Here at Esker Educate Together National School, we currently have fifteen classes - from Junior Infants to sixth class. We have over twenty teachers teaching almost four hundred children.
The curriculum of Esker Educate Together School, like that of all Primary Schools in the Republic of Ireland, is laid down by the Department of Education and Science.
Esker Educate Together School aims to create a warm and stimulating environment so that each child may work towards realising his/her highest potential. Parents, children and teachers are on first name terms, which creates a relaxed and informal atmosphere for everyone. In co-operation with parents, the school will work to instil feelings of self-confidence, self-awareness and self-respect in the children.
Within the parameters of the Primary School Curriculum, the objectives are as follows:
- The achievement of academic excellence for each child according to his/her individual potential.
- The promotion of cultural enrichment.
- There are 12 subjects in the curriculum that are taught at every level in the school. All subjects are taught in this school.
As with all state primary schools, the following subjects are studied at all class levels: English, Irish, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Physical Education (PE), Visual Arts, Music, Drama and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). Copies of the Primary School Curriculum are available at www.ncca.ie and public libraries.
In addition, children also study Ethical Education, which is in line with our multidenominational ethos. Further details about the Ethical Curriculum followed by the school can be found on the Educate Together website.
The Ethical Education Curriculum
In an Educate Together school, the daily period of time set aside for the patron’s religious education programme is used to deliver our Ethical Education Curriculum. This programme is called the Learn Together curriculum and is published by Educate Together. It is subject to review and development by the Education Committee and decisions at Annual General Meetings of the organisation. A copy of the curriculum is available from the school or from Educate Together.
The programme is divided into four strands ‘Moral and Spiritual Development’, ‘Justice and Equality’,‘Belief Systems’ and ‘Ethics and the Environment’. The curriculum specifically addresses the Educate Together ethos and it is here that the values that the school seeks to model in its ‘characteristic spirit’ are articulated and explained in greater depth.
In the strand called ‘Belief Systems’, the programme explains and explores the major belief systems in the world in an educational manner, teaching children about these faiths and beliefs without endorsing any particular one as religious truth. During the year, an Educate Together school may mark - in an age appropriate way - festivals such as Chinese New Year, Easter, Bealtaine, Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali), Harvest Festivals, Samhain (Halloween), Ramadan and Eid, Hannuka and Christmas. The programme allows the school to explore the similarities and differences with the older celebrations that underlie many of these festivals. Examples would be the Celtic festivals and practices that underpin Easter or the solstice festivals that occur around Christmas.
It is normal that the treatment of these events becomes integrated into the whole school programme, involving drama, art, music, history and geography and also in many cases, parental and community participation. This may mean exploring wider cultural themes such as cuisine and family celebrations.
The educational aim of this work is to model positive information about world faiths in a respectful atmosphere which highlights rights and responsibilities.
In addition to offering the ethical education programme, the Board of Management of Esker Educate Together enable any group of parents who wish to use the facilities of the school outside school hours, to organise specific doctrinal instruction classes.