Portree pupils play a hand with new Gaelic cards

Portree Gaelic medium pupils show off the new playing cards
Portree Gaelic medium pupils show off the new playing cards

Pupils in Portree Primary School were among nearly 200 across the region to receive a free set of Gaelic playing cards as part of an Atlas Arts’ project.

Dualachas Chroitearachd Cairt-Chluiche/Cultural Crofting is the development of a project that began in 2014 when Atlas worked with Craigard Day Centre in North Uist and artist Sharon Quigley on a project called ‘Life on the Land’ to explore the unique heritage and culture of crofting. Part of the output was a set of Gaelic crofting flash cards that reflected both the skills of the group and those of the wider crofting community, characterising through symbols, texture and pattern the interconnectivity of crofting, our culture and landscape.

Earlier this year, Atlas commissioned Sharon Quigley and graphic designer Andy Fielding to develop these into a pack of playing cards that function as a fun, Gaelic educational tool and also to increase awareness of crofting, with the aim to distribute to Gaelic Medium pupils free of charge. Atlas also consulted with pupils and teachers in Portree Primary School on the design and what to include in the sets.

Shona Cameron, Atlas arts producer, is thrilled by the response: “Last week I took the cards up to Portree Primary School to give them to the class that we worked with on the project,” she said. “It was great to see the pupils playing with them and learning new words.

“The cards encourage children to learn through play, to work collaboratively and develop language skills. With the support of Bòrd na Gàidhlig we have been able to print 500 packs of cards which we are in the process of distributing to primary schools in the region and the central belt. In the past week we have sent packs to schools in Skye, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra.”

Shona MacDonald, teacher at Portree Primary School added: “The children have been really inspired by these lovely cards to play the games shown in the box and also to come up with their own games.  The cards themselves are lovely with very simple graphics. The children have already started using the Gaelic words shown on the cards when they’re playing their games…”