Primary school pupils in Kilkenny and around Ireland are being challenged to get creative in how they learn and think about Europe through the Blue Star Programme, coordinated by European Movement Ireland.
Since the beginning of the programme in 2011, 36 schools in Kilkenny have participated of almost 1,100 overall across the country.
The Blue Star Programme teaches primary school children about Europe through creative activities and projects that complement the national primary curriculum. Each participating class carries out projects on history, geography, the institutions of the EU, culture and creativity with a European twist. Teachers and their classes can be creative and tailor their projects to their own individual needs and interests.
Conscious of the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19 that face schools, teachers and pupils returning this September, the Blue Star Programme team will offer participating schools continued support and a fully-flexible, curriculum-friendly programme with additional online resources and activities.
Teachers, parents, guardians, carers and the whole school community are encouraged to get involved in Blue Star Programme projects, creating an awareness of the EU and European cultures that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the wider community.
Speaking about the opening of registration for the Programme, Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD said,
”Blue Star is an exciting project that allows our primary school children to learn about, and get creative on, our European identity and culture. As Minister for European Affairs, I am honoured to support the Blue Star Programme and have seen at first hand the enthusiasm that our young people are bringing to the programme. I am really hoping to visit some participating schools in person as soon as it is safe to do so, and I encourage as many primary schools as possible to register and get involved”.
Noelle O Connell, CEO of European Movement Ireland, also commented,
“While the last school year saw schools around Ireland face another understandably unusual and challenging year, we were particularly encouraged to see the enthusiasm and creativity of participating pupils and teachers, including their great work from home when schools were closed. We were delighted to see a great number of participating schools complete the programme, finding new and innovative ways of completing project work.
“We look forward to another year of the Blue Star Programme as we are constantly greatly impressed by the imagination and innovation of both the participating teachers and their pupils. Since 2011, we have seen almost 1,100 school registrations in the Programme, and we would love to see these great levels of engagement continue for 2021 - 2022.
“The programme offers a great opportunity for pupils to recognise the solidarity among European citizens and to celebrate the diversity in the Irish classroom today. Solidarity with our neighbours across Europe has been key as we have faced the outbreak of Covid-19 together and it is vital that this solidarity continues and that our young people recognise the importance of co-operation and solidarity across Europe in challenging times. We strongly encourage teachers to consider partaking in the Blue Star Programme this year”.
Primary schools interested in taking part in the Blue Star Programme 2021-2022 can register here anytime until 5 October 2021.
To complete the programme, schools are asked to take part in online quizzes and/or submit a Blue Star Programme Report outlining how each of the key elements were explored, at the end of the year. Schools are also encouraged to host an event for Europe Day on May 9, in school or online.
Further information about the programme can be found at www.bluestarprogramme.ie .
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