Welcome to the hundreds of 2021 classes from across Ireland!

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‘Education isn’t the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’ (W.B. Yeats)

Building on the success from 2019/2020, BFGTOEU decided to go national for 2020/2021. We are delighted to see that so many of you have enrolled for 2021. Hundreds of schools across 24 counties have registered for BFGTOEU 2021.

As you know, BFGTOEU is an exciting and engaging new programme which get you and your students thinking about the role of Ireland in the European Union. It focuses on getting children of all ages to develop three types of skills essential in every walk of life and as an active citizen:

  • Critical thinking skills: This is not a pro-European programme. Through innovative tasks, we get the children to go beyond their immediate conclusion and look at questions from different points of view.
  • Media literacy skills: We get children to look at conflicting sources of information and make the difference between sources delivering opinions and facts.
  • Deliberative skills: These skills include perspective taking and empathy, self-reflection on bias, tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity, listening and question-asking skills. Children learn how to listen to somebody they disagree with and respect their opinion. E.g.: Brexit, migration crisis

Very soon students of all ages and backgrounds become aware of the various levels of government. They start discussing the European club of which they are citizens!

BFGTOEU Events of 2021:

  • 6 week programme with individual certificates for the students which teachers can print of and a plaque for the school acknowledging the class and teacher’s work
  • A Europe Week from 10th to 14th May – A booklet of activities will be uploaded where you will find one activity per day. Those activities will come under Art, Music, English, Drama, SESE and SPHE. You can decide to complete the full 5 days or select those that you prefer. There will be a special Europe Day Zoom Quiz on 10th May, organised per level (1st & 2nd class / 3rd & 4th class / 5th & 6th class).
  • An art exhibition entitled ‘Knowing me, knowing EU’ will take place virtually or face to face in UCC. Please keep your students’ artwork related to BFGTOEU if you wish to participate in the art exhibition.

To complete BFGTOEU 2021 and receive the plaque, you simply need to upload your class KWL at the Dropbox link you were emailed.

“Remember the EU is worth celebrating”

by Lise Hand, 11 May 2019
Extracts from an article in the Sunday Times Ireland

“Schuman Day didn’t go entirely unmarked in Ireland. On RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime there was a charming item on an EU-themed quiz in Kilmurry national school in Co Cork. Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan, a politics lecturer at University College Cork and author of the educational programme “My Big Friendly Guide to the European Union”, was putting the 3rd and 4th year children through their paces.

The EU, reckoned the pupils, is “fun” and “made for peace”. They learnt about stuff such as the single market and how growth hormones were banned from the food chain.

“They need to figure out for themselves and think critically about what it means to be part of the club,” Schon-Quinlivan said. “This is not at all about selling the European Union to the children; it’s getting them to reflect on what are the advantages and disadvantages of being part of a club, about being a smaller member.”

Chances are that the boys and girls of Kilmurry national school are considerably more clued-in than many of their fellow citizens who are eligible to vote in the European elections at the end of this month.   […]

Every time anyone demands to know, Life of Brian-style, “what has the EU ever done for us?”, they should be presented with its equivalent of the Romans’ contribution to sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, fresh water systems and public health. And, of course, peace.

Then they should be enrolled into a course of “My Big Friendly Guide to the European Union”, whereupon they can give some actual thought to what they like and don’t like about the EU, and what elements of it they want to change or embrace.

Until such a miracle is wrought, the least everyone can do is go and vote on May 24.”