Newsletter – February 2021
Dear Parents & Guardians,
It is hard to believe that we are in our fifth week of remote learning in lockdown two. With the mid-term break nearly upon us, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect of these five weeks and to celebrate our school community achievements during this very difficult time.
We acknowledge that the second time around this lockdown has been extremely difficult for children, parents and staff alike. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to look after the Health and Wellbeing of your children and of course to look after yourself. While the teachers have been focused on your children, Linda has been focussed on you these last few weeks. Despite the school building being closed, February has been a very busy month for us. I have said many times before that a building does not make a school, it is the people inside it. Our community is still knitted together and we are here to support you.
Parent Teacher Meetings:
Our Parent teacher meetings have been taking place this week by Zoom. We have had a very good attendance so far, thank you for taking the time to attend. It is vitally important that you meet with your child’s teacher to get feedback on their progress this year. If for any reason you were unable to attend, please contact your class teacher by e mail or Linda (ph 086 026 1061) and we can arrange a phone call at a later date.
When will school re-open?
As yet, we still have not received guidance from the Department of Education regarding a time frame for reopening of mainstream classes. We are however, opening for our special class in February. Children with additional needs in mainstream will continue to learn remotely with support from our SET teachers. This will be complimented by the In Person Supplementary Programme (similar to July provision). Families have already been contacted if your child is eligible. As soon as I received any details from the Department of Education regarding reopening of the school, I will be in touch.
See Saw & Google Classroom
I must commend all the children on their use of the online platforms used to provide remote learning. They really are working hard at becoming independent learnings. The teachers have noted a significant increase in engagement from their students. Teachers are also providing more work, guided lessons, videos and class zooms this time. Remote teaching takes a huge amount of planning and preparation. Our teachers are working incredibly hard at home. I am delighted to see that our children are too! Of course nothing replaces face to face teaching, but we are trying our best. We look forward to being together in the very near future.
Weekly Assemblies and Class Zooms
Research has shown that a sense of connection is vitally important for children during lockdown. Children need to see their peers and teacher, be it virtually and be part of their school, which represents normal in their lives. There has been a great response to the class Zooms. It is a great social outlet for all the children. We have had huge turn outs at our weekly Learn Together Assemblies which are held every Friday at 11am. We choose a theme each week from the Learn Together Curriculum to highlight. Susan sets an outdoor challenge to encourage the children to go outside and be with nature and we celebrate all the wonderful learning that takes place each week. This week we will be celebrating Chinese and Vietnamese New Year. See you there! Assemblies can be found on our website www.eskeretns.ie or on Twitter @Esker_ETNS.
Carambola food packages
Huge thank you to Carambola for offering food packages again in lieu of school lunches. A delivery of over 300 boxes was made in January. A second deliver will be made in February. I hope these packages have helped a little bit at home. If anyone is struggling at all, please get in touch with me by e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
HSE Health and Wellbeing Newsletter
Please see below the monthly newsletter from the HSE regarding your health and wellbeing https://spark.adobe.com/page/AKbH02yz6HeWh/ , it also gives you useful resources to use with your child. In February and March the HSE are running workshops free online Stress Control programme For information and timetable see stresscontrol.ie.
I know many of you have been in touch with Linda over the past month. Linda is our home school teacher and is your link to school. She is available on 0860261061 or email@example.com.
This month she has organised:
Our PTA is still active during lockdown and Maureen has organised a PTA coffee morning on Friday 12th at 10am on Zoom. Please see their Twitter page @Eskeretnspta1 for more details.
Mid Term Break
The school will be closed from 15th – 19th February inclusive. This means that there will be no remote learning. We encourage you and your children to take a well-earned rest, they have been working hard during the past five weeks. Enjoy some family walks, movies, meals, reading, outdoor challenges, drawing, baking, creating, making and sleep!
Tania has put up a link on See Saw for an art competition for all children. This is entirely optional. This competition is in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation, which offers support and care to children with severe neurological development issues. It offers respite directly to parent and families. If you would like to take part all the details on how to enter and donate are on See Saw and our website www.eskeretns.ie
It is amazing how much is still going on in Esker despite the school being closed. Again, well done to every child, parent and staff member for keeping it all going. Every week that passes means it is one week closer to reopening. As soon as I have more details, I promise to let you all know.
