Issue 1/2018 Vol. 5
This fifth edition of the newsletter marks a year of flying many celebratory flags at Esker.
And what a truly remarkable, memorable year it has been with some very interesting and influential people and very unexpected and exceptional experiences that we have had. But where to begin?
We could start with our astonishment at the news that we had been selected for a visit from Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins, the President of Ireland.
Flying the Irish Flag
When the visit was announced, we were utterly astounded at the amount of help offered from within our school community to showcase our exceptional school. Excitement and anticipation hung in the air: The countdown was on… For all of the details, please read on to page 6.
In the days and weeks up to the visit, the Board of Management (BOM), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), and many parents, staff and friends helped to prepare for the visit. To all of you, we will be eternally grateful. We are also very grateful to Mr. Khan, for feeding the happy, hungry masses that came on the day.
June Flag Raising Ceremony
Wednesday, 20th June saw the raising of the An Taisce Green Schools and Active flags, and the celebration of Esker receiving its 5th STEM plaque (for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). This was a very exciting event, recognising the immense work done by the Active School committee, the Green School committee and the STEM committee.
For this momentous occasion, we were very fortunate to have Kevin O’Brien of the Irish National Cricket team and Cllr Paul Gogarty, Mayor of South Dublin County, as well as Naomi, Gerry and David. Kevin raised the Active Flag, while Mayor Gogarty raised the Green flag.
We also celebrated receiving the DPSM Plaque of STEM Excellence, reflecting the tremendous work done in every class in the school, with particular thanks to Katie and Sinéad for overseeing the project.
The school celebrated with a wonderful rendition of Mr. Blueskies, with everyone getting active! As a very special treat, the PTA sponsored an ice-cream van to help cool down in the summer sun. A truly memorable and magnificent day for all of Esker’s students and staff!
After four fantastic, fruitful years in Home School, Gemma Stokes will be moving out of her Home School role to focus on her duties as Deputy Principal in a Special Education Teaching (SET) role.
We would like to extend our sincerest and heartfelt thanks to Gemma for the sterling work that she has done in helping to forge wonderful links across our school and community, helping to make Esker a fun place for parents and children.
Over the coming weeks, you will be seeing lots of Leah Burke, who will be taking over the Home School Liaison role. Leah’s office is downstairs and she will be available to meet with parents there. A very warm welcome to you in your new role, Leah!
We have had a fabulous friendship week in Esker ETNS. Best quote of the week from a Senior Infant, "if you see someone who isn't smiling, give them one of yours". Congratulations to our Kindness Award Winners.
Go out and surprise someone in your family with a random act of kindness, spreading happiness!
Home School Liaison
Over the course of the year, many exciting initiatives, parent workshops and classes have taken place with Gemma’s support, including:
• Well-being week – We had yoga, 20 parents were trained in paediatric first aid, and a nutritionist from Carambola came to talk to children and parents (sponsored by SDCC)
• Parents Plus, the positive parenting programme was run by Gemma and Rebecca (of Lucan East ETNS) with 15 of our parents
• Conversation classes - given by a parent for parents. Many thanks to Honor for doing the honours here!
• English classes given by the ETB
• DIY classes given by the ETB
• Gardening club run by the parents
• Walking club run by Gemma and parents
• CLOVER ran for junior infants. It was again sponsored by Dublin Libraries. The children had a trip to Lucan Library and their parents helped out with weekly reading in class for one term
• Maths week: Lots of parents came in to help with maths trails and the 5th /6th class table quiz, as well as working to help children to develop their ‘Maths eyes’
• Maths 4 Fun – Parent volunteers came in in the two 1st classes. They helped the children to develop their mathematical skills, using games such as board games, pattern blocks and playing cards.
• 2nd class: ‘Maths Packs’ went home, encouraging parental involvement in maths through games for homework and fun.
Thank you to our wonderful parents for all of your time, energy, enthusiasm, encouragement and support, you were lots of FUN!
Well done to all the boys and girls who won medals for 100% attendance each term this year. Even if you have a medical or dental appointment, if you come to school before or afterwards - that day counts. Begin good habits early, and come to school every day. Congratulations again everyone!
Esker Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
This year, the PTA have surpassed themselves with their kindness, consideration and ingenuity over the year. Many thanks to the parents and grandparents for their help. This is a picture of just some of the helpers.
Each year, the PTA look for new members at the AGM. Please come along and offer any help that you can.
Their wonderful committee have been involved in creating the most magical fairy garden this year, with gardening club, as well as organizing many fundraisers and then paying for experiences for the children.
The PTA organised the Toy and Treat Sale on the 15th December, which raised €764, the Spring Raffle raised €1189, the Book and Treat Sale on 4th May raised €827 and the school photographs raised €1905. Wow! Fabulous fundraising!!!
From the fundraising, the PTA have paid for many fun and informative events in our school. These include:
• The 10th Anniversary celebration ‘Madagascar’ circus
• The 6th class Graduation party
• The Ice-cream van on flag day
• Half of the cost of Music Generation for 4th classes paid for by the PTA
• The NPC School Transfer (to Secondary) talk was organized by the PTA
• Dave’s Jungle
• Zeeko Online Safety Talks
• Organising and wrapping 104 prizes for the Spring Raffle and then selling tickets.
Many thanks to the Gardening club for making the most magical fairy garden: Maureen, Maha, Milena, Deepa, Janice and Ivana, and the other parent volunteers. Thanks also to Tomislav who made the beautiful bridge.
The Gardening Club won the Category G (Community/School Garden/Allotment) Award at the South Dublin County Council Community Endeavour Awards in the Moran Red Cow Hotel on 25th November 2017.
We are so proud of the Garden club and the special accolade that they received. We are also thrilled with the amazing space that they have created for the children and staff to enjoy. The prize was a beautiful plaque and €1,000.
Dave’s Jungle Reptile Show
Jungle Dave and his reptile friends, Brian the snake, Kevin the caiman and Phillis the iguana came to visit the school as an end of year treat on 21st June 2018. What an amazing treat! Bhí zú ar scoil agus thaitin sé go mór linn!
Zeeko Online Safety Talks
On May 14th Petra from Zeeko came in to give online safety seminars for children, teachers and parents. There was a superb turnout from parents on Monday, May 14th for the talk. Thanks you to the PTA! See www.webwise.ie for more information.
GSC Annual Spring Clean & Waterways tidy
On April 20th, the Green School Committee were out on our annual spring clean, as well as keeping our local waterway tidy. Well done to everyone! Small actions make big changes!
GSC Walk for water
Colette, Gemma and Heidi accompanied the children of the GSC to Glendalough for the annual walk for water on 24th April. This experience shows the children what it is like for children in developing countries to have to walk for water every day.
Green Schools Committee - National school of the year for work on water 2018
Over the course of the year, Gemma, Barry, Heidi, and the Green Schools Committee (GSC) were involved in raising awareness of environmental issues, while working towards the third Green Flag for Water. The GSC, which is composed of children from all classes, had been working for the past two years to achieve this flag. We previously received our first for litter and waste and the second for energy.
The committee led the whole school in a number of measures designed to reduce water consumption in the school. Water Warriors regularly patrolled the school to raise awareness of wasteful water consumption and remind children of a number of measures such as the ‘One push is enough’ rule for handwashing.
The inspector from An Taisce (Green Schools) was so impressed with the work done in the school that we were later named ‘Irish Water: Dublin Region: Water School of the Year’ for our work, winning a plaque and €750.
Gemma, Shivam, Ainhoa and Thomas attended a ceremony in the Westin Hotel to collect the award but much to their surprise, Esker was named overall ‘National Winner 2018: Water School of the year’. The school was presented with a magnificent glass trophy and a cheque for €2,000. The presentation, which was sponsored by Irish Water, was made on Thursday 3rd of May by the Director of An Taisce, Dr Michael O’ Mahony.
Gemma, Heidi, Daniel and Ola were very proud to be awarded our Green Flag for water conservation in a fantastic ceremony in the Helix at DCU.
At Esker, we believe that it is important to listen to our students’ voices, in a democratic way. Students are selected by other students to sit on the Student Council, the Green School Committee, the Active Committee, Global Citizenship Committee and the Yard Committee.
This year, the Students’ Council have been involved in many areas, such as the Food tasting with Carambola, Esker goes to the Movies, and the Purple Power fundraiser. With the food-tasting, they made recommendations for healthy lunches, including that all bread should be brown or half and half and that packaging should be minimised.
The Student Council organised a fundraiser for Educate Together equality based schools, called “Esker Goes to the Movies”. All funds went back to Educate Together, to help other start-up schools. We want every parent to have the option of a school like ours for their children.
