Press Release

Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Children, today (Saturday 21 February 2003) opened the Annual Conference of St. Nicholas Montessori Teachers’ Association held in the Great Southern Hotel, Dublin Airport.

The conference was organised by St Nicholas Montessori Teachers Association and focused on the theme of “Montessori – Hope for the Future”. Keynote Speakers included Ms Síghle Fitzgerald, founder of the St Nicholas, Montessori Teachers Association of Ireland and Principal of St Nicholas School until her retirement in 1989, Mr Christy Kenneally, broadcaster, poet and author of many books, Mr Joe Murray with his discussion on “Cosmic Education: Walking in this world” and Mr Don Campbell who will present his views on the place of music in the modern world as a resource for growth development health and celebration,

Minister Lenihan praised the commitment of the Association in supporting the development of early childhood education in Ireland.

Minister Lenihan said that “the Montessori method recognises the importance of the childhood years with the extraordinary pace of development and learning capacity of children. The opportunities early education provides for the child’s development with benefits for childhood and adult life”.

The Minister also referred to the ‘Government’s commitment to the development of childcare with €437M being provided through the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme of the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform for this purpose’.

The Minister also told the conference of the Governments commitment to the development of Early Childhood Education with the establishment of the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education in 2001 which will “develop a quality framework in relation to the wide issues affecting early childhood education”.