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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

Deep-Dive Into Some Irish School Activities, Culture, And Curriculum

Updated: May 13

5 Parents Shared A Deep-Dive Into Their School In These Themes

Welcome to our series exploring the Irish education system through our personal journey to find the right school for our son. Based on our conversations with 24 families, each post dives into a different aspect of choosing a primary or secondary school.

Uniformed school kids happy and running.
Uniformed school kids happy and running.

Deep-dive into the school activities, culture, and curriculum

5/24 parents shared a deep-dive into their school. Here are the themes:

Curricular Approach: 2/5 parents mentioned educational philosophies such as Montessori or the IB. Parents contrasted the International Baccalaureate (IB) board with the Irish National Curriculum. Some parents praised the IB's consistency and inquiry-based learning and were concerned about the lack of new learning opportunities in more traditional setups.

  • "We chose a Montessori school because we believe it encourages independence and a love of learning in a way that traditional schools might not."

  • "The IB curriculum is consistent across countries, making it ideal if you might move. It focuses on inquiry-based learning."

One parent felt the school was like a "glorified creche," in junior/senior infants. This suggested dissatisfaction with the social and learning dynamics.

  • "We're concerned that the traditional methods don't offer enough stimulation or challenge for our child who is eager to learn more actively."

  • "We felt the school was just functioning as daycare, lacking serious academic engagement."

School Culture and Community: 3/5 parents emphasized the importance of a school's community vibe and cultural values. This included inclusiveness and the promotion of values like kindness and responsibility.

  • "People tend to have the same friends from childhood into adulthood."

  • "Cultural pillars - kindness, responsibility, respect, include all, try your best, community."

Religious Education: 4/5 parents showed concern about the presence and intensity of religious education within the school curriculum.

  • "Religious studies are minimal, with only one homework assignment related to religion at Christmas and a visit from a priest for an ethics lesson."

  • "Kid2 is doing his communion. The kids do trips to church to prepare for it."

  • "Our family appreciated the minimal focus on religion in the curriculum, aligning with our secular beliefs."

  • "We were looking for a school that had a balanced approach to religious education, not too intense yet present."

  • "It’s important that the religious education is not overpowering but rather woven into broader ethical discussions."

Some schools have minimal religious studies, and others involve more frequent church visits and religious homework.

Extracurricular Activities: 2/5 parents noted the availability and nature of extracurricular activities. They discussed the importance of providing comprehensive development opportunities beyond the standard curriculum.

  • "Their daughter finishes school at 2:30, giving her plenty of time for extracurricular activities."

  • "Having extracurricular activities integrated within the school schedule is a huge convenience and boosts overall student engagement."

Some parents opted for activities outside the school system to gain more focused learning experiences.

  • "They prefer extracurricular activities outside the school curriculum because they offer more focused learning."

Infrastructure: 2/5 parents highlighted the significance of the school's infrastructure and physical environment, including classroom size and specialized facilities, in enhancing the learning experience.

  • "At Nord, the infrastructure and curriculum are excellent, with many opportunities for right-brain activities like theater shows. Nord has specialized rooms for older students and ties with prestigious institutions for extracurricular activities. We were impressed by the spacious, airy classrooms that seem to stimulate a better learning experience."

What would you like to know?

Based on topics we did not cover, is there something you wish you could ask parents?

Let us know if we can help in any way.

The 12 Articles in this series


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