Everybody is familiar with the fun and excitement of the fairground and circus. What is not commonly known is how the children of the Circus and Fairground families receive an education while constantly on the move.
Usually, parents do not travel during the winter months so children attend their local schools for these months. From March to October, the parents are 'on the move' usually spending no longer than a week or two in the same venue. During this period, the children's' education is continued through an educational support scheme co-ordinated by the Limerick Education Centre and operated by other education centres throughout Ireland. In practice, families have an entitlement to three two-hour educational support sessions for their children weekly. A network of teachers, geographically spread around the country, are on call to come to the sites when requested by the parents.. The teachers usually travel out after school and provide this tuition in the famillies wagons in the late afternoon.
The curriculum, which the teachers follow with the children, is a continuation of the work that the children have been doing in the winter schools. Co-ordination is facilitated by the children having a blue folder that contains a daily record of work completed. In this way, even though the children may have been taught by more than 10 teachers during the travelling months, the educational work progresses smoothly.
For more information about this scheme, contact Mary O'Connor, National Co-ordinator.