Dear Parents and Guardians,
Our final term is upon us and we are now in our last week of school before the Summer Holidays. Where did the time go? It has been an extremely busy term. Lots of events took place successfully and lots of planning is taking place to ensure our safe return in August 2021.
I understand how difficult this year has been for everyone. All of our lives have been changed by this pandemic. I know some of our families have lost loved ones to Covid-19 and lives have been impacted significantly by the virus. We are all in it together.
As a community, we prioritised the children. We understand how their lives changed significantly and we worked together to reopen the school safely and to continue on with their daily routine with minimal disruption with their wellbeing at the heart of everything that we did. As the final term comes to a close, I would like to thank all our parents for supporting us and for cooperating with all of the new measures that we have to implement to ensure the safety for all. Huge thank you to all of our incredible staff at Esker who have worked tirelessly this year to ensure learning was continuous, of a high standard and was fun for all. A massive thank you to all of the children for their flexibility, understanding and hard work this year. I am so grateful to be part of such a strong community.
Here is a look at our events in June.
Sports day is such an important event for children. This year we were unable to invite parents or host a day where classes would mix. Instead, Liz and Linda organised a Sports Week. Every day introduced a new sporting challenge. There was great excitement in the yard as classes took part in the egg and spoon, sprint races, sponge races and group dances. Every day children had red faces as they were exercising so much. Lots of fun was had by all.
Our end of year reports were made available on Friday 18th June. Please make sure you log into your Aladdin app to view. These reports can be accessed any time by parents. Advice for parents from the NCCA regarding the standardised test scores was emailed to all parents.
Our class of 2021 graduated on Thursday 17th June. The whole day was a huge success with great excitement from both classes. The PTA organised an outdoor breakfast for both classes separately, with treats provided by the PTA and Carambola. Thank you!
We held a formal graduation ceremony in the hall for the children. They were delighted to be sitting in the hall, as it has been out of use this year, and to be able to throw their hats in the air at the end of the ceremony.
We finished off the day with an online Zoom Graduation with all parents present. It was a beautiful ceremony filled with tears, laughter and magnificent speeches from our students. A huge thank you to Komeera, Niamh, Paula, Jenny, Susan and Jenny who put in a massive amount of work to make it a success. Our 2021 Croí na Scoile (Heart of the school) award was presented to Haken Uysal, who won for” his kindness, his participation in school life, his sense of humour and how he listened to everyone and solved problems by never shouting”.
No School tours--- except for 6th class!
We have all been disappointed this year at having to miss one of the highlights of the school year -The School Tour. Unfortunately, due to Covid concerns these trips haven’t been possible. An exception was made for the two Sixth Classes however, given that this would be their last chance to enjoy a school tour with all their classmates from Esker ETNS. We went to great lengths to ensure compliance with Covid regulations and managed to arrange a wonderful day to remember on May 31st. The class of 2021 went to an outdoor adventure centre -Squirrel Scramble in Bray Co.Wicklow -where they participated in archery, team building games, abseiling and tree -climbing. It was one of the highlights of the year for all, and left the children with great memories of their final year in Esker.
To make up for no school tour…
Magician / Ruaille Buaille / Drumming workshops
We were determined to make up for missing out on school tours. Instead, we brought the fun to Esker. Infants enjoyed a fantastic display of magic and mayhem with Joe the Magician, and all were delighted to leave the show with a “Minion” dollar bill.
Ruaille Buaille brought live music and fun to the school hall for 5th Green. The children were delighted to welcome an honoured guest to the proceedings, Lord Mayor of Lucan, Ed O Brien.
The two second classes completed their percussion workshops with the talented team of musicians from Music Generation, and Fergal O Connor provided drumming work shops for all the other classes. The children showed natural rhythm and really enjoyed the sessions. Not quite a school tour but great fun all the same!
New Junior Infants / Parent Meeting
Our Zoom meeting for all the parents of children who will be joining Esker ETNS took place at the end of May. We are always excited to welcome new families to our thriving school community. We were delighted that the meeting was so well attended with parents who demonstrated real interest and enthusiasm for everything their children will be experiencing next year. We also had the great pleasure of welcoming our new Junior Infants who arrived in small groups to visit their new school and meet their new teachers .It’s such a big step for them and we were delighted to share in their excitement and enthusiasm!
