Read the Wicklow Educate Together NS Ethos Self-evaluation 2010 – 2011

Wicklow Educate Together National School is run under the patronage of Educate Together, which supports our activities, makes representations to the Department of Education and Skills on behalf of our school, and ensures that the characteristic spirit and ethos of the school is maintained.

Our school is run according to the four principles of Educate Together: Equality based, Co-educational, Child-centred and Democratically Run.

Equality based

All children have equal rights of access to the school. Children are enrolled on a ‘first come-first served’ basis. Children from all social, ethnic and cultural groups, and of all religions and of non-religious backgrounds are welcome and equally respected in the school.


The school offers a child-centred education in which the teacher facilitates and guides the child’s learning through both formal and informal methods while encouraging the child to be an active participant in his/her own learning. Each child is encouraged to learn at her/his pace and individual learning needs are met in so far as class size allows. Interaction between the teacher, child and parent is actively encouraged.

Democratically run

The school is run by the Board of Management and parents are encouraged to participate on the Board, Parent Teacher Association, and in other voluntary activities in the school. Members of the school community are invited to participate in consultation and feedback processes.

The Learn Together Curriculum

The Spiritual, Ethical curriculum supports and implements the guiding principles and ethos of the school by covering a wide range of religious, moral, social and ethical issues, with no specific emphasis in any one religion.

The knowledge and attitudes which the children derive from either their own religious or non-religious philosophies and beliefs are a significant resource which may be drawn on during spiritual, ethical curriculum classes.

The ethical curriculum is divided into four strands:

  1. Moral and Spiritual Development
  2. Equality and Justice Issues
  3. Belief Systems
  4. Ethics and the Environment

The Learn Together Curriculum is designed to be integrated into the National Curriculum, or taught in distinct classes.

Child Centered Principles of Learning

Nine Intelligences and the Human Being

Each human being has their own unique way of learning – Spiritually, Intellectually, Emotionally & Physically. Leading educationalists have identified nine different intelligences and Professor Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences informs our approach to the teaching of these concepts.

The nine intelligences are thought to be as follows:

  1. Linguistic – (Word Smart) – Ability to use language effectively, to express and understand meaning through listening, reading, writing and speaking.
  2. Logical Mathematical (Logic Smart) – Use numbers effectively, to reason well, sensitive to logical patterns and consider hypotheses.
  3. Spatial (Picture Smart)- Ability to think in 3-dimensional way and to produce and decode graphic information. Sensitive to shape, line, form, colour and space and the relationships between them.
  4. Bodily Kinaesthetic – (Body Smart) – Uses whole body to express ideas and feelings. Ability to use hands to transform things.
  5. Music – (Music Smart) – Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, melody and tone.
  6. Interpersonal (People Smart) – Understanding and effectively interact with others. Sensitivity to facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and gestures.
  7. Intrapersonal – (Self Smart) – Create an accurate picture of oneself. Acts on this self-knowledge in directing and planning one’s life. Self-contained focused.
  8. Naturalist – (Nature Smart) – Ability to discriminate between living things, plants, animals. Sensitive to patterns/cycles in nature.
  9. Spiritual – (Spiritual- Smart) – Solves problems of meaning in life, assess a course of action, choose a life-path, even wrestle with good and evil. Capacity to face, use and transcend pain and suffering. Reluctant to cause unnecessary harm. Inspired by visions and values and may inspire others.

While all human beings have these intelligences they may choose to manifest only a few of them during their lives. In educating the children in these intelligences we aim to inspire confidence in each one to find freedom, love and fulfilment. Now more than ever, educationalists acknowledge the perfection of the human being and the mystery of learning.

The Transmission of Knowledge

Knowledge must be transmitted in an atmosphere of love and there are six ways of presenting a subject for nurturing individual understanding.

Professor Howard Gardner identifies six entry points as follows:

  1. Narrational – Story or narrative.
  2. Logical-Quantitative – Numerical considerations or deductive reasoning.
  3. Foundational/Existential – Philosophical & terminological facets.
  4. Aesthetic approach – Sensory or surface.
  5. Experiential – Hands-on.
  6. Interpersonal/Collaborative

This is an exciting and challenging way to approach the transmission of any subject and demands creativity and many different resources. It also keeps education interesting and ever open to discoveries – the type of education due to every human being.

Six Pillars of Character – TRRFCC

We educate the children in these six pillars of character:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Respect
  3. Responsibility
  4. Fairness
  5. Caring
  6. Citizenship

Thinking Skills:

Edward De Bono’s Thinking Hats inform our approach to the teaching of thinking skills:

Thinking HatDescription
1. White Hat (Facts)Information. What are the facts?
2. Red Hat (Feelings)Feelings. What do I feel about this?
3. Black Hat (Problems)Judgement. What is wrong with this?
4. Yellow Hat (Hopes)Benefits. What are the good points?
5. Blue Hat (Boss)Thinking. What thinking is needed?
6. Green Hat (Ideas)Creativity. What new ideas are possible?