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Buncrana mum wins national award 14.11.08

by Ian Gomersall, Inishowen Independent

MOTHER of three, Sarah Quigley-Burns is in "complete shock" after scooping the National Student of the Year Award from Portobello School in Dublin. Sarah graduated last June from the regional course in Letterkenny, with a first class distinction in her Diploma in Montessori Teaching.
It was a tough year for Sarah, juggling the responsibilities of parenting alongside her studies and all while she was pregnant with her third child, Saorla. In fact, she gave birth to her baby daughter just ten days after sitting her final exam four months ago.
“It was a bit close alright. I was worried that I was going to have her before the exam," said Sarah.
“This award isn’t just for me. It was a total family effort. My mother would look after Cillian (3) and Líoda (2) and my husband Steven would have to organise to work at home some days to be with the children so I could go to my placement and to the course.”
Last September, Sarah and Jennifer Grant, set up the Little Acorns Montessori Playschool in Carndonagh. They work as a co-operative where each takes it turn about, working one week in the playschool and the other week looking after the under 3’s as Jennifer has a baby too.
It is an arrangement that suits Sarah well as she finds that working
Sarah Quigley-Burns pictured with her children Líoda, Saorla and Cillian.
part-time gives her more energy to be with her children.
Meanwhile, she explains the Montessori philosophy that children are happiest when they are busy working and that if a child can choose its own work freely then they learn faster and more happily. Children don’t have to struggle to keep up with others as they work at their own pace. Sarah and Jennifer’s Little Acorns Montessori Playschool is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and can be contacted on 07493 74096. They two women are also planning to open a Montessori playschool in Buncrana next September.
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