The Royal Celtic Society has for many years supported Parkside School, Edinburgh's Gaelic medium Primary school, with a small annual donation towards their work in bringing the Gaelic language to early years children and in their active use of Gaelic in education.
Recently the Chairman met with the Head Teacher at Parkside, Mrs Anne MacPhail, and Ms Sineag MacIntyre, the Head of Creative Arts, to discuss how the Society's support might be better employed in supporting the school's objectives.
The result of this is that, as of the Spring term in 2019, the Royal Celtic Society will provide two annual cash prizes for excellence in a particular piece of classroom project work. One of these will be available to children in Primaries One to Four, and the other to those in Primaries Five to Seven. The nature of these projects will be determined in the coming weeks and months and the Society will meet again with the school at the end of February 2019. However, the view of the school is that these pieces of work should reflect at least some of the schools's core values, in particular those of teamwork, diversity and global citizenship.
Gaelic is often misrepresented in the media as a narrow and introspective entity, but at Parkside nothing could be further from the truth, with the concept of diversity at the heart of all they do. In Primary One alone, there are three native Polish speakers and five native Spanish speakers, all in Gaelic medium education in Edinburgh.
The Society's Council believes that support for early years Gaelic medium education is one of the most important tasks we can undertake and we are delighted to be involved with this admirable project.