Last Thursday was one very happy day. After our prolonged school closure we finally got to reopen our school to our pupils!
It's been a mammoth task. Alongside all the usual preparation for the year-staff recruitment, new enrolments, and building maintenance - August 2020 brought a whole new raft of issues to ensure the safest possible reopening of our school.
And thanks to the dedication of our Board of Management, our teachers, SNAs, our cleaning staff and our great school community, we got here!
Welcome back everyone!
In advance of the big day, our staff have thoroughly discussed the Department of Education Covid 19 Response Plan. We all worked together to ensure our classroom layouts have been reconfigured to maximize social distancing. And children are being encouraged now to keep their distance as much as possible.
New signage has been placed all around our school and in the school grounds. And the children have been GREAT at following the rules.
We are reminding parents that the rules are for them too! Please keep your 2 metre distance from others when you are on our school grounds. Do NOT stop to talk-just keep moving.
LOTS of time has been given to revising the rules for handwashing and handsanitizing, along with practising a good cough etiquette.
And every class stay with their own class or bubble for the entire school day.
Children are discouraged from sharing pencils, erasers and other items and really have roped in well with the new guidelines.
We are really fortunate of course, to have a great new building and spacious play areas which allow for maximum social distancing between classes.
It hasn't all been plain sailing though... the inclement weather threw in an added challenge on Thursday, traffic was chaotic and there was some confusion as to which child was on which bus. But Friday ran much more smoothly.
If drivers could exit left only when leaving the school grounds it would be a big help!
The children will be taken inside the basketball court for collection and walked to their designated class station in the court so please do not congregate in front of the school at 2pm or 3pm
But most people have been superb and as keen as we are to keep the rules which help us stay open.
My thanks to those who have advised the school that they are keeping their children out while they safely isolate having returned from a country which is not in the green zone. And my thanks to all for their patience and understanding as we adapt to a whole new way of being as a school.
Please give your son time to settle in. Visitors are not allowed in to meet with anyone without a prior appointment and forgotten items must be left in the Drop Box at the school's front door.
Most people have managed to adapt to our staggered system of arrival at school. Times are allotted according to the first letter of surnames;
A-E arriving at 8.50
F-L at 9:00
M-Z at 9:10
Break times have had to be staggered too, to minimize contact between classes in our school yard.
Our Junior Infants have arrived from 10:00-12:00 each morning and will continue to do so until Friday 4th Sept.
Our pupils have been wonderful. They're here to learn. Let's work together to keep them at school!
We're delighted to have Mrs Lohan and Ms Kerr working together this year with one of our Senior Infant classes. Please show your son this slideshow and video clip as it will explain our both teachers will work together with them this year and help ease them back into school on August 27th.
Hello to all the parents of our new Junior Infants! And a big warm welcome to our Junior Infants! You have seen around our school before in this slide show. And here is our video! It takes you all around our school and also shows you what your new classrooms.
And if you watch right through to the end you will get to meet your new teachers, Ms Callan and Ms Rice! They have some very special messages for our new Infants so listen carefully!
There's also a webinar for parents of incoming infants been run by Clare Education Centre tomorrow, Thursday 25th June, which may be of interest to you. It's free and definitely worth doing if you get the chance.
Normally at this time of the year we would get a chance to take our new pupils on a tour of our school. This year, for now, we have to take a virtual tour. The tour is aimed primarily at the little ones. We will be welcoming several boys into our older classes this year too. They will find this tour helpful but we will return again with another post showing our facilities for the older children.
My thanks to the technological wizardry of Ms Milne, the photos from Ms Campbell and the wonderful inspiration of one of our parents, Ms Aideen O'Neill, for all their work here!
Aideen runs LIttle Learners Montessori School in Coney Hall. She has been busy preparing booklet and powerpoints for her parents and children to help them with their transition to big school. And has kindly shared them with us.
We are really looking forward to meeting some of the Little Learners in our school as soon as we can safely do so. And perhaps have tours for safely distanced groups if allowed at some point before school reopens.
But, in the meantime, enjoy the slideshow, the gallery, and the video!
Click on the pics below to read about each picture with your son.
Or click PLAY for the slideshow! Enjoy!
May brings sunshine, blossoms and, for all in Mornington parish, the First Holy Communion for our children.
This year, of course, it will be somewhat different. The Communion class of 2020 will always remember this as a very special occasion indeed, for it is definitely the very first time a Communion has been deferred in the parish because of pandemic!
