Greetings to all of our Parents, Guardians and members of the extended Esker School Community. We can’t believe the school year is drawing to a close and the holidays are approaching! We are happy to report that it has been a wonderfully positive year, and huge learning has been achieved. Many thanks to all of you for the myriad ways you have helped us to support your children.
The last term of the year is often the favourite for the children -it’s a high energy term of School Tours, Sports Days, Outdoor Education and so much more besides.
Read on for a taste of what has been happening in school over the last couple of months!
We kicked off the term with Wellbeing Week, which we celebrated from the 24th-28th of April. This initiative was ably led by Louise from First Class Green. It resulted in us receiving our Amber flag, which is awarded in recognition of the efforts that schools go to in order to create healthy and inclusive environments for children. During the week the children engaged in a range of different activities designed to promote a feeling of well- being- mindfulness, mindful colouring, yoga, walks and outdoor reading to name but a few. Peace, tranquillity and goodwill emanated from teachers and pupils alike as a result!
Active week took place from 14th -18th June and the children were kept on their toes by multiple activities arranged by Liz from 4th class and Heidi from 6th class. Throughout each day there were lessons and presentations on sporting themes and opportunities for movement and activity, starting with exercises in the yard before the children had even entered the school building!. A big hit was the “Active Schools Walkway” – a route around the school designed for the children to explore. They searched for clues and posts along the route and then completed a different active task whenever they found one. The route meandered around the school grounds, taking in the “Esker Forest” and “Fairy Garden”.
Children from 3rd to 6th also competed in a lunchtime football tournament, with the winners facing the teachers in the Grand Final! I’m delighted to report that the teachers won!
Linda managed to draft in parents too, and many came in to have a go on the South County Dublin “Smoothie Bike” – a crazy contraption which used pedal power to produce delicious fruit smoothies!
Public Speaking Training
One of the skills we aim to nurture in the children is the ability to speak confidently and competently in a public situation. First Class Red were very lucky to get to trial a new public speaking programme for the school. They learnt about the importance of eye contact, gestures, voice and movement within the speaking space. These are skills which all the children will be working on in the coming years, skills which will undoubtedly stand to them in their future studies and work lives.
Esker and the Environment.
Looking after the environment is something we take seriously in Esker, and it’s an issue we try to promote in various ways.
In May, 3rd class had a visit from Mairéad from Biodiversity Ireland. She spoke about pollinators and insects in the local area. They had a presentation and discussion in class before going out to the outdoor space. They searched around the plants by the carpark and over in the forest area to look for bees, caterpillars, butterflies, spiders, woodlice and spiders. They used magnifying glasses and small containers to observe the creatures before letting them free in their natural habitat.
Using the environment as a learning space was a feature this term. Teachers received training in how to use outdoor spaces as a resource to teach aspects of all curricular subjects. Thereafter the children experienced the benefits of this training, and our mini “Forest” area was scheduled for use by all classes at various times to teach a range of subjects.
The War on Litter and Waste!
First Class Green had a special visit from Lucan Tidy Towns. The children were keen to inform the members from Tidy Towns about our school's efforts to keep the immediate environment clean and green. First Class assisted Tidy Towns on a litter pick around the grounds.
2nd Class participated in 'Picker Pals', an environmental programme for children and their families. Pupils took turns to bring home the “Picker Pack” which they used to litter pick in their local area. Through engagement with the programme, pupils are developing a greater awareness about the need to find practical solutions to the global crisis of waste in the environment.
3rd class Green reduced their food waste from the hot lunches this term by cancelling and changing their orders. In fact, they were the class to reduce the most food waste in the school! Because of their sustainable efforts, they won a litter pick in the local area. A surprising popular and practical prize!
Ruaille Buaille Children’s Arts Festival
The Junior and Senior infant classes made beautiful Musical Magical wands with Ruaille Buille on Friday 9th of June. The children used sticks and craft materials to make their wands. Children were invited to bring their Musical Wands to the children’s Music festival which took place in Griffeen Park the following day, and to participate in the performances.
The Boys in Blue!
A message from Paula.
We've been learning all about The Garden Centre in Blue this month. We read book Ten Seeds, learned a song about the different parts of plant, played with compost, planted cress seeds and watered wild flowers in the garden. We loved using spades and trowels and trying on gardening gloves. Here we are in the shed in the fairy garden. We are pretending it's a garden centre where we can buy plants, flowers and seeds! We read the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears this week and made porridge in the staff room. We made sure that it wasn't too hot or too cold. It was just right! We also baked little bear cakes and decorated them with icing. We love cooking and baking in the staff room!
Linda was delighted to be awarded a grant of €1500 from Children’s Books Ireland and KPMG which she spent on compiling a beautiful library of children’s books on the theme of inclusion and diversity. These books are made available to the children throughout the year, and they get pleasure and satisfaction from seeing children from all backgrounds, cultures and walks of life represented in the stories and illustrations.
Ernie the Assistance Dog
In May, Ernie the assistance dog came to visit our school and the children learned about his training and his responsibilities. Ernie and the other dogs like him help children with emotional and social needs. He also helps people with Autism and sensory needs. It was super to see how he and other assistance dogs can support people to live their lives safely and happily.
And great excitement was created by the visit of Jungle Dave and his family of weird and wonderful animals. This visit was generously funded by the PTA. We were introduced to a Burmese python, alligator snapping turtle, tarantulas, bull frogs, scorpions, chameleons and a rhino iguana called Phyliss!
History Around Us.
On Thursday 22nd June, our fifth classes went on a local walk with the Society for Old Lucan. They used carbon paper to make rubbings and discover the dates on the graves- some were over 150 years old. They looked at artefacts of tiles, ceramics and even an old pipe! They really enjoyed learning more about the history of the local area.
Be the Teacher!
Third Class had huge fun and some serious learning when teachers Laura and Giorgia gave their classes the opportunity to 'Be the teacher'. In June, the students in both Green and Red 3rd classes got the opportunity to 'be the teacher'. The children brainstormed, planned, prepared, gathred resources and taught lessons to one another based on their area of interest. The children listened to and learned from one another each day. They also got to see what it was like to manage a class for a short time. We had drawing lessons, cricket stations, football skills, dance classes, SPHE lessons, obstacle courses, Arabic lessons, painting classes, gloop making classes, basketball skills, GAA lessons, handwriting classes and more! We definitely have some future teachers and coaches in 3rd class... watch this space!
The Green School Committee's goal this year was to reduce food waste at Esker and they did a fantastic job. In one month alone, the number of uneaten hot lunches in the school was reduced by 160. The Green School Committee also helped to reduce food waste in the staff room. They emptied the compost bin every week and fed this food waste to the wormery and later used the 'worm tea' to fertilise the raised beds in the fairy garden. Mairéad from Biodiversity in Schools did a pollinator workshop with the committee and taught the group all about the importance of bees and pollination. We've noticed lots of bees pollinating the lavender flowers at the front of the school this month! Finally, we took part in the National Spring Clean. We had a fantastic group of parents helping us on the day and we collected bags upon bags of rubbish! A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered! We appreciate you!
Here you can see our committee at work using leaves from the leaf mould cage and compost from the wormery to prepare raised beds before planting beans, squash, beetroot, pumpkins and sunflowers under Barry’s watchful eye.
Sports News from Heidi.
This year we had many sports teams and individuals participating in local and national competitions.
Through sport, the children get a great sense of wellbeing and happiness. It develops confidence and teamworking skills. We are an inclusive school where the emphasis in sport is in breaking down barriers so that all children have a chance to participate.
We started the year with Gaelic football. 5th and 6th class learnt new, and practised old skills in our after school GAA club, and then played in the Cumann na Mbunscol Gaelic Football and in school matches that were held locally. We represented the school very well and our skills were well honed by the time we got a few matches under our belt. We learned how to win and lose with grace. We made happy memories.
Later on in the year 5th and 6th played in the FAI football tournament. Once again they acquitted themselves well, improving and refining. They played their soccer skills along the way. Our ball handling skills, sports thinking and teamwork were very much in evidence here.
We had training from a visiting basketball coach once a week for 3rd - 6th class. The ball work and hand eye coordination they learned was excellent and transferable to other sports too.
We played a table cricket tournament with coaches from Cricket Ireland. Our 6th class Cricket team played in a cricket blitz in Terenure and had great success at that. Again the fundamental skills of hand- eye coordination, bat and ball handling, running and communication were key. The team, again, did an excellent job of representing their school and most importantly had fun doing so.
