Multi-national school united through love of film
A TINY primary school where pupils speak six different languages is harnessing the power of film to teach children literacy, maths and social skills.
The Drelincourt School won the Into Film Club of the Month award for its innovative approach to using film in the classroom.
The infants school in Armagh has just 20 pupils all under the age of eight and 80 per cent speak English as a second language.
It has been honoured for the way it has made its film club an all-encompassing learning experience.
Every Friday afternoon, the school becomes a mini-cinema with children running the entire operation from choosing the film, promoting it, running the box office, taking tickets and serving popcorn.
Pupils have to earn the value of their ticket throughout the week by participating in school activities. By the end of the week, they are presented with a 10p plastic coin that gets them a seat in the cinema.
After the movie, each child writes a review and are given topics by the teachers to discuss, including the quality of music, humour or acting.
The pupils improve their literacy, language development and maths skills as they work the box office and earn their ticket money.
They also develop social skills as they work together to choose the film and learn about manners as they wait patiently in the queue to go into the cinema.
Into Film is a UK-wide organisation with a regional hub in Northern Ireland, which aims to put film at the heart of young people's education, helping to support their academic, cultural, and social development.
It runs an annual children's film festival and also supports filmmaking projects through industry events as well as through clubs in schools.
Teacher Sharon Walker said the school had a film club for the past five years but wanted to make it an even more important learning and developmental tool.
"With just 20 pupils, our children speak six languages between them including Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian and English. Film has the power to unite them," she said.
"We've had such amazing support from Into Film. I hadn't been aware of the amount of resources that they have online; there are so many valuable teaching tools and they're all available free. They provide the films as well and have come out to the school to see what we are doing and to encourage us."
Lorraine Magee from Into Film said she was impressed by the way the school had developed its club.
"This is such a happy place and by using film to teach, the children really look forward to coming to school and participating in the club," she said.