The Role of Staff
Students’ freedom to organise their time as they wish is a central idea of the Sudbury model, and so it is quite natural that questions should arise regarding the nature of the work that staff do – if staff are not focusing their efforts on encouraging students to learn a curriculum, what are they actually doing? A useful perspective to adopt when considering the role of staff is to consider the idea of the student in the educational environment. The central idea of the Sudbury model, on which our school is based, is that given the right environment, every child has the innate ability to flourish and learn to become effective adults. Therefore, staff focus their efforts on the environment rather than teaching methods.
Thus the role of our staff includes:
- Establishing the culture of the school and ensuring the freedom, equality and respect of each student. It also means creating and grounding the culture of the meetings and committees.
- Creating a safe and secure environment. These are essential ingredients to a pleasant climate which fosters the children’s natural curiosity and learning.
- Ensuring the school’s philosophy is maintained, allowing each person to enjoy their full freedom of educational opportunity, regardless of age.
- Taking care of the often quite complex day to day administrative needs of a self-managed autonomous school.
- Taking care of jobs and roles which no student is interested in engaging with or competent enough to complete.
- Being available to share their experience and knowledge with students.
- Helping students with the implementation of projects if required.
Our Staff members
Ciara is an artist, blogger and parent of four children. She is a community activist who is passionate about finding solutions to today’s problems, both human and environmental, and believes that rebuilding community, and fostering compassionate communication are a powerful starting point for doing this. She is a co-founding member of Common Ground Bray, Wicklow Hedge School, and Bray Co-housing Forum.
Ciara believes today’s school system of one-size-fits-all does not fit all, and her frustration at this has lead her to co-create something to challenge this, and find Another Way.
Sonja Luescher Keogh
Sonja , originally from Switzerland, has been living in Ireland for the past 14 years. Up until last year she was a baker and market vendor at her own small bakery business. Even though her two sons (12 & 8) are having a good experience in their Educate Together Primary School, Sonja believes children are well capable to design and follow their own learning path. For this to happen, flexibility in learning methods and space for children’s ideas are essential.
Richard is an artist, a cook and a teacher, Richard has a Master of Arts in Education from New York University and taught both secondary and primary school in New York City. He is the parent of two teenagers and would like to see an alternative to the present model of education. This is something that Richard has been passionate about since graduate school. When he taught in New York City he was known for bringing fresh approaches to teaching into the classroom.
Originally from Cork, Aaron is a council member of the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) and a former Summerhill school teacher. While carrying out undergraduate applied psychology research on initiative development (the ability to set goals and work towards them over time), Aaron observed an ownership deficit in terms of students’ learning – students did not feel in charge of their learning. This sparked within him an interest in the field of education and after becoming qualified as an English and Mathematics teacher took up a post at Summerhill, the world’s oldest and most famous democratic school. It was here that Aaron developed his philosophy of student-centered education which lead him to the Sudbury Model. In August 2015 he became part of the L’École Dynamique team which established France’s first Sudbury School. He then worked to co-found the Sudbury School Paris, Europe’s first bilingual Sudbury School. He is honoured to become part of the Wicklow Sudbury School community and is excited to become part of this new chapter in the history of Irish education.
Bernard completed an undergraduate degree in Journalism in Griffith College and recently completed a Masters in Equality Studies from UCD. He has worked in a public school in Spain as a teacher’s assistant and is the arts program coordinator for Clare Language Center, running activities like graffiti, video editing and comic making with young people from mainland Europe during the Summer. He is interested in social justice issues and creating a fairer, more democratic and caring society.
Elizabeth has completed a Masters in Equality Studies in UCD which followed an undergraduate degree in Film and Broadcasting with Irish in DIT. Her main interests are social justice, equality, the media, film and documentary making, growing her own food, reading, drawing, films and superheroes. She is passionate about creating new, more equal and sustainable ways of doing things and is excited to be a member of the school community.