Posted by: Louise | January 28, 2011


The Giraffe Princess is doing a project on John F. Kennedy in school.

He has been ebbing and flowing around the house for a few weeks now. There in the background – Puffs of smoke on grassy knolls and all that. This project says a lot more about her teacher’s interests than the Irish national curriculum. When her teacher has an interest, he runs with it and carries the class along with him.

It is a team project. The GP and two of her friends have been gathering information, planning, scheming, making and doing. There is a prize.

Last year a number of the parents were up in arms when the (then) class teacher awarded prizes for projects. Morale plummeted very quickly in the class when the same kids won everytime. Our school aims to be child-centred, non-competitive.

But one of the irate Mums of last year came in laughing to coffee the other day. There is a prize for the JFK project and wait until you hear what it is…..

At this point, I feel I need to say we live in the south of Ireland. We are not American. We watch (possibly) too much American telly, pop over to the States for the (very occasional) holiday and note the increasingly American slang our children come out with. But we have our own history, our own past and our own pretty messy present. American history just doesn’t feature heavily.

Cue a man with a passion.

The winning team for the JFK project will get seeds collected from the plant that grows on JFK’s grave. The runners up will get acorns collected from in front of Capitol Building.

To date the Giraffe Princess and her team have three A2 pages of information on JFK. We have found a CD of music from 1963. They have a whole concept developed of presenting information on postcards. They are designing the postcards themselves. They have found out what his favourite food is. On Monday (presentation day) one of the team members is bringing in cupcakes and the GP and I made flags with JFK’s picture on to stick in the cupcakes. The other day her friends came back to the house to work on the project for the afternoon. Mid afternoon they announced they had a great idea. They were going to make a film!

I have to say, apart from helping Astro Boy make a clapper board (because they were running out of daylight at that stage) I had no input. I was in “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah” mode. Great idea, but nothing will really come of it. Apart from an afternoon of fun planning. They did shoot a film. It took them about 15 minutes. K helped with the final editing, but all the rest is theirs – scenes, concept, camera angles etc.

I am a Mum and prone to pride, but I am pretty impressed. It has to be said.

If we do end up with a seed from the plant growing on JFK’s grave, I’m not sure how we’ll honour that.

All suggestions appreciated…..



  1. Just watched this with C2- Carys- who loved it too- oh my gosh Louise you have MUCH to be proud of! It was precious!

  2. And the winner was……..!!!

    Alannah and her team. Seeds will be planted in school before they come home to sprout and grow.

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