Irma Smegen (1970) is the founder of Speel je wijs – a company in the Netherlands that strives to improve education and a playful environment for children. Irma has been working with children her entire life. Along the way, she has balanced various roles: as a primary school and kindergarten teacher, writer, designer, day care leader, director and speaker. For eighteen years, she was a lecturer of drama, arts & culture at the Education department of Stenden University.
Irma writes educational books, develops educational products and organises training courses for professionals working with children. She speaks at congresses about her teaching methods and the positive effects of it on learning. Playing and playful learning are the main ingredients in Irma’s work. Topics are mindfulness, STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematic), language education, outdoor education, sustainability and Early Childhood.
Together with her husband, Irma runs De Flintenhof, a business in minerals and crystals from all around the world. With their family (son, daughter) and pets (five cats and two chickens) they live and work in the beautiful village Orvelte.
Irma is known internationally for her work in promoting arts, playful learning and mindfulness in education and she participates in two Erasmus+ programs.
Scotland “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 (Joined a ‘live’ mindfulness training.)
Greece “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 (Joined a lecture about STEAMeducation and a workshop about playful learning.)
The Netherlands “After not having taught yoga (in school) for over a year, I couldn’t wait to get back into it. For inspiration, I joined Irma’s training. It turned out to be a fabulous day. Highly recommended.” Bianca Fieret – Kindergarten and yoga teacher RVKO Rotterdam (Joined a full day training about mindfulness with children.)
Portugal “I’m so grateful for the experience of learning about mindfulness and learning how to be more mindful – thanks to Irma, we could understand a bit more about this way of thinking, feeling and, ultimately: living. Since the last session, I’m trying to maintain the ‘mindful spirit’ – find moments during the day to pause; have a specific schedule for different taks; no reading emails during meals or pause moments; stop feeling that I’m not doing a good job, even if I don’t manage to do all the taks, etc.” Ana Teresa Seica – Music teacher at Curso Music Silva Monteiro – Porto (Joined online mindfulness training sessions.)
Turkey “I want to start with saying how helpful the mindfulness training was. I had never felt so at ease and comfortable with myself. I had doubts about myself and my feelings before your presentation and after that, I felt as if I could solve every problem I might have in my life. I can’t possibly tell you how honored I am to have attended the class with you. Thank you so much.” Gül Bahar Yılmaz – student at Hacettepe University – Ankara (Joined an online mindfulness training.)
Scotland “Irma offers a relaxed, informative session that will support you not only with bringing mindfulness into your classroom but bringing it into your own lifestyle too. The activities are short and achievable and I am really looking forward to building them into our everyday classtime.” Ciara Gibson – Teacher Grandtully Primary School (Joined a ‘live’ mindfulness training.)
Mindful at School (English) Additional information about the book
STEAM education (English) Erasmus+
Creativity Arts and Science in Primary Education (English) Erasmus+
Speel je mee in Li La Land? (Dutch) Puppetry and STEAM education
De Flintenhof (Dutch) The shop Irma runs together with her husband
Orvelte (Dutch) Irma’s village
For further information please visit Irma’s LinkedIn page.
International Clients and Partners
Educationall group Ningbo China, Bir Studio Group Ankara Turkey, Glen Lyon, Kenmore and Grandtully Primary schools Scotland UK, Ellinogermaniki Agogi Athens Greece, Mindful Moment Mindfulness in Belgium, Western Norway University of Applied Science Stord Norway, Curso de Música Silva Monteiro Porto, Portugal, AP Hogeschool Antwerpen België, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland, Reseo European Network for Opera, Music and Dance education Brussels, Belgium, e.g.