The ‘Purple Power’ fundraiser for Temple Street Children's Hospital was run by the Student Council in March. Children wore purple (or blue or red) to symbolize bravery. This raised over €700 to help sick children.
Global Citizenship Schools
This year, the children have continued to learn about the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, through project work, art, music, drama and performance. In November, the Global Citizenship Committee formed part of the Welcome Committee for President Michael D Higgin’s visit. They spoke about how human actions are changing the climate and the future of all living things on the planet. They noted that our generation and generations to come will lead lives affected by this change. They highlighted our responsibility to adapt our lifestyles in order to reduce our ecological footprint. Activism is a fundamental part of Global Citizenship so the children wrote letters to local TDs, asking them what they were doing to combat climate change at governmental level. The children believe that small actions can generate big results and that using their voices to call their government to action could lead to significant change in global policy. Well done to all our activists at Esker Educate Together!
This year, we have formed a Yard Committee to look at how best we can utilise the play spaces and games and resources that we have at school. This committee met several times at lunchtime with Tania and Catherine, and came up with some great recommendations.
The school have also engaged a playground specialist to look at the spaces around the school, so together with the recommendations from the pupils, we will be able to generate solutions that create the best play opportunities possible. As Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child”: The yard is not merely a place where children just go for a break but a place in which they strengthen friendships, build social and motor skills as well as developing problem solving abilities.
The Presidential Visit and unveiling of the Book of Climate Bells and the Sunbell Garden
Monday, November 20th 2017 will go down in our history as an extraordinary, extra-special and exceptional day for Esker Educate Together. We welcomed the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins along with Mrs. Sabina Higgins to our school. The excitement was palpable in the air as children stood around the perimeter waving their flags and cheering as the black car of the President came in to view. President Higgins and Mrs Higgins were met by our oldest and youngest students, who presented them with flowers.
Then President Higgins was introduced to Cllr. Paul Gogarty (Mayor of South Dublin County) Paul Rowe (CEO of Educate Together), Vivienne Roche (Artist), Fergus Cronin (advisor to the Project), Colm O’Brien (Managing Director of Carambola), members of the Board of Management, members of the Parent-Teacher Association and Tom Costelloe (our retired Deputy Principal).
He then moved inside, where he was given a really interesting talk by the Green School/Global Citizenship Committee representatives about climate change, whilst accompanied by their teachers Paula and Niamh. The President was told about how we could make a difference to our planet and how we should try to reduce our ecological footprint. As an exceptional poet himself, he was treated to a poem by one of our budding young poets about how we could ensure our successful future by minding our earth and changing our wasteful habits.
A short walk away, through a very lively and excited guard of honour of senior infants led to the gazebo, where the artist Vivienne Roche discussed the art installations in the garden. The President opened "The Book of Climate Bells" and two sixth class children and Gemma rang the school bell three times to signify a warning bell, a call to action, and the power of individual and group action in looking after our environment.
Earth Overshoot Day 2017 was also recorded, which tells us that we are using more ecological resources and services than we can renew or regenerate. The party then moved to the Sunbell Garden, designed by Vivienne Roche and sponsored by Carambola.
This outdoor classroom is made of Corten steel with a perspex sun and an old ship's bronze bell. When the sun shines at midday, it will throw a beautiful light through the window on to the ground. Once the steel has fully rusted, we will be able to use this space to teach the children and to immerse them in nature.
Next, the Presidential party moved in to the hall, welcomed by the Presidential Salute. Catherine then formally introduced President Higgins and Mrs. Higgins. Senior infants told the story of Eddie the Penguin, who wanted to save the earth. They were joined in song by the choir. Rousing speeches followed by Peggy (Chairperson of the BOM), President Higgins and Colette.
The choir sang about the future being in our ‘Own two hands’; that we could effect change by taking responsibility for our planet.
The President was presented with a specially commissioned calligraphy version of the ‘Proclamation for a New Generation’, which we wrote for the centenary of the Easter Rising 1916, last year. Three children read out some very poignant excerpts. The choir finished with our school song, "What a Wonderful World".
Then President Higgins and Mrs. Higgins met the choir, local faith and non-faith representatives, as well as many of the invited guests. A small jig began and the President and Mrs. Higgins departed to a standing ovation from the audience.
The invited guests, followed by the parents filled in to the staff room to sample beautiful food by Mr. Khan and served by the PTA.
The PTA had very kindly funded a ‘Madagascar’ themed circus. Popcorn and candyfloss were served to eager, delighted children who settled down for the show. (Our healthy eating policy returned the next day!) The children saw a magnificent magician's show and then several enormous ‘Madagascar’ characters emerged from the PE storeroom! The day ended with a countdown as the children and staff of the school celebrated 10 years of education, friendship and fun.
This day would not have been possible without the support of the children, PTA, staff and community: It is these that make our school a truly unique and wonderful school. We know that our children will treasure the memories that were created on this special day, as we will.
Health and Wellbeing week
We had a very successful Health and Wellbeing week in October 2017. The children participated in activities relating to the health of the body and the mind, including healthy eating, movement, introductions to mindfulness, yoga and self-care.
Parents also were involved with a certified Paediatric First Aid course, a 5km walk, Mindfulness for parents and Encouraging Healthy Eating. The week concluded with a well-attended coffee morning in the hall.
The parents were thrilled with the activities, which were all provided free of charge. A very big thank you to SDCC who supported our endeavours with a very generous grant for the week’s activities. Thanks to Gemma, Jane and Aoife for a very worthwhile and well attended initiative!
Thanks to David Moran from Lucan Sarsfields GAA who taught Junior Infants and 2nd Class ball-handling skills for Gaelic Football. The children really enjoyed practising their new skills bouncing, catching and throwing the ball! Heidi and Marta have also been running a GAA club for children in 3rd and 4th Class all year. Obair mhaith!
Active Week and Active Flag
Active Week 2018 took place from 23- 27 April. Our Active Children’s Committee were very busy organising a huge number of activities. Every class did 30 minutes of activity each day from yoga, GAA, rugby, skipping, kin ball, cricket, dodgeball to a whole school walk, a ‘Mile with a smile’. We also had Drop Everything And Dance (DEAD) time, music on the yard and an active thought for the day. On Friday we held our Skills Assembly where some of our talented children showcased their skills in different sports such as tae kwan do, dancing and gymnastics. What a wonderful week of action and activities, learning new skills, trying new sports and mostly having fun! Thanks to Karen, Seóna, Jane, Sinéad and Bríd for organising.
As a result of the whole school’s efforts, we were awarded our first Active Flag.
Naomi from Leinster cricket came to school to teach 5th and 6th class in February and March. She also took 5th and 6th Class for an after school cricket club that competed in the Leprechaun Cup and competed in a blitz in May. Leinster Cricket also took 3rd and 4th Class for sessions during Active Week and have already organised to come back to teach us in September. Go raibh mile maith agat, Naomi!
Rob Mullen and Ken Moore from Leinster rugby did tag rugby sessions with children in 3rd and 4th Class for a block of 5 weeks in April and May. They have also kindly been involved in running our Active Week and 1st, 5th and 6th class have been able to sample tag rugby too.
Gymnastics and Dance
Here are some photos of senior infants, 2nd and 5th class, working on their gymnastics during the months of January and February. This year we focused on gymnastics and then followed this with dance. We taught creative and folk dancing across the school. This tied in nicely with our Céilí for Seachtain na Gaeilge. Bhí lá iontach againn!
Cross country running took place from January to May this year. Fifty children from 3rd -6th class trained in all types of weather and competed in cross country running competitions, held each month in Griffeen Park.
The final event of the year took place in Corkagh Park, where over one thousand athletes competed in a fantastic event. The Esker team performed really well and fitness levels improved greatly as the competition progressed.
June 7th, saw the whole school participating in Sports Day. As with other years, junior infants to 2nd stayed on the Esker Lane campus. They had the most marvellous day with the sponge race, skipping, kin ball, egg and spoon race, sack race, parachute, yoga and a scavenger hunt. Thanks to the many parents that volunteered and made it such a special day!
3rd to 6th classes went to Le Chéile Athletics Club’s grounds in Leixlip by bus. Here, the children participated in many sprint and long distance races, relays, as well as novelty races such as the sack race, three-legged race and tug of war. The sun shone and they had a glorious day! Please see our website www.eskeretns.ie and class twitter pages for photos!
