Hello to all our families on this wet and windy Friday!
Despite the current stormy skies, there’s a feeling of Spring in the air at Esker ETNS – a general feeling of optimism that we have put the worst of the pandemic behind us and we are hopeful that we will be able to get back to normal before too much longer.
Currently we are awaiting guidance from the Department of Education as to what we are to do regarding mask-wearing and maintaining bubbles and pods for learning. As always we will be guided by the Health experts and the safety of the school community will be to the forefront of any decisions we make. We will keep you informed of any changes to these practices as soon as we have received that advice. It has been a busy half-term with lots happening in school.
GAA Games We are so delighted to have children back involved in after school sports this term and for this we are very grateful to the team of teachers who have volunteered to run the training sessions, organized and led by Heidi. The children train after school on Tuesdays. At the moment this is only open to 6th Class boys and girls, but hopefully in the future we will be able to have more classes involved. We have also been playing Cuman na mBunscol matches. So far we have played two boys matches. The girls will play a football blitz of 4 matches after the midterm break. This is our first time, as a school, being involved in a GAA competition. The 6th class girls and boys have been learning and applying their new GAA skills. They are playing well as team members, getting lots of exercise and fresh air. Sport and physical activity is a great way of having fun, forgetting about everything and just focusing on the ball or the game. We literally have been having a ball! Well done to all staff and children that are involved.
Internet Safety Talk We marked Safety Internet Day on February 8th with lessons and discussions on the topic, and an extremely informative talk for parents presented by Ger Brick of INet safety. The message he had to convey was quite shocking and very though-provoking. He outlined very graphically the dangers to children of unsupervised access to the internet and adult-themed video games. We were delighted to have so many parents in attendance -134. Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to attend this very important and relevant presentation.
Learn Together Assemblies Learn Together is the name given to the ethical education curriculum we teach here as an Educate Together school. Every week we have an assembly which explores a theme from this curriculum, and at the assembly one class makes a presentation on what they have been learning. Currently, because of Covid restrictions, these assemblies are being conducted via Zoom, but the benefit of this is that the presentations are recorded and are uploaded to our school website, where you, the parents can view them. This term so far we have had wonderful presentations on the themes of Martin Luther King, St Brigid’s Day, Chinese New Year, Fire Safety and World Education Day, to name but a few.Have a look at some of the wonderful work your child has been doing! Click here https://www.eskeretns.ie/learn-together-assemblies
Junior Parent-Teacher Meetings. Parent -teacher meetings for children from Junior Infants to 2nd class have been taking place all this week. As we all know, parents are the primary educators of the Esker children, and we would like to thank you for attending and sharing your insights with us. We hope you found the meetings beneficial. If at any stage of the year there is information which your child’s teacher should be aware of, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If your child attends for any educational assessments or therapy, please keep us up to date. The more information we have about your child, the better we can facilitate her or him to thrive.
Green Schools We would like to say thank you to the Green Schools Committee who have being working really hard this term. As you know we are working towards getting our Green Schools Flag for Biodiversity. The committee are running a competition at the moment to create posters and/or slogans that show our schools commitment to environmentally friendly actions. We want all the pupils in the school to think about the things that we can do to help biodiversity and things that we can stop doing that are damaging biodiversity. We thought a poster/slogan competition would be a good way to do this. Don’t forget to go to https://www.eskeretns.ie/biodiversity.html for information and inspiration!
Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Week) Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Week) will take place this year from March 7th to 16th. We love Seachtain na Gaeilge in Esker as it gives us a chance to embrace all aspects of Irish heritage. We will be having lots of fun speaking Irish, learning Irish songs and dances, doing table quizzes as Gaeilge (in Irish) and bringing the language to life for all the children in our school. This year we will be sending home some lovely simple phrases and questions you can ask your children. Bígí Linn!! ( Pronounced bee-gee ling -meaning -Join us!)
Parents Craft Classes We were very lucky to get our fabulous craft tutor Martina back again this term for another 8 week course. We have 12 parents doing the course and they've already made some fantastic owl doorstops. I'm looking forward to seeing the jewellery they're going to be making over the next few weeks. We will be running English classes for parents starting in April and they will be run by the ETB. Keep an eye out for a notice about it and get your name on the list!If you would like to get involved in any of these activities, you would be very welcome. Drop Linda a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Voice Student Voice, or giving pupils an opportunity to have their say, is very important to us at Esker. We have a Student Council composed of a boy and a girl from each class from 2nd to 6th. These children represent their classes, and meet regularly to discuss issues raised or suggestions made. Currently the council are working on two projects. At the moment they are seeking ideas for a design for a school mascot, which we are hoping to have made in time for any sporting engagements we may be able to get involved in this summer. If any parents have any ideas or skills they would like to share in order to see this project realised, please drop Catherine a line at email@example.com The Council are also working on putting together a comic library and they would be very grateful if you could send in any old comics or comic annuals your children are finished with.
Write-a Book Competition To encourage all our budding authors and illustrators, we are running a Write-a -Book competition. This is purely voluntary, so no child has to enter, but as it is a great way to foster and develop literacy skills, we would be delighted if you encouraged your child to participate. If they are bored over the mid-term, suggest that they start working on their Book project. Any type of book is welcome -fact, fiction or even poetry (as long as it is original work!). They have until April 1st to complete their book and we will display all the entries and have some nice prizes to award.
NUMERACY We are focusing on telling the time this year! At home please refer to the clock regularly. We should all be able to look at the SHORT hand and say "It is around X o'clock" and use the SHORT hand to decide if it is before (to) or after (past) that time. Ignore the long hand for now. We will be learning more about telling the time in the next few months.
Look at the short hand. What number is it nearest to? (It is nearest the 3) Well done! Around what time is it? (It is around 3 o'clock.) Well done! Now look at the short hand again. Is it before or after the 3? (It is before 3. It is before 3 o'clock, it is getting closer TO 3 o'clock).
Road Safety We would like to remind parents to exercise extreme caution when driving through the school grounds and dropping off children. Children must not be let out of cars on the turning circle. There are too many cars reversing out of parking spaces, and small children are not easily seen. Please park as near as possible to a pathway and ensure that all children cross from one side of the turning circle to the other, only on the zebra crossing.
Phone in Advice clinic We have been asked by the HSE to let people know about a phone-in advice clinic which they are running for children with Speech and Language difficulties. A therapist will provide you with a half-hour phone consultation and advise you how best you can support the speech and language development of your child. If you are interested in booking an appointment, please phone 01-7955256.
To conclude … Next week is mid-term break, and the school is closed from Monday 21st February until Friday 25th February inclusive. We would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and relaxing mid-term break. We look forward to seeing you all on the 28th. Slán! (Pronounced Slawn, meaning Goodbye!) Gemma.