5th and 6th class Athletes went to UCD to participate in Cumann na mBunscol Athletics. The children all recorded their personal best on the day, which is quite an achievement. They also sang their way back home on the bus, with a collective haul of 11 medals.
It was a great year for sport. Roll on next year for even more! Remember your local clubs and get involved with GAA, Football, Basketball and Athletics. If you need help in finding a contact for a local club let us know and we can link you with a coach.
Flag Raising Festivities.
June 20th saw another day of celebration in Esker, with a visit from Mayor of Lucan, Emma Murphy and MEP Barry Andrews and Cllr Shane Moynihan. These esteemed guests were here to help us raise our Active, our Amber and our Pride flag. The rain held off, the sun shone and we all enjoyed the celebrations. The highlight of which as the visit from the ice-cream van! 500 ice cream cones served in little more than an hour!
A Fond Farewell!
The Sixth Class graduation took place on Friday 23rd of June, and it was with great fondness that we bade farewell to the Class of 2023. Parents attended a beautiful, moving ceremony at which our wonderful 6th class shared memories of their time in Esker and demonstrated their considerable talents through their artwork and songs. Congratulations to you all, we’re proud of you and wish you all the luck in the world as you embark on this next exciting chapter of your lives!
And so the school year draws to a close. To the many Muslim families who are celebrating Eid, we wish you every happiness of the season. We wish all our families a happy, healthy and sun-filled summer, and we look forward to seeing you back here on 31st August at 9.10am.
Best Wishes and Happy Holidays,
Gemma, Catherine and the staff of Esker ETNS
Hello to all children, parents, guardians, relatives and friends of Esker ETNS. Term 2 is drawing to a close, and there’s a real sense that Spring is in the air! There are buds on the trees, longer evenings and fewer bad weather breaktimes spent indoors!
Firstly we want to say a big thank you to all the parent body for supporting and helping us with the new Traffic arrangements. We are only one week in, but we can already see the positive changes. Children are safe and traffic is calmer. A fifth class child commented that it smells nicer outside now and that we can hear the birds singing.
Remember that the school is now a Drop off zone only in the morning, apart from permit holders. No parking on the roundabout. There is lots of parking on Castle Road.
Thank you again. Your help with this matter is greatly appreciated!
Look what was happening in Term 2!
When we come to the end of a term and look back over what went on, we are always impressed by how much is happening in Esker ETNS. Here’s a taste of just some of those activities.
The Incredible Edibles Program
4th class Red took part in the Incredible Edibles program. The aim of the program is to educate students about growing fruit and vegetables and to increase their knowledge of food origin and quality. We planted strawberry plants and potatoes, and sowed seeds for chives, spinach and lettuce. All plants are doing well so far, and we’re looking forward to eating our produce in the near future!
Children from a number of classes have been invited to join Lego Clubs, which are a fun way of developing listening, speaking and co-operative working skills.
In the Lego Clubs children learn to work together as part of a team. They also work on their communication skills.
Each child has a role to play - the Engineer, the Supplier and the Builder. Each Lego Club is provided with a large Lego set, together with an instruction manual outlining the step-by step instructions to make a variety of models. The Engineer’s job is to read the instructions and describe what Lego brick are needed. The Supplier must find the specific bricks and give them to the Builder. The Builder follows the Engineer’s instructions to assemble the model correctly..
It is a lot of fun and the children must work together as a team and give lots of really clear instructions.
Art Club took place in 3rd Class with Leah this term. The children explored many different styles of art and worked with a variety of materials. Over the first two weeks they created a collaborative artwork, inspired by the art of Eric Carle. The children made the artwork by exploring different paint textures, using brushes, sticks, bubble wrap and cotton buds. Over the following weeks the children made pastel drawings, valentine’s cards, and bookmarks. Art club ended with an activity inspired by the French artist Henri Matisse. The children cut interesting shapes out of coloured paper and layered them to create beautiful paper collages. It was a great success and Leah was very impressed by the talent and creativity in 3rd class.
Yard Monitors for Junior Yard
Fourth class have been yard monitors since October. We take it in turns to go out and help the junior classes play games fairly and have fun. We have a Chill Zone, Skipping Zone, Penalty Shoot Out Zone and Games Zone. We have really enjoyed getting to know the younger children and it makes us very happy and proud to know they look up to us. I feel I am a valuable member of the school. As a group we have learnt a lot of important skills. We have developed our negotiation skills. If we want to do the same job we have learnt how to work it out. It has improved our communication and teamwork skills. Most important of all, we have made friends from different classes and helped the Junior and Senior Infants to have fun and feel safe on the yard. We really enjoy it too.
By Abdirahaman 4th Class Red.
Yard Monitors for Senior Yard
The yard monitors bring out the trolley each day full of the equipment needed for the Senior Yard. We have to make sure the equipment is returned, keep stock and check what needs replacing. We have a football zone, basketball zone and freeplay area. In the soft yard area, we have skipping, games, gymnastics and a climbing zone. There is a quiet area where we can read, draw and we have recently got some new Snakes & Ladders and Ludo games on the magnet boards. It is a busy and important job in our school and we really enjoy being yard monitors.
By Diana, Lavinia and Paige
GAA for First Class Green and Red.
First Class Green and Red have enjoyed taking part in GAA on Tuesdays as part of their PE lessons with coach Alan from Lucan Sarsfields. They have had the chance to learn numerous new skills while having lots of fun! They have been taking part in both hurling and football during the lessons. We have really enjoyed the GAA lessons!
Green School Committee
The Green School Committee have been doing a fantastic job of reducing food waste at Esker. They’ve been working with Paula and Grace to cancel lunch orders that are no longer needed and have stopped hundreds of lunches from going into the bin since October 2022. They’ve also been reducing food waste in the staff room. Every Friday, 2 volunteers empty the compost bin in the staff room and feed it to our wormery. A wormery is a place where worms can grow, compost and make more worms. A wormery will recycle food waste into fertiliser. The Green School Committee is looking forward to using this fertiliser in our raised beds this spring.
We’re also looking forward to a visit from Biodiversity in Schools in May.
The Active Committee
The Active Committee for 2022/23 are Paige, Rayaan, Sami, Vanessa, Ben, Nectaria, Inaya and Kareemah. We are really enjoying being on the committee. We are enjoying helping, we like the fact that we can do more football activities, running and more.
So far we have organised Feel Good Friday, Keepy Uppy Friday and a competition for a crest for our new jerseys. We plan to bring back 'Walk a Mile with a Smile in April and our running challenge in May. Some members of the committee helped to do a stock take of our equipment and pumped up all the balls for the classrooms. We are really looking forward to sports day and having a music playlist there.
Hello from Junior Blue
We’ve been very busy in Blue this term. We’ve been exploring our local area; walking to nearby parks and playing in the fields. We love playing outside and make sure we get some fresh air every day. We’ve also been working hard on our activities in class, learning to play and taking turns. We had lots of fun playing doctor for Aistear and learned all about people who help us, like a doctor and a post person. We even posted some letters to our houses. We’re learning lots and trying our best every day!
Some children in the school are working on extra maths problems at home through IXL Maths.
Children in 5th Class are working very hard.
They have answered over 20,000 Maths questions together !!!
Before the end of a term or midterm break they receive certificates to celebrate their hard work and have a hot chocolate break with Katie.
A well-deserved hot chocolate.
Chess for Fun
There is a long tradition of playing chess at Esker.
Each year 6th class and some very lucky 5th class students can join the chess club after school. This year the club is run by Declan in 6th Green.
But we found there are a lot more children in 5th class who want to play chess. Each Monday, 8 different children who know how to play chess have the opportunity to play against one another in a league with Katie before hometime.
Then on Friday afternoons 5th Red and 5th Green have chess lessons altogether with all the 5th Class teachers. It is lots of fun learning a new game, new skills and playing against our friends. 5th Class are also learning about etiquette, how to be respectful while playing against each other and strategy.
The Student Council have worked together to share the voices of students in our school. We helped with taste testing some new recipes for Carambola hot lunches and helped with the new traffic management at school time. We were also very proud of the Culture Day we organised and the money we raised. We are now working on ideas for how we can make a difference in our community by being Social Activists.
The Student Council samples new lunch offerings from Carambola
Sixth Class Landmark Projects
In 6th Green we have been working on cardboard construction. In small groups the students researched a famous landmark, planned how to construct a model of their landmark using cardboard, sketched out ideas and finally constructed their models.
