The Children’s House Primary – a Montessori School

History

The Children’s House Primary reached its 65th Anniversary in 2017, with over 80 children attending the school and constantly forging ahead and striving to fulfill Maria Montessori’s work:

‘…not in the service of any political or social creed but in the service of the complete human being, able to exercise in freedom a self-disciplined will and judgement’.

The Children’s House Primary on Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan was established in 1952 by Veronica Ryan, who had started a class in her home with six pupils two years earlier. She trained as a Montessori teacher at Sion Hill in Blackrock, Dublin, and as interest in Montessori spread she decided to build her own school. She travelled to Holland to study and photograph existing Montessori schools there and became friendly with Mario Montessori (Maria’s son), who gave her advice. The architect Arthur Douglas designed The Children’s House on the grounds of Veronica’s home and it was the first purpose-built Montessori school in Ireland. It remains an outstanding building of its type set in a garden amid trees with suitable play areas and equipment for children.

Veronica was hugely dedicated to her work as a Montessorian, her materials and environment were magnificent. Numbers at the school rose quickly as news spread fast and they never had to advertise. However, Veronica (or Ms. Ryan as she was known) died from pneumonia in April 1966, aged 45 yrs. The AMI Communications bulletin described her as ‘one of the most capable and enthusiastic Montessori workers in Ireland who gave a great contribution to the spreading of the movement in her country and abroad’. The Ryan family wanted to continue their sister Veronica’s visionary work and so stepped in and set up a company and Board of Governors to run the school. The AMI tradition continued with Beth Ann Doyle as Principal until  1968 when Madeleine Coen and Elizabeth Carbery took over as joint Principals.

childrens house liz brennanMadeleine worked with the Senior Class (then the 6-9 year old group) and Elizabeth with the Junior Class (the 3-6 year old group). With the kindness of the Ryan family, the support of Luan and Patricia Cuffe and parents in the school, Veronica Ryan’s groundbreaking work continued and flourished. In 1981 Dick Sweetnam took over as Chairman from Luan on his death and worked with Miss Coen for many years.

Madeleine Coen brought enthusiasm, high ideals, creative learning, a desire to implement the Montessori ethos, stability and a vision for the future. She remained at the school as Principal for almost 40 years, educating thousands of children in the school along with several other dedicated directresses over this time.

montessori childrens houseMicaela Kuh, the current Principal, took over as Principal of The Children’s House Primary in 2006 upon Madeleine’s retirement and has brought the school to the next stage of its development. Firstly, a second 3-6 Class classroom was added to the school and more recently Micaela, with her international background and training, introduced the 9-12 age group to the existing 6-9 Senior Class, having done this at other schools in Australia and the US. Due to the popularity of continuing the primary stage up to 12 years, the Board of the school, under the chairmanship of Ann Cuffe Fitzgerald (an architect and past pupil of the school) and with a generous bursary from Clem Ryan (Veronica’s brother) a new classroom was added.

childrens house micaela kuhMicaela and her team of 7 directresses have introduced materials, cultural work and outings appropriate to the children’s ages and continue the work of the school’s founder Veronica Ryan.

The Children’s House Primary reached its 65th Anniversary in 2017, with over 80 children attending the school and constantly forging ahead and striving to fulfill Maria Montessori’s work:

‘not in the service of any political or social creed but in the service of the complete human being, able to exercise in freedom a self-disciplined will and judgement’.

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