Language Events

Oo la la!

The girls in 5th and 6th class designed and made dual language fashion magazines. We wrote some parts of the magazine in English and some parts in our home languages. We swapped magazines and helped our friends to read  the different languages. We had great fun!!

Lá ‘le Bríde / St. Brigid’s Day

St. Brigid’s Day is a very special day in the calendar. Traditionally, the 1st of February has signalled the start of Spring in Ireland. Ofcourse, in our school it is  extra-special as St. Brigid is our Patron Saint. Our school and our parish are called after St. Brigid – so she is very important for us.

Today we had a lovely celebration of St. Brigid’s Day. The girls in Mr Devlin’s Fourth Class led the ceremony. We all gathered in the school hall. The ceremony started with the Fourth Class musicians playing the music for ‘We Sing A Song To Brigid’. They then read poems and told us some stories about St. Brigid. The girls spoke in ten different languages. These were: Bosnian, English, Gaeilge, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Polish, Romanian, Shona, Slovakian and Tagalog. Some of the younger children in the Junior classes were thrilled to hear their own language in the school hall. The ceremony finished with the girls singing the old Irish song ‘Gabham Molta Bhríde’. It was a lovely, reflective ceremony. Indeed we all enjoyed it so much that we decided to sing our special song ‘We Sing a Song to Brigid’ all over again!

Well done to all the girls in Fourth Class and to their teacher Mr. Devlin. 

We Know Lots of Languages!

We have been discussing the topic of clothes in Ms McKay’s room this week. We learned lots of vocabulary. We discussed what these words were in other languages too. We learned some Polish, Hindi, Arabic, Romanian, Malayalam and Portuguese. We designed outfits and used this vocabulary to label our pictures. We had great fun!!

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La Galette des Rois

La galette des rois ( The Kings’ cake/ cake of the Kings) is traditionally served on January 6th, a Christian holy day called the Epiphany/ L’Épiphanie. This was the date when the 3 wise men were thought to have visited Jesus.

In France, the tradition of serving this puff pastry and almond cream tart can be traced back to the 14th century.

According to French tradition, a small charm (la fève) is baked inside the cake and whoever receives the little favour is then crowned king or queen for the day.

As part of their French lesson, our sixth class girls baked a chocolate cake on Friday 12th January (we took the liberty of modifying the recipe as we felt that puff pastry was a bit ambitious for us!)

Following the tradition, the youngest child in the class, Betsy, closed her eyes and decided who got each slice. The person serving asked ” C’est pour qui celle-la?” ( For whom is this slice) and Betsy had to answer “C’est pour……” ( It’s for…..). She did a great job of remembering everyone’s name with her eyes closed!

Another tradition asks that you cut the pie according to the number of guest plus one. The extra slice is known as ” La part du Bon Dieu” God’s slice) or ” la part du pauvre”     (the poor man’s slice. We gave Ms. Tiernan the extra slice!)

Abilily was the lucky girl who found ” la fève” in her slice of cake. She had to shout, ” J’ai la fève” ( I have the charm) and then she came forward and was crowned “la reine” ( the queen). She then picked Ella to be the king. Everybody then had to shout ” Vive la reine, Vive le roi” ( Long live the queen and king!) before tucking into their cake!

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‘Winter’ in many languages

We are learning about the season of winter in Ms. McKay’s room. We wrote acrostic poems. We talked about what happens in winter in other countries. We also learned how to say and write the word ‘winter’ in different languages. 


We Can Write in Many Languages!

In our school, we can write in many languages. Here we have described our homes in English , Moldovan, Farsi, Mandarin and Slovak. We discovered that even though our languages are different, they have many sounds and words in common.

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Pancake Tuesday

Many countries all over the world have pancakes as part of their food traditions. In France they’re called crêpes or galettes; in Russia, blinis; in Ireland, pancógaí. In Spanish-speaking countries, Pancake Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras. It is Máirt Inide in Irish. Máirt and Mardi are really the same word!

We eat pancakes on Pancake or Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Lent begins. This is because, traditionally, people were expected to fast (eat very little) during Lent. In order that food would not go off, the people used up their eggs and milk the day before Lent began  – and so, Pancake Tuesday came about.

Mr. Maguire’s girls had great fun making very delicious pancakes on that special day. 

