A Jubilee Mural
As part of the celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the children of St. Declan’s school, under the guidance of artist Niamh Sinnott, have been engaged in creating a ceramic wall mural that expresses the special mission of the school. The theme of the mural is “Growth” and the design is based on a representation of tree-rings. The concentric rings, from the outer to inner, are stamped with an individual image created by each child (one ring for each class from 1st to 6th). This ‘stamp’ is the impression of growth left by each child. They had given it serious thought, and described their choices in a brilliant assembly. Since its founding by Irish Jesuits in 1958, St Declan’s School has offered a specialised educational service to children who, for personal or emotional reasons, are achieving below their potential in mainstream primary schooling.Ten-year-old Luke told us that his stamp has a head with two ears; “one small ear for the old days not listening and one large ear is for now as I’m listening a lot more”. The cracks that form as the wood dries symbolise the difficulties that all of us, pupils and teachers, have to overcome on our journey towards growth. Past pupils were invited to represent themselves as birds which fly out from the centre as the community of St. Declan’s moves beyond the secure environment of the school.The mural encapsulates the moments in ‘circle time’ where the children share experiences of how they attempt to grow, recalling Carl Jung’s comment: ‘those who have a higher conception of education will prize most the method of cultivating a tree so that it fulfils to perfection its own natural conditions of growth’.