Kid’s Craic: Back to School

Kid’s Craic: Back to School 
By Dottie Wenger

Kids’ Craic: Back to School

Fun facts about school in Ireland:
In Ireland, kids are required to attend school between the ages of six and sixteen. 

The school year in Ireland begins on the first week of September and ends in June.

In America, we use words like “kindergarten” and “first grade” etc. to describe a child’s progress through the school years.  In Ireland, they use the words “classes” and “years.”  The Irish education system is split into Primary School (kids ages four through twelve) and Secondary School (those older than twelve.) 

One of the first things children learn in school is how to read and write in English.  They also learn some Irish.  In Ireland, more people speak English than Irish, but about forty-one percent speak at least some Irish.  The Irish language (Gaelic) is spoken mostly in the western part of the country. 

Gaelic words don’t use the letters j, k, q, w.x, y, or z.  When learning to read and write in English, Irish children pronounce the letter z as “zed.”  In almost all countries in the world where English is spoken, it is pronounced this way!Consonants in Gaelic words can be pronounced in more than one way, depending on what letter comes next in the word. 

In Ireland, college is free!

What’s in a name?
Most common names in Ireland:  Jack (boys)  Emily (girls)
Irish names beginning with O’ (for example, O’Malley), usually mean “the descendant of” or “grandson of” an ancient king or chieftain.

Gaelic words:

Apple              úll  (pron. ool)
Autumn           f’omhar  (pron. foher)|
Friend              cara     (pron.KAH-ruh)

Literature Highlight:
Ireland (Exploring Countries) by Colleen Sexton. This picture book includes all kinds of fun facts about the Emerald Isle, including themes like daily life, going to school, food, wildlife, holidays and sports.

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