Meet The Team

We help children engage their bodies and minds through fun and educational activities.

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Our story

Rachel and Ally joined forces in November 2020 with the aspiration to open up a Sudbury School in Dublin / Meath area. After learning more about the educational approach, they were surprised to discover there wasn’t a democratic school already in Dublin or Meath. Together, they recognised the need for an alternative option to mainstream school. Rachel and Ally’s passion for democratic education inspired them to establish the first Democratic school in Clonalvy, Garristown, which is on the Dublin / Meath border.

Rachel Oglesby

Founder & Facilitator

Rachel’s love of education and self-directed learning was first sparked by studying the work of Maria Montessori, when she graduated as a Montessori Teacher. Later she found a real passion for the power of play in her career in Social Care. During this time working as a house parent and as a family support worker, Rachel used play therapeutically to support children through stressful times.

After her career in Social Care, she returned to her passion; Early Years Education. She established and managed two preschool services, catering for 55 preschool children and employing 9 staff. Creative Days Preschool was established in 2010 and Appleseeds Preschool in 2012.

During the last ten years in Early Education, Rachel has driven her schools with a desire to provide a quality service for children and families. She has studied many educational approaches such as Reggio, Highscope, Forest schools and Steiner. She incorporates many of their principles into the ethos of her schools. Being a life-long learner, Rachel returned to college in 2018 and graduated with a first class honours degree in Early Childhood Studies. Rachel along with her staff have won numerous awards for their work from the professional organisation Early Childhood Ireland, particularly in areas of Innovation of practice.

Rachel is also the mother of three boys aged 17, 14 and 13 years. She has witnessed first-hand how mainstream schools are not a fit for all children, which has inspired her to search for alternatives. She is greatly moved by the work of psychologist Peter Gray, John Holt and many others who believe children learn best when allowed to follow their own interests. She is passionate about creating a Democratic school where children can flourish and learn at their own pace.

Ally Archbold

Founder & Facilitator

Ally’s interest in this model of education was inspired when Rachel introduced her to the educational approach. Learning more about the Sudbury Model, she began to question the world around her and wondered how she was only finding out about it now. The ethos of the education approach resonated with her, particularly the idea that when children are given the freedom and responsibility to learn, they will excel in their learning and later on in life. She passionately believes that the democratic approach to education is education for the future.

Ally has a bachelor’s degree from DCU in Communications Studies. During this course, she particularly enjoyed Videography and Photography. Ally uses the skills and knowledge she gained from her degree in her role as TNSS Digitial Marketing Manager. Ally studied Level 6 in Early Years Education. For the past few years, she has worked in Early Years Education starting as an assistant, she then grew and flourished into the role of a leader.

There is more to Ally than what qualifications she has acquired or what her profession is. She is a bubbly, energetic, passionate and driven person with great people skills. She has a talent for making people feel comfortable and special.

Ally has a passion for horses and animals. Being around horses her entire life has taught her many important life skills, such as how to work for things you want in life and the responsibility of caring for animals. She wishes to share these passions with the students at TNSS as she believes that animals enrich our lives. Ally is very excited about the opening of TNSS and how it will impact the lives of each individual student, parent, staff member and overall community.

Cathy Addis


Cathy is a facilitator at TNSS. She joined us from the beginning when we opened in March 2023. She has many different threads to her bow-( mother, artist, yoga teacher, interior designer, reiki master, cacao facilitator, teacher trainee and art facilitator). She has travelled both paths of mainstream and progressive education but her ideal philosophy is the SDE model. Having unschooled her youngest for a couple of years, it was the community element that was missing for them both. In 2020 she and her son joined and helped start up a progressive school in their local area but now with True Nature opening up, she is delighted to join us and return to the self directed model she is aligned with.

Cathy finds real joy in facilitating children’s innate sense of joy, exploration and creativity- whatever the medium and brings a calming, grounded presence for the children to feel safe, heard and supported in their learning.

Karen Abell


Karen’s entering into self-directed, democratic learning is a natural next step from the child led pre-school environment where she started her educational journey. She loves the model of supporting the students and watching them flourish organically and wanted to take it to the next level & stage of education. Karen feels very passionately about empowering young people, believing that as opposed to ‘toughening our children up’ for the world, we need to soften the world for our children. She is very excited to support our young people in growing a greater sense of self, and self-confidence.

Having also worked as an SNA, Karen has both personal and professional experience in Neuro Diverse learning. She is growing this skill set as she studies with The Dyslexia Association of Ireland.

Karen’s other love is health &fitness. She is a qualified Personal Trainer, grows her family’s food and is currently studying homeopathy. She follows the works of Gabor Mate and Bessel van der Kolk in childhood development, therapies, trauma healing and stress-disease connections. Karen feels very strongly about nurturing our overall holistic health; mental, physical, emotional & spiritual.

The number one reason behind Karen entering into the world of child led and now self-directed, democratic learning is her son. Karen believes that mainstream education does not cater for all, and that children (and adults) are all different and need different environments in which to thrive and grow. She is very excited to be a part of this educational revolution!

Kevin Ryan


Kevin has joined us in a volunteer position. As a firm believer in the Sudbury model, Kevin is happy to give his time in order to help the school grow and expand his own life experience. He also believes that the model would have been hugely beneficial to himself as he was going through school.

Kevin studied English, Media and Cultural Studies at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, obtaining an upper second class honours degree. He has since maintained a love of literature and would consider himself an avid reader. He also previously studied Journalism and Multimedia in Stillorgan College.

Kevin’s other interests include Hiking, Sport, Film and Music.