New Irish Medium Primary School for Cookstown

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COOKSTOWN’S first Irish Medium Primary School will open its doors in September.

The news will be a welcome boost to parents and the committee of Naíscoil Eoghain who have campaigned for years to bring Irish medium primary education to the town.

Since 2008 parents whose children attended the town’s Irish medium pre-school have been forced to travel outside the town to carry on bilingual education. Now Cookstown will be spoilt for choice when it comes to primary education for children.

Gaelscoil Eoghain will be based on the same site as Naíscoil Eoghain on the town’s Chapel Street.

Announcing the news Chairperson of Naíscoil Eoghain Emma Mc Elhone said: “The prospect of an Irish Medium Primary School in Cookstown is exciting.”  “The demand for this new school illustrates public confidence in the Irish Medium Education system and the dedication of local parents who want to give their children the gift of bilingualism. Research has shown that children educated in two languages perform significantly better across the spectrum of their education and excel not only in language but in all of their subjects.”

Cookstown’s newest primary school will add to the other 34 Irish medium primary education establishments in the north where parents are availing of the great educational advantage of bilingualism.

Sinn Fein Councillor Ciaran McElhone described the announcement as “great news for Cookstown.”

Councillor McElhone said: “Many parents were forced to travel outside of the town so that their children could carry on their bilingual education from pre-school to primary.

“The importance of bilingual education is becoming more evident, in countries such as Canada and Spain all children are taught bilingually, so it’s great to see that now Cookstown is following suit,” he said.

Gaelscoil Eoghain accepts children from all sections of the community and children do not have to have attended a Naíscoil to attend.

Irish is taught through an immersion system and within a few weeks children will understand all that is being taught.

Similarly parents do not have to be Irish speakers to give their child this opportunity. For those living more than three miles away transport costs will be provided. 

Some of the advantages of Irish medium education include: a better quality of creative thinking, higher intellect and improved literacy.

Research evidence from bilingual education systems in Canada, the US, the Basque country, Catalonia, Wales and Ireland also shows that children who have two languages tend to do better in the curriculum and to show higher performance in tests and examinations. This is probably related to the thinking advantages of bilingualism afore mentioned.

Emma added: “There are many reasons why more and more parents are opting for Irish-Medium Education.”

“I would urge parents in the area to look closely at this form of education when selecting nursery and primary education for their children. Even though your child has been allocated a place in an English medium Primary School it is not too late to give your child the unique opportunity of both bilingualism & bi-literacy at a young age.”

For further information you can contact Chairperson of Naíscoil Eoghain, Emma McElhone on 07751 119595 or email gaelscoileoghain@yahoo.ie