No mean feet as four-year-olds sing and dance into Gaelic history

14th August 2009 at 01:00
Portree Primary produced and sold 400 DVDs of Gaelic children's songs, raising Pounds 3,000. Now the school has won the award for Best Enterprise

It was not always plain sailing. On the day of filming, the P6-7 pupils at Portree Primary on the Isle of Skye needed rain but had to settle for a janitor wielding a hose. Then there was the challenge of teaching dance-steps to four-year-olds - no mean feat. But in the end, the youngsters achieved their goal, producing a 30-minute DVD, which can also be played as a CD, chock full of Gaelic songs.

The creation of "De an-diugh?" ("What's Today?") arose from a conversation between the school's P6-7 Gaelic-medium class and its teacher, Shona MacDonald.

"Mrs MacDonald said her kids watched lots of nursery programmes, but none were in Gaelic," explains Angie (Angus) Grant.

Having identified a gap in the market, the pupils decided they should be the ones to fill it.

Despite professional advice that to produce a 30-minute DVD would be over- reaching themselves, they were determined.

"For five minutes, it wouldn't have been worth it," felt Angie.

"Children would watch it once and that would be it," added classmate Nathan Stewart.

Having formalised their company structure, they went to local businesses for advice and assistance, opened a bank account, approached technical professionals for their services and identified local businesses and organisations to promote and sell their product.

A film-maker was employed to give the pupils the sleek, professional finish they were looking for. Still mindful of quality, they employed a choreographer and a drama worker to hone their skills.

"De an-diugh?" begins with the four-year-olds from the Gaelic nursery listening to a song with their teacher, before they all fall asleep. When they wake up, the toy clown, which sits in the corner of the classroom, comes alive and takes them on a magical musical tour of the school.

As well as producing the dual disc, which allows children to watch the film at home and listen to the songs in the car, the enterprise company decided to sell books containing the lyrics. The profit from this - more than Pounds 200 - was donated to Children in Need. The school plans to put the profits from the disc towards a new minibus.

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