Central to our Educate Together philosophy is a child-centred approach that is facilitated by a close co-operative relationship between teachers and parents. We work towards fostering each child in a democratic spirit. In this way, we aim to enable the children to live by and to respect the basic ideas of democracy: power-sharing and freedom of speech.
Our school community emphasises individual and collective responsibility for the children’s education, for the financial and practical support of the school, for discipline, for communication, and for the ongoing development of the school.
The Board of Management and Executive Committee operate in a representative manner. There is an obligation on the Board to involve both parents and teachers in building an educational community where the children benefit from the full use of both resources.
The work of our school committees is undertaken in a democratic fashion. Because of our Educate Together commitment to inclusiveness and equality, every effort is made to arrive at decisions by consensus. Only if consensus fails is majority voting employed. We strive to ensure that all committee decisions or proposals, whether arrived at by consensus or majority vote, are in harmony with our ethos.
Positive illustrations of democratic practice
- Through all classes, the children are taught to express their own views and to value their right to do so. Each child is also helped to accept the right to diversity of opinions.
- Children get to practice how to meet and resolve conflicts with teacher(s) and/or with other pupils. When appropriate, experiences of conflicts and differences of opinion are used as opportunities for debate and learning.
- Rather than being authority figures, our teachers aim to be mentors or guides to the children, encouraging learning through discussion and participation.
- Our school encourages parents to be involved in assisting in the classroom and in yard supervision – in this, there is an ongoing commitment to actively sharing responsibility for the children’s development.
- We emphasise individual and collective responsibility for discipline. We encourage all members of our community to behave with respect for each other. Day-to-day responsibility for discipline rests with the staff. As well as reinforcing positive behaviour, there are a series of graded sanctions, which are used as consequences for misbehaviour and to help promote selfdiscipline – these sanctions are displayed on each classroom wall. Our teachers explain to the children why they should act in a desired way and the children are given opportunities to explain their actions.
- Our whole school body, including the children, were involved in writing our school’s discipline policy. The policy is due to be reviewed, again with the input of all.