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A new Celtic curriculum

By Laura Jean Grant – Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY – Educators and arts sector representatives are working together to bring more Celtic to the classroom.

In past years, as part of the Celtic Colours in the Schools program,
thousands of Cape Breton students got a chance to hear world-class
performances from local and international artists in the area for the
annual festival.

This year, there won’t be any in-school performances, but a committee
of teachers and Celtic Colours officials is working to ensure Celtic
culture becomes a permanent part of the curriculum.

Eric Favaro, who recently retired as an arts education consultant with
the province, said the idea was to explore new ways to expand the
Celtic Colours in the Schools program and leave a more “lasting legacy”
for students.

“We felt that there was a much greater potential here to really teach
students in schools more about Celtic culture, Celtic music, Celtic
traditions and all of those sorts of things,” he said. “What we’re
doing is developing a curriculum unit that can be used in various
subject areas from Grade Primary right through to Grade 12.”

Favaro described the committee’s work as a positive direction which
will benefit students, educators and festival organizers.

“We feel it’s not only an opportunity for promoting Celtic culture and
music during the Celtic Colours festival, but also throughout the
school year and, in particular, during Gaelic Awareness Month in May,”
he said. “What we’re doing is developing something that’s a little more
long-lasting.”

The initiative is being sponsored by the Department of Education and
the curriculum is expected to be ready later this fall. The hope is
that it will eventually be used by teachers across the province.

Joella Foulds, Celtic Colours co-director, said having musicians
perform in schools brought a taste of the Celtic culture to students
and is pleased the new curriculum will expand that focus.

“This is tremendous progress,” she said. “(The students) are going to
learn the basics and the roots of our culture and the Celtic cultures
of the world.

”I hope festival artists return to schools in the future, Foulds said
students will have a better understanding of what they’re seeing and
hearing.

“I think it will be much more meaningful so we’re really excited about it,” she said.

The 10th annual Celtic Colours International Festival begins Friday.

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