On Monday, 28th May, 32 children represented our school in track events at Morton Stadium. We saw some excellent performances from our athletes, some of whom made the final. Congratulations to Peter on his medals for sprints and shotput! Well done to all of the athletes, you did yourselves and your school proud!
Extra Curricular Activities (ECAs)
This year, we were very fortunate to have had cross country running and athletics (Seóna, Karen, Sinéad, Katie, Rob), Scratch programming (Niamh), Homework club (Tania, Aoife, Jane), Spanish club (Carmen), 2nd Class Art club (Carmen), 3rd Class Art club (Caoimhe), chess (Gemma and Katie), Cartoon Drawing club (Bríd), basketball (Linda, Aoife), GAA (Heidi) and cricket (Karen). Many thanks for all those that gave of their time!
We had a wonderful chess tournament with our friends from Lucan East ETNS on May 28th. It was great to make new chess mates!
We were extremely lucky to have had the SFI Amber Centre at Trinity College loan us microscopes for use by the senior students this year.
Furthermore, we were exceptionally fortunate to have a loan of a Hitachi- TM 400+ table top scanning electron microscope (SEM) for a week, which all classes got to see in action. Many thanks to Carmen for demonstrating and Paul for organising it! The children were brimming with excitement when they got to see it. Seeing little glimpses of items magnified by 250,000 times their real size really whet their appetites to do more investigations.
This year, we invested in a new server and five reconditioned iPads for the SEN Department.
STEM and Genius Hour
All the children at Esker worked very hard in STEM this year, especially during Engineering week, Maths week, in their use of technology (problem solving and programming) and with Genius Hour. The STEM showcase on 9th March was a huge success. Following on from all of this marvellous work, the school entered the 2017-2018 Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) Discover Primary Science and Maths Award. See https://eskerstem2018.weebly.com
In order to be eligible for the DPSM Plaque, we had to show evidence of children’s engagement with STEM across the school. Here is the feedback from about our application:
Outstanding work. From the activism of the students (debate in the Airport, letters to Politicians etc.) to their enthusiasm, the excellence of the website to the obvious pride taken by staff and school in the collective efforts of all. This has been an absolute pleasure to assess. Huge congratulations to all!
Huge work done by all and led this year by Katie and Sinéad (6th class teachers).
Heritage in Schools: Biodiversity Talk
We were very lucky to have Michele Castiaux from the ‘Heritage in Schools’ scheme into our school in on April 18th. She gave us a talk on biodiversity and pollination. We went into our beautiful fairy garden and searched for helpful bugs and different types of trees. We also did some mapping. We had great fun finding the mini beasts, flora and fauna in the fabulous Esker garden.
This year, the school was affected by Storm Ophelia (in October) and Storm Emma (in March). These resulted in country-wide school closures.
A huge thank you to the parents that were involved in the clean up after Storm Emma. An enormous thank you too to David Stanley, of Roadstar Paving and his two helpers who brought two diggers and sorted out the worst of the problem for us, and did so free of charge. Go raibh míle maith agaibh!
Every year, we endeavour to bring the children on trips that encourage children’s learning, sense of curiosity and imagination, and that also build their skills, teamwork and independence. This year, the classes went to:
• Junior infants: Clonfert Pet Farm
• Senior infants: Imaginosity
• First class: Kildare Farm
• Second class: Pine Forest
• Third class: Rathbeggan Lakes
• Fourth class: Causey Farm
• Fifth class: Tayto Park
• Sixth class: W5 and Tayto Park.
The Department of Education and Skills have developed new Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools. These have been developed by the DES in consultation with the partners in education to take account of The Children First Act, 2015 and the revised Children First Guidelines, 2017. This year, all our staff undertook this Child Protection Training. We also received training in the new Primary Languages Curriculum.
‘Croí na Scoile’ Award
This year, the ‘Croí na Scoile’ Award was awarded to Jad Tinawi.
As with last year, the recipient of the award was chosen by both students and staff. This very special award commemorates Paul Kilgarriff, our dear colleague, who passed away in February 2014. The child that is chosen has shown school spirit, kindness, teamwork and has been an active participant in school activities and leadership in school. Well done Jad!!!
Our 6th class graduation was held on Tuesday, 26th June. This caring, curious crew of children have seen many changes since starting in Esker as junior infants in September 2011, having started in Adamstown Castle, moving to the prefabs in senior infants and then our new and magnificent building in 2015. They have made many long standing friendships that will no doubt travel on with them into secondary school, with very promising futures ahead of them!
We won’t say goodbye, but “Cheerio and be back soon!”
Ethical Education Conference
Malahide was the location of this year’s conference on “Gender Matters: Educating for Equality” on the 24th and 25th of November 2017.
Being child-centred, multi-denominational, democratic and co-educational are at the heart of the Educate Together ethos. At Esker, we encourage every single child to do their best and to reach their potential.
Change of contact details
If you move house or change phone numbers, please notify Suzanne in the office by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 01-624 1462.
Esker ETNS is part of the Lucan Common Enrolment System (LCES). We have offered out our places for junior infants 2018 already. For more information, please check our enrolment policies on our site www.eskeretns.ie or contact our secretary Suzanne.
Over the summer, you will be reminded about buying school books. We recommend that parents go online and use the supplier at http://www.openingminds.ie.
There are now 428 students at Esker. With so many children coming and going, everyone needs to be aware of the children’s safety when entering/exiting the school grounds. If possible, please drop children at the Castle Road entrance, walk or cycle. Please be aware of our neighbours, being mannerly and not blocking their driveways. We all need to work together to protect our children.
Board of Management
Sincere thanks to our Board of Management (BOM) for their continued support:
• Peggy (Chairperson and Patron nominee)
• Sandra (Treasurer and Patron nominee)
• Colette (Principal)
• Catherine (Teacher nominee)
• Virginija and Zydrunas (Parent nominees)
• Marie and Jacky (Community nominees).
Happy summer holidays!
We look forward to seeing you all back on Thursday, 30th August at 9:20am. School will finish at:
• 12:20 for junior infants (until 14th September)
• 2:00 for senior infants
• 3:00 for 1st-6th classes.
Welcome to our fourth edition of the Gazette, marking ten years of Esker Educate Together. And what a wonderful ten years we have had. From our small beginnings in Adamstown, we have grown and grown, and enjoy our perfect home in Esker Lane – quite befitting with our name!!!
So many people down through the last ten years have made the school what it is and we are so grateful to all of you. Over this time, we have seen many families and friends come and go, as their children moved on. We have happily prepared our sixth classes each year to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
But we were not prepared for the news that our Deputy Tom had decided to retire early, moving on to the next chapter in his life.
Tom started in Esker in 2007, having previously worked in Bray School Project. He has had a long standing interest and commitment to the Educate Together ethos.
He has been a wonderful support to the staff throughout his ten years here, wearing many hats as a beloved teacher, a school leader, parent supporter, musician extraordinaire, chess supremo and general all-around good guy. He has worked as a SEN teacher as well as a Home-School Teacher, so has gotten to know a huge number of parents and children. Children will special education needs have been particularly close to Tom’s heart in his time at the school.
We wish Tom a very happy future filled with many exceptional adventures. He will leave ‘big shoes to fill’!
Our door will always be open to any visit whether to say hello or to play us ‘What a Wonderful World!’.
You will always be welcomed with open arms!
Health & Wellbeing
This year we have seen a big focus on health and wellbeing, and being grateful for both the people in our lives and our health.
We have tried to encourage both a healthy mind and body at school, providing our students, staff and parents with many ways of working on this. This all started with Health and Wellbeing week in September 2016, which was sponsored by SDCC and organised by Gemma.
It was a chance for us to be mindful of our surroundings, concentrate on our mental & physical wellbeing, connect with our friends, and take a chance to be thankful of what we have rather than looking at what we don’t have.
Active Week and Active Flag
The School took part in Active Week from 3rd April 2017. The Active Schools Flag is awarded to schools who strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. It's recommended that all children get 60 minutes of vigorous exercise everyday - at the moment only 20% of children in Ireland are meeting this requirement so the aim of the Active Schools initiative is to get ALL children more active, more often.
Seóna, Karen, Gemma, Karen, Jane, Liz and Sinéad have all been involved in encouraging the children to get fit and have lots of fun!!!
A committee of children was formed too, which helped to decide on sports of interest. We hope to be awarded this flag by the end of 2017.
Many activities took place including Colette’s ‘Active thought of the day’, music in the yard to get children active, outdoor homework (i.e. play outside), GoNoodle dancing, Sportsperson dress up day, Football Allstars match (Reds versus Greens), whole school assembly of talented athletes. After the assembly the whole school walked a mile with a smile.