They will have their special day, of course. Just not this term. But, as the parents of these children know already, Ms Smith and Ms Callan are already working away to create a special commemoration of 16th May 2020.
They have asked for photos from every boy in their class and will make a slideshow of photos for you all to see on their blogs.
This will also be a lovely way to remind the boys about their classmates as it has been so long since they were all together.
Fr Joseph really misses coming to our school to visit our classes. And we miss Fr Joseph too! But on Saturday morning he will say a special Mass for all the boys who should have been making their communion. And he will call them each of their names during the Mass.
Unfortunately the Church cannot broadcast the Mass live but will instead send me the link and I will notify you all when it has been uploaded.
It would be a nice idea to light a candle, and listen to that Mass with your family- a way to mark the occasion and also to support your son with his faith.
And this is not a time to be sad- our children will have their Communion day! Just not for another while.
It is a time to remember those who will never have another happy occasion, a time to remember those who are less well off, to think of our classmates, our neighbours, our friends. And those who are doing a magnificent job caring for the sick.
Let us a light a candle tomorrow,
Listen to the Mass(or say our prayers, or just be still)
And be grateful for another beautiful May day!
Thank you so much for your response to our recent survey!
And for taking the time to email us and respond to our phone calls.
As expected the survey revealed the broad scope of the challenges so many of you are facing and the inventiveness with which you tackle those challenges.
Our phone calls in particular revealed the depths of those challenges-people who are worried about loved ones with health issues, worried about grandparents feeling isolated, worried about the job loss and layoffs.
And we continue to be acutely aware of the many parents in our community who work as nurses, doctors, care workers and cleaners in our Health Services right now. We also have members of our staff who are directly connected with people working in the front line and staff members who have volunteered to work in support of the frontline.
Every Little Helps
Most of the boys spend between 30-60 minutes working each day. Some of you mentioned that your son can only work for short spurts-twenty minutes at a time, say. Or when the mood takes him.
That's fine. Often a little motivation can help-`do this first and then...`offering him some play with something he enjoys after or whatever little reward that will help build his discipline for work.
Setting up a routine and structure to the day is vital. Some days that will go out the window too but routine for us all can help us stay the course on days when we feel least like it.
Most of you favoured worksheets and working in books. The challenge of not having all of the school books at home is acknowledged. We currently are not allowed to access the school for those books but have plans in place to do so as soon as government restrictions are changed to allowed for this.
We have developed our blog pages to include audio and/or video tutorials in response to parent and teacher feedback. We have also revisited our Acceptable Usage Policy in relation to email.Suggested work is sent both via the teachers' blog pages and Aladdin. Most parents now are engaging with the class teachers via the class emails.
We know learning is not about school work but about the every day life experiences each of us have and our learning constantly adjusts according to the challenges we encounter.
We know the vast majority of respondents are appreciative of the work given by our staff but we know there are bigger challenges for you outside of having your son engage with work from school as this comment from one parent reveals...
"We are adjusting to this uncertain time...we are trying to keep a safe, happy home. The last thing we need is to be arguing with kids about school work. They are learning great life skills now about empathy, kindness, pulling together as a family"
Thank you so much for responding to our calls, to the survey and for your emails! And thank you for your supportive, kind and encouraging words! All of us are engaging with webinars and forums via Navan Education Centre, the Primary Development Support Team as we continue to grow and amend our supports as we steer through these unchartered waters.
Do encourage your son to comment on his class blog.
He may also email teachers with his parent`s email address. Reponses will be addressed to parent and son.
The following are the email addresses of each class. Click on the link! :-)
And all our class blogs are here!
Hi All! We are just delighted to get so many emails to our teachers and hearing about how all our pupils are getting along. Thank you so much for that! We really working together to find the best ways to keep in touch with you.
We have had a really good response to our suggested assignments on Aladdin. We have stressed the importance of setting up a good routine for each day. But we don`t want the Mams and Dads to be under too much pressure either.
Please get in touch with the class teachers-they're delighted to help and contact details are on all of their blogs.
Here we are at one of our Zoom meetings! We're all meeting regularly. Just like you we miss meeting one another face to face but we know we have to stay at home for now so, just like you, we meet online, whatsapp and email. But we would still prefer to meet each other and all of you in person!
