Local pupils from St. Brigid’s Primary School, Mayogall together with visiting pupils from Nan Xiaobu Primary School in Hangzhou, Zeijing Province of China were the first primary school children to visit the exhibition at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the newly opened arts and literary centre in Bellaghy.
The primary school pupils from China were on a week-long visit to St. Brigid’s Mayogall as part of an exchange.
Initially contact between the schools was set up as part of the Confucius Institute programme led by Ulster University. The Programme promotes the teaching of Chinese language and culture and facilitates the training of language teachers, cultural and academic exchanges and research into China’s education system, economy, the arts and society.
As part of the visit, school children took part in a guided tour of the exhibition area and had the opportunity to view the various books from Seamus Heaney’s personal collection which are on display in the library. They also took part in educational activities at the centre’s dedicated creative zone – an area which aims to inspire, excite and enthuse children and adults alike by celebrating the value of poetry and language.
Mary O’Kane, Principal at St. Brigid’s Mayogall said, “This is such a fantastic facility to have right here on our doorstep and one that we will be able to use time and again as a valuable learning resource for pupils outside of the classroom environment, whilst continuing to support the NI educational curriculum. All the children got involved and were really enthusiastic to learn about the life of the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, his writing and poetry. They shared what they had learnt with their Chinese friends and took part in various games including creative art and wordplay.
“We have had such an excellent experience here today, which appealed to all learning styles; the education team have been innovative and creative providing for all needs. The building is amazing and the tour inspirational; it truly captures the life, the work and the spirit of Seamus Heaney.”