Réalta Draíochta | Aistear Focused Preschool & Montessori

At Réalta Draíochta Pre-school & Montessori, Ennis National School, Co. Clare, we believe that our service reflects the needs and goals of the individual children attending and their families.


We work in partnership with parents, family and the community in the care and early education of children. Children attend our service for 2 years of ECCE free pre-school. We recognise the importance of preparing pre-school children for the transition to primary school.


Réalta Draíochta Pre-school, Montessori & Afterschool Service is located at the Ennis National School, Co. Clare. This is an independently run service from the primary school so for all enquiries, please contact managers Martina 086 736 3286 or Kathryn 087 923 2833.



Our History

Réalta Draíochta Montessori, Pre-school & Afterschool Service was established by Martina Cunningham and Kathryn Quinn in 2010. The service was originally located in a prefab at the old Ennis National School and is currently located in two classrooms at the new Ennis National School at Ashline on the Kilrush Road in Ennis.

Learn Through Play

At our pre-school we provide an environment where children learn through play through a healthy balance of child-directed and teacher-guided activities. We believe that a safe and nurturing environment is paramount to a child’s individual growth and development. Our play-based approach provides a child-centred curriculum that is guided by Aistear (the early childhood curriculum framework for children aged birth to six years) and is underpinned by Síolta’s standards (the national quality framework for children). Children have freedom of choice in selecting age appropriate activities.

Mission Statement

Réalta Draíochta’s Vision

Réalta Draíochta’s vision is underpinned by the Montessori philosophy which encourages children to become confident & independent learners. It is guided by the Aistear curriculum, the early childhood curriculum framework for children aged up to six years, which is also used in infant classrooms in primary schools.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

If your query isn't covered below, please get in touch & we will be happy to help!

What is free preschool?

Children can start free preschool ECCE at Réalta Draíochta when they are 2 years, 8 months of age & continue until they start in primary school.

The State pays a capitation fee to Réalta Draíochta preschool & we offer free pre-school to all children within the qualifying age range.

To check your child’s eligibility and further information check out the following links:

ECCE Calculator


If you wish to inquire with Réalta Draíochta preschool for upcoming years please get in touch as places fill up quickly!

What curriculum will be offered to my child?

Our play-based approach provides a child-centred curriculum that is guided by Aistear (the early childhood curriculum framework for children aged birth to six years) & is underpinned by Síolta’s standards (The National Quality Framework for Children).

Children have freedom of choice in selecting age appropriate activities. There is a balance of child & adult-led activities offered to children. Children are also introduced to Montessori practical life & sensorial activities, which indirectly help prepare them for school.

Why choose us?
  • We offer a high-quality service
  • Spacious outdoor area
  • We promote the Irish language
  • We work in partnership with parents
  • We are located in a primary school and this will help with your child’s transition to school
How will my child be supported when starting pre-school & later, when moving on to primary school??
We have a unique, individualised approach to help support your child with the transition to our early years setting. We aim to work with you the parents to ensure children feel comfortable and safe in their new surroundings at preschool. The transition to primary school begins in our service as early as September! From day one children who use our service are spending time in a primary school environment, this ensures a natural transition to school. Parents who have used our service in the past state that the only change they find when their children start primary school is that their children 'wear a uniform' .
How does a play based approach prepare my child for school?

A play-based approach provides ample learning opportunities for children. They will build on their language skills, develop socially, physically intellectually & emotionally in a fun, interactive way. They will learn and understand the concept of numbers & letters in the surroundings of a print rich environment.

This article goes a long way to explaining the common myths associated with school readiness.

Réalta Draíochta preschool is located at the Ennis National School, giving the opportunity for children to naturally transition from one service to the other.

Are there separate classes for separate ages i.e. a younger & older class?

No, children in our preschool benefit from mixed age grouping. Research shows that children benefit from this more than when separated into groups according to age. Older children develop leadership skills & empathy, whilst younger children develop their language & social skills.

You can read about the benefits of mixed age classrooms in this article.

What are the qualifications of the staff working with my child?

Both managers are also preschool classroom leaders, they hold an honours degree from NUIG in early years & work directly with children availing of free pre-school. All support staff are qualified in childcare & engage in on-going professional development.

Can I avail of extra support for my child, if they require it, in pre-school?

Yes! This is offered under the access and inclusion model (AIM). This Model is designed to ensure that children with any additional needs or disabilities can have access and full participation in the ECCE programme. It is a child-centred model, which involves seven levels of progressive support, based on the needs of the child.

More information can be found on the Early Years Special Education page or at www.aim.gov.ie



The Four Themes

of Aistear


& Belonging


& Thinking

Get In Touch

Location: Ennis National School, Ashline, Ennis, Co. Clare, V95 DE44

Telephone: Martina 086 736 3286 | Kathryn 087 923 2833

Email: info@realtadraiochta.ie

Morning Care: from 8am

Pre-school: 8:45am - 1:45pm

Optional Part-time Care: Get in Touch

FunClub After-school Service: 1:45 - 5:45pm