Siopa Gaeilge, which is the school stationary shop. All transactions are carried out in Irish. It is run on a non profit basis so students pay less for pens and other items.
As the end of the year approaches, Coill Dubh National School has flown its third green flag high and proud, and officially opened its new playground with a BBQ celebration. The school is truly at the heart of the community with enthusiastic pupils who are keen to learn about the world and all it offers.
- Niamh O’Donoghue