Ray Montessori School

Ray, Falcarragh, Co Donegal

Proprietor: Mary Harkin


Ray Montessori School is a purpose built pre-school to meet all the physical, social and emotional, cognitive, developmental and well being needs of all the children in our care. Ray Montessori School uses the Montessori Method of teaching in conjunction with aims, goals and principles of "Aistear" and "Siolta".

The Montessori Method

Dr Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori

The Montessori method of education is based on the fact that children pass through phases that, at certain stages throughout their development, they have sensitivity to learning. If any phase during the child’s development is hindered or missed, it will have an adverse effect on them. For example, a child’s sensitivity to language begins around 3 months and lasts up to about 5 ½ years. By the age of six the child will have acquired a large vocabulary, from almost no direct teaching. If a child has not been exposed to language regularly during this period it will greatly affect the child going forward. At Ray Montessori School we recognise every child’s hunger to learn and through the principles of Montessori by way of active participation, this is achieved. The teacher is there to direct and to encourage the child never. She offers direction to them when needed, allowing them the freedom within a safe, prepared environment to learn, develop and grow. She starts by being active by presenting activities to the child and then gradually becomes passive as the child becomes more active in their learning.

At Ray Montessori School we offer a structured programme in an open classroom environment, giving individualised education to each child. Each child will receive one-to-one tuition which will direct them through the Montessori materials over a one or two year programme. Our low teacher/child ratios ensure each child’s development is closely monitored and each child receives individual attention and learning.

The school will fully satisfy the requirements of your child’s absorbent mind, his sensitive periods and his three stage learning process. The classroom is non-competitive; your child will choose his own work and will do it at his own pace. Our teaching is child led and whilst having defined structures to ensure a safe environment, the classroom will allow flexibility and will be open to encourage full development of the child. Our classrooms offer a safe, structured environment within which the child is free to do and learn at their own pace.

Dr Montessori Quote

The Montessori environment fully satisfies the requirements of a child’s developmental stages. They will explore the world through their senses and own activity. They will develop a love of learning. The materials, equipment and activities used here act as a key to open the doors to umlimited exploration for the child. They:

  • Provide necessary order and structure
  • Help motor co-ordination
  • Pelp perceptual functioning – perception of space, form, shape, size, texture, colour and other dimentions.
  • Invite and hold interest and attention, therefore developing concenration skills.
  • Develop social skills
  • Help language reception i.e listening and reading skills and language expression i.e. speaking and writing skills
  • Develop self-control and self-discipline.
  • Provide opportunities for play, exploration and investigation.

Montessori materials contain an in-built “control of error” which allows the child to discover and correct their own mistakes leading to independece and promoting self-esteme of the children.

The Aistear Framework

Aistear Logo


Aistear is the early childhood curriculum framework for children from birth up to the age of six years. Early childhood marks the beginning of children’s lifelong learning journeys. Irelands early childhood curriculum framework is called Aistear (Irish word for journey).

Aistear outlines the types of learning that are important for children during early childhood and provides practical ideas and suggestions as to how this learning may be nurtured. The Curriculum framework also provides guidelines on supporting children’s learning through play, interactions, assessment and partnerships with parents.

Themes of the "Aistear Framework"

  • Well-being
  • Identity and Belonging
  • Communicating
  • Exploring and Thinking

Principles of the "Aistear Framework"

The principles of the Aister Framework are seperated into three headings:

  • Childern and their lives in early childhood,
  • Children’s connections with others,
  • Children learn and develop.

Below is a short video outlining the Aistear Framework