Greetings to parents, guardians, children, friends and all members of the Esker ETNS School Community!
We have reached the end of a very busy, energetic and action- packed term. Lots of learning has been taking place, both formal and informal. Below is just a snippet of some of the activities the students of Esker have been involved in since September.
Student Voice in Action.
Student Voice -or giving the children the opportunity to express their opinions and have their say- is a key element of the way an Educate Together school operates. Student Voice is integrated into all aspects of school life, and children are made aware that their opinions matter and are listened to. One formal way in which we practise Student Voice is by holding elections to form committees through which children have a forum to express their opinions.
This term elections were held for two committees -Student Council and Green School.
The Student Council consists of 10 members drawn from the Third to Sixth Classes. These children represent their own class level, plus a class level from the junior end of the school. The Student Council is the central committee through which all student issues are discussed and debated. Representatives are given the opportunity to talk to their classes and listen to their ideas and concerns. Committee members then bring these issues to formal meetings of the Student Council. Decisions taken at these meetings are communicated back to the student body, and on to school management.
In order to be elected, students had to present their manifestos to their classes and explain why they would make good representatives. Elections were then held.
The Green School’s Committee consists of 16 members, two from each class from 3rd to sixth, who again represent their own class level and a junior class. It plays a very important role in the school, keeping the topic of sustainability to the forefront of our minds. The committee runs multiple projects throughout the year, all designed to promote green issues. You will be hearing all about these in future newsletters.
Congratulations to the successful candidates of both committees, and to all who put themselves forward for election.
In addition to the above elected committees, a number of other groups were formed to give students as many opportunities as possible to have their voices heard. The Active Committee was formed, not by election but through consensus and collaboration. In addition to this, some members of Sixth Class took the initiative to form a Kindness Committee and an Active Citizen’s Committee. We look forward to sharing news of their work in our next newsletter.
We had huge parental involvement in maths week this year. Parental involvement is key to children's success in school so I want to thank all the parents who gave up their time to come and join us for some numeracy fun. The lasting impact on your children will be invaluable for their continuing education.
Our Junior Infants have impressed us all with the way in which they have settled into the routine of life in Big School. They have learnt the important skills of managing in a busy classroom, with lots of new faces, new activities and new routines. And of course lots of learning has taken place. In September, the children were learning about different types of homes. In October the topics were Autumn and the Supermarket. It was also the month when parents visited us and took part in Maths Week and Clover Reading. In November the topic was Construction and this month the children have been learning about Winter and The Animals of the Artic.
Lots of adjusting, lots of fun, lots of activity and lots of learning. We’re proud of our newest recruits!
Senior Infants were involved in a very exciting project this term, learning about life cycles by hatching three chicks in their classroom! This project was run in conjunction with Nore Valley Park Farm who are based in Kilkenny! The children were delighted to welcome their new classmates –Chiquitita, Sunny and McEggor!
First Class Red were working on their literacy skills by forging links with some First Class children from St Aengus National School in Donegal. They were very excited to receive their first letters! Their Donegal pen pals told them a little about themselves and First Red replied telling them about some of their favourite things. They are very excited to find out what similarities and differences there are between life in Dublin and life in Donegal.
First Class Green have finished taking part in the Mighty Oaks public speaking programme. They have really enjoyed taking part in this for the last five weeks. This year, the class focused on eye contact, use of gesture, use of voice and moving around the room. First Class feel more confident when speaking in front of an audience and are excited to continue the programme in Second Class!
This term, 2nd Class Red performed their Learn Together Assembly. The children spent lots of time practising their lines, learning their poem and building their confidence speaking in front of an audience. The assembly was about our amazing school Esker Educate Together! They’re looking forward to repeating their performance for all their parents at the Winter Showcase!
2nd Class Green sampled their own homemade (or ‘class-made!’) butter from a jar! They were imagining what it would be like to live on a farm in the past, as they had studied in History. The butter they made the old fashioned way was shared around lots of lucky teachers, who declared it to be the best butter in Lucan!
Third Blue have been learning all about Chrstmas this month. They’ve been dressing up, singing and playing Jingle Bells with their percussion instruments.
Third Green have been working on developing their taste buds -tasting all sorts of interesting flavours like ketchup, lemons, limes, jam and crisps!
Third Red were all really excited last week when a delivery from Eason’s arrived in their classroom. They now have lots of new library books which the students are really enjoying! The most popular books in the class are Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Laura, Emer and Leah hope all Third Class Students will visit the library with their mums and dads, and keep up their reading over the holidays.
As we write 4th class Red and Green are busy rehearsing for the Winter Showcase. 4th Red are going to treat us to two songs from Matilda, whilst 4th Green are working on a drama entitled “Christmas Rescue” . Both casts are very excited about the concert and are working very hard to put on two brilliant performances. We can’t wait to see them!
Another interesting learning experience for 4th class this term was the talk given by Breda & Elenore, representatives from Women in Tech. They came to visit both classes twice, once in October and again in December. The aim of the talks are to develop and strengthen the interest and attitudes of young people, especially girls, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Research on gender and STEM tells us that in order for young women to pursue a career in STEM, they must believe in its importance, and believe in their ability to succeed in the field
These talks were inclusive of both boys and girls. The children were highly engaged and contributed actively with hands up every few seconds asking questions and offering their opinions.
