The Transition Year Programme at Coláiste Mhuire Johnstown has a long standing tradition of excellence. The programme is highly organised and developmental in nature. The range of subjects and activities that the students participate in ensures that they receive an insight into both senior cycle in second level and working life. This is achieved by running three 10 week modules in all elective subjects offered at Leaving Cert level in the school, with core modules in the compulsory subjects (English, Irish and Maths) running throughout the year. This enables students to properly sample subjects, improve their skills and ulitmately make more informed decisions about the subjects they wish to choose for their Leaving Certificate.
Furthermore, there are two periods of Work Experience which take place on Fridays during two of the students’ three modules. This affords a more practical focus on the world of work. It also gives students a flavour of the requirements needed to pursue careers in a variety fields and a chance to develop the skills they will need to succeed. Students consistently find this one of the main advantages of participating in the Transition Year Programme.
Transition Year also offers students the opportunity to participate in many Extra-Curricular Activities, Field Trips and Tours. One such example is the annual School Musical. The Class of 2008 did a stage adaptation of Disney’s “High School Musical“ with the Class of 2009 producing a memorable rendition of the hit show “Mammia Mia“. The class of 2010 got everybody up and dancing with “Footloose“, while 2011 did a terrific version of the relatively new show set to the songs of Elvis called “All Shook Up“. The class of 2012 are busy preparing for this year’s musical “Back to the Eighties!“.
Field Trips over the past number of years have included trips to the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny for a seminar on Road Safety, which dove-tails with a module that the students complete in the same area. Indeed, Coláiste Mhuire is one of only a few schools in the region who are currently involved in the delivery of this important module, designed by the Road Safety Authority. Students receive tuition on the Rules of the Road and the preparation required for the Driver Theory Test. In addition, the use of interactive DVD’s and computers add to practical nature of the module. Guest Speakers and further field trips are to be rolled out in the near future. The majority of modules in Transition Year have a Field Trip / Guest Speaker integrated into the coursework. Examples include Outdoor Pursuits in an Adventure Centre as part of the Physical Education module, attending a play as part of the English / Drama module and Hill Walking as part of the Geography module. All of the above bring alive the material covered in class, ensuring students receive a more enriched learning process than is oftne achieved in the traditional classroom environment.
Finally, the Transition Year students are afforded the unique opportunity of a Foreign School Tour. This usually takes place around the Easter holiday period. Once again this provides students with a practical learning experience of the process by which a trip is arranged. It gives students an insight into another culture and way of life. Although these trips are supervised by staff, students do attain a certain level of independence, with many having never holidayed outside of Ireland before. Attendance on the trip is subject to participation, behavioural and attendance criteria during the year as decided by the Transition Year co-ordinator (Miss Angela Conroy) and Class Teachers. Trips over the last few years have included Italy in 2007 (Milan / Lake Garda), Germany in 2008 and Spain in 2009. In 2010, the students returned to Italy, this time focussing on Rome and the surrounding areas. The classes of 2011 and 2012 both went to Paris, France.