Early immersion education in Irish-medium schools

What is early immersion education? 
Children are immersed fully in the Irish language. Irish is the language of learning for the entire curriculum. Irish-medium schools are permitted to delay the teaching of English until Christmas in senior infant classes, subject to approval by the Board of Management. Reading will typically begin in Irish. After a certain period, the school will introduce reading in English in addition to Irish-language reading.All native and international research findings confirm the advantages of introducing early-literacy in the target language (Irish) rather than in English.

     Image result for advantage Advantages 

  • Cognitive benefits.
  • Communicative benefits.
  • Increased tolerance and self-esteem.
  • Academic benefits.
  • Transference of skills between languages.
  • Enables children to engage with a third/fourth language with greater ease.
  • Economic and employment advantages.



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 Ceisteanna Coitianta

What is an Irish Medium School?

An Irish Medium School conducts all its affairs through the medium of Irish.

Classes are taught through Irish, staff converse through Irish, the business of the Board of Management is conducted through Irish and the pupils ability to communicate through Irish is fostered, encouraged and enhanced from the moment they enter the school.

The school helps to develop the Irish speaking community inside and outside of its gates.

Irish medium schools are open and welcoming and to this end they assistparents in participating in the life of the school through Irish language classes, Parent’s Association and much more.

Objectives of Irish Medium Education?

1. To provide education of the highest standard to our pupils.

2. To foster and develop all children in a holistic manner.

3. To support the promotion of the Irish language, Irish Culture and the Irish speaking public.

What is a bilingual immersion school?

Comprehensive studies (MET, 1998) have found that the most effective method of acquiring a language is through immersion.

This is the system used in schools under An Foras.

Immersion means that every subject is taught through Irish and that all business and communication in the school is conducted through Irish. In this manner every aspect of the language is absorbed resulting in the student being able to understand and speak the language in a shorter time frame.

English as a subject is not taught until the second term of Senior Infants. Research has found that students in the immersion system attain greater levels in reading and writing in both English and Irish than the national average (Ó hAiniféin,
(2007), Cloud, Genesee & Hamayan (2000).

If my child is thought through the medium of Irish, what effect will this have on his/her English language development?

Research has proven immersion education benefits the development of the English Language. Children in Irish-medium school achieve higher results in English (and Maths) due to their having higher general language skills.

I would like to send my child to a Gaelscoil but I have limited Irish. Can I send my child to a Gaelscoil?

Yes. Over 90% of parents who send their children to Gaelscoileanna have little or no Irish.

I would like to learn the Irish Language. Are there classes and support available for parents?

Schools regularly provide language support for parents who wish to improve their Irish language skills.

My child has special needs. Can I send my child to an Irish-Medium school?

Of course. An Irish-Medium school is run in the same manner, with the same resources and funding from the Department of Education, as an English-Medium school. Applications to the Department of Education with regards to special needs assistants are made in the same manner as all primary schools. Click here for more information.