Winter Newsletter 2013

Dear Parents,

It seems like only yesterday that we welcomed you and your children back in September.

We have had an action packed term with many visitors to the Children’s House from far and wide:

  • Jan Cleary, an ex-Children’s House student and now Transition Year student at Holy Child, Killiney helped in the front room and did sport with the Senior Class.
  • Valerie, a student teacher from Institut Superieur Maria Montessori (AMI Paris) has done some of her teaching observation and practice with us.
  • Carole, from the AMI Minnesota, observed the 9-12 classroom – see attached letter describing her impression of the classroom.
  • Liz, Director of a New York Montessori School, was delighted to pop into all our classrooms to see the full Montessori primary cycle (3-12) in action.
  • Maya Hendler an ex-pupil from Montessori East in Sydney visited us during her Gap Year travels and worked with the children.
  • Eve Annecke visited us from the Sustainability Institute in South Africa via the London School of Economics and spoke to the Senior Class about the Sustainable Village that she is a founder of.
  • Ann Bolger (mother of Martha and Rose) came to do juicing with the Senior Class.
  • Mary Bourke (mother of Caoimhe), TCD Professor and NASA Researcher talked with the 9-12 year olds about Mars.
  • Claire McKeever and Nikita White from UNICEF  came and spoke to the Senior Class and Extended Day students about The International Rights of the Child and the hardships of life in Syria for children.

 All our visitors in their different ways, contributed to the children’s school experience and left full of praise for the school.

 The Junior Classes worked very hard in preparation for their Christmas plays. They put on magnificent productions displaying a huge increase in confidence amongst those children in their 2nd and 3rd years in the classroom. It is wonderful to witness the wonders of the three year cycle. Well done all! The  Junior Class directresses would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and to say Thank You to everyone for the generous gifts. They are very much appreciated.

 The Senior Class production will be on Thursday, 19th December at 1pm. They are busy painting props and backdrops for their final production. They entered various AIJS (Association of Independent Junior Schools) competitions and won several prizes this term:

  • Patrick Fanning –  2nd prize in Poetry
  • Gala Little –          2nd prize in Photography
  • Jessica Bell –         2nd prize in Photography
  • Zoe Morris, Caspar Duignan and John-Paul O’Riordan gained Specially Commended Certificates for their participation in the Prose Speaking Competition.

 In raising money for the less fortunate than ourselves the children did much reading for the MS Readathon; ate breakfast heartily at school for CHILDLINE; enthusiastically sold tickets for the Donkey Sanctuary in Mallow and the Laura Lynn FoundatIon. They also generously assisted with the donation of gifts for SVP.

In the New Year the children look forward to having a Bake Sale to raise funds for children in Syria. The proceeds will be donated to UNICEF.

The 9-12 children are busy getting ready for their exhibition at the RDS Science Fair. Their area of research is ‘What Way Is Up?’ (Please see their attached letter).Do come and see their display on Saturday, 13th January.

The Children’s House has been bursting with enthusiasm and hardwork by all involved.

 Thank you to the members of the Board, the Parent Support Group, Class Parents and last but not least the Staff, the parent community and the children.

 I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a New Year 2014 with many dreams coming true.

 Fond regards

 

Micaela Kuh

 

LETTER FROM CAROLE FORDE,  AMI MINNESOTA

“As part of my AMI elementary Montessori teacher training, I had the pleasure of observing the senior class in the Children’s House for two weeks in November. As my background is not in primary education, but third level education (law lecturer in the Netherlands), it was especially inspiring for me to see AMI Montessori primary education in action and notice the similarities with the guidance of students in third level education! Independent thinking, curiosity, debate and a variety of approaches to suit all!

 I saw the children explore such a wealth of subject areas in a great variety of ways, in only two weeks, through projects, giving each other lessons, recitals, debates, creative writing, group lessons, working with Montessori materials and lots of abstract work, to mention a few. The children have freedom to choose their work, while still respecting the responsibility they have to complete certain necessary work within a certain time frame, and this is a delicate balancing act that had me scribbling lots of notes for future reference in my role as a Montessori teacher.

 One of the most remarkable things I brought away with me, however, went beyond the academic lessons the children learn and pursue. It was clear from the first moment in the classroom that there is great respect, appreciation and love for each and every child. Each child is valued, and feels valued, in the community; each child learns how s/he can contribute to the greater good in the way most suited to his/her talents. I noticed that the children were not handed answers to their questions, poured full with knowledge, but they were encouraged to look for answers, to discuss and debate their answers and ideas, and to learn to work in harmony as a group of individuals, all with different strengths and interests. It was heart-warming for me to see the balanced response that each and every child received at all times from their compassionate and strong guide. To have the opportunity to learn in such an environment is a great gift, and it is one which I will value having been part of, even for a short time.

 Although I am from Galway originally, I lived in the Netherlands for 8 years and now I live in Aruba with my husband and two children, 6 and 3 years old. At the same time I am studying with the AMI in St. Paul, Minnesota in the USA to be an elementary Montessori guide. I will start an AMI Montessori elementary programme in August 2014 in Aruba and you can be sure that the Children’s House will be an inspiration for me in this adventure! Thank you!” 

  

FROM THE CHILDREN’S HOUSE TO SECONDARY SCHOOL: DOES IT WORK?

 By KRYSIA LYNCH

One of the most frequently made comments to me when my child was about 9 and in the senior class ran something like this: ‘Well that Montessori approach sounds great, but it will all be so different at secondary level that children in that small environment would find it very hard to adapt to secondary school’, the implied comment being that it would be better to take children out of the Montessori environment and put them into a national classroom setting to acclimatise. In fact some people went so far as to suggest that I do that for my child’s sake!

Well I am glad I didn’t listen to any of that, because having graduated from the Children’s House aged 12 last summer, my son went on to St Andrews in September, and after a couple of weeks it was as though he had never been anywhere else. He slotted straight into wearing a uniform, into being at school at 8.30am, into being in a classroom environment and into sharing his school with some 900 other children.

He went to secondary school not knowing anyone else going, but by half term had a firm circle of friends. I put that down to the lessons of self confidence and self esteem he learned at The Children’s House, but how would he fit in academically? After all the way they study maths in the Children’s House is very different to just using pen and paper isn’t it? And how will they fit in with their Irish?

Well the proof as they say is in the pudding. I’ve just got the results of his first year exams and I can assure you that children who walk into secondary school from the Children s House have no trouble adapting academically. Naoise pulled a rake of A’s out of the bag notably in Maths and Irish amongst other subjects. I am so happy that Naoise had the full benefit of spending his early school days in the Children’s House, it hasn’t hindered him in secondary school at all, infact if anything it has been a major asset!

If The Children’s House feels like the right place for your child right now then it probably is. Tomorrow will take care of itself!

 

 LETTER FROM THE CHILDREN OF THE SENIOR CLASS

Dear Parents,

If you are going away anywhere these holidays could you please take a photo of your child pointing ‘UP’ as we are doing the RDS Science Fair. Our project is ‘What Way Is Up’.

Please email us the photo or bring in a copy after the holidays.

Thank you

From the 9-12 class