Children in Kilkenny City’s Gaelscoil Osraí. Volunteer representatives from the Institute local councils as part of the ‘Time to Read’ scheme PICTURE: VICKY COMERFORD
Last week saw the start of an unusual and innovative collaboration between the Insurance Institute of Ireland – the educational body of the general insurance sector in Ireland, and the second class children in Kilkenny city’s Gaelscoil Osraí.
Volunteer representatives from the Institute local councils are giving their time to read with the children weekly, through a Business in the Community Ireland ‘Time to Read’ scheme. This programme encourages children to read, and works through Zoom-paired reading sessions, where children are given books and read in a virtual classroom together with the institute local council volunteers from all around Ireland. The children will continue reading with the volunteers for the next 16 weeks.
Principal of Gaelscoil Osraí Seán Ó hArgáin,said the school was delighted to participate in the initiative.
“We are very happy to participate in this scheme. Reading is crucially important to us as a school — as Gaeilge and in English. Múinteoir Michelle Ní Bhuachalla, our English literacy co-ordinator and assistant principal, has fully embraced the scheme and a lot of work has gone into setting up the weekly sessions for the twelve children involved, all of them from Rang a 2 in our school,” he said.
“Their other class teachers have enthusiastically supported the programme also.
The children were excited to receive the new books which come as part of the scheme and to have the opportunity to read with another adult, providing them with fresh motivation to improve their reading skills. The fact that the reading sessions take place in our wonderful Leabharlann Ghobnatan, our school library which is dedicated to the memory of Gobnait Uí Mhurchú, our late colleague and founding principal, makes it even more special.
“The scheme also provides a great chance for our children to improve their digital skills and to make use of the bank of iPads we are lucky to have in the school. As a Digital School of Distinction, the emphasis is on our technology in the school being fully integrated with real-life learning. The programme also shows that after a year and a half, Zoom can still be fun and beneficial at times!”
Speaking on behalf of Business in the Community Ireland, Jo Sayers said they were delighted to have Gaelscoil Osraí as a new participant in the project.
“It is always exciting to launch a new partnership, which we hope will continue for many years to come,” she said.
“Over the past decade, we have facilitated over 391 partnerships between schools and business, impacting on over 40,000 students all around Ireland. A critical factor in the success of our programme is our strategic partnership with Government, the Department of Education & Skills and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.”
Jenny Morgan, Insurance Institute of Ireland Coordinator, said: "We hope that the time invested supporting the children of Gaelscoil Osraí at this early stage will both inspire and strengthen them on their educational journey.”
The Time to Read campaign engages professionals who are giving freely of their time to support the children of Gaelscoil Osraí as a demonstration of Insurance Institute of Irelands’ commitment within the Corporate Social Responsibility Arena.
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