In the meantime, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the school office at 01 6241462 if you need anything at all.
Be Safe, Be Well and See you all soon!
I hope that you and your families are all keeping safe and well. Firstly, I would like to thank all of the children for their hard work to date. The teachers have all noticed that there has been a significant improvement in engagement online since last March. Thank you to the children for uploading their work and to the parents for supporting their learning at home. It is not an easy task, but you are all doing so well. All we ask is that children try their best and they are. Well done! I know this cannot be easy, with the whole family engaging in online learning along with parents working from home. If you are struggling with anything regarding remote learning get in touch with your class or support teacher.
Unfortunately, it has been announced that schools will not open on 1st of February, as previously planned. This means that remote learning will continue until we receive official communication from the Department of Education regarding reopening dates. I will let you know, as soon as I know. The teachers will continue to upload lessons on Seesaw with guided instructions, daily videos, weekly class Zoom calls and weekly whole school assemblies. We ask that you encourage your child to engage, upload and check in with their teacher as much as they can.
By now, all families who applied for Carambola food packages have received them. A second round will be sent out, if the schools remain closed in February. Date will be confirmed.
I am aware that currently, things are difficult for many families. As as school community, we are here for you! Get in touch if you need anything at all at email@example.com.
Stay well and stay safe,
Dear Parents & Guardians,
An e mail was sent to you all yesterday regarding the announcement made from the Department of Education about the extension of the holidays. Esker ETNS will now reopen on Monday 11th January from 9.10 -9.30am.
This decision was made in an attempt to enhance safety measures in school. As we are now in Level 5 restrictions, please ensure that you and your child adheres to these measures:
Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that we are all working together in order to get the school reopened safely and sustainably.
If you have any queries or concerns, please e mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be in touch, if any further information is provided by the Department of Education.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. Here's to a better year!
Be safe and mind each other!
As the holidays are nearly upon us, we take this time to reflect and look back over a very busy and challenging first term. I am incredibly proud and grateful to everyone to getting to this point. We began this term with a certain level of interpretation. No one was quite sure how the weeks would progress. With the dedication and hard work from staff, the equal hard work and cooperation from children and continued support from all the families, we have successfully completed our first term through a pandemic, with minimal disruption. Not only that, we got there smiling and having fun!!!
For that, we would all like to say a massive THANK YOU and well done to everyone!
Here is what has been happening in December in Esker ETNS.
Green School Committee – 5th Green Flag – Biodiversity
Our new Green School Committee working on our 5th Green Flag for Biodiversity have been elected. This year Paula and Grace are leading this very worthwhile initiative and are working with the committee. Students from 5th Green and 5th Red will lead this Flag and will educate the rest of the school on virtual assemblies. They will work alongside our PTA in the Fairy Garden and plan to plant flowers to attract bees and set up a bug motel. Our PTA Garden club found a happy hedgehog in our garden, so we are expecting many more friends to come.
Student council representatives will be democratically elected in all classes to monitor the work on Litter and Waste, Energy, Water and Transport, to maintain our current four Flags.
The Student council held their first virtual meeting on 27th November for all of the senior classes. The student council are in the capable hands of Catherine, this year. Student representatives introduced themselves to the school and explained how important the voice of our students is and how to get your ideas and thoughts heard. Student council will meet virtually once a month, but will communicate using shared documents online. We are so impressed with how the committee have adapted to the current challenges.
The student council are helping the PTA with the Covid-19 Hub Shoebox appeal.
The PTA are quite restricted this year in their fundraisers, as they cannot come into the school. However, they have not let this stop them from fundraising for our school and worthy causes.
Covid-19 Hub – Shoe box appeal
We were made aware of this HSE Covid-19 Hub though the work one of our parents. This hub facilitates the most vulnerable people in society who have nowhere to go during this pandemic. It helps people and families who may need to self-isolate or need to restrict movements, due to Covid. Once we heard about the work that is done here, we knew that we wanted to help. Thank you to Linda, the PTA and Student Council and of course to all of you generous families who have donated new clothes, new toys, sweets, books etc to families who need a little extra this season. We are overwhelmed at the amount that has come in from you all. We know that these items will be gratefully received and will bring a little joy in the lives of people who really deserve and need it. The PTA and Linda will meet next week to assemble the shoe boxes. THANK YOU!