The children constructed models of the Taj Mahal, Big Ben, The Louvre and Tower Bridge.
Third class trip to Clondalkin round tower
On our final day of swimming lessons at Clondalkin leisure Centre, both third classes went on a guided tour of Clondalkin Round Tower. We learned about the life of monks in the monastery and the invasion of vikings too. The children listened to the guides telling stories and also got a chance to play games from long ago, use interactive digital games and dress up in traditional Irish clothes of the workers who worked in the nearby paper mill.
Fifth Class students began Cards Club on Thursday 23rd February.
The children enjoyed playing family friendly card games such as Snap, Crazy 8s, War, Go Fish and Rummy. They learned some magic tricks using playing cards too. They are looking forward to finishing off the 6 week block with some STEM challenges!
STEMpathy with Gerry & Lucy from the Technological University of Dublin (TU)
What is STEMpathy?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are subjects which we recognise to be of particular importance in today’s world, and they are subjects which we in Esker work hard to promote.
Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of others.
A combination of these two skills results in:
STEMpathy is a programme for primary schools that aims to combine a knowledge of STEM subjects with the human quality of empathy. The programme teaches children how to apply the principles of imaginative thinking to create solutions for problems people experience in their everyday lives.
Fifth Class Red and Green have completed a five week STEMpathy workshop with Gerry and Lucy from TU Dublin. Over the course of the five weeks, the children have worked in groups of three to create a superhero character and design and create a product that their character can use to improve their lives and the lives of others.
The two fifth classes are planning on holding a STEMpathy showcase to show off their amazing inventions and creations. More news of this soon!
Spring Art Competition
Grace was absolutely delighted with the number of wonderful entries she received to her Spring Art competition. The standard was so high she found it almost impossible to pick winners. All the staff have remarked on the beautiful work which is posted up on the corridor near the Junior Infants classrooms. Stop and have a look if you get the chance. Well done to everyone who entered.
Here’s one of the worthy winners from Fatima in Second Red.
Esker Loves Books
We always stress the importance of reading for a multitude of reasons-the way it can improve literacy skills, increase general knowledge and provide hours of inexpensive enjoyment. As a way of reminding the children of the benefits and pleasures of reading, every second year we hold our own mini literary festival called Esker Loves Books. This year our theme was Irish Legends.
We had story writing and photo competitions, parents coming in to read to children in their own language, older and younger classes buddying up to read and write stories together, trips to the library, DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read), teachers and children talking about their favourite books, a dress up day and even a special performance of the legend of “Fionn and the Giant” by the teachers!
The talented cast of Fionn and the Giant.
A strange place to read!
Seachtain na Gaeilge
D’éirigh thar barr le seachtain na Gaeilge. (Irish week was a great success). Beannacht na páistí linn gach lá as Gaeilge (The children greeted us everyday in Irish) agus i rith an lae (and during the day) bhí go leor deiseanna ann chun ár scileanna Gaeilge a fheabhsú ar bhealaí spraíúla (there were lots of opportunities to improve our Irish language in fun ways). Bhí os cionn céad iontráil (There were over a hundred entries) ar chomórtas Linda “An Ghaeilge Mórthimpeall Orm” (to Linda’s “Irish all around us” competition. Ba mhian liom go bhféadfaimis iad go léir a phriontáil! (I wish we could print them all!)
Gaeilge is all around us!
The Big Sing
There was great excitement yesterday as the Esker Choir headed off to participate in The Big Sing. This was a concert held in the National Stadium in which schools from all over Dublin took part. The Esker Choir has worked hard all term learning twelve songs and medleys-the same songs being learnt by every choir attending the concert. The result was a resounding success, as the parents who attended the concert I’m sure, will agree. Well done to all involved, and we look forward to making lots more music in the future.
Very well done to the 60+ children who represented Esker ETNS in football competitions this term. Although the results didn’t always go our way, there was no shortage of energy, enthusiasm and sportsmanship on display. There is real talent and athleticism in evidence amongst our footballers. We are confident our footballers will go from strength to strength as life gets back to normal post-Covid, and our teams’ experience of competitive play increases, Many thanks to Rob, Heidi and Emer for their hard work as team coaches and managers!
Queues have been forming every morning for a very popular parent run event -The Spring Raffle. Congratulations to all our winners!
We are always happy to have parents involved in the life of the school, and this term there has been lots of parental involvement.
Mums and Dads have visited us to attend language coffee mornings, craft classes, yoga classes and English classes. Parents also came in to visit a number of classes to read to the children in their own language. And of course many thanks to our Parents Association for organising the ever popular Book and Treat Sale. They raised an impressive €870 all of which will be spent on the children, one way or another!
And so term 2 draws to a close. We would like to take this opportunity to wish those of you who celebrate Eid, Eid Mubarak, and to those of you who celebrate Easter, Happy Easter. Happy holidays to all of you and we look forward to seeing you back for a busy final term on Monday, 17th April.
Slán go fóill (Bye for now),
Gemma and all the staff of Esker ETNS.
Seasons Greetings to all our families and friends! We hope you are all well and keeping warm in this wintry weather.
As always it’s been a busy couple of months in Esker ETNS. Below is a round up of what’s been happening in school since our last newsletter.
In Esker ETNS we place great importance on promoting a love of sports and staying healthy. There’s been lots happening in this area this term. Many thanks to Heidi and Liz for all their hard work in this regard.
Our Sports News
Naomi and Anne from Cricket Ireland ran a table cricket competition in November. Table cricket is a crossover sport between Cricket and Table Tennis. The children have hand signs to show the outcome of the ball being bowled. This really brings the game to life. It is a very inclusive game.
This was an internal competition. Lots of the children from 2nd to 6th participated in this event. Everyone got a T-shirt and certificate. It was super fun and enjoyed by all.
Erin from Basketball Ireland has been visiting our school on Wednesdays to coach and develop skills in basketball. The children from 3rd to 6th have been involved in this activity and have loved every minute of it. There are some skilled basketball players emerging from these sessions.
A number of children from 3rd and 4th class participated in an athletics training course after school on Tuesdays run by Gerry from Lucan Harriers. They really enjoyed the sessions and showed considerable improvement in their fitness level over a short period. The plan is that Athletics will return in the early Spring, and we hope that this will lead to our participation in Cross Country competitions with other schools. Well done to all the athletes who took part.
We are delighted to have been able to return to swimming lessons this year as we believe it is an essential life skill, and also a fun way to keep fit. Fifth class attended lessons this term at Clondalkin Leisure Centre, and Third Class will be going after the holidays. The cost of transport to and from the pool makes these lessons very expensive, which is why we can only attend for short courses. We are very much looking forward to a time when our local swimming pool around the corner opens, which should make lessons much more accessible for all.
The students in 6th class are currently participating in a Cycle Safe class run by South Dublin Council. There will be seven sessions in total. The first session was conducted in the classroom and was all about safety. This included carrying out a bike and equipment check.
The subsequent lessons are taking place in the school yard. There are two trainers onsite and the lessons incorporate road safety theory and cycling technique.
Some of the skills learned so far include taking a left-hand turn, taking a right-hand turn, cycling two abreast, changing speed and coming to an emergency stop. Essential skills for these children who may find themselves cycling to secondary school next year.
And a reminder re GAA
The school is in a time of development in the area of Gaelic Games. If any children are interested in taking up any of these sports in their free time, they can contact Alan O’Neill (GPO) - Lucan Sarsfields GAA or Declan Jennings (GPO) Westmanstown GAA.
Student Voice -or giving the students an opportunity to have their say- is, as you know, very important to us in Esker ETNS.
Here’s an update from our student committees.
A message from Amaliya (S.C joint chairperson) and Noha (S.C secretary)
This year the new student council reps wanted to arrange a fundraiser to support Educate Together’s One Day for All appeal. Maryam from 5th Red suggested that we have a cultural day.
The Student Council worked very hard to arrange this fundraiser. We did this by meeting regularly to plan, by designing posters, sending emails, making announcements and giving daily reminders of the fundraiser. The Student Council Leadership Team (Alexandru, Amaliya, Noha and Zaryab) also contacted parents to see if any of them would like to participate in this joyful day.
On the day itself, the Leadership Team went around to each class and gathered names of people who wanted to represent their culture at the assembly “Catwalk”. We had arranged for some parents to come in to tell stories, sing traditional songs and dance to traditional music. Shanslay from 3rd Green also did a traditional Indian dance.
