Réalta Geal: Fifteen years shining bright

Réalta Geal Montessori School in Church Hills Crescent, Coosan is celebrating 15 fantastic years in business since it first opened in 2008.

The montessori school is owned by Offaly woman Mairéad Hennessy, a native of Doon, and it has grown from two teachers and three children when it first opened its doors to seven staff members and 55 children.

Impressively, in Réalta Geal's first 18 months in operation it managed to double the number of children in its care and Mairéad says that the success of the business isn't just down to her but due to the dedication of her staff.

Mairéad's approach to Montessori education is that it's all about being led by the children and providing activities to meet the age and need of each child. She said that Réalta Geal is a “really nice place to work” and that the staff treat the children like their own.

Mairéad holds a BA in Montessori Education from Atlantic Technological University (formerly GMIT.) She completed her degree in Galway and set up Réalta Geal after working in various childcare facilities in Galway and Athlone.

Réalta Geal is a part-time service which opens from 9am to 1pm, Mondays to Fridays. It teaches the Montessori method and other early education techniques. The curriculum is based on well researched early childhood education and development theory and practice, and is founded on six key areas, personal social and emotional development, early Maths, language, creative development, physical development and understanding and appreciation of the world.

It cares for children from two and a half years of age and older and also operates the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) and the National Childcare Scheme (NCS.)

The local montessori school has three classrooms and runs a junior class that is all play-based to encourage the children mixing together and socialising. The senior class is a mixture of play-based and Montessori-based.

Children in the care of the Montessori school enjoy regular outings to the local library or the playground in Coosan and visitors often come to the school to teach them about different topics. They have previously had a dental hygienist, a farmer, an ambulance worker and a magician visit the school.

Along with Mairéad, Mary Maguire, Siobhan O'Connor, Niamh Keane, Antoinette Doolan, Monika Masternak and Shauna Reddin teach at Réalta Geal.

Réalta Geal Montessori School is located at 12 Church Hills Cresent, Coosan, Athlone. For further information call 087 652 2101 or email realtageal@gmail.com. You can also follow them on Facebook.