A while back I contributed a blog in regard to Gaelic in Nova Scotia schools.
Some number of months later, I can now comment directly to the activities which took place as well as the degree of Gaelic language instruction that took place in one specific Core Gaelic Program in Nova Scotia. I am referring to the Core Gaelic program which was offered at Sgoil Mhic Fhraing a Chaolais this past school year and the success it celebrates today during the closing month of the school year, June, 2011.
The 2010-2011 school year allowed the central Cape Breton school (Rankin School of the Narrows) to offer Gaelic language as part of the Core curriculum to grades 4-9. In the late Fall of 2010, Emily MacKinnon was hired as the Core Gaelic teacher at this rural Primary-grade 12 school. Gaelic is an option as a second language. That is, a child could choose to take either French or Gaelic in this school at this point in time.
The year was hugely successful. There was the delivery of the Core language program as well as an after-school Gaelic program that was also part of the weekly curriculum. There was social interaction with the community which is crucial to the survival of any language based culture. There was visiting, exploration and enjoyment of Gaelic cultural based activities such as art, dancing, singing, music, and stories.
Next year’s program (stay tuned for more details on that, as well as a blog on “How to get Organized to offer Core Gaelic in your school!!) is 100% exciting, interesting, valuable and rich in a Gaelic language and cultural experience. It is what is necessary in Cape Breton communities to help the Gaelic language and culture to continue to grow and flourish. With a starting point of the very young (elementary aged children), the Gaelic language stands a stronger chance for growth and longevity. Hats off to all schools, communities, people, and government bodies who have worked to make this happen. With continued voice and demonstration of success, the Gaelic speaking world will continue to increase in population!