We were delighted to raise a bunch of money from each class. Once we counted up the money and realized we had collected €525 we were happy to announce that Culture Day was a success. Educate Together was delighted to receive our donation.
The Student Council had a wonderful time preparing this lovely fundraiser. We were really happy about the results and we hope to continue to do more good work over the rest of the year.
Climate change is a pressing issue for us all, and our Green Schools Committee is very active promoting the messages of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The committee is always busy, and this term has continued to promote sustainable travel with the Golden Boot Award for the class that participates most actively in Walk on Wednesday!
We are very lucky in Esker to have hot lunches delivered daily, but a concern for us is that this generates a lot of waste. This goes against our principles as a Green School and has been the focus of our Green School’s Committee who came up with an innovative way to cut down on this waste. They ran a competition to see which class would generate the least lunch waste. Children were encouraged to ask their parents to cancel lunch orders if they were not being eaten, and to only order food that the children would be willing to eat. Third Class Green won this competition and were rewarded with the surprisingly popular prize of going on a litter and leaf pick!
Last week the committee were delighted to welcome Michelle from Composting Ireland to the school to help them set up our wormery. Composting using a wormery is an ideal way to turn some of our food waste into compost which we will be able to use when we are planting in the Fairy Garden and elsewhere around the school grounds.
We have a new Active Committee made up of members of staff and children from 3rd to 6th . We have been having meetings about getting our whole school really active. We are also in the process of renewing our Active Flag this year.
As a result of this, we have brought back the ever-popular...
The children voted on a song to learn and we play music on the yard on Fridays. We have dance leaders to guide the children through the fun dance moves. Everyone loves this and they do their best moves!
We also have been getting a rota of children together for mentoring younger classes with their football skills on the yard. The mentors act as referees and coaches for break time.
The active committee arranged for there to be an audit of the PE equipment. The children counted the footballs and tennis balls in the classes. The teachers tidied out the PE Press and will order any missing equipment. This means we have everything we need to be really sporty and enjoy our PE.
We have trained some children how to pump up the class sets of footballs with the electric pump. This is extremely helpful as they can go around the classes when needed, keeping the equipment in great condition for PE. We also would like to get a new sports kit for the school and we are going to start planning our path forward on making this happen.
Look out for active homework that will be coming soon. There are loads of sports and activities going on in the school every week and we have lots of ideas and plans for the future. More fun active times ahead!
Other interesting activities.
Science Week took place in November, and every class took the opportunity to develop their interest in the sciences with experiments, investigations and research projects. Third Class Green won a raffle to take part in a Science show being held in Lucan Library. This event was supported by Discover Primary Science and Lucan Library (SDCC).
The children visited the library and participated in a number of experiments involving colour changing liquids. They used pipettes and measured out the liquids very precisely. The children agreed it was both interesting and fun -the best way to learn!
Teacher Artist Partnership Residency Programme
Second class are enjoying the opportunity of working with artist Gabi McGrath https://gabimcgrath.com/ as part of the Teacher Artist Partnership Residency Programme. They are learning felt-making and are currently working on a project inspired by the book The Rainbow Fish. For this collaborative art project the children are creating their own individual pieces and then these will be joined together to create an ocean of fish. We are excited to see the finished piece!
4th and Fifth class delighted us all with a percussion performance to demonstrate the rhythm skills they developed working with Phil and James from Music Generation. Phil and James are professional musicians and the Music Generation programme funds a ten- week programme of percussion lessons for 12 classes over the course of the school year. Next term it will be the turn of 2nd and 3rd class.
And continuing on a musical theme, we are delighted to announce the return of the Esker School Choir. Paula is our choir mistress, and she rehearses with her band of singers every Friday afternoon. The choir will perform for us at the Winter Showcase next week, and in the New Year, all going to plan, will perform at The Big Sing. This is a collaborative concert featuring a number of schools from across the country. More details to follow.
After School Clubs (ECAs)
Art Club, and Art through Spanish!
Twelve students from First class Red and Green joined Louise for 6 weeks of Art Club. During this time they made lots of different crafts such as spooky houses for Halloween, rockets for science week and winter skies and snowmen. Art Club gave the children the opportunity to practise a different skill each week, such as painting, drawing, cutting and sticking. Everyone had great fun and really enjoyed the classes, most especially the popcorn and dancing on the final day! Children from 2nd Class had the added benefit of learning their artistic skills through Spanish with Carmen and Leah. They learned some Spanish chat and songs, whilst at the same time producing some very impressive artistic creations. Fantastico!
Baking and Cooking Club
Baking and Cooking Club took place every Monday after school in the staffroom for 4th class students, with Ivana and Milena. This very popular club started on 7th of November and finished on 12th of December. Master chefs Ivana and Milena focused on improving the children’s baking and cooking skills. Every Monday students prepared a different dish from scratch. On the menu were cupcakes, chicken nuggets, pancakes and waffles, tomato +mozzarella pasta, Nutella cake and Pizza. Every Monday evening tantalizing aromas wafted through the school corridors and it was a pleasure to finish the school day with a taste of these delicious dishes!
Games club with Eimear D. took place this term for 3rd class. Nothing beats a good board game for hours of entertainment. The children were introduced to some new games, and also got to play some of their old favourites. Good old-fashioned after school fun!
The students in 6th class have been participating in chess club for the past 6 weeks. The club is run by 6th Green teacher, Declan. Here’s a message from him.
Chess Club lessons began with a detailed look at the pawn and progressed through all the chess pieces. It is more than just learning the rules of play. There is an emphasis on respect, forward planning, decision making, accepting defeat, chess etiquette, teamwork, resilience and patience.
This first lesson introduces the basics of chess such as making eye-contact to show respect at the beginning and end of the chess game as well as turn-taking throughout the game. The lesson explains how to set up the chess board correctly, demonstrates the Pawn piece and introduces a fun mini-game to develop students’ understanding of the Pawn. The students progress through the weeks on to the last lesson which is full chess.
If students know how all the pieces move and understand checkmate (how to win and lose a game of real chess), then they know how to play chess. Of course the world of chess goes much, much deeper, understanding checkmate is the access point. The level each person achieves in chess is then down to practice, practice and more proper practice.
One of the highlights of chess club is when we use construct-a-checkmate puzzles to conclude the teaching of checkmate before devoting the rest of the lesson to allowing students play (for many students) their first real game of chess for an extended period of time.
Chess club use a lot of the resources that ficheall have online. There are videos which introduce the concepts of chess in a step-by-step, easy to understand fashion. It is a great resource for budding chess players.
The students have made great progress at this immensely satisfying game, and hopefully have begun what will develop into a life-long hobby.
In Other News …
Last year we received a grant from The Department of Education to purchase digital devices to support our learning. We bought iPads which arrived this term, and to which every class has access. These will be used to support numeracy, including problem solving and computational thinking, to enable the use of technology such as robotics and coding, to facilitate activities to support literacy and other subjects using digital storytelling and to allow our SET department to use specialised programmes with the students who need them. Teachers have had the benefit of extra training in computational thinking from our old friend Niamh Gallagher, who is currently on secondment with the PDST. We intend making the most of these new devices and new skills next term!
Our Winter Card- Making session was a great success. The multipurpose room was full of chatter and crafting. Claudia and Tara continued on with the crafts in December.
We were also delighted to be able to run an 8- week craft class with Audrey- Some of our parents painted a beautiful mural on the multipurpose room wall.
(If anyone has a skill, crafting or other that they'd like to share, please get in touch to arrange a class!!)
We had an excellent turn out for our MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) talk last week. We got some great advice about budgeting for the coming year.
Don’t forget to support the PTA charity fundraiser money collection- 'Silly hat day' in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust (A charity which supports homeless people). This is happening on Friday Dec 16th.
There will be lots happening next term.
In January we will be running a numeracy initiative for first class called Maths for Fun. This will run for four weeks, and will involve parents coming in to play maths games with the children.
A literacy initiative - CLOVER -will be happening in January for Junior Infants. Parents will be invited to come in and read a story to their child's class. This can be in English or your home language.
If you are interested in getting involved with either of the above initiatives, make sure to let me know!
The Esker ETNS Winter Showcase
The excitement was brewing in school this week, as all classes prepared for our Winter Showcase on Tuesday 20th of December. There were two performances, one for the parents of Junior Infants to 3rd Class, and the second for the parents of the older classes. It was wonderful to be able to invite parents back into the school to attend this kind of event, and we loved seeing so many of you on the day! For those who didn't make it on the 20th, there are videos of the performances on the Learn Together Assemblies page of the website.
