I enjoy many different things and always have several hobbies, jobs and professions at the same time. Together with husband Jeroen, our son and the cats, I live in Orvelte in the quiet province of Drenthe the Netherlands. Our daughter is also often at home at weekends. I love inventing something new, meditating and being outside, in nature or in our garden.


When I spot a particular ‘problem’ and see opportunities for improvement or change, I love to develop something that I can help children with. I invent, try out, improve, and always work together with children and colleagues. If it indeed works, a book or learning tool emerges.

For example, the number of stress and burn outs in our society in increasing. I believe we are really help children if we teach them from an early age how to take good care of themself and each other. This is how I developed my first book about mindfulness: ‘Mindful at School’.

WASO: Creative with Science I am creating with Oded Ben-Horin because it is a fantastic way of learning that intertwines all subject areas.

Next up? I am now working on a book that brings together sustainability, nature and arts. To be continued!


I started working in primary education in 1992 where I was a teacher and theatre tutor for all groups, also for children with special needs. At the same time, I did all kinds of other jobs such as acting in children’s theatre or starting up a childcare centre. Since 2010, Jeroen and I have run Flintenhof, a shop selling minerals, jewellery and singing bowls that we import ourselves. I also worked as a teacher at the Teacher training department of Stenden Universityfor 18 years.

I became an author, because I developed drama lessons for two primary schools to raise the language level. That worked well and spread more and more and then it became a book. Thispublication brought more and more demand for training courses, lectures and for new books. As a result, I started my company ‘Speel je Wijs’ in 2014.

Giving mindfulness and compassion trainings now is the main part of my work. I also regularly give lectures and workshops internationally and am involved in arts education and mindfulness programs. You can read about it at the bottom of this page under ‘Erasmus+’.


My most important education was perhaps primary school. A mini-village school where we learned to grow vegetables, soldering, embroidery, aquarel painting, sawing, developing photographs and oh yes, also reading, math and the other school subjects. At that time, I didn’t know any better, but now I see how close this school is to my ideal image of education.

I found secondary school utterly boring. Fortunately, after that I was able to do something that made me happy again. I became a drama teacher, a profession that never bores. Additionally, I became a preprimary and primary school teacher and a mindfulness and compassion trainer.

I also followed and still follow many other trainings, workshops and retreats in the fields of art, mindfulness, and coaching, such as the heart coherence training, Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits, the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trainers training, and I also enjoy teaching myself new things. Now that you have read this, I am sure you will see these backgrounds in my books!

Monique Meijer
Monique MeijerElementary teacher
Lees verder
“Irma's approach reflects years of experience with education, children and mindfulness. It was a party, so it was no problem at all to take the Almelo – Orvelte ride every week!” Monique Meijer – primary school teacher (following the eight-week mindfulness training in Orvelte).
Katja Dautzenberg
Katja DautzenbergOrthopedagogue
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“Irma Smegen is an enthusiastic and skilled Mindfulness trainer, especially in education. With her book 'Spelen in Stilte' and her very professional training days in the picturesque Orvelte, she knows how to intrinsically motivate people to apply mindfulness to themselves and especially within education. A diversity of working methods, presented in a well-thought-out and well-prepared manner. Nice to undergo, and especially to pass on. A very nice person to work with.” Katja Dautzenberg – orthopedagogue (based on day training Playing in Silence).
Chris Bos
Chris Boswarned you!!!!” Chris Bos – communication trainer
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“Be careful with Irma Smegen. Think again. In fact, DODGE HER. Because the risk is too great that it will be a success. After all, she is such a whopper, with such a drive, such knowledge, that everything she touches really gets color and panache. The risk with this positive creative whirlwind is that the result will be completely awesome. I have warned you!!!!" Chris Bos – communication trainer.
Richard Brocklehurst
Richard BrocklehurstHeadteacher Glenlyon Primary School
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“Irma was really engaging and immediately got our group into a calm state of concentration (and enjoyment) that lasted through the session. There were lots of practical activities that could be easily adapted for a wide differentiation of abilities (which is essential in our school) and the focus on mindfully being in the present and focusing on ourselves (and being mindful of others) are vital skills that should be part of the whole ethos of our schools.” Richard Brocklehurst – Headteacher Glenlyon Primary School – Scotland (n.a.v. een workshop mindfulness in Schotland).
Nikolaos Nerantzis
Nikolaos NerantzisPhysicist in Special Education Thessaloniki
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“Joy, inspiration, learning are the words that come to mind when I think about Irma. I am impressed by her work and –as a teacher – I found many many useful resources! Above all, I was impressed with Irma’s ability to implement fun in science learning. Irma would be a true asset for any task on promoting, learning – or just have fun and big smiles! – teaching science.” Nikolaos Nerantzis – Physicist in Special Education Thessaloniki – Greece (n.a.v. lezing over STEAM education in Athene).



In rapidly evolving, hyper-connected and performance-oriented societies, the mental health of citizens increasingly requires priority attention and care. Indeed, research shows that about 20% of European adults suffer from mental health problems, a percentage that rises to about 50% if depression and anxiety are also taken into account. Research confirms that in the field of mental health care, in addition to curative measures aimed at adults, there is an increasing need for preventive measures aimed at children (Van der Gucht et al., 2016).

The Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership ‘AMiE’ helps to meet this need by providing European teachers with inspirational and supportive tools regarding the introduction of mindfulness in pre-primary and primary education (age group 3 to 12). AMiE is unique in that it uses the power of art and creative processes as a starting point for the introduction of mindfulness in a school context.


  • Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool, België
  • Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Noorwegen
  • Curso de Música Silva Monteiro, Portugal
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ierland
  • Speel je wijs, Nederland


SPACE aims to establish an international student-run entrepreneurial organization: a network of in-training teachers trained in the delivery of innovative & interdisciplinary education models in which bridges are built between the worlds of Arts education and STEM education.

→ The widening from STEM tot STEAM emphasises the role of creativity and innovation in teaching and learning. STEAM also underlines the need to explore methods for making classrooms more energetic and engaging places of learning and experiencing.


  • Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool, België
  • Hogskolen Stord Haugesund, Noorwegen
  • Curso de Música Silva Monteiro, Portugal
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ierland
  • RESEO – European Network for Opera and Dance Education, België
  • Speel je wijs, Nederland


CASE is an EU Erasmus+ project in the focus area of school, creativity and innovation. The project name is ‘Creativity, Art and Science in Primary Education (CASE)’. This project will be realized within the European Commission’s ‘Strategic Partnership’ program, and will implement trainings, conferences and school-based activities in the field of art & science. 


  • Western Norway University of Applied Science, Noorwegen
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Griekenland
  • Dublin City University, Ierland
  • Ellinogermaniki Agogi, Griekenland
  • Science View, Griekenland
  • Klaipeda University, Litouwen
  • Speel je Wijs, Nederland

Toolkit puppetry and STEAM

For CASE one of Irma’s tasks is designing a toolkit for puppetry and STEAM education. In this toolkit, inquiry based science education will be combined with puppetry. In every activity, a puppetry story will be played by the teacher. In this story the puppets have a problem or a question. This will arouse children’s curiosity, which instantly will stimulate them to discover. Children will help the puppets to find a solution or answer. All activities will be challenging tasks in the field of STEAM education and every process can have many different results. Children will research like scientists and design like artists. You can find the free download here.

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