Pumpkin carving, spiderwebs, school parades, a dress up day, baking Halloween cupcakes... it's all fun and games in Junior Infants Green!
During the month of October we had our 'Health and Wellbeing week'. This was a lovely week where Linda organised activities for the whole school to take part in. We learned about friendships, exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness. Carambola kindly gave us some bananas to bring home to help us eat our five-a-day. However, we made sure to use them as Banana-phones before eating them!
Health and Wellbeing week also brought back the very exciting 'Mile with a Smile' walk. This is a walk around our school grounds that takes place during special occasions.
Have a look at some of the other fun activities we did during the month of October. We learned all about the Supermarket as part of our Aistear theme and also about the festival of Halloween which is celebrated in Ireland and around the world on October 31st. We discussed the traditions of trick or treating, games like 'Bob the Apple' and also the many different costumes and clothes that people wear for Halloween.
Junior Infants walked with Senior Infants, First and Second classes all around the school building for our Halloween parade to celebrate the last day before midterm break. We brought musical instruments with us to celebrate in our Halloween costumes! There was even a big dinosaur ringing a bell who was leading us in the parade! I wonder who that was...
Due to Covid 19, we are currently using a staggered arrival in the mornings. Each morning from 9:10 - 9:30 the children have fine motor skills activities and free play. The children have a different activity each morning while we wait for all the children to arrive. These activities help with handwriting skills, fine motor development and hand-eye coordination. Formal lessons begin at 9:30 when the school day officially starts.
At 9:30 we take the rolla to see who is in school that day. After we have a chat together as part of our circle time. We tell and listen to stories, jokes and news from one another. We sing songs and nursery rhymes together, practice mindfulness (eg. breathing exercises or meditation) and take part in a movement break (eg. Yoga, dancing, stretching or exercising). Next, we'll look at the visual timetable to see what is next on the schedule for the rest of the day.
Each morning we have literacy stations at our tables. Each group work together at a literacy based activity (2 teacher led and 3 independent). These activities change each day and are very interactive!
After playing outside for little break, the children come back to the classroom and eat their small snack from Carambola. These snacks are distributed each morning and can be changed online using the code on your child's Carambola lunch packet.
Next is the best part of the day.... Time for Aistear! This is where our themed learning takes place through games, play based activities and child led fun. The children learn about Science, History, Geography, Art, Drama, STEM, Maths and Languages during this time. Our themes change each month and include the home, the supermarket, the construction site and more. The play activities rotate every 2 days so that each child completes all activities within a fortnight. This is a time when important life skills including problem solving, communication, imagination, planning, reflection, critical thinking, sharing and turn taking are happening in the classroom. The children love this time of the day and so do the teachers!
After Aistear, the children work together to tidy up the classroom and discuss what they did during the play time. This is when ideas are shared and the children really learn from one another!
Ansin, tá sé am-Gaeilge! Oibrimid le chéile chun foghlam faoi téamaí difriúila gach coicis. Tá na ranganna Gaeilge múineadh trí amhráin, dánnta, cluichí, cómhrá, aithris agus athrá i Naíonáin Bheaga. Tagann an pupéid 'Ollaí an Ulchabhán' amach chun an teanga a spreagadh freisin. Tá Gaeilge neamhfhoirmiúl úsáidte againn i rith an lae chun frásaí agus grammadach úsáideach a cleachtadh chomh maith. Is aoibhinn linn an Ghaeilge sa rang seo!
Then, it's time for Irish! We work together to learn about different topics each fortnight. Irish lessons are taught through songs, poems, games, discussions, repetition and revision in Junior Infants. 'Ollaí the Owl' puppet comes out during lessons to promote the language in the classroom too. Informal Irish is practiced throughout the day to familiarise the children with useful phrases and grammar. We love Irish in this class!
After all that learning it's time for big break! The children play outside in their yard area and on days when it is too wet, they take part in indoor exercise breaks. The hot lunches from Carambola arrive at 12:30 and children eat together in class while chatting or listening to a story, nursery rhymes or music. Everyone helps to clean up by scraping their hot food into the correct bins afterwards (red for compostable items, green for the tinfoil trays).
In the afternoon the children complete numeracy and Maths activities at their tables. At this stage in the day they are very tired so after Maths activities it's time to tidy up, relax and get ready for the weekly story. Reading is so important for children and we read the same story for 1 week to develop a love of reading in the classroom. The children love to recognise patterns, make predictions and notice new information or pictures each day. This is a time to calm down, relax and enjoy a book together.
After the story the children line up and get ready to go home for the day. Although the day is short, we manage to squeeze in lots of learning and fun during the day!
In September we were so excited to meet all of the fantastic children starting in Esker for the first time! The children lined up with their families and loved ones at the path footprints for the first time and were warmly welcomed into the building with a round of applause and a team of smiling faces!
They very bravely walked in with their schoolbags and entered their new school for the first time. They settled in quickly as their met their new teachers and classmates. We sang songs, played games, practised nursery rhymes and learned lots about one another!
Our Aistear theme was 'The Home' so most of our learning was centered around the family, the home and the children's individual identities and interests. This helped the class to settle into the new school routine by using familiar words, items to play with and pictures to discuss together. Have a look at some of the pictures to see what we got up to!