May I also take this opportunity to wish you well at the end of this busy and enjoyable year. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, we send you Seasons Greetings, and for those who don’t, we wish you health and happiness for the holidays and the New Year.
With very best wishes,
Gemma and the staff of Esker ETNS
Hello to all of our parents and guardians of Esker Educate Together National School.
I would like to officially welcome our new families from Junior Infants and new families to our school. It was wonderful to see all our current students return in September. It has been a very busy term so far, with the mid term break fast approaching.
Children have adapted very well to their new classrooms, teachers and routines. There has been a hive of activity from all of our classes from Junior Infants to 6th.
Please note that children now line up in the yard in the morning. Supervision is provided from 9.10am. It is important that children are not left alone before this time, as no teachers are present.
Traffic is still a major issue on the school grounds - Remember, if your child is from 3rd - 6th class, we ask that you drop them at Castle Road and ask them to walk to school from there (unless your child has additional needs) This will reduce the amount of traffic on the grounds significantly.
Please be careful if parking, there have been a number of accidents already this year.
Children crossing the road to cars must use the pedestrian crossing - do not allow your child to cross at the roundabout. Please be patient with each other and keep the traffic moving. We all want the children to be safe at all times.
Barry spends lots of care and time maintaining the grounds and we are very proud of them and grateful to him. Please do not allow children to swing on the ropes or to walk through the beds - please walk around them.
Here is a flavour of what has been happening this month in Esker Educate Together National School:
GAA - Heidi is in charge of our 5th and 6th class teams in Cuman na mBunscoil. The teams have played local primary schools in Griffeen Park since early September.. We are very proud of the skills that they have developed, their sense of fair play and their perseverance during difficult matches. They have proved to be excellent opponents and have adapted well to the game. Many have developed into great players. Lucan Sarsfield is our local GAA club.
The South Dublin County Council mobile library is back every fortnight for our senior classes. If the children cannot get to the library, it is a great way to get the library to them. It stocks a great selection of fiction and non-fiction. Lucan library is located beside Supervalu and it is free to join. It is a wonderful amenity for our community and I would encourage you to join. There are lots of free classes and workshops available for adults and children.
Story Teller - Niall de Burca
We had an exciting visit from the storyteller, Niall de Burca in September. He told tales of yonder in English and Irish to the children. He was extremely animated and engaging. There was lots of laughter and giggling throughout the school.
In person parent classes have begun this year. Linda is our home school teacher and will always let you know when a new free parent class is beginning. This term we have Yoga and Craft for parents. Classes are a great way to meet other parents in the school and to get involved in school.
The Parent Teacher Association held their AGM (Annual General Meeting) on Friday 21st October at 9.30am. All parents were very welcome to attend and to nominate themselves to be part of the committee or to vote on new members. Thank you to all who attended. Congratulations to the new Committee of 2022/23 - Claudia (chairperson) Tara (Vice) Nora (Secretary) Jenny (Treasurer), we cannot wait to work with you this year. A big thank you to the outgoing committee members Pippa and Brendan, for their help last year
Parent talk with Mabs
These are challenging times for all families. The cost of living has increased dramatically and difficulties may arise due to this. Linda (HSCL) has organised a talk for parents with Mabs (Money Matters and Budgeting Services) - 29th November at 9.30am in the hall. If any parent is struggling financially with paying for anything in school or at risk of losing their home, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or linda at email@example.com.
We held a School Transfer talk for our parents of 6th class children. We spoke about the local schools in the Lucan area and how to apply. At this point, all families of 6th class children should have made an application to at least one second level school. If you have not, please contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0860261061 for assistance.
We have introduced Basketball every Wednesday for our 4th, 5th and 6th classes. SDCC are involved in getting schools active and trying new sports and we are too. Coaches come to school every Wednesday to train with the children.
This term 4th class have started their block of swimming lessons in Clondalkin swimming pool. The children are really enjoying it and improving by the session. After the mid term break, 5th class will begin their block of lessons.
Music is another area that we value strongly at Esker ETNS. In partnership with SDCC, Music Generation is a programme that is subsidised. Musicians visit schools and focus on a musical area. James and Phil are working on a percussion programme with some classes.
New Committees - Student Council / Green School / Active Committee
A new school year signifies new elections for our student committees. Each committee has a very specific role and the children take their jobs very seriously. Student voice is of paramount importance in our school.
Children from 3rd - 6th class were able to nominate themselves for a particular committee. They wrote and delivered their manifesto to their classes. Democratic elections took place. A boy and girl from each class was elected onto each committee.
The Active Committee will be chosen by the teachers. It will be made up of children who will promote physical activity, good sportsmanship and fair play. Sports is inclusive and fun and a great way to stay fit and healthy.
We are continuing to reduce the amount of waste that we as a school produce each day. Please remember - to pack a clean fork in your child’s bag every day. If your child brings in their own lunch, please cancel their hot lunch.
Last week we celebrated Maths week. Parents and guardians were invited to come and take part in some class activities. There was much excitement in the school with maths stations, maths packs, maths trails and the BIG BIG Maths Quiz. Thank you to all, who were able to attend. For those who could not, we will ensure that there is another opportunity for you this year.
I hope that all of our families that celebrate Diwali had a wonderful day with their families on Monday 24th of October.
Dress up day
Remember that the children can dress up on Friday 28th of October either in fancy dress or traditional clothes of their choice. School will finish at 3pm on this day for the mid term break. The school will re open on Monday 7th October at 9.10am.
Wishing those who celebrate Halloween a safe and fun evening. The Community Garda will be in on Thursday 27th to talk about safety outdoors with 5th & 6th Class.
Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement this term. I hope that you all have a lovely mid term break. Looking forward to lots more learning and fun activities in November and December.
Is mise le meas
Hello to all parents, guardians, children and members of the Esker ETNS school community!
Where has the year gone! It’s hard to believe we have reached the end of the term and the year, but so we have. Like all terms it has been a busy one with lots to report, but first one or two pieces of practical information.
School reopens for the children on Wednesday 31st August. Put it in your diary!
Class Reallocation Policy.
This term we have developed a policy governing our approach to reallocating children across the two classes at each level. From the academic year 2022-23, reallocation will be considered at the end of Senior Infants, Second Class and Fourth Class.
The reasoning behind this is to establish the best balance in terms of both educational and personal and social development as the children progress and needs change throughout their primary education.
If your child’s class is to be redistributed, teachers, SNAs, and children will be involved in the process, and every effort will be made to make the transition smooth and reduce any possible source of anxiety.
Please take the time to read the policy at this link https://www.eskeretns.ie/uploads/1/2/7/1/127165924/reallocating_classes_policy.pdf
Parents’ Open Day
There was lots going on in the school over the last couple of months, but for teachers and children alike, one of the most important and meaningful was the Parents’ Open Day. Prior to Covid, as many of you will remember, it was a common sight to see parents strolling down the corridor or popping into a classroom. Covid changed all of that, much to our regret and so it was with delight that we welcomed parents back into the school on 3rd and 9th June. And the delight was most keenly felt by the children, who were bursting with pride and excitement to welcome their parents into their classrooms. Many thanks to all of you who attended. We know it’s not possible for all parents to attend these events, but hopefully over the coming year you will be able to visit us on some occasion.
Green School’s Committee. -A message from Grace.
A big thank you to the Green School Committee. We had a great day of celebration last Friday June 17th where we raised our fifth Green School flag. This was awarded to us for all the work done raising awareness of biodiversity in our school, and for increasing biodiversity here on the grounds at Esker. We celebrated with ice-cream cones in the sunshine!
We had a special Biodiversity Week in May. What a busy week it was! Some classes had workshops with Mairead from Biodiversity in Schools and Fourth class spent some time Investigating Woodlands with Rob from an Taisce. The children learned so much and had lots of fun along the way. The Senior Classes buddied up with the Junior Classes and had nature walks and trails around the school grounds identifying lots of native trees and flowers. It was very nice to see the older children sharing their knowledge with the younger ones. We finished off the week with some quizzes. Paula had some tricky questions in there!! We learned about the importance of bees for biodiversity and we made bee baths to make sure the bees have plenty of places to have a drink. A special thank you to Barry who helped us with all the planting that happened during the year including trees, flowers and fruit and vegetables.
