Mr. Denis Harvey-Kelly established the Glebe Junior Montessori School in 1978 as a small private school. In 1979 Ms. Bernadette Burns was asked to take on the school and establish it as a Montessori school.
Until 1985 the school was accommodated in a studio attached to Mr. & Mrs. Harvey-Kelly’s home, The Old Glebe, Newcastle, County Dublin. Because Mr. Harvey-Kelly wished to sell the house and the school enrolment had outgrown the accommodation, having increased from 7 in 1979 to 23 in 1985, the school moved to the West Wing of Castletown House.
This was the most unusual location imaginable for a school, not at all the most ideal, yet the children loved it. In time the Castletown Trust required the rooms and we had to move again. Despite intensive searching for suitable premises, none could be found and regretfully Ms Burns decided she must close the school. However, the parents came together and requested that she continue to seek suitable premises. The Castletown Trust agreed to accommodate the school for one more term, so we re-opened in September 1987. Desmond Guinness’ grandson, Patrick, was enrolled for that September and in October his mother, Marina, told Ms Burns that The Poplars was available. We moved into The Poplars in November 1987 with 40 children and remained there until June 1996 when the building was completely destroyed by fire.
Due to the extraordinary commitment of Ms Burns and the parents the school re-opened in September 1996 in Barnhall, its present location. The school could not have survived over the years without the help, goodwill, and hard work of many people. In 1996 The Glebe Junior Montessori School Trust Ltd was set up to ensure the continuation of the school as a Montessori School up to the age of twelve(12). The Glebe is one of only four schools that run up to 12 years old.
What is Montessori teaching all about?
The Montessori method of education was pioneered by Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor who wsa one of the first women to graduate in medicine in Rome around 100 years ago. Through her work with young children she devised special educational materials which were wonderfully successful in developing the children’s intelligence as well as their physical and social abilities. Her philosophy and method have been recognized and proven world-wide for over ninety years.
The Montessori classroom is known as the Prepared Environment and contains all the educational materials for the growth and development of every child. Each classroom has children of mixed ages and abilities, forming a microcosm of the wider community where each child can feel a part of a large group while still being able to act as an individual.
The Prepared Environment – The Montessori Learning Environment:
The furniture in the classroom is the right size for the students. The materials match the development capabilities, interests, and needs of the children enroled in each class. The materials allow for multiple methods of learning and discovery, offering a wide range of intellectual challenges.
Learning activities in the Montessori environment involve inquiry, discovery, multiple perspectives, and differing viewpoints providing continuous feedback on progress. (Focusing on children’s learning, not on teachers’ teaching.) Generally students will work individually or in small, self-contained groups with teacher supervision.
The Management of the School
In 1996 the Glebe Junior Montessori School Trust Ltd was set up to ensure the contiuation of the school. The trust is registered charity (CHY 12774). In 2009/10 it consists of 5 parents and the Principal who are involved on a voluntary basis to help with the management of the school in terms of book-keeping, fee tracking, salary payments, site negotiations, school maintenance, staffing and recruiting new students.
The Principal, who as well as being the principal is also a teacher to the school is also responsible specifically for ensuring that the Montessori methods and ethos is maintained in the daily teaching of the puplils. The principal manages any other issues which may arise from teachers, parents and pupils alike.