Funny hat day
The PTA have launched the “Funny Hat Day”, fundraiser which will be held on Friday 18th December. Children are welcome to make a hat or to wear a hat that they already own on this day. The PTA will be providing small spot prizes for the most creative hats, so be as creative as you like. They are asking that children bring in €2 towards this fundraiser, if they can.
All funds raised by the PTA goes back into supporting activities for the children in the school.
Virtual Winter Show case
We would normally host a Winter Concert in school in December. We are unable to do so this year, but the children would still like to showcase their amazing work. As you know with restrictions, we are unable to sing, we miss singing. Virtual concerts will be held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th December and will last 30 minutes each. The times are as follows:
Thursday 17th December - Junior Infants & Senior Infants 10 am - 10:30 am
Friday 18th December - 3rd Class & 4th Class 11:15am - 11:45am
We will send out the Zoom codes by e mail on the morning of the assemblies. We look forward to seeing lots of friendly faces online.
The school Holidays begin on Tuesday 22nd of December. This is a half day. School will close early. Please see the staggered closing times below. We ask that you strictly adhere to the times and also the logistics plan.
School will reopen on Wednesday 6th January at from 9.10 – 9.30pm and closing time will be as normal.
Last day of school – Logistics Plan
Please see below for collection times on Tuesday 22nd December.
Where possible, we are asking all families, please DO NOT BRING YOUR CAR INTO THE SCHOOL GROUNDS – this will be an extremely busy day. Please park on Castle road, Lucan leisure centre or elsewhere and walk to collect your child. It is very important that YOU COLLECT YOUR CHILD ON TIME. We have allowed 10 minutes between each collection time. We are relying on you to BE ON TIME.
Junior Infants 12pm
Senior Infants 12.10pm
1st & 2nd Class 12.20pm
3rd – 6th Class 12.30pm
Please remember that parents from 3rd – 6th class should not be on the school grounds (unless your child has SEN). Please arrange a meeting point either on Castle road or outside the main entrance.
Linda has been very busy this term. Although she cannot do home visits or invite parents into school, she is working hard at keeping parents connected and to be part of your child’s education.
School Transfer talk
Linda hosted a school transfer talk on 25th November to parents of 4th – 5th class. She explained the new Admission policy and how to apply for a second level place for children. Please note, you apply for second level school when your child is in 6th class now.
Crafty Club house & Online cooking
Linda hosted her first virtual crafty clubhouse. She posted out hot chocolate and crafts to all participants. I heard it was a great success. Parents will be making tomato and basil pizza sauce this week. YUM!
Clover stands for Children Love Reading. This is a literacy initiative sponsored by South Dublin Libraries. They provide books to our new Junior infant children. Every junior infant child received a CLOVER pack. An online meeting was held on 1st December December, with parents, Linda, Gemma and Emma from Lucan library. We talked about the importance of reading to and with your child and the useful free services that are available to all families in Lucan. All library services and classes are free and best of all the library is open!
If your child suffers with a chronic health condition, it is very important that we have this information and medication (if necessary). Please contact the office on 01 6241462 to arrange a meeting with the class teacher and Grace (email@example.com).
We wish all of our families who celebrate Christmas, a very happy and peaceful time. To our families who do not celebrate, we wish you a safe and relaxing break with your family and a time for all the children to recharge their batteries. They have all worked incredibly hard this term and deserve a rest.
If you are travelling outside of Ireland, we ask that you restrict your movements for 14 days from date of arrival, regardless if you have taken a Covid-19 test in the airport. We ask you to follow all government guidelines, so we can remain a safe space when we return in the new year.
Again parents, I would like to thank you for putting your trust in us this year. We have worked so hard to maintain the safety standards in the school, while providing a fun, stimulating, child centred, safe and inclusive school for all. I appreciate all of your cooperation and look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
New Deputy Principal
Catherine was successfully appointed the New Deputy Principal. Catherine is a founding staff member of Esker ETNS and is well loved by children, staff and parents. She is our Special Educational Needs coordinator and keeps the children busy with whole school literacy initiatives. I am delighted that I will be working closely with Catherine over the coming years. I would like to wish Catherine a huge congratulations and the very best of luck in her new role.