Spanish Club -A message from Carmen.
This last term we were very fortunate to be able to return to ECA’s (Extra curricular activities /after school clubs). 29 children from the two First Classes took part in Spanish Club. They had great fun learning Spanish language, doing Art through Spanish and learning Spanish songs. They learned “Soy una taza” and El baile del cuerpo” Ask them to sing them to you! Fantástico!
We are all looking forward to the Spanish Club performance in the last week of the year.
Espero que paséis un feliz Verano! (in other words, have a very happy summer!).
Student Voice (or listening to our students) is very important in Esker. This year we had regular meetings of the student council and their suggestions were listened to carefully. Two of their suggestions came to fruition this term.
A suggestion which was made by a number of children was to make yard time more interesting. So a Yard Improvement Committee of teachers and SNAs was put in place to put some of the children’s ideas into practice. (Many thanks to Jenny, Milena, Elaine, Ivana, Carol, Colm, Harriet and Catherine).
Jenny volunteered to train 4th Class students to be yard monitors for the Junior and Senior Infant Classes. They set up different zones and taught the younger students how to understand the rules of the games and play fairly. This was very successful and since then the children have been having great fun in the Chill Zone, Skipping zone, Penalty Shoot Out zone and Games zone.
Ivana and Elaine organised to have the basketball courts repainted and to have the yard painted with lots of fun games -Twister, Hopscotch, Long Jump, Target, Noughts and Crosses, Drop Zone, Switch and Alphabet Snake. A number of students from 3rd to 6th classes were trained how to play the new games and they in turn demonstrated the games to the rest of the children. This was a very successful initiated, deriving directly from the suggestions of the children, Student Voice in action!
A second target for the Student Council was to raise funds to buy a school mascot. In order to do this, the council ran a fundraiser on 6th May -Crazy Day. Children were encouraged to wear something crazy to school, and to make a small donation. All sorts of crazy combinations of costumes, hairstyles and footwear arrived to school that day, and the children had great fun showing off their creations. An afternoon at the Esker Movies was the prize for the craziest class, and the Student Council managed to raise over €500, with which they purchased our new school mascot, who arrived in time for Sports Day. Well done to all!
Healthy Eating and Less Waste
We are very lucky to have healthy lunches delivered to us daily in Esker. One concern raised by our Green School’s Reps was the amount of waste this was generating. Following consultation with staff, children and the lunch company Carambola, a decision was made to improve the healthy choices on offer and cut down on packaging. The result is that the children are eating more fruit and other healthy options, and less waste is being generated.
In order to continue this approach, we ask parents to remember to cancel the Carambola lunch order if your child will not be in school or does not want to eat the lunch they provide.
Parents Association -A message from Linda
The PTA have been very busy the last few months organising coffee mornings most weeks and taking all our class photos!! A few weeks ago, the beloved Book and Treat sale was back with a bang! There was a palpable air of excitement all through the school with children eager to buy some books for their brains and treats for their bellies! The PTA have organised a wonderful breakfast for our graduation class of 2022 and have some fantastic graduation gifts for all our graduands. The PTA are already coming up with more ideas for when we return to school in September. Keep an eye on Aladdin for the PTA AGM and come get involved!
Sports and Outdoor Education
Staying fit and active, and introducing children to different outdoor activities is an important aspect of education in primary school. This term Fourth Class were particularly lucky as they participated in both swimming lessons and also a series of Outdoor Education lessons with Susan.
Teachers and pupils alike were delighted to be able to return to one of the year’s most popular events, Sports Day, on 17th June. It was wonderful to see so many parents in attendance, to watch, to cheer on and even to take part!
Some of the most popular after school activities which have seen a return this year are sports clubs, and this term has been a busy one for our Esker athletes. Very many thanks to Heidi for taking on the task of organising the many sporting activities that took place over the last couple of months.
Sports Activities -A message from Heidi.
We took part in the Cumann na mBunscol GAA football competition this year. It was our first year ever taking part. We entered a boys and a girls team. As part of this, we ran an after school GAA club to get ready for the matches. The children then played the competition matches against local schools. The boys played their matches in Griffeen Park and in Lucan Sarsfields. The girls played theirs in Newcastle. There was a huge development in GAA skills during the course of the matches, considering some children had never played the sport before outside of school. The children played so well and had great fun. It was a fantastic start to our CNMB GAA football future. Thanks to Heidi, Laura, Colm, Ivana, Mary and Milena for running the after school club. Thanks to the 5th and 6th class staff for helping with everything on match days and for sourcing boots etc.
Alan, from Lucan Sarsfields, came in to the school to teach Gaelic football to 1st and 2nd classes. This ran for 6 weeks during PE time.
We had cricket coaches, Anne and Naomi, come to the school this year. This was funded by Cricket Ireland and SDCC. We ran a cricket after school club with the help of Paula and Heidi too. We took part in the SDCC School’s 10 a side pairs cricket. We had two teams involved. Congratulations to all of the children who participated and represented the school to an excellent standard. Our 6th class team got through to the finals which was a huge achievement.
We had a table cricket team too. This sport is a mixture of Table Tennis and Cricket. Naomi from Cricket Ireland gave us a few lessons to start us off and then Ivana and Mary put the children through their paces for our matches in Lucan East ETNS. The children played really well and were awarded medals. They had a great day our and again represented their school to an extremely high standard.
Maryanne and Barbara from Weston Hockey Club, Lucan, took the senior classes for hockey from January to March. These lessons were provided by Hockey Ireland under the “Tricks for Sticks” initiative. Some of the children showed natural flair for this sport and Weston Hockey Club is always open to new members as are all the clubs mentioned above.
We participated in the CNMB Athletics schools competition held in Santry this year. Deirdre and Daniel trained the children in advance of this. We had children participating in Sprints, Relays, 600m, Shot Putt, Long Jump and High Jump. Everyone recorded their own personal best that day. The children represented the school to a very high standard. We came 6th in the long jump final, and won medals in the U14 girls Sprints and the U14 boys Long Jump. Everyone had a great day.
The corridors have been ringing with the sound of music of late! Music Generation, who have worked with 3rd and 4th class this term, ended the year with a very impressive percussion performance. 2nd and 5th class, ably led by musicians from the Ruaille Buaille Children’s Arts Festival provided us with another musical afternoon of rhythm and song, and Infant classes were entertained by a delightful and thought-provoking drama performed by the Ruaille Buaille players which explored the theme of sharing and cooperation. The drama illustrated to the children the importance of taking turns and being patient when they play together. The actors held a Q & A session at the end of the drama and were subjected to a very in- depth interrogation by some of our infants. (Why are you wearing those socks? Why are you wearing those gloves? Why are you wearing those funny clothes? Why are you sitting on those chairs? Why did you build a boat? Why are you playing that guitar?) All questions were given full and satisfactory answers.
Another very welcome return, sorely missed over the last two years was that most exciting of days in the school calendar -The School Tour. Our classes headed off to a wide variety of destinations, including:
Goodbye to the class of 2022
This term we had to bid a fond farewell to our two Sixth Classes. Graduation took place on Friday 24th, and it was a splendid occasion.
The Class of 2022 were treated royally on the day. They started with breakfast courtesy of the PTA. There then followed a wonderful ceremony involving music and song, slideshows, speeches, memories shared and a special guest appearance by our founding principal, Colette. The winner of the 2022 Croí na Scoile (Heart of the School) award was announced. Many congratulations to the worthy recipient, Vanessa Goralczyk. The day ended with further refreshments, provided by the PTA and delicious contributions by many parents.
Goodbye and Good luck to our departing graduates. We wish you all the best for the future and we hope you stay in touch.
And …Hello to the Class of 2030!
And just as we bade farewell to our graduating class, we had the pleasure of another very special day in the school calendar- the day the new Junior Infants come to visit. This happened on June 13th, and it was wonderful to meet our new arrivals. Our student council reps greeted the children and together with teachers and SNAs showed them the fun awaiting them in school, playing games, building tall towers and making them feel welcome. We very much look forward to getting to know these little people better when they start their school careers with us in September.
As you can see it’s been an eventful term and an eventful year. We have thoroughly enjoyed it and we thank all children, parents and guardians for their participation, co-operation and support. We wish you all a well-deserved rest, and look forward to seeing you back again on 29th August, refreshed and reinvigorated for another busy year in Esker!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope that you are all keeping safe and well. November has been a very challenging month for the whole school community in many ways. I hope that as parents you are able to take time to look after yourselves, along with your children.
