GALWAY IRISH POLISH ASSOCIATION
Polish Weekend School was organised by GIPA and supported by Galway City Partnership. This project offered a complimentary weekend school for children who attended Irish schools. It was a unique project aimed at building social capital and cohesion to address not only the educational needs of the polish community, but also migrants’ health issues and offered free English classes for parents. This Polish Weekend School created the foundation for the first Polish school in the Galway and the West of Ireland.
Inclusive Polish Weekend School
Inclusive Polish Weekend School, was set up to assist in the Polish community’s educational, social, health and linguistic needs and aimed to help Polish families to integrate more successfully into Irish society and create a model school in Social Inclusion and Integration.
One of the programme’s objectives was to bring about the integration of Polish community into Irish culture while recognising and allowing them to maintain their own culture, to teach Polish language, history and geography, to provide education to children with learning difficulties, to encourage Polish students to engage with their Irish peers in social settings that might include sporting teams, clubs related to the arts and other extracurricular activities available within their community. Also to create an inclusive school environment which created values and affirmed linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity. Polish Weekend School provided also English classes for students’ parents combined with civic education.
Primary and Secondary School children have learnt literacy and numeracy skills in their native language by fully qualified teachers from their country using Primary Polish School Materials. The children were grouped according to their age and ability so that the teachers were able to provide targeted support as possible.
The project involved 140 children aged 3-18, 15 fully qualified Polish teachers and 5 staff members of the Claddagh School in Galway and of course GIPA’s management and the management of the Claddagh School with the Principle of the Claddagh School, Mr Forde.
The objectives of this programme were in line with the recommendations set out in the Intercultural Education Guidelines published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in 2005, to promote the Intercultural Health Strategy and provide information on equal access to GP services, child and family services and mental health issues. While children were at school, parents took part in the meetings with the Polish General Practitioners from Galway who spoke to parents about GP services and mental health issues.