As you know, student voice is a big part of Esker. Our student council consists of children from 3rd – 6th Class. A boy and girl from each class has been elected following a democratic vote. 6th class learned all about proportional representation and the importance of using your vote. The new committee will meet on Zoom at the end of the month. It is important for children to learn the process of getting your voice heard, and acting positively on causes that are important to you. Small changes can have big effects.
Green School Committee
We were awarded our 4th Green Flag in June for Transport. This was a result of two years of hard work in gathering evidence on how our children travel to school, carrying out transport audits, promoting initiatives for sustainable travel and monitoring results. We saw a HUGE shift in attitudes in children and parents regarding sustainable travel. Well done everyone! This was definitely a whole school effort. Our bike and scooter racks are full every day.
This year we begin our new journey towards our 5th Green Flag – Biodiversity. 5th Class will become our Biodiversity experts and will lead this process. Classes 1st – 6th will democratically elect Green school representatives who will monitor water, energy, transport and waste actions, to renew these flags.
Ventilation – staying warm
As you are aware the weather is getting colder and the windows and doors must remain open in order to provide adequate ventilation in the classrooms. I would like you to know that doors and windows are wide open during break times and morning drop off to air out spaces. When the children are in class, the windows are left open by 1inch and the door is ajar. This maintains a circulation, but allows the heaters to work and the temperature to rise. We have CO2 monitors in all of our classrooms, which are on Green. This tells us that circulation of fresh air is effective. It would still be advisable to put layers of clothes on your child. We invited Angela (Health and Safety of BOM) and Maureen (Chairperson of the PTA) to come and inspect the school.
Music Generation is a music group run by SDCC. Their aim is to promote all genres and types of music to children, using fully trained professional musicians. In previous years, the PTA have helped fund this programme for classes. Usually, Music Generation has provided singing lessons for children. Due to restrictions, we are unable to sing because of the production of droplets in a closed space. As a result, Music Generation is providing percussion classes to 3rd and 4th for 10 weeks. The children really enjoyed it yesterday. I am looking forward to their first performance.
Covid-19 reminders – morning drop off / collection / sickness / appointments etc.
I would like to extend a massive thank you all again for your continued support and cooperation with all of our protocols. I know as the weather gets worse, it will be more difficult not to use the car to bring/collect older children to school, but I ask you to continue to help us. Below is a quick reminder our Covid-19 protocols:
· JI – 2nd class and Special Educational Needs children – parents can come on the grounds to drop off point in the morning and collect from designated points at home time
· 3rd – 6th class – parents please DO NOT come on the grounds. Drop /collect your child at Castle Road.
· Please always wear masks properly if you are collecting children from lines.
· Please socially distance when talking with your friends.
· No parents in main entrance – please call school number (01 6241462) and we will come out to you
· Please keep sick children home
· Remind your child about the importance of handwashing / distancing
· If your child has an appointment you can collect them by calling the office on 01 6241462 – we will bring the child out to you. CHILDREN CANNOT RETURN TO SCHOOL AFTER AN APPOINTMENT.
· Please keep a child home if anyone in house is going for a Covid-19 test.
· Please keep a child home if someone in the house has Covid-19 symptoms.
· Please keep me informed if there is anything Covid related you think I need to know.
Thank you to all the parents who have informed me of anything to date. Please know that I will deal with your information in the strictest of confidence. I really do appreciate you support.
Infant curricular meetings
Every year we invite out infant parents to school, to explain the curriculum, homework and a day in the life of their infant. Our meetings took place on Wednesday 18th November on Zoom. It was great to see such a good virtual turn out. Many thanks to our teachers for facilitating this.
PTA AGM – new committee
The PTA are such an integral part of our school. They held their AGM on Friday the 13th November on Zoom. Maureen gave us a very comprehensive report on the PTA activity last year. There were lots of photos to help us remember “the good old days”. The committee elections were the final item on the agenda. I am delighted to inform you the PTA committee for 2020/21 is:
Chairperson – Maureen
Vice Chair – Saaba
Treasurer – Deepa
Secretary – Janice
Well done ladies! Thank you for your continued hard work, support and contribution to the wonderful spirit in the school.