Writing Wall of Fame
The “Writing Wall of Fame” is an initiative which we run to encourage children to enjoy the process of writing. Children are invited to write something in their own time for which they can earn points for their class. Samples of their work are displayed on the “Writing Wall of Fame”, and at the end of each term, one lucky class who is deemed to have made a really good effort wins a Pizza and Ice-cream party. This term was an exception and we had three prize winners because of the huge level of involvement from so many classes throughout the school. Well done to everyone who participated and hearty congratulations to our three winning classes: In 3rd place - 4th Class Red; In 2nd place- Senior Infants Green (our first infant class to win) and in First place -2nd class Green. Many thanks to all who participated and we look forward to reading more of your wonderful writing next year.
As you know, all things environmental are close to our hearts here in Esker. So far we have succeeded in being awarded four Green Flags-Litter and Waste, Energy, Water Conservation and Travel. Currently our Green School’s Committee are leading us in our efforts to earn our fifth flag -Biodiversity. Biodiversity has been the topic of many projects and discussions this year, and this month a representative from Biodiversity in Schools came to visit and did a fascinating workshop with 4th and 5th classes. The children learnt how to map biodiversity on the school grounds and how to recognise and name native wildflowers and trees. They had fun playing biodiversity-themed games and finished the workshop with a scavenger hunt. All agreed it was a very informative and also a very fun day.
This year we have continued to prioritise listening to the voices of our students, and have adapted the format of our Student Council meetings to enable everyone to attend and participate over Zoom. The children have come up with a wide range of interesting suggestions, some of which we have been able to take on board and implement (e.g Crazy Hair Day, Hot lunches, Yard equipment) and some, sadly, we have not (half -day Friday, School Pet).
Different family – Same Love Art Competition
This year for the first time in Esker students participated in the Different Families, Same Love competition run by the INTO LGBT group. The competition celebrates all kinds of families and recognises that all families are different, and all families are unique. Our very own 2nd Class Green were highly commended in the Junior section of the competition, an amazing achievement for a first-time entrant! Well done to all involved. We can't wait to see what our students produce next year!
SFI Discover Primary Science Website
Our 2020/21 SFI Discover Primary Science website is now live and can be found at https://www.eskeretns.ie/sfi-discover-science--maths-awards.html. Here you will find examples of all of the fantastic science, maths, engineering and technology that happens every day in Esker. We have been awarded a plaque for SFI Discover Primary Science in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, so we are hoping that this year we will get our 7th! A huge thank you to Niamh and Katie in particular who are the teachers that lead this initiative in our school.
Projects, Project, Projects
The children in Esker love working on projects and the teachers are always impressed with the interest that they demonstrate, their research skills and the standard of work they produce. This month, for example, Senior Infants observed and monitored the metamorphosis of caterpillars into chrysalises and then into butterflies, all of which were released safely back into the open air in our fairy garden..
4th class worked on projects about Ancient Rome and India and were fascinated by the culture and history they researched.
Fifth Red participated in a day of free creativity for children organised by Cruinniú na nÓg. They met (online) with an artist to discuss how to design a kite, constructed their own unique kites and then went out on a sunny afternoon to fly them. Their teacher Heidi described it as a wonderfully, joyful occasion, a great memory of fifth class for these children.
And finally, it is with great regret that we bid farewell to the Chairperson of the Esker ETNS PTA, Maureen Fox. Maureen joined the PTA when her daughter Thiana started in Junior Infants, and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Esker School Community ever since. She has served as member, secretary and vice-chair of the PTA, and for the last three years has led the association as its Chairperson.
Over the years she has led or participated in the organisation of events too numerous to list. To mention just a few, she has run classes for parents and for children, helped out in numerous classroom activities, functioned as school photographer, worked on graphic designs for many important occasions, worked with the Parents’ Gardening Club to win the SDCC Community Award for our Fairy Garden two years in succession and led the organisation of many fun, child-centred fund raising events.
Maureen’s contribution to the school community has been invaluable. We in Esker are deeply appreciative to her for the time, effort and expertise she has lent to the school. It will be very difficult to fill her shoes, and she will be missed greatly.
Maureen on behalf of the children, staff and parents of Esker ETNS, may we extend to you our sincere and heartfelt thanks. We wish you the very best in the future, and we hope you will come back and visit us often.
To all the rest of our school community, children, parents, guardians and friends can I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, safe and relaxing summer holiday. We look forward to welcoming you back for a new school year which we hope will be less challenging than the one just past! Enjoy, recharge and see you all soon.
Be safe and be well
Updates from Gemma about our school.