Activities throughout the week included: Go noodle in the class, chair yoga, 6th class yoga, class to 1km walks, healthy smoothies made by our parents, sensory walks, mindful eating, gratitude lists, and daily brain breaks with relaxing music and a thought of the day to focus on. The parents also took part and relaxed with yoga and kept fit with a 5km walk.
We had a ‘getting to know you’ coffee morning. It was great to meet new friends and to re-connect with familiar ones too.
Many clubs also came to the school including Gym Stars, Adamstown Cricket Club, Lucan Harriers Athletics, North Kildare Cricket Club, Dublin Lions Basketball, Weston Hockey Club and Karate. They taught us lots of new skills! Gemma also led orienteering and Liz led kin ball.
Keeping our body healthy, keeps our mind healthy. Don’t forget to keep active and enjoy the outdoors over the summer!
In February 2017, ably supported by Gemma and many volunteers from 6th class, the children were involved in the Food Dudes initiative. This encourages children to try new fruit and vegetables, with a small prize at the end of each day and also aims to combat childhood obesity.
After 16 days, many of the children have come to love a whole variety of new foods! It can take up to 5 tries of a new food to like it, so keep on tasting and trying, superheroes!!!
Hope in the Darkness
Esker ETNS was involved in supporting the Hope in the Darkness charity in March 2017. Homelessness is a very real and relevant topic for all of us today. Unfortunately, it is an issue that is affecting our friends and families every day. We think that a really important lesson to teach children is that, if we are in a position to help others, we should.
We sent out a request to our families to donate snack foods, drinks, and fresh fruit and vegetables and yet again we were overwhelmed by the generosity of all of our families in the school. We had over 10 crates of food that was donated by our parents and children. Carambola our lunch company also kindly donate 100 snack bags and 100 water bottles.
Gemma drove in to Dublin on a Saturday night and gave them our donations. She saw first- hand how far your generosity went towards homeless families and individuals. Thank you to everybody who donated, our small contributions resulted in a huge amount of food.
Seachtain na Gaeilge
This year, our SnG celebrations went on from March 6th – 16th. We celebrated with the Irish writing ‘Wall of Fame’, Seanfhocail (proverbs), Irish trails, céilí (Irish dancing), buddy reading, siopa beag, céilí sa halla and our big ceolchoirm (concert). It was a fantastic fortnight that enabled the children to put all of their Irish language to good use. The new travelling ‘siopa beag’ was a huge hit this year.
A big thank you to our live band who performed tirelessly at our Céilí (dance) which consisted of Tom, Evan, Deirdre K, Aoife B, and Frank ( Alex’s grandad from JI Green). The children really tried their best to use their Gaeilge, and really appreciated the fact that a language is only alive (beo) when it is spoken and used.
Is breá linn an Gaeilge!!
Some classes took part in the Incredible Edibles program. The school was given seeds by AgriAware, which were planted in the new garden outside.
“Schools are supplied with grow packs containing everything they needed to grow a veritable feast of healthy foods!”
At Esker, we have a Student Council. Children from 3rd to 6th are chosen to represent their classes in helping to shape the school through democratic process.
In order to help to fund more new Educate Together schools, the student council decided that they wanted to contribute to the Educate Together movement. They wanted other children to have the opportunity to go to a school like Esker ETNS.
They decided on a movie day fundraiser for the school, and titled it ‘Esker goes to the movies’. Every child donated €2 which bought them a movie ticket and a bag of popcorn. Delicious!!! They introduced the idea of the democratic process into the junior classes.
Green School Committee: A Walk for Water
On 22nd March Colette, Gemma and the Green School Committee went to Glendalough to take part in a walk for water with An Taisce. The idea behind the walk was to walk in solidarity with other children around the world who have to walk for water daily. We were learning about the value of water, especially clean water and how we have a responsibility not to waste it. We began our day by meeting with students from other schools and An Taisce. The Glendalough park ranger was there to point out the wildlife we spotted on our walk. All of these animals, from feral goats, deer, and ravens depend on water to live.
We went to the upper lake and filled up containers full of water and placed them in our back packs. The weight was considerable, and it made our 6km walk that bit tougher. The weather was against us that day, it was freezing cold and rained a lot. As we were walking in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in developing countries, we could not let a bit of bad weather discourage us. The children did so well on the walk, and never complained once. They were fascinated with the surroundings and even enjoyed spotting and discussing natural landscapes, and clouds that they had learned about in geography.
They realised how lucky we all are that we can simply turn on a tap when we are thirsty or dirty. We don’t have to boil our water to avoid getting sick. They realised that we need to make a concerted effort not to waste such a valuable resource. The Green School committee presented what they learned to the school at assembly which was based on the Global Goal 12 – responsible consumption.
Every child was given a vote on what they would like to watch. The junior classes voted for ‘Trolls’ and the senior classes voted for ‘The Secret Life of Pets’.
A great day was had by all, and the student council raised over €800. Well done to our very hard working Student Council!!!
Green School Committee: Spring Clean
On the 16th May, many parents, children and our Green School Committee rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up our community. Each year we have taken part in the An Taisce Spring Clean and each year the number of people who have taken part has increased. Despite it being a wet and windy day, our spirits were not dampened.
The children and parents worked tirelessly in the school ground and the surrounding school area to clean up. We picked up over 20 bags of rubbish, from crisp packets, bottles, cans and cigarette packages. We were shocked at how much we gathered in a relatively short time. The children were delighted to do their bit for their community, and it really illustrated the importance of using the bin. We have installed two new litter bins outside of our school, as we have noticed an increase of litter on the grounds.
Please take responsibility for your own litter. Use the bin. If you see litter on the ground pick it up, you are helping everybody by keeping our streets clean. A huge thank you to everybody who took part.
Each year we buddy up classes, a junior one with a senior one. This has always been a great way for the senior child to share their knowledge, while it helps the younger child by having someone to look out for them and help them.
Many classes this year have done buddy reading as well as working on ‘Global get-togethers’
Global Citizenship School (GCS)
Paula started the GCS last year and has managed to involve the whole school in working on the sustainable goals.
The classes have been involved in ‘Global get-togethers’, where younger classes have been buddied with older classes to learn from each other about topics such as ending poverty, water consumption, reducing inequality, peace and justice and climate change. We owe it to future generations to preserve and maintain the world for them.
By encouraging the children to develop an interest in global issues and enabling them to take responsibility for the environment, we are preparing the children to be active, mindful, careful citizens of the future.
In the coming year, we hope to have termly ‘Global get-togethers’.
The PTA have been very active this year. We would like to thank Farzana (PTA chairperson), Sabaa (PTA vice chairperson), Fatima (PTA treasurer), Ciaran (PTA secretary), Milena, Honor, Maha, Maureen, Zahraa, Marta, Ivana, Rana and Angela.
The PTA organise many things in the school, such as the School Insurance (Honor), the Scholastic Book Fair (Marta) and many fundraisers. They have also taken the school photos of each class, which are a beautiful keepsake of your child’s year (headed up by Maureen and the PTA). This raised €1933 for the school.
The PTA are parents that give over their time to help with making the school a better place for everyone. They are always looking out for new members!
Coin trail for Syria
In October, the PTA were involved in organising a coin trail for Syria. Representatives from the registered charity Human Appeal, a charity working on the ground in Syria, came to our school and spoke to our senior assembly. The assembly was told about how their money could help to alleviate some of the many difficulties facing children and families in war torn Syria.
We created a map of Syria upstairs in the school and children were invited to fill in the map with the coins that they brought in from home. We asked the children to do jobs for their parents to earn money to bring in to the coin trail. This has raised the most of any fundraiser at school – EVER! It raised a staggering €1,451.
The PTA were also instrumental in hosting the Esker Entertains show in December. They supplied the parents with tea, coffee and mince pies, all served with a smile.
‘Toy and Treat sale’ and ‘Book and Treat sale’
The PTA toy and treat sale was held in November and the book and treat sale in May. We were overwhelmed by the amount of donations, which helped to raise €1549 for the school. The children had a fantastic time browsing, buying, using their maths skills paying for items.
The Spring Raffle took place on Thursday April 6th. Thanks to all of our parents for their support and generosity. We received an amazing amount of sweets, chocolate and Easter eggs. There were 57 prizes in all given out! The raffle raised €1181.
The money raised from the events was used to purchase equipment and toys for the children, including a new bike rack.
The PTA organised the 5th and 6th class movie night on Tuesday, 26th June. The children really enjoyed watching ‘Sing’, so well done to the PTA for making it happen!
