Wednesday Newsletter, October 6th, 2021: Deireadh Fómhair
Fómhar: This is the Irish word for Autumn; September is Meán Fόmhair (middle of Autumn/Harvest) and October is Deireadh Fόmhair (end of Autumn/Harvest). You knew these ones already, of course, but you mightn’t know the expression chomh líonta le frog fómhair – as full as an autumn frog (one who is about to hibernate, that is). If you’re wondering why Irish doesn’t have a more bespoke word for frog, the 1864 foclóir has a theory – “an animal not found in Ireland before the reign of William III of England, whose Dutch troops first introduced it amongst us”.
Writer Darach ό Séaghdha
See more beautiful autumnal Irish language to share at the following link: https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/irish-words-for-autumn-4265770-Oct2018/
How rich is our language that has such natural descriptive beauty in it? I thought I would begin to include a little in each newsletter from now on, especially since we are trying to improve our Gaeilge Neamhfhoirmiúil around the school as part of our School Self Evaluation and School Improvement Plan. As well as that, a number of our parents are from other interesting countries with rich languages too, and it is a nice opportunity to share some of our language heritage with you. Who knows, you may spot strong similarities with phrases from your native language as well?
The New Irish Language Curriculum has been embraced in our schools over the past few years. The Department of Education and Skills, through their Professional Development Support for Schools (PDST) teams, will continue to provide in-service Continuing Professional Development for teachers on this. We will be having a Curriculum Planning Day for this New Language Curriculum on Monday 29th November. As a result, the school will be closed that day for the children. We will remind you again in November.
Thank you to all who have paid any outstanding administration fees to the school. A gentle reminder to anyone who has put it on the long finger, please contact Siobhán or Fiona in the office on 01-2861934.
Are you worried about your child’s speech and language? The HSE offers free drop-in clinics at Greystones Health Centre from 9.00a.m. to 12.00p.m. on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month (except July and August). It involves a ten minute chat with the therapist to help decide if your child needs help with language development. Please contact 01-2877311 to book your slot. (Note: If your child is already on a waiting list with the HSE for a language assessment, you will not need this drop-in clinic as it is not an assessment service).
Remember, we are open for Admissions (Enrolments) for the next school year at the moment. The Admissions Notice runs from 4th October to 1st November. You can download our Enrolment Forms directly from our website, kilmacschool.ie if you wish to complete them and deliver by hand at the front door of the school. You may complete the forms online and send them by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or of course, post them to the school at Kilmacanogue National School, Co. Wicklow, A98D602. If you have any queries, please phone Siobhán or Fiona at 01-2861934.
On Monday, we marked the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals, at our first Zoom Assembly of the school year. We felt very reassured and comforted to know that a candle was lit by the Franciscan monks at the beautiful, right there in Assisi, especially for the children of Kilmacanogue National School and their families. It’s always nice to think that somebody, somewhere, is praying for us.
No sooner was Assembly complete than author, David Walliams, was beamed in to our classrooms from 2nd to 6th Classes, in a recorded interview, thanks to the Blackrock Education Centre. He has quite an imagination! In his new novel, Megamonster, the heroine Larker discovers something dangerous in the heart of the Cruel School – it belongs to the science teacher, Doctor Doktur. It is a Monsterfication Machine! The caption reads: “Play the Monsterfication Machine to Find out Which Monster You Are!” No double entendre intended there!
Mental Health Week commences tomorrow, and we are marking the week with a number of activities and initiatives. Mr. O’Connor and Mr.O’Farrell have uploaded a lot of excellent lesson materials to a Shared Drive Folder for all of the staff to draw from for their classes. These cover a number of topics ranging human development, safety and protection, and relationships and identity.
A folder containing a bank of resources relating to the above outlined topics has been placed in the staff room from which teachers can photocopy relevant materials for their classes. Mindfulness colouring resources are also available for teachers to use with the children. A selection of books related to mental health and well-being topics are on display and teachers can borrow these to read to their students.
Meditation is being encouraged for 5 minutes each day at the beginning of the day.
Worry boxes are being introduced into each classroom. Teachers have a short PowerPoint presentation which can be used to explain the purpose of these boxes.
Jersey Day will take place on Friday with proceeds going to Pieta House.
The senior classes will be learning about the work of Pieta House and the purpose of Darkness into Light.
Yoga is being organised for next week, weather permitting.
5th and 6th class have commenced work on the school garden. This will be a long term endeavour and progress will be tracked with photos. Teachers are keeping their classes active and/or outdoors. On Thursday, most of the classes will have their weekly fix of GAA skills training with Jackie Kinch…Jackie herself is good for our well-being around the school; it’s like a breath of fresh air when she arrives in the building each Thursday.
We would like the children to see our attention to well-being as a long-term effort. We are aiming for a sustained commitment to this during the school year, integrating it with other work along the way.
Our LWR for Covid Prevention in the school is Ms. Quiney and she has been keeping us updated on any changes that may need to be made to our existing Covid Response Plan based on our most recent Covid Risk Assessment which she has just recently updated. For example, we have invested in new anti-viral sprays to give the children’s boxes an extra spray each day when they have gone home. This is in addition to the wiping down of the boxes with the antiviral wipes. The children themselves are marvellous at remembering to hand wash and hand sanitise at all the appropriate times every day.
We are welcoming back already some of the children who had tested positive for Covid-19 over the past few weeks. In all, thanks to the vigilance of the whole school community, we have managed to keep the numbers at a low level. No more than sixteen cases out of two hundred and fifty children so far, which is less than 0.1% of the school. Hopefully, with God’s help, we will be able to keep it at bay. Thanks to the teachers and SNAs who have been keeping their heads up, their shoulders to the wheel and remaining positive through it all. Also, thank you parents and guardians, for keeping us informed along the way.
We wish to thank very sincerely the Parents’ Association for the purchase of thirty-four Samsung Galaxy tablets for the school. The PA is involved in significant fundraising activities all year round. They raised over €5,000 from the Sponsored Walk earlier this year. The children will really benefit from this investment in their education. Our IT consultant, Shay, will be preparing the management systems for the tablets over coming days. When that is in place we will be ready to create new learning opportunities with our new tablets.
The Board of Management of the school held a meeting on Tuesday night. It was a long evening, and very worthwhile of course. The Parents’ Association asked that the Board review the school’s policy on the wearing of earrings, to allow one pair of small stud earrings to be worn. However, on Health and Safety grounds, the Board upheld the existing policy of the non-wearing of any kind of earrings by the students to school.
Thank you all again for your support in all matters. It certainly takes more than a village to raise a child…
Ann Marie Bourke
Mental Health Week Book Display and Mindfulness Activities
One, Two, Eyes On You!