Nine local primary schools have recently completed the Áitbheo Primary Programme, developed and delivered by Burrenbeo Trust. The lucky schools that took part over the 2017/2018 school year were Peterswell, Tubber, Tierneevin, Ennistymon, Mol an Oige, Moy, Carran, Corofin and Ballyvaughan. With nearly 180 students graduating, there was an exceptionally high standard of engagement and interest in this new programme.
One of the participating teachers commented “I was delighted to be offered this course and it surpassed my expectations. I believe the children have gained a greater insight and understanding of their place”. The students graduate individually as Laoch Áite (place heroes), while the school sis awarded the Áitbheo Primary Gradam if they complete a number of additional actions. Some of the action projects completed included a litter pick, a biodiversity day, development of a biodiversity trail and a culture day.
The Áitbheo programme aims to increase awareness and foster appreciation of the wealth of natural and cultural heritage in one’s place, with the school serving as a starting-point for investigating the local area. It offers a hands-on and fun learning experience, as well as encouraging independent research and debate, and developing key aspects of the literacy, numeracy, science, history and geography curricula. On completion, the students graduate with a bank of knowledge and enthusiasm that they will carry with them for years to come. An evolved successor to the Ecobeo programme, through which over 1000 primary school children from across the Burren have graduated as ‘Burren experts’, Áitbheo is designed to work in schools throughout Ireland.