Steiner Schools in Ireland

Irish Steiner/Waldorf Schools are part of a global education movement. There are currently over 1,000 Steiner/Waldorf Schools and 1,600 Kindergartens in 60 countries worldwide.The principles that are fundamental to Steiner/Waldorf Education are accessible to, and are able to be adapted to, the needs of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions. Curriculum content allows for the exploration of a wide variety of cultural traditions and world views.

There are currently five Steiner Primary schools in Ireland, two of which are independent and three of which are under the patronage of Lifeways Ireland. There are also 13 pre-school kindergartens under the jurisdiction of ISKA (The Irish Steiner Kindergarten Association) the head office of which is in Mountshannon, Co. Clare

The four other primary schools are Mol an Oige school, in Ennistymon, Co Clare; Raheen Wood Steiner School, in east Clare; the Kildare Steiner Waldorf School in Gormanstown; and Kilkenny Steiner School.

Additional Background

Ireland has a long tradition of independent Steiner schooling starting in 1987 with the establishment of Raheenwood Steiner School (formerly Cooleenbridge School) and Kildare Steiner School (formerly the Dublin Rudolf Steiner School) and developing with the opening of Kilkenny Steiner School in 1995. The introduction of Steiner schools into the State Education system is however, quite recent, and dates back to 2005 when a group of parents established Mol an Oige Steiner National School, a school which was granted provisional recognition by the DES in 2008 (along with Raheenwoods which moved from a private to a state school in the same year), under the patronage of Lifeways Ireland. In 2013, Mol an Oige achieved full recognition and the same year a group of Galway parents, submitted an application to the DES for a Steiner National School in Galway (a school which was in in responses to an identified need by the DES for new non-denominational National schools in the area). In September, 2015 this school opened its doors thereby becoming the first Steiner National School to open with full State recognition and funding.

What is a Steiner National School?

Steiner National Schools deliver the Irish curriculum in accordance with the core principles of internationally recognized Steiner pedagogy. They employ State trained teachers with Steiner training and they are committed to the teaching of the Irish language, as well as to exposing their students to other languages and cultures. The schools take an approach to education that focuses on the developmental needs of the child and that places human relationships at the heart of the work with children.

Recent Academic Research on Steiner Schools in Ireland:

Pearse O’Shiel a & Sean O’Flynn, ‘Education as an art: An appraisal of Waldorf education’ Irish Educational Studies, 17, 1, (1998), 337-352

Ken Wylie and Martin Hagan, ‘Steiner for the 21st century: The application of Waldorf principles to mainstream practice’, Education 3-13, International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years, 26, 1, (1998), 153-164.

Julie Wells and Clifford Skoog, ‘Research into Young People’s Experience of The ALFA Project: a summary’, Irish Educational Studies, 22, 1, (2003).

Ken Wylie and Martin Hagan, ‘Steiner for the 21st century: The application of Waldorf principles to mainstream practice’, Education 3-13, International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years, 26, 1, (1998), 153-164.

Jonathan Angus, ‘Steiner Waldorf Education and the Irish Primary Curriculum: A Time of Opportunity’ MA Thesis, IT Sligo, Sligo.

Doireann O’Connor and Jonathan Angus, ‘Give Them Time – An analysis of school readiness in Ireland’s early education system: a Steiner Waldorf Perspective’, Irish Educational Studies (2012), 1-110.

Advertisements