An tÁisaonad grew from the Irish-medium sector itself. It started off in a school, but since 1998 it has been based in St Mary’s University College, Belfast. An tÁisaonad’s specialist role is to provide for the needs of Irish-medium pupils, with particular reference to the curriculum in the north, the only organisation to have this specialist role.
Before its establishment, there was an urgent need for high-quality school books. Up until then, the only available resources were photocopies and handmade materials.
Today, An tÁisaonad has a wide range of resources, including books, games, online resources and support materials to serve the needs of immersion education in every corner of the country and at all levels. An tÁisaonad also researches resources to check if they are suitable for Irish-medium immersion education.
An tÁisaonad puts great stress on its relationship with teachers. It has focus groups for teachers in different age groups. Representatives from each focus group sits on the Consultative Committee which advises An tÁisaonad. Drafts of new resources are trialled in schools and teachers provide feedback before they are printed. An tÁisaonad also organises questionnaires, conferences and workshops to gather teachers’ views and to assess needs.
Over the years, An tÁisaonad has developed many innovative projects. Amongst these are the Early Reading Programme (Cleite), Collins Primary Maths, 49 big books (some with music), a number of reading book series for all levels, and much more besides. An tÁisaonad presently provides an online news service for Irish medium schools in the north through the C2K - An Seomra Nuachta. Each day, an appealing interactive article is put together for schoolchildren and the service has many other features, for example, Fact Files (encyclopaedia), videos, puzzles and competitions.
Early Reading Programme
The Early Reading Programme (Cleite) is one of our most successful projects. It is a structured programme which covers guided reading and the skills needed. It was developed in conjunction with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) which also supported the training which was provided. Each of the three bands consist of 60 books, with games and extensive teachers’ notes. At present, An tÁisaonad is developing a reading programme for the next age-group.
Further information: http://www.stmarys-belfast.ac.uk/aisaonad/CLL/
Central to An tÁisaonad’s work is providing training to teachers on how to best use its resources. This is done through school visits, training days at central venues or by providing online videos.
All details about An tÁisaonad, as well as support material, can be found on our website, www.aisaonad.org. You can call us on (+44) (0)28 902 43 864, or call in to our office in St Mary’s University College, across the road from Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in the centre of the Gaeltacht Quarter in west Belfast.
All members of staff can be contacted:
Manager: Ciarán Ó Pronntaigh firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Advisor: Jacqueline de Brún email@example.com
Editor: Gabhán Ó Dochartaigh firstname.lastname@example.org
Technician: Colm Mac Aindreasa email@example.com
Administrator: Ciarán Ó Dornáin firstname.lastname@example.org
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Our pricelist is available here: http://www.stmarys-belfast.ac.uk/aisaonad/Reicneoir/Praghasliosta.pdf
You can work out your bill here: http://www.stmarys-belfast.ac.uk/aisaonad/Reicneoir/reicneoir.html
Orders can be made by phone or by email (email@example.com)
Call us any time if you have any questions about our resources.