Bennettsbridge Students says, “Merci Beaucoup!” to their French Friends.
The students of Bennettsbridge Mixed National School met with students from the French town of Margny-lès-Compiègne on Thursday, 25th of April. The Bennettsbridge students did Kilkenny proud, putting on a show of Irish music and dance for the visitors, and they all took part in a fun Easter egg hunt, with the unexpected participation of the local wildlife, with the crows beating the children to some of the treats.
This visit comes at the end of a 14-week French language programme which was run at the school. The Early Learning Language Programme was introduced by Twilight Community Group in January of this year, with Bennettsbridge being the venue for this pilot programme.
The students took part in classes on French language and culture under the tutorship of Isabelle de Toulgoët. Isabelle moved to Ireland 24 years ago and set up the Dunmore Country School with her husband Tanguy. Isabelle gives French lessons to all ages and prepares students for the Junior and Leaving Certs. She also runs summer camps in Durrow Co. Laois.
Isabelle promotes the benefits of learning a second language and broadening our understanding of other cultures. For this reason, she is enthusiastic about the school exchange which was organised between Bennettsbridge and Margny-les-Compiègne.
Local Councillor Pat O’Neill, a trustee of Twilight Community Group spearheaded the exchange to take place in Bennettsbrige by introducing school principal Sheila Aylward to the idea behind the group’s Early Learning Programme. She showed great interest from the very start, and the parents and students were immediately enthusiastic about the programme and the benefit it would bring.
This programme is part of the wider partnership agreement between Margny-lès-Compiègne and the Twilight Community Group which has been in place for the last number of years. There is a trip currently being planned for The Newpark Senior Alliance and Resident Association to visit the city of Margny-les-Compiègne, which is just northeast of Paris.
This is just one partnership which Twilight has built, with friendship agreements in place with cities in Poland, Morocco, and one just recently signed with Sighisoara in Romania.
Building on the success and great response to the Early Learning Language Programme, Twilight Community Group would like to expand to other schools and groups. Twilight is a not-for-profit community group with charity status and relies on support from the community to run its activities and programmes for community development in Kilkenny City and County.
Director of Twilight Community Group, Murty Brennan encourages any business, school or group who are interested in this programme as well as the other work done by the group to call him on 0863255840, or email [email protected] for an informal chat about possible partnerships.