Local Irish language community group, Cairde Teo, are inviting parents of children between the ages of one and four years old, who are raising their children through Irish, to join them at a new monthly Irish language outdoor parent toddler group, which gets underway on Saturday 21 April. The group will meet up at 10.30am at the playpark at the Palace Demesne in Armagh. The group aims to bring together pre-bunscoil-aged children in a fun informal Irish language atmosphere and to introduce parents who are raising their children through Irish to each other and share ideas and methods of using more Irish with their children at home.
Irish medium education is going from strength to strength in the Armagh area with three Irish medium pre-schools in Armagh city and one in Keady. A number of Irish speakers and childcare experts are also currently working on a plan to open up a new Irish medium daycare facility in the new Irish cultural centre, Aonach Mhacha, at the Shambles. The plan for the new cultúrlann includes a daycare room and roof terrace space on the second floor and will cater for children before pre-school age. The new Irish language parent toddler group aims to introduce local families whose first language at home is Irish and to encourage more parents to introduce their children to the Irish language from an early age and to see the benefits of raising children with two languages.
The group will meet up at the park once a month with lots of activities and fun planned for the children. Speaking before the inaugural get together, Shannón Nic Mhánais from Cairde Teo said, “The parent toddler group has come about in response to a growing demand from the local community for Irish language education and additional family services. The new family support group will appeal to parents who have chosen to raise their children through the medium of Irish and parents who wish to offer their children the extra academic and cognitive advantages from an Irish medium immersion education. With work on the new cultural centre progessing, plans afoot for a new Irish language daycare facility, and a new Irish medium primary school following on from the successful opening of the city’s third Irish medium nursery school, Naíscoil na Caille, it is a fantastic time for parents to raise their children through the Irish language.”