We even had our first fire drill! Here we are in the school yard with the rest of the school. This was the first time the whole school gathered together. It was great to see the children recognising some familiar faces of sisters, brothers, cousins and friends from other classes in Esker ETNS. Smile and wave everybody! :)
This month our theme was The Garden Centre! This has definitely been one of our favourite themes so far because we have been able to play with mucky soil, plant seeds, play with real daffodil bulbs and gardening equipment like watering cans, trowels and rakes too! We have been reading stories like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Ten Seeds and The Cautious Caterpillar that teach us all about how all living things grow and change when they are cared for and loved.
We also learned how seeds grow when they have enough water, soil and sunlight. Each day we watch to see how our strawberry and potato plants are growing thanks to the free materials sent to our school by Incredible Edibles! They sent some seeds, plants and gardening equipment to our home-school teacher Linda who kindly shared them with our class. We have become fantastic gardeners in the process! We want to say a very big thank you to the Incredible Edibles team and to Linda for giving us all the equipment we need to be excellent gardeners!
In January we were told that schools would be closed and we would have to learn from home until schools could reopen safely. Luckily, children and parents had been using our online learning platform 'Seesaw' for homework since the start of the year. While the transition to home learning was a daunting one, it was made a little easier by the familiar layout of Seesaw that families and teachers had used since September.
Parents became overnight teachers and helped their children with tasks, challenges and learning activities online and at home. It was important for parents to remember that they knew their child best and that we understood that each family and home situation was different. We were blown away with the consistent engagement and responses from families during the school lockdown. It was a very difficult time for families and they still managed to submit work, take photos, join Zoom calls and take part in weekly challenges. Thank you once again for your brilliant involvement. The photos and work submissions we got were absolutely wonderful and helped to keep up the connections with children from afar.
We had weekly class calls on Zoom that did not include any formal learning. These calls were purely to socialise, chat, play games and have fun together. We played Simon says, Spot the Difference, engaged in Show and Tell, exercised with GoNoodle video routines and even talked about our pets, toys, hobbies and past times during the lockdown.
Our whole-school Learn Together Assemblies also took place on Zoom each Friday. In school we have assemblies each Friday as part of our Educate Together Learn Together curriculum. This was a great way to keep connected and catch up on news and interesting projects taking place. The highlights were the birthday shoutouts, Susan's weekly outdoor challenges, the OWL nominations (Outstanding Weekly Learner) and of course Colm's Intercolm jokes!!
You can rewatch some of the Learn Together Assemblies here: https://www.eskeretns.ie/learn-together-assemblies
Also, have a look at the Home Learning Hub for Susan's weekly outdoor challenges: https://www.eskeretns.ie/esker-home-learning-hub.html
On December 18th our school had a silly hat day fundraiser that was organised by the PTA. We had a splendid collection of hats and headgear on display... just have a look at some of the photos!
Well done to all who took part and thank you to the PTA for the great fundraiser for our school! We had so much fun and loved dressing up in our silliest hats. What a great way to end the term!
We want to say a big thank you to our wonderful SNA Milena and our fantastic caretaker Barry for designing and painting our lovely sensory maze in the Junior Infants yard!
Now we have hopscotch, froggy jumps, loop the loop tracks, ladders and lots more to keep us busy during our breaktimes outside.
It's been tried and tested by the children in Junior Infants Green and we love it! Bualadh bos agus go raibh míle maith agaibh!!
The CLOVER initiative (Children LOVE Reading) has been a fantastic incentive in our school and we didn't let Covid restrictions stop us from promoting and encouraging a love of reading in Junior Infants! Linda, our home school liaison teacher, kindly gave each child an exciting reading pack at the start of the year. In the goody bags were story books, stickers and crayons to encourage and promote reading at home.
Normally, as part of the CLOVER initiative parents are invited into the classroom to read stories to the children. Even though parents weren't allowed to come in this year, they still read stories to the class by sharing videos of themselves reading stories from home!
The children loved watching and listening to their parents and guardians reading to them and their friends in school. When a child realised it was their parent reading the story that day they were so proud and excited to tell the whole class! They listened to every word and laughed at every joke. It might have been a small task for parents, but it meant so much to the children and the excitement they had after listening to the CLOVER videos from parents lasted the whole day!
Thank you to Linda and all parents and guardians who got involved. It was really lovely to see how excited and eager the children were to read once they saw their families taking part. Well done to all involved!
You can learn more about our other literacy and numeracy initiatives here: https://www.eskeretns.ie/literacy--numeracy.html
Have a look at some of our photos from the Winter Showcase! Our Aistear theme for the month of December was 'Winter Wonderland' and we learned lots about the coldest season for Ireland and about animals who live in arctic climates.
We learned how to wrap gifts and dressed up as arctic animals at the role play corner, played in the icy, bubbly water at the messy play station, built igloos with the polydron blocks and made beautiful winter arts and crafts too!
Our poem was called 'I'm a little penguin' and we all performed it together to create a video that our class watched live on Zoom with our families and the other children at Esker ETNS. Even though we were apart, we still celebrated the festive season as a whole school community!
You can watch our full performance and the videos from other classes here: https://www.eskeretns.ie/learn-together-assemblies/december-17th-2020
Hi my name is Giorgia and welcome to the Junior Green blog. See what we get up to in our first year of school!