WATCH: Cork pupils perform Christmas songs using Irish Sign Language

Pupils at St Columba's Girls NS (With a Facility for Deaf Children) have been learning Christmas songs through Irish Sign Language
WATCH: Cork pupils perform Christmas songs using Irish Sign Language

Pupils at St Columba’s Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, signing Christmas songs. More photos on EchoLive.ie Pictures: Larry Cummins

AFTER two years of staying apart due to Covid-19, the pupils at St Columba’s Girls NS (with Facility for Deaf Children) brought the whole school community together for a very special Christmas project.

Pupils at St Columba’s Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, in Douglas, who have been learning Christmas songs through Irish Sign Language. See EchoLive.ie for a video and more photographs.
Pupils at St Columba’s Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, in Douglas, who have been learning Christmas songs through Irish Sign Language. See EchoLive.ie for a video and more photographs.

They have all been learning Christmas songs through Irish Sign Language.

Our photographer, Larry Cummins, popped along on Irish Sign Language Day, last week, to get some photographs and capture a video of the pupils in action.

Pupils Milana, Alex, Leah and Bella with some Christmas Teddy Bears at St Columba’s Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, in Douglas.
Pupils Milana, Alex, Leah and Bella with some Christmas Teddy Bears at St Columba’s Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, in Douglas.

There are 371 pupils attending St Columba’s Girls NS in Douglas, including six classes in the deaf unit.

2nd class pupils Maeve and Emily, and 4th class pupils Mia and Berenika. Christmas carol singing featuring Irish Sign Language at St Columba's Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, in Douglas. Picture: Larry Cummins
2nd class pupils Maeve and Emily, and 4th class pupils Mia and Berenika. Christmas carol singing featuring Irish Sign Language at St Columba's Girls National School, with Facility for Deaf Children, in Douglas. Picture: Larry Cummins

Due to Covid-19, the children in the deaf unit had remained separated from their peers. However, in recent months, the pupils have been mingling again, not only in the school yard, but have also been visiting mainstream classrooms too — and vice versa.

Front row are pre-school pupils from the deaf class at the school.  Picture: Larry Cummins
Front row are pre-school pupils from the deaf class at the school.  Picture: Larry Cummins

For their Christmas carol singing project, they decided to learn three songs — Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Walking in a Winter Wonderland — sung and signed by the whole school community using ISL.

Putting the 'HAPPY' into Happy Christmas through Irish Sign Language are Laoise, Elsie, Josh and Mia. Picture: Larry Cummins 
Putting the 'HAPPY' into Happy Christmas through Irish Sign Language are Laoise, Elsie, Josh and Mia. Picture: Larry Cummins 

It’s a project the teachers have also been very passionate about. They hosted a special concert for their families last Friday — to much delight.

Pupils performing.
Pupils performing.

Isla Dineen, a teacher at the deaf unit said the kids have really enjoyed the whole process.

It's been a wonderful time for all.
It's been a wonderful time for all.

She said it has been wonderful this school year to see pupils integrate throughout the whole school day once again. 

Students from St Columbas Girls National School performing Christmas carols.
Students from St Columbas Girls National School performing Christmas carols.

The past two school years, the children in the deaf unit had been kept in their own bubble, but life at St Columba’s has gotten back to some normality once again.

The school has 317 pupils.
The school has 317 pupils.

Our KidzZone special publishes in print today in The Echo (Monday December 19) - it's bursting with photographs from different schools, a Big Christmas Quiz, puzzles, colouring and more.

Pictures and video by Larry Cummins

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