Issue 1/2016 Vol.3
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!
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The Esker Gazette is newsletter that started in 2014 to give a around up of events in our school over the year.