FÍS is a highly successful film project for primary schools that explores film as a medium of expression in relation to the arts, and introduces children to aspects of the film-making process. It was originally set up as a pilot project in 28 schools by Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire but was subsequently rolled out to all schools nationwide with the support of the Department of Education and Skills and the NCTE (now known as PDST Technology in Education).
From the outset, FÍS was particularly supported by the education programme of the Irish Film Institute with film screenings, workshops, teacher training and provision of resources. From 2004, a four-year phase took place to develop the teacher classroom resource pack that aims to help teachers introduce film as a new medium and as an enabling tool for children in the classroom.
The FÍS team was hugely encouraged and motivated to develop the best resource material possible by the fantastic response of the children and teachers who worked on the FÍS pilot project in those early years.
The results have been astounding. The project has succeeded in helping children to develop essential skills in moving-image literacy, communication and teamwork. Teachers tell us that the children develop additional skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, investigation and analysis. Both teachers and children find the experience enriching and rewarding.
In 2016 the FÍS Film Project updated the full suite of teacher resources. A new suite of lesson plans is available here. In addition, the lesson plans are supported with a suite of short video tutorials created by FÍS, available here.
The FÍS Film Project continues to be delivered by the FÍS Office at the Institute of Art, Design & Technology and PDST Technology in Education (formerly NCTE).
The visionary behind FÍS and the introduction of film into the primary classroom was Aileen MacKeogh (RIP), Head of School, National Film School, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Aileen championed this project and held firm to her vision that film could support the primary curriculum. She was right. Sadly, Aileen passed away in 2005. Today, the top award in the annual FÍS Film Festival is named in her honour — the Aileen MacKeogh Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film-making.