Hedge Schools Beyond the Shrubbery – Episode 4 – Hands on Montessori


This episode concentrates on the child-centred Montessori method developed by Dr. Maria Montessori over one hundred years ago. The Montessori system is well established as a pre-school option in Ireland but not so much for full primary and not at all for secondary education. Our exploration with Michael O’Connor and Michael Flanagan, retired lecturers from St Nicholas Montessori College, will offer a greater understanding of the self-directed, hands-on learning and collaborative play that the Montessori method offers, while imagining how it might have fitted into the Hedge School environment.

Former primary teacher, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal with wide academic interests, Dr Michael Flanagan is a lecturer in St Nicholas Montessori Teacher Training College and has contributed to a range of publications across a broad field of educational and history/popular cultural issues. His Ph.D. thesis from TU Dublin, is titled True Sons of Erin: Catholic/Nationalist Ideology and the Politics of Adventure in Irish Popular Culture, 1914-32. He also holds an MA in Leadership and Pastoral Care from DCU, an MA in History from DCU, and a B. Ed. from St. Patrick’s College.


Michael O’Connor is a retired lecturer in St Nicholas Montessori Teacher Training College. Michael’s areas of expertise are Curriculum Development and Assessment, Montessori Pedagogy, Student Placement, Children’s Literature and Poetry. He has been a member of the QQI validating panel for Higher Diploma in Drama Education at Griffith College, and External Examiner for BA (Hons) in Montessori Education at Cork Institute of Technology. He holds a BA (Hons), H Dip in Ed, a B.Ed. and a Masters in Education from the Open University.


Series devised and produced by Berni Dwan with additional production support from Declan McGlade. Made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.