Immersion education is the system of education of an Irish-Medium school. The benefits of Immersion education are recognised internationally. In Immersion education schools the pupils are immersed in Irish from their first day in school. The teacher will speak only Irish to the pupils until their second term in Senior Infants. This system has been proven worldwide to be the most effective for language acquisition.
The class teacher will speak and teach through Irish only to the pupils from the beginning of Naíonáin Bheaga (Junior Infants) until the Christmas break in Naíonáin Mhóra (Senior Infants). After the Christmas break, English is introduced to the curriculum, but until then, the children will only hear their teacher speak Irish to them. Comprehensive studies (MET, 1998) have found that the most effective method of acquiring a language is through immersion.
It is policy in all schools under An Foras Pátrúnachta that immersion education is implemented and practised.
The speaking of Irish by the teachers and students is central to what a Gaelscoil is. Encouragement and enticement is the most desirable way of promoting Irish in the school by use of strategies such as praise, prizes and rewards. This positive culture has contributed to the success and popularity of Gaelscoileanna.
Along with these reasons there are numerous other benefits for children who attend an Irish Medium School. According to research on bilingual education following are the results for students who go through the system: