What is the Blue Star Programme?
The Blue Star Programme is an education initiative for primary school students across Ireland. The idea of the programme is simple: to foster better understanding and knowledge of Europe and how it affects the lives of Irish citizens among Irish primary pupils through classroom projects and activities.
Pupils of all ages, from primary schools all over Ireland, are challenged to get creative and think about Europe by carrying out projects in relation to four key elements: the History, Geography, Culture and Creativity, and Institutions of the EU. Each participating school is required to carry out projects and tasks, incorporating elements that include information about:
- The foundation and development of the European Union;
- The cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe;
- What the European Union does and how its work affects the lives of citizens.
The Blue Star Programme aims to introduce participants (pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the EU; what it means and how it works. The Programme also aims to foster a strong sense of awareness of the EU among its participants that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the wider community.
Action Plan for the Blue Star Programme, Davidstown Primary School
We plan to fulfil the criteria of the four areas in the Blue Star Programme by engaging our students in a range of whole school, cross-curricular activities and projects.
- Historical 2. Geographical 3. Cultural and Creative 4. Institutional
Historical: To explore the foundation and development of the European Union
Davidstown PS will fulfill the criteria for the historical section of the Blue Star Programme by completing the following projects:
3rd – 6th class will complete a unit of work in history based on
- The Foundation of the European Union
Senior classes will review their participation in The Crocus Project and plant yellow crocus bulbs memory of the one and a half million Jewish children and thousands of other children who died in the Holocaust. The yellow flowers recall the yellow Stars of David all Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule.
They will read the Story of Anne Frank (adapted version for primary schools). They will create descriptions of Anne Frank using Microsoft Word.
3rd – 6th classes will work in pairs to research the history and traditions of a selected European country, with a particular focus on feasts and festivals (Christmas).
3rd – 6th will complete a unit of work based on the Renaissance. This unit will be a cross-curricular exercise based on History, Maths and Art through the use of a web quest called ‘The DaVinci Code’ which is available on teachnet.ie.
Davidstown PS will fulfil the criteria for the geographical section of the Blue Star Programme by focussing on the strand unit of human environments and the strand unit, people and other lands.
3rd – 6th
Strand: Human environments Strand unit: People and other lands
- study some aspects of the environments and lives of people in one location in Europe
- location of these areas
- art and culture, customs and traditions
- play and pastimes, leisure interests
- some major features of the natural environment
- homes and settlements
- major cities (e.g. cities in European or other countries)
- work and work-places (e.g. farming, industry, services, tourism)
- transport and communications
- similarities and differences between these places and Ireland
- trade, historic and other links these peoples have with Ireland
- develop an increasing awareness of the interdependence of people in these places and people in Ireland
- learn to value and respect the diversity of peoples and their lifestyles in these areas and other parts of the world
- become aware of various ethnic, religious and linguistic groups of peoples in Ireland and Europe
- develop a sense of belonging to local, county, national, European and international communities
The students will work in pairs, using a variety of sources of information including their prior knowledge, Blue Star Programme resources, text books and the Internet to complete research on their chosen country. They will then use this research to create a multimedia project using a variety of multimedia/ storytelling apps.
Our school is a Green School. We are currently working towards our award for Water. As a part of our ongoing work in environmental awareness and care, we plan to use the four short stories which explain climate change to explore our understanding of climate change and how our students can make a difference. The students will create posters / fliers using iPads and their own art to demonstrate their learning and to promote protection of the environment.
We will carry out the cultural and creative section of the Blue Star Programme by completing the following activities and projects:
Seachtain na Gaeilge: Lá Gaelach
All classes will celebrate Ireland during Seachtain na Gaeilge using legends, myths, language and art. Our Lá Gaelach celebrations will involve the whole school singing Irish songs, playing traditional Irish instruments and performing Irish céilí dances.
Visual Arts: look at and recreate the work of famous European artists; Juan Miro, Van Gogh, the Impressionists
Music: learn to play Ode to Joy and a selection of pieces from across Europe, on the tin whistle
Drama: World War II and the Holocaust.
Making crêpes on Shrove Tuesday.
The children will learn basic phrases in other European languages, with a particular focus on French.
PE: Dance – traditional dances from across Europe
Science: Learn about a European scientist and complete a mini project about their achievements
SPHE: Developing citizenship. Fundamental rights mini booklet – Mini booklet of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
To complete this section 3rd to 6th will study the work of an Irish MEP and the role of the European Parliament and the European Commission. They will write to our local MEPs asking them to complete a questionnaire on their work and to invite them to visit our school or to participate in a Skype session. The aim is to enable our students to identify how the EU works, to name the different institutions and how they co-operate with each other, with the view to understanding the positive impact of the EU on their daily lives.
The class will focus on the EU flag and learn about how the EU was founded, why Ireland joined, the number of current member states and why Europe Day is celebrated on May 9th.
The students will work in small groups using PowerPoint to design and make a “Who wants to be a Millionaire” style game based on their research of the institutions and foundation of the EU.
We will celebrate Europe Day (9th May), taking the opportunity to display all the Blue Star work and to present our work to the wider school community.
Activities planned include:
- food tasting
- an art exhibition inspired by the work of famous European artists
- promoting awareness of the children’s work on the school blog davidstownps.ie and on twitter @davidstownps
- music performance
- demonstration of traditional dance from another European country
We will approach the Enniscorthy Library to ask if our work can be put on public display in their offices in May/June.
European Union Map Game: http://goo.gl/4Kfmxh