Pilot project on multilingualism underway in two Tallaght pre-school settings

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

An arts-based storytelling pilot project about language development is currently being conducted in two Tallaght pre-schools under Early Childhood Ireland .

The ‘Our World of Languages’ Project (OWL) aims to celebrate multilingualism. Engaging a total of 80 children across both settings, the project is based around specially-designed puppet theatres, which promote the use of young children’s family languages.

Project OWL hopes to encourage children, parents, guardians and early years educators to work together both at home and in the preschool setting to help foster social inclusion.

“The OWL project by Early Childhood Ireland and Mother Tongues will break down barrierswhich stand in the way of that mission,” explained Denise Charlton, CEO of the Community Foundation for Ireland.

The initiative was developed in partnership with Mother Tongues using a €70,000 grant from the RTÉ Toy Show Appeal, which was facilitated by the Community Foundation for Ireland.

The two settings taking part in the Project OWL pilot are Loreto Playgroup in Springfield and Stepping Stones Creche and Montessori school in Citywest.

“Dublin 24 is one of the most culturally diverse areas in Ireland, and the children who attend the chosen settings will benefit greatly from this programme,” said Liz Kerrins, Director of Research at Early Childhood Ireland.

A total of three workshops were held at each setting, attended by children, parents,guardians, early years educators and specialists from both Early Childhood Ireland and Mother Tongues.

Through the playful use of the puppet theatre, children are introduced to a range of different languages and encouraged to use their home tongue more.

All three workshops have now been completed and in the coming weeks, researchers from Maynooth University will review and evaluate the research data gathered during the process.

The learnings from the OWL pilot project will then be used to develop a toolkit for nationwide use in early years settings. 

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