We are moving…but not too far!

Drumnigh Montessori Primary School has been providing Montessori education on the north side of Dublin since 1962. We have had many locations over the years, but we have been homed in St Colmcilles, Donaghmede for over 15 years. Sadly, as a result of the rising population figures in the area, St. Colmcilles can no longer provide us with classroom space, and this is our last year here on this site. We have tried to be as faithful to this community as we can and have found a new location approximately one kilometre from here on the Raheny Road.

While we are very disappointed that we cannot stay in the heart of Donaghmede, our new site will give us many more opportunities such as the chance to develop better outdoor facilities and reopen our toddler group, which has been sadly missed these past two years.

We are very excited about our big move and the expansion of our primary school and we hope that we continue to enjoy the support of our Donaghmede families as well as the many new families that we hope to impress with our premises.

Read more

Preparing for Montessori School

The first day of school is bound to incite just as much anxiety and excitement in parents as it does in children. For children it may be their first time being cared for outside the home and the uncertainty of doing something and going somewhere they have never been before is overwhelming. Most children take to their new environment with ease and indeed some parents will be disappointed to see their child run through the classroom door without a backwards glance. For others the transition is a little more difficult and separation anxiety can be traumatic for both the parents and child. Here are some tips to make the process a little easier!


Introduce your child to their new school in advance

As part of Drumnigh’s admittance policy, we encourage all incoming children to visit the school and spend some time in a ‘normalised’ classroom ahead of the new school year. A ‘normalised’ classroom describes a Montessori classroom once the children are settled and familiar with the Montessori way of life. The children are happy and contented and it is a great time to observe the school. Many children will be delighted about their first day of school but have a little wobble when they encounter a child that appears to be very upset. Introducing your child to a happy classroom will give them a fantastic first experience of their new school. We find that the children only tend to get upset once it is time to leave!


The morning routine

Getting children to and from school can be extremely stressful. Cramming breakfast, getting dressed, washing teeth, bag packing and multiple drop offs into a short amount of time can be enough to get anyone worked up. Your stress will only feed your child’s anxiety so be prepared! Encourage your child to pack their bag and choose their clothes the night before. Prepare their lunch in advance and get up a little earlier in those first few weeks so that your mornings are not rushed and you have time to connect with your child before school.


The drop-off.


Be sure to arrive at least 5 minutes before school starts to help your child hang up their coat and take in their surroundings. It is very importance for a child’s sense of wellbeing that they arrive on time and start the day the same way as the other children. In Drumnigh the children are greeted individually by the Directresses with a ‘Dia Dhuit’ and a handshake. Develop a special goodbye routine with your child. It can be a simple kiss and hug or a or ‘special’ handshake or phrase. This gives your child a great start to the day and they will feel reassured.

Trust the Directresses


The truth is that some children take a little longer to settle than others and sometimes a child is fine the first few days and then suddenly decides they’ve done the school thing and they have had enough. It is not uncommon for a child to take a number of weeks to settle in. All of this is normal and something that our Directresses have decades of experience in. Take the Directresses’ lead on the handover and oftentimes that means saying goodbye to your crying child and leaving. After years of experience all our Directresses agree that parents hovering at the door can prolong the child’s upset and that generally the children calm down quickly once the parent is out of sight. We also know that all children are different and we encourage you to talk openly with your child’s Directress and develop a drop-off ritual together if you are finding it difficult.


Pick up time!

We cannot stress enough, the importance of being on time to collect your child, particularly when your child is anxious about the drop-off. The children begin to anticipate meeting their parent or caregiver as soon as preparations begin within the classroom for going home time. Being consistently late for pick-up will undermine your child’s trust in you and exacerbate any anxiety they might have about school.

If your child had a difficult time at drop-off that morning, acknowledge their experience and tell them how proud you are that they coped well in school. Your child’s Directress will indicate what kind of day they have had and this gives you an opportunity to reinforce the positive aspects of their day. If you are constantly focusing on your child’s positive experiences they will soon find that their new school is a fun and happy place, and their feelings of anxiety will decrease over time.