End of Year Celebration
Many thanks for the wonderful spread by the PTA and the Khan family for Tom’s retirement celebration, on June 28th.
Tom was involved in working with the PTA for many years and will be greatly missed by them.
Home School Community Liaison
We have a had another wonderful year of parental involvement at our school. Gemma has been there to encourage and inspire parents to become involved in creating our fabulous new school garden, as well as the Walking Club, English classes, Gardening Club, Art Club and yoga. There were also cookery/nutrition lessons.
Again, parents have been instrumental in helping their children, with programmes such as CLOVER (sponsored by SDCC libraries), Bedtime Reading Club and using the maths games at home. There are lots of pictures and details on our website.
Never underestimate just how important your encouragement and interaction with your child is. They benefit from your time and your skills, which will set them up for life. Thank you so much for your help this year!
New School Garden
On Wednesday, 31st May 2017 the parents’ garden club held their ‘Grand Garden Opening’ of the new school garden, which they had worked very hard on. Each child painted a stone, which were taken and cast into flagstones to make the pathway in the garden. The parents had dug, planted, painted and decorated the walls and garden beautifully.
Gemma welcomed everyone, the parents then told us all about their work, followed by the cutting of the ribbon. The Student Council also said a few words. As a symbolic gesture, the oldest and youngest student in the school crossed the ‘droichead’ (bridge) together marking that the garden was open for play. The school then celebrated with our happy song, Mr. Blueskies!!! This garden is now very popular with the children in school and is a little oasis of calm.
At Esker, we really encourage children to attend every day and to learn something new every day. We celebrate when children have full attendance termly and at the end of the year. We also encourage children to be punctual, as being late can interrupt the whole class.
Please try to ensure that your child is in the yard betweek 9:10-9:20 each day. Where they cannot attend school, please write a note in their journal or give the teacher their doctor’s note and try to keep absences to an absolute minimum, and definitely do not take holidays during term-time.
After school clubs
This year, we have been very fortunate to be able to run many after school clubs. These include: lego club, chess, Santry athletics training, cross country, football, basketball, tin whistle, magic club, comic club, cooking club and drama.
We have also seen the full roll out of the Sherpa Kids before and after school service.
This year, many children were involved in the Santry Athletics competition, Cumann na mBunscol. Karen, Sinéad, Rob and Katie organised and assisted with the preparation as well as the races. Trials were held on 13th May in Griffeen Valley Park, while the competition took place on 22nd and 25th May in Santry. Our children made us very proud of their medal winning performances, school spirit, behaviour and also their sportsmanship. Well done to everyone involved!
This year our school participated in the SDCC Cross Country events in Griffeen Valley Park and Corkagh Park. The children raced on the 8th February, 8th March, 5th April and 11th May 2017. They really did themselves as well as our school proud with their performance on the field.
Many thanks are due too to Karen, Seona, Rob and Sinéad for organising.
The Sam Maguire Cup came to visit us on January 30th, with senior player Davy Byrne. The whole school came out to see the cup. The students and staff sang a rousing rendition of Molly Malone, that would warm the cockles and mussels (no, muscles) of your heart!
In line with the aquatics part of the physical education (PE), swimming has been undertaken in 2nd to 5th classes. Swimming is part of the primary school curriculum, so it is essential that all children attend. We also learn about water safety.
Sports day was held on 13th June. We held the junior sports day on the school premises and the senior sports day at the Lucan Harriers grounds, on the Newcastle Road. A great day was had by all the students! The staff run in the senior sports day got the biggest giggle from all of the students!
Skip 2 B Fit
Thanks to the PTA, we had Skip 2B Fit on the 2nd June. The children had great fun trying to ‘out skip’ eah other. They learned many new skills.
Our variety show, Esker Entertains was held on December 20th and 21st 2016. What a wonderful concert we had here in the school just before the holidays. Every class worked really hard to produce songs from the Musicals for the enjoyment and entertainment of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and of course for the children themselves.
We had two Esker Entertain concerts, one for the parents and invited guests on Tuesday and we did it all again for the children in the school on Wednesday. There was a mixture of old and new, much loved, tunes from the Musicals. Songs from The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, The Jungle Book, Les Miserables, High School Musical.
Thank you to all of you parents who turned up to cheer on your children. You were a magnificent audience. Thanks also once again to our wonderful PTA who hosted the parents with tea, coffee and mince pies.
A great days work for us all and a great way to send us all off in to the holidays with music in our hearts.
For the last number of years, Tom has been running a Chess club after school. This has been a wonderful way to learn a very interesting game, work on problem solving skills, meet new people and mostly, have fun!!! They will really miss Tom’s class after he retires but all wish him the very best of luck.
Literacy and Numeracy in School
This year, we have continued to promote literacy in school, with our reading and writing programmes, including First Steps, Languageland, CLOVER, Bedtime Reading Club, Aistear, Lift-Off to Literacy and Directed Reading.
We also support the introduction of the new Primary Languages Curriculum. Teachers received training in the new curriculum on the 7th March. This curriculum will be rolled out nationally to teachers of junior infants to 2nd class initially, followed by 3rd to 6th in time.
We have continued to improve comprehension and vocabulary with the Word of the week, the Writing Wall of Fame and the Class Word Wall. Prizes were given for the classes that made the greatest effort, with the ‘Pizza and ice-cream party’ being won by 6th Class Red, 5th Class Green and 4th Class Green.
World Book Day was held on Thursday, 2nd March. Children were encouraged to read and everyone received a book token towards a new book from Gemma.
Discover Science and Maths
Esker ETNS has been awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Maths Plaque of STEM Excellence [Science Technology Engineering and Maths] for the academic year 2016/2017. This is our fourth STEM award!
Congratulations to Niamh, Deirdre W and Katie who were involved in the promotion of STEM across the school. This included Science Day (3rd May), 2 visits from the SEAI, a visit from a scientist from Science Ireland and the use of microscopes at 5th and 6th class. The NanoWOW program was rolled out in 6th class again. In the coming year, we hope to roll out the use of microscopes to more classes.
We have also invested heavily in 32 more netbooks, bringing the total to 48 for in-class use.
The very famous Niall de Burca visited the school on May 22nd. He had the whole audience hooked with his tall tales and magical characters!
Moon and Sixpence Puppet Theatre came to the school on March 31st. The children were enthralled by the play that they saw!
Lucan Library Quiz
The Lucan Library Quiz was held on the 22nd and 27th March. Teams entered from 5th and 6th classes and did themselves proud.
Details of all of this great work can be seen by logging on to http://eskerstem.weebly.com/
This year, the mobile library have been around to
3rd – 5th classes. This is a wonderful resource run by SDCC, which calls to the school on a monthly basis, enabling children to borrow books. Your local library is Lucan library.
We had a fabulous maths week from 15th-23rd October 2016. Thanks to Gemma, the parents, teachers, SNAs and children! This was such a good week to show the children why they need maths every day and not just in the classroom or maths book.
Junior Infants - Maths Stations. Junior infants showed their parents what they have learned this year by making patterns, sorting, counting, matching and building.
Senior Infants – Maths Stations. Parents came in every day this week to help Senior Infants with their counting, netbooks, patterns, matching and addition sums.
1st Class – Maths 4 Fun session with parents. The children played lots of card and dice games with their parents.
2nd Class – Maths Packs were given to parents, which they used to play maths games with the children.
3rd – 6th Class – Maths Trails. Parents were invited into school to take a team of children from their child’s class on a maths trail around the school. This was a great example of using our ‘maths eyes’ looking at the environment to find shapes, angles, counting, dividing, using fractions and measuring.
The children were able to explain why the need numeracy skills when we go shopping, travelling on the bus, going to the cinema and even sharing a pizza with our friends.
A HUGE thank you to all of our parents who took part this week. We could not have run the week without you, and looking at the children’s faces they loved having you in. We are doing lots of work on problem solving skills with the children, we are focusing on maths language and turning this language into mathematical sentences, and solving. Well done everybody!
Our children all got to experience a summer trip this year, with many also experiencing trips to the parks and library too.
•Junior infants: Larch Hill
•Senior infants: Sealife & Bray beach
•First class: Kildare Farm
•Second class: Clonfert Pet farm
•Third and fourth classes: Victorian Escapades, Mullingar
•Fifth class: Zipit
•Sixth class: Zipit
The school graduation was held on Tuesday, 27th June. It seems like only yesterday that our 6th classes were fresh new junior infants to their first teachers Grace and Rebekah in September 2009.
These classes have seen many changes in their time at school, with changes of location along the way. They have made great friendships, have worked hard, some have excelled at sports, gymnastics, programming and chess.