Meanwhile our garden is growing in school! Brian took these pics. He is watering the plants every day. Our onions are really coming on. And, if you hover over the pics, you might find the weeping willow tree which the Students Council were presented with at their last meeting.
And here's our Communion class from last year! The First Holy Communion was scheduled for the 16th of May. Just three weeks away! Lots of parents have been asking us when it is going to take place. We promise we will let you know as soon as we know!
In response to feedback we have got from Mams and Dads, we made some changes to our assigned work for our boys. We have been contacting parents to see how they have been faring out this week and have also created a survey to get more responses.
Anyone filling this survey will remain anonymous. We really want your honest responses. You can flesh out that reponse in the comment section. We're keen to do the best for our boys, even from this distance, and need your feedback on the challenges and on what's working well.
The survey will be sent via Aladdin. If you cannot access Aladdin please let us know on email@example.com
Okay, head on over to our fantastic blogs! Lots of ideas there...and keep those pics rolling in!
Welcome back everybody after the Easter break! I hope you all had a lovely time in the sunshine. We've all been doing just GREAT with social distancing and hand washing so it's been good to hear that Ireland are doing so well in flattening the curve and preventing a lot of suffering from Covid-19! Still, we've got to keep up the work.
And hopefully keep up all the learning too!
...has been working his magic, delivering suggested work for every class. There were a couple of technical glitches with Aladdin's magic lamp this morning but they have been sorted now. If you have any Aladdin issues contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We're still happy to get feedback and pics at that email too. But we also have beautiful class blogs on our website! You can drop over there to look at them and each blog has an email address for parents to contact the class teacher directly.
The teachers really want to add lots of pics of your son's activities on their blogs too, so email them on directly to the teachers please. It can be a great motivator to see your work up online!
So how is your new routine going today? We hope you're mixing up the more challenging work with fun stuff.
We hope you're getting lots of exercise. Don't forget Joe's live sessions on TV and also on youtube.
And enjoy this really lively and inspiring series of programmes from TG4-a fun way to learn Irish!
If you've missed any programmes from RTE's Home School Hub you'll get them here It's on at 11am every week day morning.
And remember there also has been no better time to enjoy nature. You will learn a lot from getting out there watching wildlife, drawing what you see, or taking pictures.
Why not add them to your journal of this very special time in our country?
The very best thing you could do right now is get an ordinary blank writing copy and use it for your own daily observations on what is happening around you. You can keep that diary for yourself to look back on in years to come. Or you and your parents might be interested in the following project from Meath County Council....
Meath County Council are very interested in receiving diaries from everyone-children and adults-on life in these times. These diaries will be a great source of history for everyone in years to come. Read all about this initiative here.
Don't forget......SET UP A SCHEDULE for your weekdays!
Include exercise, art time, English and Irish, Maths, Science, prayer time, quiet time.
A random act of kindness!(or two!)
Now, head over to your teacher's blog for lots more suggestions on activities that you can fit into your routine this week.
Our teachers are all beavering away meeting together online, working on their blogs, responding to emails and planning for the future. And thinking of you all!
Are you getting out and about? It can be difficult to stay away from your friends and your relations but why not focus on some gardening over Easter?
Check out the Incredible Edibles website for free resources and gardening tips!
We have been just thrilled to see the work that you boys have been doing at home for the past while. Don't forget to switch off over the Easter break and relax. The teachers will have lots more activities for you to work on and will post them via Aladdin Connect on the 19th April in time for your new routine to kick off on Monday 20th.
And your parents can email your teacher directly about what is working well for you, and what you are finding difficult. Plus pics of any activities you want to share on the class blog.
Of course lots of the activities you have been doing are just great fun! Lots of you have really enjoyed Science experiments just like these two brothers here. Some of you have enjoyed baking and cooking. And, of course, Art and Music have been popular activities too.
You will need more indoor activities than usual for this Easter. So keep playing away with the activities you enjoy over the Easter break.
Of course the reason for the Easter break is to celebrate Easter! You might like to follow the story of Easter here on youtube
Don't forget to do a few chores for Mam and Dad every day. Every little helps!
And, most of all-smile whenever you can! You smile brings happiness to everyone!
I can see some of you boys are growing and changing so much in just couple of weeks. Great to hear about the progress you have been making!
Click on this link for twenty five Easter Craft Ideas! And have lots of fun indoors!
Wash your Hands
Keep your Social Distance
And enjoy your Easter Eggs!