The 8th November 2013 saw a wonderful occasion in Dún Laoghaire as 189 Saint Nicholas Montessori College Ireland students graduated, with Level 7 and Level 8 degrees in Montessori Education. These awards are designed to equip graduates with the skills required to work in Montessori schools, as well as in a variety of special needs settings.
Mr Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive Officer, Barnardos Ireland addressed the graduates stressing the importance of their role in the wider education system. Reflecting on his own personal experience, he noted the uniqueness of Montessori Education and its inclusive approach to children. He also noted that the Government was recognising the importance of early childhood education, and while spending was increasing, it has quite some distance to go, in order to reach the OECD average.
The Director of SNMCI, Ian McKenna, congratulated the graduates on their achievement and urged them to recognise the responsibility which came with their chosen career. He said:
“You are now imparters of knowledge – you will now be sharing your knowledge with children who will look at you as one of their role models. It has been said that children may forget the sums or the spellings, but they will not forget their experience with the teacher. I hope that you leave Saint Nicholas Montessori College inspired to do right by reference to the child.”
He also spoke about the strengths of the college itself, noting that in the past two years, it has substantially strengthened its own capacity, which was critical for its future strategic development. He continued:
“I want Saint Nicholas Montessori College to be synonymous with all that is good about Montessori and early childhood education. Its staff, its programmes and its graduates should be exemplars of best practice.”
In addition to the presentation of parchments, the following awards were made to individual students:
- Academic achievement in Bachelor of Arts in Montessori Education: Ms Christina Devereux
- Academic achievement in Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Montessori Education: Ms Alicia Farrell
- Academic achievement in Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Montessori Education: Ms Kathleen Nolan
- Séan Griffin Award for contribution to learning environment in the SNMCI: Ms Wendy Tully
The ceremony was also attended by local representatives, including Deputy Mary Mitchell O’ Connor, T.D. and Councillor Jane Dillon-Byrne, who was representing the Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.