St Joseph of Cluny has two bright, newly refurbished, modern Home Economics kitchens. Each kitchen is designed so that there are ten, well equipped work units to accommodate twenty Home Economic students in each class. Each kitchen also facilitates theory classes and is fitted with a data projector and wireless internet connection.
A separate textiles room is designed specifically for sewing and craftwork. This room also has ten work units with modern equipment including sewing machines at each table, computerised embroidery machine, industrial over locker as well as data projector and internet connection. Display areas on the walls are used to showcase student’s craftwork.
First Year students choose their subjects before the beginning of the school year. The Junior Certificate Home Economics syllabus is taught over the three years in such a way as to allow a variety of topics on the curriculum to be covered in each of the three years. For example, in First Year, some of the things that students learn about are nutrition and health, wise consumer decision making, money management, caring for their teeth and skin etc. We try to encourage the students to apply their knowledge in planning their own meals and in their lifestyle choices. From a practical point of view, first year students learn to prepare many sweet and savoury dishes using skills which will be built on in second and third year. First year students also make a craft item using skills such as embroidery, appliqué etc., for example draught excluders, cushions, Christmas decorations etc.
Second Year Home Economics students learn how to make an item of clothing for themselves using a commercial pattern and as such acquire skills involved with basic dress design, use of sewing machine and hand sewing. Interior design is also a feature of 2nd year and the students apply their knowledge of design features and principles to create a 3D model of their ideal bedroom interior design. Second years also prepare many sweet and savoury dishes. Theory in second year is a development on already acquired knowledge in first year.
In third year we place a big emphasis on preparation for the Junior Certificate practical exams which take place around Easter time. The practical component accounts for 50% of the junior cert marks and is comprised of a Project (15%) and a Practical Cookery Exam (35% HL/ 45% OL). In St Joseph of Cluny, we encourage students to do Craftwork for the project which involves researching a traditional or contemporary craft and creating a unique and individual product. We encourage diversity and creativity so that the students can choose which project best suits their own individual interests and ability. For the cookery exam, students are allocated an assignment for which they have to research and plan a dish. They then prepare, cook and serve the dish for the exam.
There are many cross curricular links with other subjects including English, art, science, SPHE, business and geography throughout the three years.