November has been another busy month in Esker ETNS. The children are working hard in Science, project work, literacy, numeracy and much more. Here is an update of events in the school in November and important information for parents / guardians.
PTA Appeal – Abolish Direct Provision Christmas Gift Appeal
The PTA have launched their first charity fundraiser of the year. This is our PTA’s first ever event as a new committee. We are so excited to see all the wonderful donations for Abolish Direct Provision Campaign. Lots of toys, art supplies, clothing, winter wear, stationary and more has been donated by children. A massive thank you on behalf of the PTA. These donations will make some children very happy!
Student voice – Letter writing competition
Catherine, our deputy principal promotes literacy in the school. She launched a formal letter writing competition last month. The winner would get their letter read out to the chairperson of the BOM. Catherine received over 150 letters of a very high quality. After much deliberation, the committee decided that Julia in 5th Green was the worthy winner. She wrote a letter to Ciara Mc Mackin (chairperson) asking for the BOM to support biodiversity in the school. Her letter was so persuasive that the BOM pledged €200 to Julia to spend on wild flowers, bug motels and other projects to attract wildlife to the grounds. Well done Julia!
Hockey and Cricket
Heidi has organised Hockey and Cricket clubs to come to the school to teach 3rd to 6th class. These new sports are a welcomed addition to PE classes. Children have experienced new sport and are learning fundamental skills. Huge thank you to all involved.
Science show – The Really Rubbish show
We were very lucky to welcome a scientist to our school on Tuesday 30th November for a Really Rubbish Science show. 4th and 5th class agreed that it was in fact a super show displaying the science behind rubbish and waste.
Learn Together Weekly assemblies
We hold weekly online assemblies to maintain a sense of connection between classes. We hold Junior or Senior Learn together assemblies each week. One class is nominated to showcase what they have learned in the Learn Together curriculum that month. There are four strands in the Learn Together curriculum that focus on Moral and Spiritual development, ethics and the environment, belief systems and Equality and Justice. Please check out these performances on our website https://www.eskeretns.ie/learn-together-assemblies
Parent Teacher Meetings – 3rd – 6th Class
The senior class parent teacher meetings are being held this week online 29th November – 2nd December. If you have not booked your appointment with your child’s teacher, please contact them directly to arrange or contact Linda at email@example.com. It is important that you meet with your child’s teacher for this oral progress report.
Linda has started Parents Plus online with parents from our school and Lucan East. Parents Plus is a wonderful course that supports parents to support their child in a positive way that promotes high self-esteem, confidence and self-regulation. She will be running a second course in the New Year. It is important that you sign up with Linda when places are advertised, as places are limited.
Despite our doors being closed, Linda finds a way to keep parents connected. Online craft classes take place on zoom once a week. Crafts are provided and a fun relaxed class helps you distress and make friends.
If there is something that you would like to discuss with Linda, HSCL regarding any family matters that you feel we should know or could help you with, you can contact her at 086 026 1061.
Positive post cards
We recently ran a positive postcard competition in the school. The children were invited to draw images or affirmations that made them feel happy. Each week class teachers will secretly choose a child that has made an effort that week or has been kind to others or has done their best. Look out for positive postcards arriving home. Make sure to celebrate these achievements with your child!
Anti bullying - Meeting with PTA, students, BOM
We have been working hard on reviewing our Anti bulling policy to ensure that robust procedures are in place to protect children. The Board of Management (BOM) have completed the annual review. I have met with all students from 2nd – 6th to explain the policy and procedure they can follow. I met with the PTA this month to get feedback on the policy and ideas on how we can promote a positive school culture for friendship in the school. The ratified policy is available on our website for all parents to view.
We will be organising online safety classes for students 5th & 6th and for parents. We look forward to seeing you online for that one!
Green school committee
The green school are in their second year of working on our 5th Green Flag for Biodiversity. Huge work has been done on identifying trees, new wildlife and composting.
The Green school committee launched a “No Idling “ campaign for parents. When you are sitting in your car with the engine on, your car emits fumes which the children are breathing in. Please help make our air cleaner by switching off your engine when your car in not in use. Small actions CAN have big changes.
Building extension – surveys
We have plans to extend our school in the coming years to provide adequate facilities for our specialised class. This is a long awaited and much needed project, but it will also take a long time to plan and build. Currently, we are in the pre planning phase of the project. That means that we have a design team appointed. Provisional plans have been drawn up, and we are at the pre planning stage of submission for planning permission. You may occasionally see vans or work men onsite on the school grounds – these are surveyors who are completing necessary pre planning work. These visits are planned and permission has been sought and granted. As yet, we have no news on the pre planning stage – as and when I get more information, I will let you know.
Traffic and parking remain a big issue and a safety concern for children. There are too many cars entering the main gate. The area within the school is not big enough to deal with the traffic. Please can you use Castle road and meet your child by foot on the grounds, where possible.
Please ensure that you:
Covid – 19 updates
Antigen testing was introduced this week. According to the new guidance, the following will apply.
Common and uncommon symptoms of Covid-19
I am asking all parents to please monitor your child’s health. If they have any symptoms at all and are in school, we have to request their immediate collection. These include but are not limited to:
We are now facing into our last few weeks before the end of this term. We are very proud of all of the hard work and commitment shown by the children. I would like to thank the wonderful staff of Esker for creating a happy, fun and interesting environment where each child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Thank you to the parents for supporting the charity appeal, supporting us with all the Covid-19 regulations and for supporting your child this term.
We are all in this together.
Stay safe and stay well
All the best
Dear Parents & Guardians,
October has been a very quick month because we have been so busy in school. The mid-term break is almost upon us. Here are some of the things we have been doing this month along with important information.
The PTA AGM was held on Friday 8thOctober. A huge thank you to our outgoing Chairperson - Maureen, Vice chairperson - Saaba, Treasurer - Deepa and Secretary - Janice. Thank you for your time, hard work and enthusiasm throughout a challenging year.
I am delighted to announce that we have a new committee that were elected at the AGM; Chairperson – Claudia, Vice Chairperson – Pippa, Treasurer – Brendan, Secretary – Nora. We are very excited to work closely with you all over the coming year.
Please ensure that you fill in any reasons for absences on Aladdin connect and keep all phone numbers up to date.
We held our first student council meeting on Monday 18th October on Zoom. This was a public meeting for all 3rd – 6th classes. Very good ideas came from the students. Here are a few, a school mascot, a pyjama fundraising day, making comics in the class, activities on the yard , bringing back the toy and treat sale and a school pet.
All ideas were well articulated and examined, looking at the pros and cons of each. We will keep you all updated on the progress of each suggestion. Student voice is very important and valued in Esker ETNS.
Green school Committee
New Green school representatives have been elected in every class. This is a very important and popular committee to join. Members are democratically elected by their classmates and need to work hard to ensure that their class is making an effort to save energy, reduce waste and not to waste water. The Golden boot is awarded every week to a junior and senior class for sustainable travel – walking, scooting, cycling or park and stride.
This year we are in our second year of working towards our fifth Green Flag for Biodiversity. The midterm is a good time of year to explore local plant & animal life / changes in season etc. Use your school holidays to explore the outdoors and to spot wildlife and nature in your garden or community.
World Food Day
October 16th marked World Food Day. 2nd Green and 6th Green both showcased during our weekly Learn Together (Zoom) assemblies). The children taught us the importance of valuing food, not wasting it and respecting it. Please check out their showcase on our website https://www.eskeretns.ie/learn-together-assemblies
Make sure that you only order food that your child likes from Carambola. We would like all of our children to participate in the Hot Meal programme but if your child brings in a lunch box to school, please cancel your Carambola lunch, to prevent food waste.
The school has been buzzing with maths week. Carmen organised maths stations and trails with the junior classes, Linda sent home Maths packs for 2nd class families to play at home and Tania organised Maths trails, the family challenge and a Kahoot Quiz for 5th and 6th. Check out more activities on our website https://www.eskeretns.ie/maths-week.html
Space week & STEM
Katie organised Space week in the school during the week of 4th – 8th of October. Classes were able to ask questions to astronauts, watch videos about life in space and explore the solar system. This all feeds into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The SFI Primary Science award is based on the continuous work and evidence of this typ of learning. Huge thank you to Katie, Niamh and all of the class teachers for promoting STEM in our school and an even bigger thank you to all of the children for your hard work. I would encourage you to look at the work that has taken place in all classes on our website https://www.eskeretns.ie/science.html
Craft classes for parents
Linda, our HSCL teacher has organised free Zoom craft classes for parents with Martina. All participating parents received the craft materials free of charge and I believe lots of beautiful creations are taking shape.
