A group of parents from Boyle and the surrounding area are proving that energy, enthusiasm and hard work can make a dream come true.
This diverse group have come together with a shared wish to give their young children the opportunity to enjoy their early years without the pressures of academic achievement and protected from the stresses of our frenzied media driven world. All parents of young children themselves, they wanted to find a space where their children could grow, learn and make friends in a nurturing and unhurried environment.
Unable to find what they were looking for they decided to take matters into their own hands and set off on a journey to create the first Waldorf Steiner based Kindergarten in Co. Roscommon.
Based on the thinking of the famous philosophical thinker Rudolf Steiner, Steiner schools have a unique and distinctive approach to educating children, aiming to enable each stage of growth to be fully and vividly enjoyed and experienced.
Steiner early education, centres around rhythm, creativity and play. During the kindergarten years children are physically forming and live very much in their imagination. This great capacity to enter into imaginative pictures and stories is a good place to begin the process of learning. Free, creative play is considered the best preparation for self-realising adult life.
Steiner schools now form the largest and fastest growing group of independent schools worldwide. There is an international group of over 800 schools and 1200 kindergartens in many countries including Australia, Britain, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, U.S.A. and Canada. Indeed Ireland now boasts kindergartens, primary schools and even secondary schools.
Setting up a Kindergarten is no mean feat and the group had to call on their collective skills and experience. Luckily these were plentiful, the group includes qualified teachers, a play therapist, a health care professional as well as a drama teacher, members of a theatre company making work for children, a complementary therapist, a photographer, an accountant and a builder!
Beginning as a weekly parent and toddler group things soon began to grow. Other interested parents joined, plans were formed and a name was picked as one of the parents, Sheila McCarthy, describes.
“Deciding on a name was a very important part of the process. We wanted something to reflect the general ethos of Steiner education and what our Kindergarten represents. With a major emphasis on development of the whole child and incorporation of the head, heart and hands, the name Croí Na nÓg felt right. The heart is the centre of everything and Croi Na NÓg means the heart of youth”.
Finding a place to house the Kindergarten was one of the first hurdles the group had to cross. After many adventurous outings and disappointing meetings they finally found the perfect space and a business partner to boot.
The group teamed up with local business woman Teresa Singleton who is providing the purpose built preschool building where the Kindergarten will be held. The beautiful, warm and welcoming wooden building provides exactly the right atmosphere for the kindergarten. This is a home from home where young children can feel nurtured and safe in the rhythms of the day, the week and the year.
Outside is a garden which is being lovingly developed by the parents and children. This will be a place with limitless potential for imaginary play. Outdoor play is a very important part of Kindergarten life Finding the right teacher has been a very important focus for the group. Having searched nationally and internationally for a teacher that would bring not only steiner expertise but very importantly maintain a warm homely atmosphere that welcomes both children and parents alike. Like so many quests in life the answer was right in front of them. Rebecca Wynne a local mother and trained early years teacher with a special interest in Steiner education has proved to have all the right attributes to become the new lead teacher at Croí Na NÓg.
The Kindergarten will open it’s doors in September, and places are filling up fast. The weekly toddler group runs every Wednesday from 9.30 until 12.30. Many of the children who will join the Kindergarten in September are attending the toddler group which will make their transition all the easier.
In September the toddler group will be held in an adjoining house where there will also be a parents room which will open daily.
Parents and families are an important and valued part of Kindergarten life and they are encouraged to get involved, helping in what ever way they can. weather that is helping to organize family days around the seasonal festivals, bringing food to share on festival days or lending an occasional hand in the garden
The group started out with a dream for their own children but that dream has grown beyond themselves and now they are well on the way to creating a wonderful place for young children and their families which is an affordable and accessible option for everyone in their community.
If you would like further information on Croí Na NÓg Steiner Kindergarten call 071 9664917.
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