ENNIS was recently invaded by Vikings. However, it was not gold these Vikings were after but knowledge. They came to learn how to set up family learning classes.
Twenty-four Norwegians visited the Clare Family Learning Project. Their ultimate goal is to set up family learning programmes in their region in Norway, similar to what is being done locally in Clare.
While here, the group gained valuable ideas through visiting classes in action, meeting parents who have already attended classes and meeting family learning tutors and the partners that the Clare Family Learning Project work with.
The visitors, from Nedre Eiker Municipality, included 11 adult education teachers, two primary school principals, three kindergarten teachers, the head of all schools and kindergartens in the region, a volunteer co-ordinator, a cultural leader, a pedagogical leader and others interested in the notion of family learning.
Principal of the Adult Learning Centre in Nedre Eiker, Elizabeth Engeset, visited the Clare Family Learning Project website and made the connection.
The local family learning co-ordinator in Ennis, Mary Flanagan, received an email in December 2013, seeking the possibility of a visit.
The visitors arrived in Ennis late on a Wednesday evening and the following day, they divided into six groups of four, with a member of the Adult Education Centre staff to guide each group to the various venues. They visited the Adult Education Centre and library; Clare Immigrant Support Centre; Ennis Educate Together National School; The Junction and Scoil Chríost Rí, Cloughleigh; Ennis Community Centre, ClareCare and Springboard Project; a parent class in St Tola’s National School, Shannon and a parent class in the Adult Education Centre.
Since 1999, the Clare Family Learning Project has trained 739 people, nationally, who are involved in adult education.
It is hoped the links made between Norway and Clare can be improved through the visit and that the support and sharing of resources, as well as research on the topic of family learning, will benefit all the families involved.