07 Jul 2022

Kildare school says says ‘oui’ to languages under new initiative

Scoil Mhuire, Newbridge, pupils take French classes under new Department of Education programme

Kildare school says says ‘oui’ to languages under new initiative

Jessica Clifford, French tutor, with some sixth class pupils in Scoil Mhuire Senior School, Newbridge

A new initiative in relation to the teaching of languages in primary schools was put in place by the Department of Education this autumn.

The Minister of Education, Norma Foley invited expressions of interest from English -medium schools, Irish -medium schools and Special Schools to participate in a new language sampler module. The course is targeted at third to sixth class for up to one hour per week.

Each school is entitled to choose the language they wish to introduce to the children in their school and organise a language tutor who is fluent in the target language. There was a very impressive response as over 500 schools throughout the country applied to participate in this new venture. Consequently , the scheme has been rolled out over three terms to accommodate the overwhelming interest and each school will enjoy a six week course over the three terms of the academic year.

Scoil Mhuire Senior School in Newbridge was successful in their application and said ‘Oui to Languages’.

The school applied to engage and explore French as a language; the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. This is working language of many global organisations such as the United Nations and The World Trade Organisation.

All the schools are supported by Post Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) in providing the six week module sampler and a myriad of resources to support the teachers and tutors.

Scoil Mhuire commenced the six week sampler module in late October.


The four sixth classes were given the opportunity to explore French as a language and this experience was greatly enhanced by their tutor Jessica Clifford, a native French speaker, who delivered very animated classes and provided a truly unique introduction to the French language and culture.

The pupils responded very positively and ‘bonjour’, ‘au revoir’ , ‘merci beaucoup’, and ‘comment allez -vous? were but some of the conversational phrases resonating in the corridors, classrooms and on the playground. A continental and a truly European atmosphere was evident in the classroom on French Day!

The focus of the initiative is to introduce some basic vocabulary while making reference to French culture and life in France. Students were encouraged to share their work with parents or guardians at home — perhaps including a ‘bon appétit!’ at mealtimes.

Being exposed to another language has many benefits for primary pupils as it permits the children to be more empathetic and receptive to other cultures and experiences. It also supports greater inclusion and appreciation of diversity among their peers. Most importantly, it provides a springboard for primary children to experience learning another language and encourages them to continue studying a language at post-primary level.

This six week French sampler module has been a very successful venture in all the Sixth Classes and the pupils will be encouraged to continue practising their new phrases and enjoy communicating with their classmates and teachers in French for the remainder of the school year.

‘Bonne chance!’ to all the Scoil Mhuire pupils who continue to enjoy their new medium of communication; la langue française!

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