Why I’m sending my son to naíonra


Aidan, all set for his first day in naíonra

This time last year I wrote a post all about Aidan heading off to playschool for the very first time. I worried about how he’d get on, about whether his speech delay would hold him back and about whether he’d fit in. I need not have worried. He flew it. He loved play school. 

He headed off to a new playschool this morning though. I’m wasn’t as worried as I was last year but he was slightly nervous. He headed off to Naíonra Bhóín Dé, an all-Irish play school in Newbridge. Had you asked me twelve months ago if I thought he would have been able for a naíonra, my answer would have been an emphatic no.

In twelve months though, my little boy has come on in leaps and bounds. He doesn’t have a speech delay anymore, indeed he never stops talking now. He can count to ten as Gaeilge, has bainne going to bed and his favourite nursery rhyme is ‘A haon, a dó, muc is bó’. We’ve been speaking the cúpla focal a lot at home and he just picks it up effortlessly, so I have no concerns about going to naíonra. 

So why Naíonra Bhóín Dé and hopefully Gaelscoil Cill Dara next September? There are a number of reasons. Firstly is the fact the Grandad Chambers is a Gaeilgeoir, indeed he didn’t even speak English until he left Tourmakeady in Mayo to work in London in his late teens. Daddy Chambers had no proper interest in the language growing up and it’s a regret of his. I personally think Irish in not taught correctly in national schools. I don’t want learning Irish, and Irish culture to be a chore for Aidan and Sarah. I’m also of the opinion that speaking two languages is only a good thing. There’s also evidence that suggest that children who learn through the medium of Irish find it easier to learn additional languages, which is only a good thing in my mind.

So many friends have asked myself and Daddy Chambers if we’ll be able to handle helping the kids with homework if they do go on to the Gaelscoil. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I was very good at Irish in school and although I wouldn’t be able to hold a full conversation as Gaeilge, I would be able to listen to one and understand 99 per cent of it. Things like that are only a problem if you let them be. To be sure I’ve enrolled myself in a refresher course in Irish and we’ll all plough on from there. Grandad Chambers is going to help too. He talks a lot of Irish to the kids when we visit and although they don’t talk back to him as Gaeilge, they seem to understand almost every instruction he gives them. It’s lovely to see and I know Grandad is very excited and proud that Aidan is off to the naíonra. And so am I.

So from here on in, Aidan, or should I say Aodhán, will have múinteoirí who only speak Irish to him; it’s known as the early immersion model. He can answer and speak in English naturally and I can’t wait for his little Irish vocabulary to grow.

In January Sarah will join her big brother in Naíonra Bhóín Dé and I have no worries about her heading off either. Indeed she’s quite mature for her age and would probably be ready to go now but because she’s not three until December, Naíonra Bhóín Dé won’t take her for her first ECCE year until after Christmas. Hopefully with Aidan coming home with the cúpla focal, she’ll pick it up and slot in seamlessly in the New Year.

So from here on in I’m going to refer to Daddy Chambers as Daddy Mac Ambráis, Aidan as Aodhán ac Ambráis and herself as Sorcha Nic Ambráis! Ah, níl mé ach ag magadh; I’m only joking! Although those names have a lovely ring to them all the same.

The wee uniform (yes they have a tracksuit uniform in Naíonra)  is so cute on him and although it’s ‘real’ school, it’s a big week for us. It’s a big week for Aidan.



PS: If you’re looking for some quick make up tips for the school run, check out this post from my fab MUA friend Pamela.

5 thoughts on “Why I’m sending my son to naíonra

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  3. Hi
    Enjoy your blog but I don’t understand where you have the evidence and knowledge that gaeilge is taught badly in primary schools! I’m a primary school teacher for 18 years and the new Irish curriculum was brought in 1999. A huge emphasis on active learning and language learning methodologies, all evidence based methodologies for any primary teacher.
    Perhaps you are thinking back to when you went to school?
    Best of luck to you and your little ones learning Gaeilge and no doubt beidh tusa ag foghlaim an teanga beo freisin!

    • Hi Rozz, thank a million for the comment. I probably didn’t explain the remark right! I just think it’s a shame that kids spend so long learning a language in school, from Junior Infants to sixth year and a lot of them are not confident with it and not fluent. It’s a shame really.

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