Limerick initiatives celebrated at Léargas awards

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University of Limerick Campus. Picture: Alan Place

UNIVERSITY of Limerick, Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School and Castleconnell National School are amongst the winners at this year’s Léargas Innovative Learning Awards (LILAS), which celebrate the most creative and inspiring communities, organisations, and teachers at the forefront of teaching and learning across Ireland.

This year’s awards celebrate the winning projects in three different but interlinked European exchange and learning initiatives: the European Language Label; the new European Innovative Teaching Award and the eTwinning National Quality Label.

Minister Simon Harris said: “Creativity like this should be celebrated at any time but becomes even more important during blended and remote learning – as we’ve all recently experienced. I’m proud to congratulate all the winners at this year’s awards, besides being collaborative, innovative and fun, your projects support European and national strategy in education. We in the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science join all in Léargas to congratulate you on the inspiring work that you have done.”

Castleconnell National School were winners in the European Innovative Teaching award category for their project ‘Special Education – Looking at the Whole Child’, which empowered the teaching staff to provide a more holistic education to the pupils in the school.

The European Innovative Teaching awards are a new initiative within the European Union. The aim of these awards is to showcase outstanding teaching practices carried out as part of the Erasmus+ programme. The award aims to recognise these efforts across Europe and is now an integral part of the European Union’s plan to attain a European Education Area by the year 2025. Overall. There are 104 winners of this award across Europe, three of which are from Ireland.

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European Language Label winners from Limerick included:

*   ‘Erasmus Speaks’, a transnational virtual exchange project involving the University of Limerick and five European partner universities from Austria, France, Germany and Spain, run by the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, University of Limerick.

*   ‘FLEURIR – Language Programme for the Academy for Children’, a collaborative project that started in January 2021 and introduced French as a foreign language for primary school students. The objective of the project was to foster closer collaboration and stronger links between the university and communities and to enhance children’s opportunities to access further education. It was run by Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School in partnership with the Access Office and School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics at University of Limerick.

The European Language Label highlights innovative initiatives in language teaching, learning and promotion, and aims to bring these initiatives to the attention of the public along with professionals in the languages field.This award is open to all in the education field, including language professionals, community, and training groups.

Ciara Gibbons, eTwinning Coordinator at Léargas said: “The Léargas Innovative Learning Awards recognise and celebrate the creativity and imagination of teachers and school across Ireland. Each one rewards inventiveness in teaching and learning, whether in the area of languages, of innovation, or of digital transition.”

Further information is available at https://www.leargas.ie/event/leargas-innovative-learning-awards-2021/