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Link to One Voice For Languages Seminar, Trinity College, Dublin

On November 18th, the group One Voice For Languages (OVFL) welcomed over 130 participants to its event Live, love, learn languages – The changing faces of Ireland in the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Below is a link to the proceedings on the day. It makes very interesting reading for all of us involved with Scoil Bhríde (Cailíní).

French Play: Le Loup et les Sept Petits Chevreaux

The girls in Sixth Class had a wonderful experience when M. Olivier Bonnardot visited the school in February for a three-day workshop in French.  Olivier spoke only in French for the three days that he was here. Although the girls have been learning French since Fifth Class, only one or two have French as their mother-tongue. This meant that the girls had to concentrate very hard to follow everything that was going on. However, at the end of the time, they were able to stage a play, in French, for the rest of the school and for their parents. Even though most of the children in the audience did not speak French, they were able to follow the play. Everyone laughed in the right places and everyone knew who the villain was! So the language skills of all were developed over the course of the three-day workshop.

Not only did the girls act in the play, they also designed the set  – after discussion with Orla Kelly, our resident Room 13 artist. They made invitations and organised costumes. There was singing and dancing involved too.

Overall, it was a really great experience for everyone involved.

A big “Merci” to Olivier and to Orla.

Letter by Former Principal, Déirdre Kirwan, printed in “The Irish TImes”, March 2015

Irish Times
Monday 16 March 2015
Education and integration 
A chara, – Fintan O’Toole (“State is sleepwalking into school segregation”, Opinion & Analysis, March 10th) makes the point that Irish society rose to the challenge of the changing demographic in our country over the last two decades. I am principal of a primary school with a large cohort of non-native speakers of English. I have seen this positive response in action at local level and tribute must be paid to all our people, indigenous and newcomer alike, for the manner in which they have co-operated and, in many instances, supported each other.

Mr O’Toole rightly speaks of schools where all children are welcomed equally. A worthy aspiration but how do we do it? How do we respond and show all the children in our school that they are equally valued? We start by valuing who they are and what they bring with them. Appreciating their culture and traditions empowers them personally and socially. Valuing their home language – the power-house of their thinking and learning processes – empowers their educational development.

In a school such as mine, where almost 80 per cent of the pupils are non-native speakers of English, we cannot formally teach all their home languages, of which there are more than 40. What we can do is encourage their parents to maintain and develop their home language while we incorporate it in our approach to teaching and learning in school.

By valuing every language in the classroom, we cultivate a plurilingual milieu where children are encouraged to use all the languages within their repertoire.

The cognitive benefits of such an approach are well documented. The skills learned are transferable and so inform all areas of learning. Appreciating that their knowledge is valued allows children to take pride in their ability, making them confident and motivated to learn more.

There are huge benefits for monolingual children in such a learning environment, too. From a very early age, they begin to realise that there are different ways to say the same thing, other ways to view the world.

As their newcomer peers learn English and Irish, indigenous Irish children learn that a plurilingual milieu is an exciting and interesting place to be. There are many obvious educational benefits, one of which is an increase in status for the Irish language. Children see Irish as a means of communication, just like any other language, so it is learned and used with enthusiasm. This leads to exploration of additional languages to which they are attracted. In a large intercultural milieu, where all languages are valued, they have a wide variety of languages to choose from and friends to help them learn, thus contributing to social cohesion. With the introduction of a modern language in fifth and sixth classes, children begin to develop the ability to express themselves in three, four and more languages. Far from this being a deficit model of education, every child in this country should have the benefits and enrichment of growing and learning in such a socially cohesive, diverse, plurilingual milieu.

While it is true, as Mr O’Toole asserts, that official complacency can lead to disaster, credit must be given to the Department of Education and Science for the supports – admittedly severely reduced in recent years – given to children whose home language is neither English nor Irish. However, it is also true that the inability to see the opportunity inherent in challenge can result in neglect of some of our potentially richest assets. This is where we need an approach to teaching and learning that allows the attributes of all to be utilised for the benefit of all. For this to happen, it is vitally important that teachers are prepared both at pre-service and in-service levels and given the skills to harness these benefits. Language is, after all, the conduit through which learning takes place.

Why have monolinguals graduating from our schools, when we could have people with facility in a diversity of languages? – Is mise,



Scoil Bhríde,

Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

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