Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE)

Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) contributes to the development of each child’s awareness and appreciation of the natural, human, social, cultural and historical dimensions of life.

SESE is presented under three distinctive yet closely related subject headings: History, Geography, and Science. The SESE curriculum seeks to enable the child to come to an understanding of the physical world, the relationship of humans with their environment, and the historical process through which that relationship has grown. In developing this understanding, the curriculum helps the children to acquire open, critical and responsible attitudes and to live as informed and caring members of the local and wider communities.


The history curriculum is concerned with knowledge of the lives of people in the past. The beginning of each child’s historical engagement comes through recalling personal experiences and elements of family history. In these simple ways, children become familiar with the process of collecting a wide range of evidence, examining and exploring it and drawing simple conclusions form it. The development of historical skills, the beginnings of a concept of chronology, a realisation of the relationship of cause and effect and an appreciation of change and continuity are, therefore, central elements in each child’s engagement with history from the earliest years.

The exploration of local history is also a central element of the curriculum and then, as the children mature, they gradually encounter a widening range of peoples, events, and historical periods so that they acquire a balanced understanding of local, Irish and international history.

In this way the history curriculum equips our pupils to live as informed and critical citizens, aware of the influence of human character and motivation, respectful of the opinions and beliefs of others and conscious of the ways in which the past has shaped contemporary society in Ireland, Europe and the wider world.



Geography encompasses the study of the Earth, its inhabitants, and the interrelationships between them, and is particularly concerned with themes of place, space and environment. The geography curriculum provides opportunities through which children can come to explore and understand the peoples and features, both natural and human, distributed over the Earth’s surface, and it enables them to appreciate the distinctive characteristics of places.

The geography curriculum fosters not only the children’s sense of local identity but their sense of being members of national, European and global communities. It encourages them to appreciate the interdependence of individuals, groups and communities and it promotes an understanding of, and a respect for, the cultures and ways of life of peoples throughout the world. It fosters, too, an informed sense of individual and community responsibility for environmental care.



Science is concerned with a knowledge and understanding of the physical and biological aspects of the world and the processes through which these are developed.

A distinctive feature of the science curriculum is the emphasis it places on helping children to develop scientific skills. Scientific activity involves children in observing, hypothesising, predicting, experimenting, planning fair tests, and analysing results.

Through direct experience of objects and events children develop a framework of scientific ideas and concepts about four key areas: Living Things, Energy and Forces, Materials, and Environmental Awareness and Care. These 4 areas are chosen because they are relevant to children’s immediate everyday experiences and reflect the major areas of scientific investigation.

Overall, the curriculum seeks to foster positive attitudes to science. Children become aware of the application of science in familiar contexts and such leaning activities promote curiosity and enjoyment so that children are encouraged to cultivate a lasting interest in science.


Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM)

STEM education actively promotes and develops learners’ creative and critical thinking skills, skills that are essential for the next generation. Not only does STEM education promote these skills, it also supports the development of life skills, ingenuity and problem-solving and it promotes empathy for issues including sustainability and the natural environment.

Now more than ever it is apparent that STEM education is crucial to the health and wellbeing of our citizens. Innovative and creative approaches to problem-solving during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how STEM education can prepare our society to address challenges facing us as a society. From the 3-D printing of medical face shields in Irish classrooms, to the design and manufacture of ventilators on car assembly lines incorporating adapted windscreen wiper motors, STEM approaches have been a crucial part of a truly global cause.


In Scoil Cholmáin Science Week and Engineering Week are celebrated with great enthusiasm!

Pre-covid we always had visitors and workshops in the school and the senior classes always participated in events organised by NUI Galway. The children really enjoyed travelling to the university for unique shows and workshops. In recent covid times we have adapted by participating in online webinars and zoom calls to bring the experts into our classrooms.

In 2022 third and fouth class took part in NUIG's competition START – “Schools teaching awareness of randomised trials” –  a national competition which challenges 4th, 5th & 6th primary school classes to lead on an exciting project and create their very own simulated randomised controlled trial. Teachers and students were asked to identify a suitable research question that they could answer scientifically. The purpose of this competition was to help students become aware of the randomised trial process. The students picked a question and used the proper steps of a clinical trial to answer it. This year our question was 'Does seating effect mood and concentration?'. The children in Rang a Dó became the blind trial participants and both classes really enjoyed the process. Our  research project book is kept in our school library.  We look forward to entering the competition again in 2023.


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