Agnes Connolly

Early Years

Position: Tutor

“The child is endowed with unknown powers, which can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take as its aim the development of these hidden possibilities,” Maria Montessori.

This quote resonates with me as a parent, a teacher, and a tutor in both the “Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum” and “Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood” modules I am involved with.

Influenced very early by the Montessori philosophy and later on how Aistear combines so well with it, I truly believe in the child’s but equally the adult’s learning journey, where each has a part to play as an active agent of their own learning. Promoting holistic development and learning from others on a daily basis as a purpose of early years education.

Supporting students in their educational journey, who will, in turn, teach children and fellow co-workers and professionals is the way a community of practice presents itself and develop, where engaged, meaningful interactions and reflections take place.

I appreciate being responsive to students and providing a personal approach that is so particular to the Portobello philosophy.

I enjoy the questioning pertaining to the Early Years, the broad aspect of topics that are involved and the way they link with many other characteristics and spectrums of education.

About Agnes Connolly

After studying for my degree in English and German in France and working in a preschool, I made a move to Ireland where I discovered a true interest in the Montessori philosophy and its educational approach and pedagogical stance in Early Years.

I studied for my Montessori Teaching diploma and childcare at Portobello Institute itself before heading to Carlow to the South East Technological University where I graduated with a Ba (Hons) Level 8 in ECEC and in NUI Maynooth for a Level 7 Training and Continuing Education Certificate.

It was with great pride and interest that I joined the Portobello Team in late 2018 as it felt like a full circle. I have very fond memories of being there as a student where I truly enjoyed studying and made lifelong friends. I also cherished the wonderful tutors I had, who inspired me and reinforced my interest in the sector and taught me how to strive for creating nurturing environments and high-quality practice for young children.

After working in the sector for over 20 years I got involved in supporting children with additional needs by completing the Linc course in MI, Limerick and becoming the Inco in my service. It was after 5 years of undertaking that role alongside the quality and curriculum manager position, that I started to head more specifically into the area of special educational needs. Every opportunity is a way to learn, reflect and improve at what one does, learning along the way.

This diverse approach I took, has also influenced my way of tutoring and being involved in education. I have a keen interest in listening to others’ experiences and contributions to the sector. I truly believe in practical aspects and theory being strongly embedded with each other, where each stakeholder has a role to play.

Agnes’ Teaching Philosophy

Keeping abreast of current topics and legislation in an ever-evolving sector is key to sustaining a driven, robust, and professional sector.

As for my approach to teaching, being passionate and dedicated to all children and families are attributes of the industry that I would value and instil in students.

Every student, tutor and child we are involved with, contributes to the build-up of a mosaic workforce, where all strengths, abilities and interests displayed contribute to the development and recognition of the sector.

I am currently still studying through MI Limerick on the first cohort of Linc CPD + course and love taking part in the community of practice sessions where tutors’ and teachers’ input create a reflective, reassuring, and motivated community of practice.


  • BA (Hons) Level 8 in Early Childhood Education and Care – South East Technological University.
  • Certificate in Training and Continuing Education – Level 7  – NUI Maynooth
  • Linc and Linc CPD +  – Mary Immaculate, Limerick
  • Special Needs Assisting – Level 6
  • Montessori and Childcare Diploma, Portobello Institute
  • Supervision in Childcare – Level 6 – Portobello Institute
  • Hanen Teacher Training:  Encouraging Language Development in the Early Years
  • Sensory processing – DCYA
  • Listening to Young Children: Supporting Transition – Open University
  • Degree in English, University of Paris X

Agnes Connolly Agnes Connolly