Most of all, they have showed wonderful school spirit and continue to look after each other.
We know that you will enjoy very bright futures and we look forward to seeing many of you return to say hello in the future!
Ethical Education Conference
This year’s conference was held in Dublin on the 25th and 26th November 2016, on the topic of ‘Raising student voices’.
Here at Esker, we feel that it is very important that student voices be heard, and this is enabled through the curriculum as well as active participation in democratic processes such as the Student Council and Green School Committee.
Educate Together AGM
We were very excited and proud to hold the Educate Together AGM on the 11th February 2017.
As a democratic organisation, it is important that Educate Together’s members come together to discuss matters of importance to our schools. This year ET are developing a new strategic plan. Many thanks for the help from staff, parents and students in helping to show what a magnificent school we have to all those that visited. They were very impressed!
‘Croí na Scoile’ Award
The ‘Croí na Scoile’ Award was awarded to Charley H after the graduation. Go h-iontach, Charley!
This special award commemorates our dear colleague Paul Kilgarriff, who passed away in February 2014. It is given to acknowledge that the student has shown school spirit, kindness and consideration, participation in school life and activities, and leadership within the school. This year, both the students and staff could vote.
Over the summer, you will be reminded about buying school books. We recommend that parents go online and use the supplier at www.openingminds.ie (using your class code).
We have offered out places to incoming junior infants, according to the the Lucan Common Enrolment System (LCES). For more information, please check our enrolment policies on our site www.eskeretns.ie or contact our school secretary on Tel: 01-624 1462.
Board of Management
Many thanks to our Board of Management (BOM) for their work behind the scenes:
•Peggy (Chairperson and Patron nominee)
•Sandra (Treasurer and Patron nominee)
•Catherine (Teacher nominee)
•Shandana and Zydrunas (Parent nominees)
•Marie and Jacky (Community nominees).
Be happy, be safe and enjoy your summer adventures!
We look forward to seeing you all back on the 31st August at 9:20am.
School will finish at:
•12:20 for junior infants (until 15th September)
•2:00 for senior infants
•3:00 for 1st-6th classes.
Welcome to our third edition of the Gazette. We have had another exciting year here at Esker, with many new initiatives and awards for excellence.
This year, there has been a huge focus on friendship and citizenship as we have learned about where we are in the world, about our rich history as an island nation as well as making friends with children around the school with our buddying initiatives.
It has been a year of many celebrations, including our Mother Tongue week and our musical production of Mary Poppins. We have been immensely proud of our school community and our very talented children.
Esker is an Educate Together school. This means that we are multi-denominational, co-educational, democratic and child-centred. We follow the Ethical Education ‘Learn Together’ curriculum. Through this, we celebrate the cultural and religious diversity of our school and country.
Just before our December break, we celebrated the richness of our school with ‘Mother Tongue’ week.
We have such a rich diversity of language and this year, our parents helped us deliver a real and meaningful linguistically diverse week.
Many parents volunteered to help with teaching songs, music and dance from countries around the world, and we then held a concert for parents on 18th December 2015.
It was a treat for children to perform Romanian, Lithuanian, Yoruba, Polish, Mandarin, Italian and Urdu songs and dances with their parent helpers.
The rest of the school was transformed, with each class becoming a new country. Each child was given a passport and they went room to room, having it stamped in other classes. The children really enjoyed visiting these countries and had a ‘Question & answers’ session in each class.
The Diversity through Art group presented Colette with a very special art piece on the day. Keep an eye out for it in the corridor!
Many of our celebrations remind us that we should look after our friends, family and those less fortunate than ourselves. In February, our PTA organised a very special hamper collection for FOCUS IRELAND. This is a homeless charity that helps children and adults. The PTA raised over €750. The school also collected at our gala performance of Mary Poppins and raised an additional €426 for this very worthy cause.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 8th and 9th March, were very exciting days in the school. The Student Council, under the direction of Seóna and Liz, organised a charity junior fun day and a senior football tournament. Both days led to great excitement in the school.
On Wednesday afternoon, the whole school turned out to witness a match between the All-Stars Red and Green teams. The best boy and girl player from each class (Red or Green) from 3rd to 6th were selected to play in the All Star Final. These talented All-Star players played Red vs Green in the junior Yard supported by the whole school. The first half ended in a draw but the second half finished with a total of three goals, 2 to the Reds and 1 to the Greens. Congratulations to the organisers and participants, who managed to raise a whopping €750 for Cancer Research.
Green Schools Committee
As always, our GSC have been instrumental this year in keeping all of us on our toes and ‘Keeping Esker Green!’ They have organised litter pick-ups around the school and have encouraged us all to be mindful of our energy usage.
Monday 22nd February was a very important day for our Green School Committee in Esker ETNS, with a visit from an inspector from An Taisce. For the past two years we have been working towards earning our second Green flag for Energy, our first flag having been for litter and waste.
On the 26th May, our two students John and Denisa were at the Helix to accept the new flag with Gemma, who has directed the Green School Committee since it began.
This flag was raised by the GSC in a very important ceremony, on 24th June 2016, which joined our other Green flag and the Irish flag. We celebrated with a rousing rendition of Olé, ole, olé followed byMr. Blueskies and some tasty ice cream!
On Thursday 12th May, as part of Bealtaine Festival with SDCC, we invited our grandparents to our school. This idea was put forward by Malvina in 6th class, at the end of last year.
The pupils from the Student Council ran the show: Welcoming our grandparents, serving them afternoon tea, and taking special care of our honoured guests. Frank and Amal read out the ‘Proclamation for a new generation’, and we gave our grandparents a copy of this to take home as a memento. Many classes performed and kept our grandparents entertained for the whole morning – we had percussion, singing, dancing, drama and rapping.
As Colette told our grandparents on the day, they are such important people in the lives of their grandchildren, and have the time to spend with them and teach them about their heritage. We value our grandparents so much and felt so lucky that we had so many to share this special day with.
Centenary Celebrations (1916-2016)
This year saw the historic 100 year celebration of Ireland’s fight for freedom in 1916. This began with a visit from the Irish Air Corps who presented our school with the National Flag and a copy of the original Proclamation of Independence.
Along with all schools in the country, Esker ETNS commemorated the Easter Rising and the first reading of the Proclamation on Easter Monday 1916, on 15th March, 2016.
The school ceremoniously raised the Irish National Flag, the green white and orange tricolour. The 1916 Proclamation of an Irish Republic was also read out at this ceremony. The Proclamation is regarded as the seminal document in the Irish Revolutionary period which began in 1916 and led, ultimately, to the birth of an independent Irish State.
The children in the school also worked on a new Proclamation, a ‘Proclamation for a New Generation’. A copy of this Proclamation, which articulates the dreams and hopes of our children for their future, was sent home to each household after Easter.
This momentous day was recorded and a video uploaded to the school website.
Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Language week)
Along with Proclamation Day, Esker also celebrated Seachtain na Gaeilge with ceilis and ceolchoirms (Irish dancing and concerts) which formed part of our full day of celebration. 6th Class Green prepared a drama about the events of Easter Week a hundred years ago and performed this for the school on Tuesday morning.
Global Citizenship School
Our school has signed up as a Global Citizenship School. This is about encouraging and supporting children to learn about and act upon global issues. We have made a commitment to promote a more just, equitable and sustainable world for all and are of the first twenty schools in the country to be involved in this very important initiative, sponsored and supported by the INTO.
Six classes in the school have taken part in a monthly ‘Global Get-Together’ meeting to discuss one of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2016-2030. These meetings and the subsequent artwork, poetry, interative games have given the children the opportunity to discuss global problems at a local level and brainstorm ideas for action.
A delegation from our school was invited to attend the Mansion House on Tuesday 31st May to celebrate the unveiling of our Global Citizenship School Initiative with the President of Ireland Mr. Michael J Higgins and his wife Ms. Sabine Higgins and the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Luqman from 6th and Jessie from 5th represented the children at the ceremony. They were accompanied by Paula, who spearheaded the initiative in our school and by Colette. Our school was congratulated by the President for the important work we do in the school to promote positive relations and for our long term commitment to work for a better and fairer world.
We have had another lovely year of meet-ups with our buddies, with whom we’ve met to share a good book or to learn about Global Citizenship. This year, many classes were involved.
Here is a picture of 5th Green and Junior Red outside enjoying the sunshine, making friends while engrossed in some really good books!
