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 fundamental to Steiner/Waldorf Education are accessible and adaptable 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 six Steiner Primary schools in Ireland, three of which are independent and three of which are under the patronage of the Education and Training Board. 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 five other primary schools are Mol an Oige Community National School in Ennistymon (Co Clare), Raheen Wood Community National School in east Clare, The Kildare Steiner School in Gormanstown, Kilkenny Steiner School and Dublin Steiner School.

Additional Background

Ireland has a long tradition of independent Steiner schooling starting in 1987 with the establishment of Raheen Wood 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 responses to an identified need by the DES for new non-denominational National schools in the area). In September, 2015 our school opened its doors (as Galway National Steiner School) thereby becoming the first Steiner National School to open with full State recognition and funding.

In 2019 the three national schools transferred to the patronage of their local Education and Training Boards, becoming Community National Schools. The Limerick & Clare Education and Training Board took patronage of Mol an Oige and Raheen Wood. Our Galways Steiner school came under the patronage of the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board and became Cuan na Gaillimhe Community National School - A Steiner Education.

Lifeways Ireland continues to support Steiner education in Ireland through Continuing Professional Development courses for teachers.

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.

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A Steiner Education

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