Learn together assemblies – 5th Green / 2nd special guests
What makes Educate Together schools different from denomination schools is that we follow a Learn Together curriculum instead of religious instruction. We provide equality based education. We promote this in the school by holding weekly Learn Together assemblies. This is a great way for classes to connect and learn from each other.
We have senior and junior assemblies. They are held on Zoom this year. We also promote literacy, numeracy and other whole school initiatives. During these assemblies one class prepares a presentation for the rest of the school based on a topic they have studied from the Learn Together curriculum. They may be:
§ Belief systems
§ Ethics and the environment
§ Equality and Justice
§ Moral and Spiritual.
I look forward to our Friday assembly every week!
Parent teacher meetings – DES guidelines
We would normally have our parent teacher meetings in November for 3rd – 6th and JI – 2nd class in February. These are short 10 minute meetings with your class teacher, where an oral report is provided regarding the academic and social progress of your child. We were advised by the Department of Education to wait for guidance on this process this year. We have decided to hold all Parent teacher meetings in February. They will be on Zoom for a 10 minute session per child. We will send out details on Aladdin Connect nearer the time. In the meantime, if you have any concerns that you would like to discuss with your child’s class teacher, you can email (**name of teacher**)@eskeretns.ie.
Admissions – Junior Infants 2021
We opened our online admissions for Junior Infants 2021 on 8th of October. The closing date is today, 19th November. Places will be offered from 30th November, you will have until 14th December to accept the place. Any application received after this date will go on a waiting list.
We would normally hold a Winter Concert in December, so classes can perform winter songs and poems for all the parents. Unfortunately, due to restrictions, we are unable to accommodate our favourite event. Instead, there will be a Zoom concert for classes arranged. A note will be sent home nearer the time, informing you of the time and date. Parents and guardians will be invited during the day to log on.
Linda is our home school liaison teacher and is well known to many of you. Her main role is to support parents to support their children in in school. While she has had to move to the online space, she is still working really hard in getting parents involved in school life.
· Maths week was in October – there were lots of fun activities in school, including a Kahoot table quiz for 5th and 6th.
· She will be holding a school transfer talk for parents 4th – 5th class on 25th November on Zoom
· She will be sending CLOVER reading books to Junior infant parents and holding a meeting on 1st December on Zoom at 10am
· The Crafty Club House will start on Zoom on Wednesday 2nd December, where she will send out the crafts to work online together.
· Linda is focusing on Road Safety this month and has sent home ladybird / turtle high viz jackets to any cyclers. Please wear helmets and high viz when cycling (please send any photos of your child wearing them to firstname.lastname@example.org). Please wear seatbelts when in the car at all times.
We are staying apart and out of the school, but you can connect with each other online. It is a great way to meet friends, get to know teachers and learn more about the school.
It has been a very busy month so far, but an enjoyable one. Thank you to all of you, for your continued support in helping us to keep the school safe for everyone. It is important that we all work together to sustain the safety in Esker ETNS.
I want to assure you that your children are in good hands here. Your children are learning, they are happy and they are safe.
If you would like to get in touch with me for any reason, please e mail me at email@example.com.
New Principal in Esker ETNS
This is my first week as Principal of Esker ETNS. I would like to introduce myself, to anyone who does not know me. My name is Gemma, I have been a teacher in this school since 2007 and have had many roles, including class teacher, HSCL and Deputy Principal. I am looking forward to working closely with you and your children over the coming years. I would like to thank Colette for her tireless work over the last thirteen years in creating an inclusive school where the teaching is excellent and learning is fun. I will endeavor to continue to build on this work with our incredible staff and children.
A Legend Retires
A huge thank you to all the children and parents for making Colette’s retirement such a special occasion.
Thank you for all the hard work from the PTA, especially Maureen, Sabaa, Angela, Deepa and Janice. The parents held a Zoom meeting for Colette. There were videos, singing, animations and very emotional speeches. Thank you for all the kind words and generous gifts for Colette. We were thrilled to see families from home and abroad at the meeting.