After school clubs
Over the course of the year, a number of extra-curricular activities have been running: Football, drama, art, keyboard, tin whistle, Irish dancing, chess, basketball, athletics, Spanish club and Scratch programming. A homework club also ran during the year.
Catholic instruction was held after school, which led to two lovely celebrations for both Communion and Confirmation.
From September 2017, an external company ‘Sherpa Kids’ will be offering before and after school care within the school building.
A very hearty congratulations to our field event team who represented our school at Cumann na mBunscol interschool athletic competition on Monday, 24th May and Monday, 31st May. The teams did very well and brought home three individual medals. Fade won bronze medal for the hurdles, Malvina won silver for a spectacular jump of 3.5m and Frank brought home a gold medal for shot putt. Our sprint and relay teams competed on the second day and also did the school proud.
Congratulations to all involved and a very big thank you to their teacher trainers, Karen M, Seóna, Rob and Sinéad. Comhghairdeachas gach duine!
Congratulations to our chess team who secured a great victory in an interschool completion held on 3rd May in Lucan East ETNS. Our team of four boys (Frank, Fade, John and Oscar) and one sole girl (Denisa) were the ultimate winners in a four school tournament against four teams from Lucan East ETNS, Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada and Newbridge ETNS. Congratulations to the team and to Tom who teaches and trains the team every Monday afternoon in the chess club and organises inter school tournaments. Well done to all involved!
Sports day was held on 28th June. Eventhough the weather was a bit of a wash-out, the children had immense fun.
Junior sports day (juniors – 2nd): The juniors enjoyed the parachute, sponge relay, giant football, a scavenger hunt, dodgeball, novelty race (the vaseline and cotton ball race was a huge hit!) and an obstacle course. Then a guided dance session and a disco. Whew! I’m tired even thinking about all of that!!
Senior sports day (3rd – 6th): This took place at the Lucan Harriers grounds, on the Newcastle Road. The classes participated in sprints, relays, the egg and spoon race, the three-legged race and the tug of war. The long jump was completed in school in advance.
In line with the aquatics part of the physical education (PE) curriculum, this year 2nd- 5th classes attended swimming lessons. Swimming is a life skill that everyone should have. Just remember, have fun but always be safe around water!
For 18 weeks this year, the two fourth classes have been learning all about music with Music Generation. This is a music education programme that enables children to access high quality performance music education, supported by the famous Irish band U2, the PTA, the Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. They learned a range of songs and song singing skills, and even composed their own songs. 'Ham and Eggs' was a firm favourite! The students and teachers all really enjoyed the programme, which we hope to run again next year.
Jazz in the classroom
The two first classes had a visit from a jazz band on 10th June, playing ‘America: The sound of rhythm and jazz’. Four musicians visited the classroom, playing a number of different songs. The two first classes loved them! They really liked the different noises and instruments.
This year saw the school’s first musical in our fabulous new building on our beautiful new stage. The children spent several months rehearsing for the show, learning all of the lines, dance routines and songs.
We had lots of wonderful parent helpers that assisted with the set, as well as all of the staff pulling together to make Mary Poppins a wonderful success.
Our little stars performed shows for the other school children, followed by the gala performance on Thursday, 2nd June to a full house. Another performance for parents and siblings was held the next day. Our gala night coincided with a huge power cut in Lucan but thankfully, lady luck was shining down on us and ‘It was alright on the night!’ The children were genuinely magnificent and the production was of a really high standard. The audiences were blown away by the professionalism of our children! Please see our website for lots more details and photographs.
It was an unforgettable stage production. They were Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!
Literacy and Numeracy in School
Over the course of this school year, we have been in the very fortunate position of offering some very interesting initiatives to our students.
With support from our learning and language support teams, we have run a literacy programme with senior infants and first class called ‘Lift-Off to Literacy’. This intensive intervention boosts reading and writing, as well as being lots of fun!
From 2nd to 6th classes, we rolled out our first ‘Directed Reading’ initiative. The children have really loved reading with different teachers and ‘getting stuck into books!’. We have invested hugely this year in buying high quality readers that the children have really enjoyed.
This year, we have also rolled out Problem Solving Skills for maths. We have invested in mini-whiteboards for all and encouraged children to work on maths that relates to real life. This has also been supported by ‘Maths Eyes’ in the classroom and maths trails around the school and to local parks.
We have also focused on vocabulary development in school, as this is very helpful in terms of developing comprehension. Catherine has been heading this up.
Three initiatives have been held each week: Word of the week, the Writing Wall of Fame and theClass Word Wall. These have generated a huge amount of interest among the children as well as encouraging the children to use new vocabulary. No longer does the word vocabulary give anyone the collywobbles or the heebee-jeebies!
Each class competed over the course of a term in the three areas, with 4th Class Green winning the first competition and 5th Class Green winning the second. The prize was the much coveted ‘Pizza and ice-cream party’.
Over the summer, we hope that you will encourage your children to take an interest in the words in the environment and in reading.
Try this challenge: Learn a new word a day!
Home School Community Liaison
With Gemma in the driving seat, we have been offering lots of new and exciting clubs to parents this year. Many parents have become involved in the Walking club, Book club, Yoga classes, Gardening club, Diversity through Art, Mary Poppins props art workshop, Parent Plus classes, Parent-child art classes and English classes. It has been wonderful to see our parents get involved and become a part of our school community!
Our parents have also been involved in reading with junior infants, a library trip (CLOVER project) and reading with senior infants (the Bedtime Reading Club). This is in addition to helping around the school with Maths for Fun in 1st and 4th classes, maths packs in 2nd, the maths table quiz for 5th and 6th and maths trails for senior infants, 3rd and 4th classes.
We love to see learning being fostered by parents and seeing our parents having so much fun too! Thank you so much for your help this year.
Over the last five years, we have been introducing a play-based curriculum called Aistear into the infant classrooms.
This curriculum has been a wonderful development aiding the oral language of the children, as they learn new vocabulary, build social skills and friendships, develop confidence through role play and develop problem solving skills. It also allows for the integration of English, science, maths, music and art so that the children develop lots of skills in many areas over the course of a month.
This year Junior Infants Red really enjoyed learning through play during Aistear. We planned, played and reviewed our playing every day. Some of our themes this year included: The home, the construction site, the supermarket, winter, the post office, the garden centre, the doctors surgery and a castle.
During Aistear we practised taking turns, working with a group, planning, using new vocabulary and practised our language skills but most importantly we had lots of fun! Aistear remained a constant favourite part of the day from the start to the end of the day for Junior Infants.
On Tuesday 7th June, Barry from the DSPCA came to visit and talk to junior and senior infants. He talked about how to be a kind pet owner and about the great work that the DSPCA do to prevent cruelty to animals. He also brought George, a giant African snail with him. Some of us were even brave enough to hold George!
Discover Science and Maths
On 18th May, Esker ETNS was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Maths Plaque of STEM Excellence for the 2015/16 academic year. We are thrilled to see that all of the science, technology, engineering and maths work, carried out in our school has been acknowledged and celebrated with this award. The children really enjoyed taking part in the Awards programme this year.
Congratulations to 6th Class Green and their teacher Deirdre W. who organised and led the programme in the school this year, following on from the Niamh’s great work previously.
We feel that it is very important for our children to experience the outdoors and nature, and to have adventures to new places. This year, each of our classes went on at least one big school trip.
This year, the mobile library have been around to
3rd – 5th classes. This is a wonderful resource run by SDCC, which calls to the school on a monthly basis, enabling children to borrow books. Your local library is Lucan library. It is located beside Super Valu, on the Newcastle Road for your summertime reading!
The school graduation was held on Thursday, 23rd June. It seems like only yesterday that our 6thclasses were fresh new junior infants to their first teachers Grace, Siobhán and Rebekah in 2008.
They have seen huge changes in our school, with changes in location to our now much-loved spot on Esker Lane and huge changes in technology, which is now a feature of their everyday education. Many of these children have learned how to code and have skills in IT that surpass many of the adults!
We know that 6th class have very bright futures ahead of them and hope that they will all come back to visit us in time. We hope to remain the foundation upon which you build your futures. Our door will always be open to welcome you!
This year has seen a monumental change in how children will enter our school system, in junior infants. Since October 1st 2015, Esker ETNS, Adamstown Castle ETNS, Griffeen Valley ETNS and Lucan East ETNS will operate a co-ordinated admissions system: the Lucan Common Enrolment System (LCES).
The aim of this common enrolment system is to promote inclusive, integrated schools that serve the needs of local families. Priority will be based on age, having siblings in the school and proximity to the school.
The old enrolment policy still applies for new children entering from senior infants on. As places are so sought after, please inform us if you are not returning after the summer holidays.