Read more

5 Ways to Spot an Authentic Montessori

Did you know that Montessori is not a protected term in Ireland?

Montessori has come to mean preschool or playschool in Ireland. In fact, Montessori is a teaching philosophy that dates back more than 100 years and is based on Maria Montessori’s observations of how children love to learn.


So if you are seeking an authentic Montessori, here are some things to look out for:


  1. Staff Training


Authentic Montessori schools have highly trained staff in the pure Montessori method. In Ireland this means that they have degree-level training (Level 7+) from either Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) or St Nicholas, or a similar teaching institute abroad. They will also be accredited by the Irish Montessori Education Board based on their teachers’ training, or will be affiliated with other global Montessori organisations like AMI. Drumnigh Montessori Primary School is an IMEB/AMI-recognised school and Lead Directresses (teachers) are either AMI or St Nicholas trained.


  1. The Three-Hour Work Cycle


One of the core principles of the Montessori method is the three-hour work cycle, which involves a three-hour period of uninterrupted, self-directed work. Montessori observed that a three-hour work period allowed children the opportunity to enter deeper levels of concentration, and gain a sense of satisfaction from having completed their work. Children will work with many different materials during this period but generally tackle the most challenging work later in the morning. A true Montessori teacher will never interrupt a child to join group activities if they are concentrating on individual work.

In Drumnigh, we do not provide free play socialisation time during ECCE hours to ensure that all the children have the opportunity to reach the three-hour plain of concentration. However, the Montessori method encourages children to socialise freely throughout the morning, choosing to work with or observe other children throughout this time. We also have an after school programme so children can enjoy free play together outside the three-hour work cycle.


  1. Mixed-Age Classrooms


Montessori believed in mixed-age classrooms and genuine Montessori schools will mix children in three-year age spans in ages 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12. Younger children learn from observing the older children. The older children model the behaviour expected in the classroom as well as introducing the younger children to the materials they are working with. Older children learn leadership and responsibility.

The age range of the children and the importance of child-to-child mentoring is taken into account when we organise our classes in Drumnigh. Age is not important in the Montessori classroom as each child develops differently, and friendships form regardless of the children’s ages, much like in the real world.


  1. Staff Retention


According to Early Childhood Ireland, early childhood services suffer from low staff retention and high turnover rates. People working in the sector feel “undervalued and underpaid for intellectually, emotionally and physically demanding work”. High turnover rates can have a negative impact on your child and on the school’s ability to deliver a proper Montessori programme.

Our core staff have more than 40 years’ experience here in Drumnigh. Our good reputation depends on the calibre of our staff, their training and knowledge of Montessori, and their dedication to the school and the children. We value and nurture our staff as they do the children.


  1. The Prepared Environment


A central tenet of Montessori’s programme is the “prepared environment”. A prepared environment is a well-thought-out classroom, with easily accessed materials, that entices and interests the children and fosters independence. Independence allows the children certain freedoms and Montessori refers to “freedom within limits”. The children are free to move around the classroom, to choose their work and to choose how long they work at something. A well-prepared environment ensures that the children drive their pace of learning and the classroom is calm and peaceful, with children working purposefully either in small groups or on their own. Incoming parents are usually amazed by their first classroom visits to our school. The Directresses work mostly with one child at a time, presenting new materials while the rest of the children choose their own work.

These are just five of the core values that can help you to identify an authentic Montessori school for your child. If you are interested in learning more about Drumnigh Montessori Primary School, or about the Montessori method, please fill out our enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

Read more

Public Talk by President of AMI – 2nd December

The Association for AMI Teachers Ireland invite you to a talk by Philip O’Brien, President of Association Montessori Internationale.

  • When: Saturday the 2nd of December 2017
  • Where: The Talbot Hotell, Stillorgan, Stillorgan Road.,
  • Time: 2pm

The talk is of huge benefit to anyone who has an interest in Montessori and promises to have a huge impact on Montessori in Ireland. We look forward to seeing you there.

Read more