We had a whole school assembly for Colette with the children on Friday. They presented her with a book of poems written by the children about Colette. She then visited each class to chat to the children individually. Colette was an inspirational leader and we will miss her dearly. We wish her lots of happiness and a well-earned rest with her family.
Safety Measures continue – How you can help?
With restrictions at Level 3 in place all over the country, we need to be mindful of safety measures in the school.
1. Stay home if your child is feeling unwell – if your child needs medicine, keep them at home. Check this website for Covid- 19 symptoms: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/protecting-your-child.html
2. Stay informed – Here is the latest advice on Level 3 Restrictions https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ad569-level-3/
3. Drop off and collection - Parents JI – 2nd class – you can drive / walk into the school grounds to the drop off point. 3rd – 6th class parents – please do not come on to the school grounds in the car or on foot. Your child can be dropped to Castle road if you need to drive.
4.Parents – when collecting / dropping off your child please social distance and ALWAYS wear a mask correctly
5.Make sure that your children know how to wash their hands correctly. Things are working very well so far. Thank you for your cooperation with this. We are all working together to keep the school safe.
We have been advised by the Department of Education and government guidelines to ensure that good ventilation is available to children and staff at all times. This means that all windows, classroom doors and yard exits will be kept open during the day. The heating is on during the day, however, as Winter approaches the temperature is dropping. Please make sure that your child comes to school in warm layers of clothes with a warm winter coat. Fresh air is really important and is another we can stay safe.
Enrolment – new Junior infants 2021 /22
Enrolment for new Junior Infants for 2021 is now open online. Please note that all applications are made online only. The enrolment window is open until 19th November 2020. Applicants will be informed on 30th November of places available. Birth certificates and proof of address are required only when the school place is accepted. Any application made after the 19th November will be placed on the waiting list. Please find the enrolment form at: https://www.eskeretns.ie/enrolment.html
Updating contact details on Aladdin Connect
It is so important that we have your most up to date contact details on Aladdin, our database. If you change telephone number or move house, please make sure that you update your contact details on Aladdin Connect. If you are unable to do so, please contact Linda (our HSCL) on 0860261061 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Blended Learning - See Saw & G Suite
Children from Infants to 5th class will all have received their individual QR code by now, we purchased a license for each child. The teachers have assigned simple tasks online to ensure that your child has the adequate skills to engage in blended learning, when at home. Our SET teachers were giving extra to support to children, where needed. 6th class are using G suite to do tasks at home. Please encourage your child to engage with See Saw or G suite daily, so their skills and competence grow.
As you know, we are not allowed to mix classes. We are no longer able to hold our weekly Learn Together Assemblies in the hall. We have been holding assemblies every Friday on Zoom, which allows the children to see each other. We will still hold weekly assemblies to ensure that we all Learn Together to Live together. Classes learn about different strands in the Learn together curriculum (Ethics and the Environment, Equality and Justice, Belief systems, and Moral and Spiritual) and prepare a presentation and artwork to show the other classes. We love our Learn Together Assemblies.
Maths week begins on Monday 12th October, until Friday 16th of October. Usually, we would invite all the parents into school, to take part in maths trails, maths stations and a Maths quiz for senior classes. Unfortunately, we are unable to do any of these fun activities this year. Keep an eye on your e mail, Linda will send home useful websites and maths trails for you to do at home with your children.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA) - AGM
Due to Covid -19 restrictions, we can no longer have Parents in the building, so the PTA are unable to hold meeting in the Parents’ room. Every year, they hold an AGM (annual general meeting). At this meeting, the PTA give an update of events from previous years and elections for the new committee are held. This year, the AGM will be held in November on Zoom. Details will be sent out nearer the time.
Dress up on 23rd of October
The last day of school before the mid-term break is Friday 23rd of October. Children are welcome to dress up in fancy dress that day, or indeed in traditional clothes to mark the last day before mid-term.
There is no school from 26th – 30th October. Wishing all of our families a safe, relaxing break. Please be mindful of all Government restrictions during your time at home.
We hope you and your children are keeping safe.
Please look at our new 'COVID Return To School Details' section on the school webpage. We will update this page frequently with information. We will release videos to you, explaining the new way to come to school next week but for now please get familiar with the information up there already as there will be lots of changes for you to get familiar with.