For more information, please check our enrolment policies on our site www.eskeretns.ie or contact our school secretary on Tel: 01-624 1462.
Croí na Scoile Award
The Croí na Scoile Award was awarded to Denisa Cirdei after the graduation.
Maith thú, Denisa!
This special award for school spirit and the embodiment of our school ethos commemorates our dear colleague Paul Kilgarriff, who passed away in February 2014.
Over the summer, you will be reminded about buying school books. Since the closure of our local school book shop, we have been trying to make it easier for our parents to purchase books. This year we are recommending that parents go online and use the supplier at www.openingminds.ie
On the right hand side of the page, you can choose a county, the school name and the class. The books are then delivered to your door or to Parcel Motel. You are of course free to purchase anywhere that you like if there is a bookshop that is more convenient to you, just make sure to bring your booklist.
Board of Management
This year saw a few changes to our Board of Management. We thanked Tom, our Deputy Principal, for his trojan work on the board as a teacher nominee and welcomed Catherine in. We were delighted that Peggy Masterson has continued as chairperson. Jacky Zhang our parent nominee, became a community nominee, while we welcomed Shandana and Zedd as the new parent nominees. Sandra, our treasurer and Marie, our community nominee also agreed to another term with us. Go raibh míle maith agaibh! Thank you! All of your help behind the scenes helps to make the school the success that it is!
We look forward to seeing you all back on Thursday, 1st September at 9:20am. School will finish at 12:20 for junior infants (until 16th September), 2:00 for senior infants and 3:00 for 1st-6th classes.
Bain taitneamh as na laethanta saoire! Happy holidays!
Dia dhaoibh agus fáilte romhaibh go léir go dtí ár scoil nua álainn anseo in Eiscir. We are delighted to welcome you all to our new building, which was officially opened on Wednesday, June 17th 2015, by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD.
What a momentous and monumental day for the whole school community! In this edition of our newsletter, we would like to tell you all about our beginnings, our history and the celebration of our school’s biggest day.
The History of Our School
Our wonderful school was founded in September 2007. It emerged from a local need for a new school, in the rapidly growing area of Lucan.
The school was founded by Colette Kavanagh, Jane McCarthy(Board of Management), Paul Rowe (Educate Together’s CEO) and Amy Mulvihill (Regional Development Officer) in the summer of 2007. History was made! Tom Costelloe joined quickly thereafter and brought with him his exceptional dedication and support.
The school opened on the 5th September 2007 with 77 pupils and 9 teachers. It continued to grow and grow, to 413 pupils and 31 staff this year.
Over the course of our first 7 years, we spent time in Adamstown Castle ETNS, St. John the Evangelist NS, Lucan East ETNS and our temporary home in Adamstown. We were so warmly welcomed by these other schools and made great friends at each stage, but it was time for a change!
Having worked tirelessly up until that point to get a new building and after much speculation, a new school site was located. Surveys were undertaken, architectural plans were drawn up and approved. It was all starting to take shape!
The first sod was turned in early 2014, with the building ready for occupation as the school year commenced in September 2014. The first few months were taken to settle in and adjust to the new school environment: The bright and airy classrooms, a spacious hall in which to house our wonderful assemblies, two fantastic yards and beautiful, mature trees all around the site that make it feel like we were always here!
Parent Teacher Association
Our new building is now a focal point in the community for our parents and our families. We have been blessed with a wonderfully active PTA that have helped to shape the school into what it is today, a vibrant educational and supportive community. We are extremely grateful to the whole parent body who have remained loyal to us in all our journeys. Their help has always been invaluable and they are “truly the backbone of the school”.
On the day of the opening, many of our parents worked to create a virtual international food festival upstairs. Other parents helped us with our funfair and art and craft fair. Others helped out with traffic management.
Under the chairmanship of Aoife Linnane and ably assisted by Maureen Fox, the PTA has moved from strength to strength and we thank them for their work in making the opening the great day that it was for us all and especially for the children.
The evening before the grand school opening, many parents and friends came to help us to get ready for the big day. Preparations had been underway for several weeks in the classrooms; creating artwork, learning speeches, learning songs and dances. Preparations behind the scenes had also been taking place, Ministers had been contacted, local TDs, local principals, past colleagues, members of Educate Together, our families and other friends had all been invited to come to our special day.
The Grand School Opening
Wednesday, 17th June 2015 arrived and the excitement was palpable across the whole school from the time that we opened our doors. Energy and enthusiasm were brimming across the school as the children flooded into their classrooms. The time came for us all to go outside, with children lining up around the perimeter of the carpark for the guard of honour. Children waved their national flags, full of energy and vitality.
After a couple of false starts, the car of the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD arrived.
A welcoming committee of hundreds, including our Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Paul Rowe, Amy Mulvihill, local TDs Derek Keating and Joanna Tuffy and many of the councillors were there. Councillor Eamon Tuffy really helped in the beginning and deserves special mention. We were also really overwhelmed by the support of our parents and the great number that came and helped us. Special mention also to our first BoM guests – Peggy, Mark, Doris and Eithne, and the representatives of other local schools that really helped and supported us: Tom, Ita, Tony, Fr. John and Eddie.
Without further ado, the guests poured into the hall to begin the celebrations. The choir opened the ceremony with the “Congolese Welcome Song”.
Ryan Liu (6th class pupil and Student Council representative) and Farzana Shah (PTA member), Peggy, Paul and the Minister all spoke about the wonderful education, community and building at the heart of the celebrations.
Some memorable quotes
Colette: “We deserve this building. This school feels right. It belongs to us all. It feels like home”.
Peggy Masterson: “Esker has been very lucky to have had Colette as principal. From her first day at Esker she has been a truly inspirational leader for the whole community.”
Paul Rowe: “This is a tremendous day, a day to celebrate the fantastic achievement of a community, a school community, a group of outstanding teachers and educationalists, committed parents and a superb group of children”.
Farzana Shah: “I have to say that it is not just a building that makes a school – the spirit, the heart, and the atmosphere comes from the teachers, the parents and the children”.
Ryan Liu: “When I first saw it (the school) I was really pleased to have the chance to spend my final year in primary school in such a bright, fresh spacious building. Learning is easier and much more fun when there’s space and light and room to move about”.
Minister O’Sullivan, TD: “I am delighted with the warm welcome that I received from the children, staff and parents. I can see today what a happy and productive school it is. I congratulate them for their many successes to date with the school choir and in athletics competitions in Cumann na mBunscol. Congratulations also on the Award of Science and Maths Excellence two years in a row and for being the proud holders of a green flag”.
The ceremony continued with beautiful renditions of “Teir Abhaile” and “Something inside so strong” from the choir. We all agreed with the sentiment in “What a wonderful world”!
The Minister then unveiled the plaque, which will adorn our school wall and records this very special day.
“How lucky and grateful we feel today!”
Following the unveiling, everyone moved outside for the tree planting. Peggy had chosen a beautiful Magnolia tree, a plant that can survive extremes and then continues to blossom.
The Minister was then surprised by the whole school flashmob of Mr. Blue Sky!
Everyone then moved upstairs for the Café. Parents had created the most appealing array of foods, from every corner of the globe.
The students welcomed their parents into their classrooms, who then enjoyed quizzes, maths games and chats with the children in each class!
This was then followed by the carnival. What fun! Bubbles wafted into the entrance to greet the children, with two stilt walkers teetering above. Two minions bounced around the children, as they entered the yard. The children were so excited! There were so many stalls, which were ably run by parents, teachers and students! Fan making, biscuit decorating, origami, face painting, henna (mehndi), hair styling, nail painting, target throws, robot making, limbo dancing, hook-a-duck, clay, recycled junk art, the obstacle course, hockey shoot out, welly throw, penalty shoot-out and wall painting.... And then popcorn and candy floss!!!!! What an amazing day! The children loved it!
Our heartfelt thanks to all of the children, staff and parents that made it all possible, especially Gemma and Catherine.
The 6th class graduation took place on Thursday, 25th June. These two classes are very special to us, having been the first junior infants that we taught. And haven’t they blossomed?
The ‘Croí na Scoile Award’ was awarded to Ryan Liu. This award commemorates our dear colleague Paul Kilgarriff for school spirit and the embodiment of the ethos. Well done Ryan!
So it is there that we will leave you all. We wish you a very happy, fun-filled and safe summer.
We look forward to seeing you all back on Tuesday, 1st September at 9:20 for the usual school day (2:00 finish for infants, 3:00 for 1st-6th classes).
Bain taitneamh as na laethanta saoire!