European Blue Star programme now open to Laois primary schools

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

European Blue Star programme now open to Offaly primary schools

European Blue Star programme now open to Offaly primary schools

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.

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 tailor their projects towards their own individual needs and interests.

Conscious of the added challenges facing pupils, teachers and schools this school year following school closures and Department of Education and Skills guidelines for the re-opening of schools, the Blue Star Programme team will be close to hand to support participating schools and will continue to provide a full-flexible, curriculum-friendly programme with more online elements than ever before.

Among the variety of Blue Star Programme activities of recent months, pupils took part in online quizzes and a ‘Virtual Handshake for Europe’ on Europe Day; others baked European dishes at home and built Lego structures of famous European landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower!

Teachers, parents, carers and the whole school are encouraged to get involved in Blue Star Programme projects creating an awareness of the EU that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the wider community.

Speaking about the opening of registration for the Programme, Noelle O Connell, CEO of European Movement Ireland, commented: “While it has been an understandably unusual and challenging year for pupils and teachers around Ireland, we were particularly encouraged to see the enthusiasm and creativity of pupils and teachers who participated in the Blue Star Programme during the last school year, largely from home when schools were closed. We were delighted to see a great number of participating schools complete the programme from home, 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 2020 - 2021.

“The Programme offers a great opportunity for pupils to recognise the solidarity that exists among European citizens and to celebrate the diversity in the Irish classroom today. Solidarity with our neighbours across Europe was key in recent months as we 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.

"The Programme complements the curriculum without adding any additional work for teachers, rather teachers have found support from the Programme as we have begun to provide more resources for teachers to use while teaching online or providing resources to pupils to work independently at home, such as online quizzes and worksheets. We strongly encourage teachers to consider partaking in the Blue Star Programme this year.”

Since its first year in 2011-2012, Offaly has had 15 primary schools participate, of the 1,100 schools that have registered nationwide, with every county represented to date.

Primary schools interested in taking part in the Blue Star Programme 2020-2021 can register here now until October 7, 2020. 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