On September 9th 1919, 15 children, between the ages of four and nine years, walked up the steps into No. 63 Grosvenor Road. Rathgar Junior School was now officially launched under the leadership of a young teacher named Isabel Douglas.
The school now occupies two houses, 62 and 63 Grosvenor Road, and 160 children attend each day. The school is a member of the Association of Independent Junior Schools and is managed by the Principal, supported by a committee made up of members of the Religious Society of Friends and parents.
Rathgar Junior School believes that at its heart lie the children: they breathe life into the building every day. The staff strive to create an atmosphere of love and caring, where school is a happy experience for the children and where the basic principles of respect, honesty, forgiveness, and consideration for others and their property are central. It is a community where children’s physical and intellectual powers are developed, giving them a desire for knowledge through arousing their interest and helping them find pleasure in work itself.
The school curriculum is carefully planned, based on the National Curriculum. Lessons in Kindergarten lay the foundations of reading, spelling, writing and mathematics. These subjects gradually develop so that all children have a good grounding from which to progress to second level education. Other subjects in the curriculum include : Social Environmental and Scientific Studies, Irish, Music, Art and Handwork, French, Current Affairs and P.E. Religious education is of a non-denominational nature, though the ethos of the school follows Quaker principles.
Rathgar Junior School recently achieved its fifth Green Flag as part of its ongoing commitment to environmental awareness. Pupils play hockey twice every week in the first two terms at Three Rock Rovers pitches. Summer Games consist of athletics, rounders, cricket and tennis. Swimming is enjoyed by our younger pupils every week throughout the year in the Swan Leisure Centre.
Interactive whiteboards are used in all classes, enabling the teachers to enhance their lessons and maximise the potential of a huge range of resources and a variety of learning methods. Class sizes are normally limited to 23 pupils, allowing the teacher to give individual attention to each child. Close links with parents are valued and encouraged, with parent-teacher meetings held in both the Autumn and Spring terms.
The development of the whole child is seen as central. Therefore, in addition to the formal curriculum, the children are afforded a number of other opportunities and learning experiences involving the wider community. Outings to a wide range of locations take place – the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the Islamic Cultural Centre, the Irish Jewish Museum, the National Gallery, Leinster House, Dublin Zoo, Imaginosity, the Croke Park Museum, Kilmainham Gaol and Carlingford Adventure Centre. Nature walks are undertaken to Bushy Park and Belgrave Square. Teddy Bears are taken on picnics, Maidin na Gaeilge is celebrated each March, Music Day is enjoyed in May, and an Art and Handwork Exhibition is presented every June. But the highlight of the year are the Class Plays, performed each Christmas for the whole school, parents and friends – this is the happiest and most rewarding period of the school year, where children grow in confidence and also have great fun!
The school has long-established links with a number of charities working at home and abroad. Various events are held each year to support Christian Aid, Team Hope, DSPCA, Child Fund Ireland, Peruvian Orphanages, the Irish Cancer Society, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Down Syndrome Ireland, the Rathmines Women’s Refuge and Operation Smile.
Rathgar Junior School is a place where our children’s strengths and limitations are recognised, and where we strive to support each child and encourage them, always.