CHRISTMAS has come early for the 340 pupils at Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty, who for the month of December won’t be getting any homework.
But instead of ‘obair bhaile,’ the youngsters are being asked to practise acts of gratitude which teachers hope will help them discover contentment and help build resilience.
Leas Phríomhoide Íde Ní Mhuirí explained: ‘With the lead-up to Christmas,the season of goodwill, we sometimes focus on what we would like to have rather than appreciating the good things that are right in front of us. In a world consumed by social media, our young people are constantly experiencing pressure.
‘Instead of formal homework until the Christmas holidays, the páistí will be asked to take a few moments at home every day with their families to focus on being grateful for what they have and the positive things that happened in their lives that particular day.’
As part of that they’ll be asked to jot down or sketch their feelings of gratitude in their ‘Dialann Buíochais’ (Gratitude Diaries) in written or pictorial form.
Íde added: ‘The emphasis for the children will be to appreciate and record very simple things such as seeing a rainbow or praising the kindness of another child at school who shared their colours with them, giving the feeling of goodness and appreciation.’
Since October, the páistí have also been busy ‘Filling Buckets’, (based on the book The Bucket Filler), showing compassion and empathy to their peers. Another feature of the month is a ‘Briseadh Buíochais’, (Gratitude Break).
‘All pupils and staff will simultaneously down tools and listen to a musical excerpt, taking time out from a busy schedule to mull over the things they have to be thankful for that day,’ said Íde. ‘Our páistí are the heartbeat of our school. If we can equip them with the tools to find happiness and resilience in a world that can at times be hectic and fast-paced, then there is no better time than the present do so.’