The children learned about hacking, ways to stay safe online, how to think up safe passwords and how biometrics such as fingerprints and eye detection can help to keep us extra safe.
Written by our class member Ross.
MIGHTY OAKS? MORE LIKE MIGHTY FOLKS!
This term everyone in 5th Class green took part in the Public Speaking Program ‘Mighty Oaks’.
This program helped us all to speak without fear in front of others and helped all the students running for Student Council and Green-school to speak with confidence. We learned the difference between a good speech and a great speech.
Each week we learned a new skill about giving a speech without fear. We also learned about the point of a speech, how to write a good introduction as well as your main points, and finally how to finish your speech strong and leave an impact.
The newly elected Green-school and Student council will be sure to Stand Tall and speak with confidence this coming year.
This term we also had Maths week. Activities included a maths treasure hunt, a scavenger game where you scan a picture and it asked you a variety of maths questions, as well as the annual students and parent’s maths quiz. The maths scavenger hunt was definitely my favourite activity that week.
During this term it was October, you know what that means IT WAS HALLOWEEN! On the last day before midterm, we did a parade, but not just any parade it was a double up! That means each senior class was paired with a junior class and they would walk together. Even with all of these fun celebrations, our teacher Tara and many other teachers gave us loads of sweets. That day was one of the best Halloweens this school has done in all my time in Esker!
Who said science was just theory? Following on from Science Week, 6th Class Green got to put the theory into practice during their work on fossils. First they had to do some scientific research to ascertain which of two newspaper reports was correct. One said that dinosaur fossils had been found and the other stated that they were magmatic rocks.
After their research, they set about making dinosaur fossils themselves. Here they are straight from the Jurassic. Have a good look at them before they’re sent off to the museum!
Here’s a gallery of some other Sixth Class Activities this term.
Making Fossils Halloween Parade Cycling Lessons
Sixth Class Green and Sixth Class Red learned to cycle with our instructors Paul and Dave. We learned how to give the correct hand signals when cycling on the road, the importance of cycle safety and of wearing a helmet. We finished our lessons with a cycle around the local area.
Stem Challenges in 6th Class
In September, Sixth Class Green were focusing on learning to work as part of a team through completing STEM challenges. Here, we had to build the tallest lookout tower we could for Harry.
We are so lucky to have access to so many new books in our library this year! We did a book tasting to become familiar with the books that are in our class library and we made a list of which ones we would like to read.
The two 6th classes have been getting road safety lessons from cycling Ireland this term. Currently they are looking forward to their upcoming lesson, where they will be cycling around their local area and applying their skills.
After School Clubs
Learning didn’t finish at 3pm! Many of our students took part in after school clubs, which are an excellent way to experiment with different sports or hobbies. Many thanks to all the teachers who gave up their free time to run these fun, after school activities.
Last month Emer G ran Frisbee Club for 5th and 6th. They finished up at the end of November and Emer concluded that it was such a lovely 6 weeks. The course finished with a “Spirit Circle”, which is the way all ultimate frisbee games finish; players focus on positive aspects of the game and their experience. Emer reports that she is also so proud and chuffed that some students presented at an assembly during October, and spoke about how their newly discovered skill at Frisbee playing was something they were proud of!
Arlene ran a Beginners Chess Club for 4th and 5th class pupils on a Thursday. The club was for pupils who are relatively new to chess. As the students progressed throughout the 6-week programme, they played a variety of games to develop an understanding of each chess piece, before moving on to play full chess games. The aims of the sessions were to develop students’ understanding of respect, accepting defeat, planning ahead, etiquette, teamwork, decision making, patience, safe and unsafe, resilience and practice.
Eimear D ran a science club with 2nd class this term. The children had the opportunity to engage in a range of experiments such as explosions, colour change, chemical reactions, air pressure and floating/construction.
Written by: Maryam 2nd Class Green
Lego club is fun and exciting. You get to share your imagination and you also get to do you! Sometimes Arlene gives us a theme, like for example; the first time I went to Lego Club the theme was something related to Halloween or Autumn. It was great fun and I enjoyed this club so much!
Glee Club put on a little performance for families, and were delighted when about 40 people turned up! Members of Glee Club had great fun this term with Linda,learning breathing techniques, singing songs and doing some dances.
This term 5th and 6th got to play for Rob’s Rangers for a temporary 8 week contract. All players will probably be talent- spotted and bought for exorbitant sums by Premier League teams. We’ll be able to say they got their start in Esker ETNS.
Of course, many other events, visits, talks, classes and activities took place this term, too many to include. Everyone worked hard, and everyone is looking forward to a relaxing winter break, as I’m sure you are yourselves.
We look forward to seeing you back at 10 past 9 on Monday 8th January.
On behalf of all the staff of Esker ETNS, may I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and peaceful holiday season, and a very Happy New Year to you all!
Gemma and the Esker ETNS Team
Updates from Gemma about our school.