Linda will be running Parents Plus classes for parents. This is a free positive parenting class for our parents that focuses on building your childs’ confidence and self-esteem. Classes will be held on Zoom in conjunction with our friends in Lucan East.
Our newly formed gardening club have transformed our overgrown Fairy Garden. They arrive every Thursday regardless of the weather. Thank you for the beautiful new raised beds, they are a very welcomed addition. We are most grateful for your time and skills!
We all know that Children LOVE Reading – The Clover project runs in Junior Infants every year to promote literacy as early as possible. Free books will be given to children after the mid term break to help with literacy in the home. We are most grateful to South Dublin Libraries, who fund this very important initiative.
Junior Curriculum Evening
On Thursday 4th November at 7pm, we will host a curricular evening for all Junior and Senior Infant parents. This will give you and update of the curriculum your child is following in school and how best you can support them at home. We look forward to seeing you all online!
Outstanding Materials Money
We ask all of our families to pay €100 per child per year for materials money. This money helps us pay for: insurance, educate together membership, online subscriptions, art supplies, stationary, photocopying and texting etc. If you have not already done so, please could you pay a contribution on Aladdin Connect. You can pay in instalments of €25 euro to break down the cost. If you having difficulty paying, please contact Linda on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange something with you. We do appreciate your help with this matter.
We are delighted to announce that we will re start swimming lessons for classes 2nd – 5th this year. Swimming is a very important life skill for all children to learn and is part of the physical education curriculum. 5th class will begin lessons after the mid term break. Please make sure that you have completed the permission on Aladdin and paid the €40 before they begin. We are asking parents to pay for the lessons and the school will pay for the transport. If you need to talk to Linda about cost, please contact her on 086 0261061.
Mid Term break and Dress up day
Our school will close on Friday 22nd of October for the mid term break. Children are allowed to dress up in either fancy dress or clothes that they might wear for a celebration. We will hold a little parade in the morning.
Reminding all families about the importance of safety during this time and to avoid fireworks or sparklers without an adult. Costumes can be highly flammable. Garda Ciara and Tom came to school to speak to all 5th and 6th class this week about the importance of safety.
Reminding you all about our safety measures in the school. While restrictions lift in our society, please remember that our school is full of unvaccinated children. Please continue to wear masks and to keep your child at home if they display and Covid-19 symptoms. JI – 2nd class can be dropped and collected on the grounds but we ask that all 3rd – 6th class children walk off site and meet you on Castle road. Thank you for your continued support.
Wishing you all a wonderful mid term break. School will reopen on Monday 1st November. I hope that all of the children enjoy a well-earned rest.
Be safe and well,
With September behind us, the children are well and truly settled into their new class groupings with their new teachers. The classes are buzzing with lots of learning. Here are a few things that have taken place in September or may be coming up in the months ahead.
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Friday 8th October at 11.30am by Zoom. We are sadly losing three of our amazing members this year; Maureen (chairperson), Sabaa (vice chair) and Deepa (Secretary).
Elections will be held for new members at this meeting. If you are interested in joining and indeed leading this much needed committee, please come and along and put your name forward. All new and existing parents are most welcome. We value our PTA so much and are so grateful for the wonderful work they have done for the school over the years. The children have benefited first hand from the fundraisers and PTA presence within the school.
I am sure you will all join me in thanking Maureen, Sabaa, Deepa and Janice for their time, support and hard work over the years.
Despite Covid restrictions, Linda is working hard this year in getting parents together and involved this year. Some of the events she has planned so far are:
6th class Children – Second Level Transfer
For all our 6th class children – please make sure that you enrol your child into a second level school in October 2021. It is very important that all applications are sent in on time to the school of your choice, in order to secure a school place. If you need help in this area, please contact our HSCL teacher Linda on 0860261061.
Enrolments for Junior Infants 2022
If you have a younger child starting in Junior Infants in 2022, please note that you can apply from Wednesday 6th October. You apply online to the LCES system here
The window to apply closes on 24th of November – please apply on time. Late applications will be placed on a waiting list and you may not get the school of your choice. Contact the office on 01 6241462 if you have any questions regarding enrolments.
SFI Primary Science Award
I am absolutely thrilled to inform you that Esker ETNS was awarded the Discovery Primary Science and Maths SFI Plaque! for the 6th year in a row. A special thank you to Katie, Niamh and Karen and to all of the teachers for promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in the classroom and integrating it throughout the curriculum. Huge work goes into to gathering all the evidence and preparing a website to present to the SFI Committee for assessment.
This year, we not only met the criteria to receive this award but exceeded expectations. Please read the committees comments below and join me in congratulating teachers and children for their hard work in 2020 / 21
Esker was lucky enough to be accepted into the Schools Hot lunch scheme. Hot lunches began this month for the whole school. A huge thank you to Carambola, who are providing two small snacks for little break and a hot lunch for big break. Food waste is composted and recycled. It is very important that we are not increasing the waste in the school.
If you wish to change the choice for your child, please do so BEFORE Friday at midnight for the following week. If you send a lunch in with your child, please cancel the hot lunch on www.carambola.ie so there is no food waste.
New Active Panels in every classroom
This year we replaced all of our old Smart boards that were tired and slow with new and improved Active Panels. A huge thank to you our BOM who supported this big purchase to help improve the teaching and learning in the school. A massive thank you to Carambola who kindly donated a large contribution towards these boards. I know that both teachers and children are delighted to the new additions to the classrooms and they have made a big difference already!
We are delighted that Music Generation is back with us for the academic year. Music Generation is a group of professional musicians who come and work with our children. Previously we worked on singing with our children. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the musicians are working on percussion skills. They are working with 1st and 2nd class this term.
In line with public health advice we would like to re start our swimming lessons this year for classes 2nd – 5th class. Swimming is on the physical education curriculum and it is an essential life skill for all children to have. I would strongly encourage all children to participate. Lessons will cost €40 for seven lessons – the school will provide the transport to and from the pool. Payments can be made on Aladdin. We hope to start with 5th class in November. Permissions for swimming will be sent on Aladdin tomorrow for 5th class. Please respond as soon as possible.
Half day – Wednesday 17th November
Due to staff training on the Primary Language Curriculum, the school will close early on Wednesday 17th November 2021. Please ensure that you collect your child on time. Again, I encourage you to use Castle Road to park as it will be very busy.
See Saw / Google Classroom
Senior Infants – 5th class use See Saw as a way of accessing their homework. 6th Class use Google classroom. At this point all children have been sent home their log in passwords on a green sheet of paper. Teacher have trained all the children how to log in and how to upload work and use the See Saw tools. Junior Infants will get their codes at a later date, when homework starts.
Covid-19 - changes to Public Health
From Monday 27th September 2021, the advice from Public Heath changed regarding contact tracing in educational settings. If your child is a close contact to a Covid-19 case in school, they will not have to restrict their movement, UNLESS THEY DISPLAY COVID-19 SYMPTOMS – e.g. cough, sore throat, headaches, severe tiredness, high temperature.
See HSE information here:
However, please note that if someone in your household has Covid-19 or is sick with Covid-19 like symptoms, your child MUST STAY AT HOME.
While restrictions are relaxing in society, we still have to remain vigilant in school as children are not vaccinated. We all have to work together in order to keep the school safe for all. Please get in touch with me at email@example.com if you have any queries.
Traffic management and being courteous to each other
I am very worried and concerned about the traffic on the grounds in the morning and at home time. I have noticed more cars on the grounds and some dangerous behaviours. Firstly, the most important thing is the safety of all of the children. Everyone is in the same position, everyone is under a time pressure and everyone would like all children to be safe.
If your child is in 3rd – 6th (exception is children with Special educational needs) please drop and collect your child outside of the grounds, we are asking you to NOT drive into the grounds. If you have a junior child (JI – 2nd class) you can drive into the grounds.
Please do not drop children on the school grounds before 9.10am. There is no supervision at this time. Children should arrive after 9.10 – 9.30am. We may review these starting times after 22nd October based on Public Health advice.
Again, thank you for all of your help and support this term. It is great to have all of our children back working hard and having fun in school again. Reminding you that half term begins on Friday 22nd of October and we reopen on Monday 1st November.
Updates from Gemma about our school.