Primary school pupils around the country 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 first year of the Programme in 2011-2012, Kilkenny has had 16 primary schools participate.
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 have flexibility to be creative and to tailor their projects towards their own individual needs and interests. Classes have written and acted plays; prepared traditional meals from across Europe; and spoken to relatives in other EU countries over Skype, amongst many other creative activities.
One class recreated the painting of the Sistine Chapel by painting their classroom desks, while another sent care packages to refugees across Europe when learning about the migrant crisis. Teachers, parents, carers and the whole school are encouraged to get involved in these projects. In this way, the Blue Star Programme creates awareness of the EU that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the wider community.
Ryan Levis, manager of the Blue Star Programme, commented on the opening of registration for the Programme for the new term, “Among the many things the Programme helps deliver - including of course the important general awareness of the EU in our lives as Irish citizens – the appreciation of diversity in the classroom is the element of the Blue Star Programme that I'm most proud of. The cultural dynamic of the Irish classroom today is a lovely and vibrant thing, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to manage a programme that allows Irish kids to learn about other EU countries’ cultures in a decent and caring manner. We’re very much looking forward to getting going again for another year!”
Since the first year of the Programme in 2011-2012, Kilkenny has had 16 primary schools participate, of the 1,000+ schools that have registered nationwide, with every county represented to date. The Blue Star Programme is eager to see that number continue to grow. The concept of the programme is simple: to foster better understanding and knowledge of Europe and how it affects the lives of Irish citizens among Irish primary pupils in a curriculum-friendly manner.
Primary schools interested in taking part in the Blue Star Programme 2019-2020 can register here now before Friday 23 September 2019! At the end of the year, schools are required to submit a Blue Star Programme Report outlining how each of the key elements were explored. Schools are also encouraged to host an event for Europe Day on 9 May such as an art exhibition, parade or food fair. Each school’s submission is assessed by the National Coordinator. All schools that successfully complete the Blue Star Programme are awarded Certificates of Achievement signed by the Minister of State for European Affairs and the Executive Director of European Movement Ireland. Further information about the programme can be found at www.bluestarprogramme.ie .