Schools Programme

Transition Year Programme 2021/2022

We usually invite Transition Year students to come to our home for Work Experience or Community Action placements. Unfortunately, we cannot do that at the moment. In response to COVID-19 we’ve adapted our Transition Year Programme.

Each of our three options could fulfil one of the following Gaisce Challenge Areas: Community Involvement, Personal Skill.

There are three options in the programme:

1. Get Creative

Calling all creatives! Many of you may have taken up crafting during lockdown or you are a talented artist or have a skill for woodwork or enjoy coming up with new artistic projects.

We’re looking for you to research and create a unique product that is suitable for people living with dementia (for example, handmade jigsaws, mobiles, patchwork quilts, hats, costumes and props for dressing up in our home…the sky’s the limit!)

Then produce a video OR write a blog post along with photographs about making the product: give details about why you chose to make this particular product and how it will benefit a person living with dementia.

2. Pitch Perfect Project 

Based on the popular programme Dragon’s Den, students are invited to: develop a creative solution to assist people living dementia and/or their family or carers, OR develop an aid to help/support health care professionals working with people living with dementia.

The pitch should include:

  • The concept or idea
  • The proposed target audience
  • The problem being addressed
  • The solution and benefits of the project for the target audience
  • Any prototypes or demonstration of the product
  • Potential path to market

All the above should be presented in a video pitch to the judging panel. The pitch should be no longer than 10 minutes. The more creative and unusual the pitch the better, as long as the criteria are reached – anything goes!

Deadline for submission is Friday, 8 April 2022.

3. Future Philanthropist 

Do you have event management skills or an ambition to be a future philanthropist? We’re looking for you to develop an innovative way to fundraise whether it’s a daily challenge or an online event in this new social-distancing world.

COVID-19 has meant that we have had to curtail our usual fundraising events. We’re calling on Transition Year students to help us this year to raise much needed funds. We’re asking each Transition Year group to fundraise €250 (that’s the target but definitely not the limit!) to help us give our six living rooms a revamp. Our residents are cocooning in their lodges so we’d like to redecorate each lodge to give their home a new look.

This is a great opportunity to promote and project-manage a fundraising event from start to finish.

How to apply

For further information contact Nicola on (01) 282 3000 or at

Classroom Presentations

Would you like to know more about dementia and our care at Saint Joseph’s Shankill? We can also facilitate information sessions over Zoom/Teams to your school. We will be guided by current Public Health advice and your school policy in relation to running the sessions in person. Check out our leaflet for further information.

Cherished Memories Art Competition 2019

Explorium: The National Sports and Science Centre hosted the inaugural Cherished Memories Art Competition Prize giving on 18 June 2019 as a part of Saint Joseph’s Shankill primary schools dementia awareness programme; the first of its kind in the country.

Mark Langtry the Science guy and Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor were on hand to present the students with their prizes.

Forty local primary schools were invited to enter and over 600 students took part in one of the five categories.

The “Cherished Memories Art Competition” focused on cherished memories, and what memories mean to primary school children. Children took part by drawing their cherished memory and wrote a few words about that memory explaining why it is important to them.

Thanks to Lidl Shankill  and Explorium for their support.

About Gaisce

Gaisce – The President’s Award is a self-development programme for young people between the ages of 15-25, which is proven to enhance confidence and wellbeing through participation in personal, physical, community and team challenges. It is a direct challenge from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, to all young people to dream big and realise their potential.

Gaisce is non-competitive and self-directed: participants progress along each award level (Bronze, Silver or Gold) choosing personal, physical and community activities they wish to undertake and taking part in an adventure journey also. A trained adult mentor, their President’s Award Leader (PAL), supports them throughout the process. The more time and energy participants give, the greater the reward.

Young people who complete the Gaisce programme, receive a medal and certificate signed by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. Should they progress to achieve a Gold award, Michael D. Higgins presents them with this at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle.

Gaisce is active across all 26 counties and, through the Joint Award Initiative, an innovating partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, young people living in Northern Ireland are able to achieve a Gaisce Award at any level too. Through a partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Gaisce Awards are also recognised internationally.

Since its inception in 1985, over 370,000 young people have participated in the Gaisce programme. Today, more than 25,000 young people register for the Gaisce challenge each year, pursuing the award through more than 850 organisations (Gaisce Award Partners) located right across the country. In any one year, Gaisce supports these organisations and the more than 1,200 President Award Leaders (PALs) working and volunteering in them to mentor young people through their Gaisce journey.

Gaisce celebrates the individuality of each participant and ensures while there are many pathways to achieving a Gaisce Award, each Gaisce journey is as unique and expansive as our participants determine and equally recognised.

For more information, please visit

Classroom Resources:

Secondary School Resources:

Check out The Brain, from the Fantastic to the Forgetful Workbook; A dementia awareness programme for junior cycle and transition year.  Published by Dementia Services Information and Development Centre.

For more information about dementia in Ireland check out:

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland

Understand Together

National Dementia Strategy

Primary School Resources:

We have compiled some international resources that you may find interesting for classroom discussion.


‘Dear Grandma’ published by the Alzheimers Society of Ireland

This publication is a story book for children aged 8 years and over to help to explain dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The book focuses on two children and their experience with their grandma and the changes that her condition brings.

‘Feathers in my Brain’ by The Crystal Project

This book sensitively addresses how a diagnosis of dementia can be felt by all the family and how inclusion and openness can help everyone. We hope that families will read this book together and gain insights into ways in which children can continue to connect with their loved ones with dementia.


These Teachers’ toolkits for 5 – 7  and 7 – 11 years from the UK, includes memory, brain and puzzles games, plus teacher’s notes in the “Creating a dementia-friendly generation” lesson ready resources.

For 5-7 year old children; Alzheimer’s Society – Key Stage One

For 7-11 year old children; Alzheimer’s Society – Key Stage Two

This ‘Generations Working together’ work-pack has some interesting games and links for the upper age group of primary school students.

There are some age-appropriate explanations of dementia along with games and videos and a ‘memory board’ on the Alzheimers Research UK website for juniors and pre-teens below:

For younger children: What is Dementia?

For ages 7 – 12: Which illnesses cause Dementia?


Find out how memories are made and what you can do to help your memory.

Here is Saint Joseph’s Shankill’s video

FreeDem Films is a series of short, easy to watch videos about dementia.

This video explains “How does memory work?”

Alzheimer’s Society’s UK ‘Memories with Grandma’ is a new animation to help raise awareness of dementia for 7-11 year olds. Schools and youth groups can also use this short film with an accompanying lesson plan to create Dementia Friends.

Mr Alzheimers And Me follows three young people who tell their very personal stories of living with grandparents who have dementia.

Kids4Dementia: What is the one memory you wouldn’t want to forget?

Kids4Dementia: What is it like having a parent or grandparent with dementia?