Issue 1/2014 Vol. 1
I would like to welcome you to our school, Esker Educate Together National School. This is our first Esker Gazette, which we hope will bring you lots of interesting news from the school in the future.
Our new campus
Our school has been in existence since September 2007. Since then, we have been sited at Adamstown Castle ETNS, then our senior students moved to Lucan East ETNS, finally moving all of our students to the current Adamstown site in December 2011. We have made wonderful friends with the schools that shared their school premises with us, but we have been anxious to settle down in one place.
We have waited very patiently for our new school to go through all of the different planning application processes and are so excited that the building that we have dreamt about, is finally becoming a reality.
We are on the cusp of some very exciting developments as the new building takes shape at our new site in Esker Lane. We will have a wonderful new school, with the most up to date facilities, with a much bigger school yard and access to a large park and playing fields close by. We will finally have a home in which we can put down our permanent roots. We will no longer have the school bus, as we will happily move closer to the catchment area of our families.
The last 7 years have seen many changes, as our Esker family grew from 74 pupils and 9 teachers, to 375 pupils and 23 teachers in this short time.
We can’t wait to start the next chapter of the story of Esker Educate Together National School.
You - the students and your families, along with the staff, have made Esker the special place that it is today.
New opening and closing times
The Board of Management has taken the decision to start slightly later and to close slightly later (10 minutes at either end of the school day). This decision was not taken easily but was taken in consultation with other schools in the area, the Board of Management, the PTA, the staff, South Dublin County Council and local councillors, in an effort to minimise traffic disruption in the area.
New School Times
Opening time: 9:20am
Finishing times: 2:00pm (infants)
3:00pm (1st – 6th classes)
The main entrance to the school will be on Esker Lane, with a further entrance on Castle Riada, beside Coláiste Phadraig.
Paul Kilgarriff was a treasured member of the Esker staff, who tragically lost his life in February 2014, whilst on holidays in Austria. Paul’s tremendous spirit, his zest for life and inspirational teaching will never be forgotten.
We had a very poignant and moving ceremony entitled ‘Remembering Paul’ here in the school for Paul’s family, partner and friends on Friday, 28th March. The children in 3rd, 4th and 6th classes ran a beautiful ceremony with memories, art work and songs which proved to be very emotional for Paul’s family and for ourselves. 3rd Class Red sang a song My Favourite Things which Paul had taught them. There were presentations from the Green School Committee, the Pupils Council and the choir performed some suitable songs.
The family were very grateful for the opportunity to get to meet the children in Paul’s class and in our school and to see the place where Paul had been so happy in the last seven years of his life. We were extremely proud of all the children and staff on this very emotional day, as I know that you would have been.
In his honour, the Paul Kilgarriff ‘Croí na Scoile’ Award was established. This new ‘school spirit’ award was awarded to Reem Awad Hussein (6th Class) by Paul’s mother and father, Marguerite and Sean on March 28th. Congratulations to Reem, a well-deserved recipient.
This award will be presented to a sixth class child each year at our annual graduation ceremony.
Neil Dowling from Drum Nature led a drumming workshop in the school for all children from Junior Infants to 6th class in November 2013. Every child got a chance to participate in a drumming circle.
A drum circle is what happens when any number of people get together to create rhythm. Using drums and percussion the participants together create a unique rhythm consisting of everyone's individual contribution. Drum circles are about community, creativity and fun.
The children had a wonderful time, creating their own percussion music.
One of Ireland’s best known and much loved storytellers, Niall De Burca, came to our school on Wednesday 11th of December. He entertained the children with stories from Ireland and from all corners of the world. We are very grateful to the PTA who covered the cost of this performance.
A popular Irish acoustic group, the Heathers, twin sisters from Dublin/Wicklow, paid a visit on 18th December. The singers are friends of Linda, one of our teachers. They have achieved significant radio airplay with the song “Remember When”. They appeared on RTE's The Late, Late Show in 2012 and have a record deal. The children were enthralled by the Heathers, many making little signs welcoming the girls to the school.
This event for parents took place on Thursday, December 19th. Each class performed a song or poem and there was a short performance from the Bell ringers and the choir. We welcome the opportunity to have many more in our new building in Esker Lane!
Seachtain na Gaeilge
Seachtain na Gaeilge is the biggest international Irish festival which celebrates the Irish language and the Irish culture and it is celebrated throughout Ireland and in many other countries. The festival gives everyone a chance to experience the Irish language and Irish traditions. All of the classes made a big effort to speak Irish throughout the week; singing Irish songs, saying Irish poems and we had a big ceilí (Irish dancing celebration) in the hall.
The school have been delighted to reward children with 100% attendance with a medal each term. We are very proud of the children that have been able to come in every day and hope that even if you miss a day this term, that you will try to score a medal for full attendance in the next term. If you’re not in, you can’t win!
Esker Loves Books
On 11th April, we celebrated World Book Day with our celebration, ‘Esker Loves Books’. The children in the infant classes dressed up as nursery rhyme characters, while the senior children dressed up as characters from Roald Dahl stories. There were nursery rhymes sung, an extract from the play ‘Matilda’ (3rd Green) and ‘The centipede song’ from James and the Giant Peach (5th Green).
Colette donned the mantle of Willy Wonka and gave us an insight into the ‘World of pure imagination’ that lies in every book when you let your imagination take you on a journey to a different place or time. A competition was held for the best costumes. Picking winners was a very difficult job, as so many children and their parents had made such a great effort!
Tom aka ‘Mr. Twit’ on the day, gave out the attendance awards for the second term.
Here is a look back at some of the events of the year:
The school have been in the fortunate position to offer swimming classes to 2nd and 5th class students this year, for a block of seven or eight weeks. These lessons took place in Clondalkin Leisure Centre. Swimming is a part of the Physical Education (PE) program at primary school and provides some very useful water skills to the children, as well as helping them to keep fit and active.
Sam Maguire Cup
Johnny Mc Caffrey, the famous Dublin hurler from our Local GAA club, Lucan Sarsfields, brought the Sam Maguire cup to Esker ETNS. This cup was won by the Dublin team in a thrilling match against Mayo in the All Ireland Football final last September.
2013 was a year of great success for the Dublin sides and our school was thrilled to be part of the celebrations. Congratulations boys! There were many questions asked and a rousing chorus of with the cup. Johnny McCaffrey also trained the two 1st classes in GAA.
We had great success with our athletes at the Santry Athletic Stadium in May. A special congratulations to our medal winners Providence, Demilade and the boys Under 10 relay team (Sahil, Fade, Mohammad and Victor).
A great day's work for our athletics team. The children are competing with the best of athletes from schools all over Dublin and Kildare so to win a medal is a very big deal. A very special thank you to the teachers, Karen and Fiona who trained the children and to Deirdre and Rob who accompanied them on their great day out.
Congratulations to all our athletes who were chosen to represent the school. All of the children performed very well!
Our Sports day, which were held on 12th June were a huge success. There was a junior sports day, which was held in the school, while the senior sports day took place in Griffeen Valley Park.
The junior children (junior infants to first class) participated in many different stations, including football, parachute games tag rugby, relay races, team beanbag catching games and orienteering.
The senior children arrived at the park by bus. The novelty races; the egg and spoon, three legged and sack race, were fantastic fun and tested skills not usually seen on the athletics field! We were so proud of how you all participated and cleaned up afterwards, on the day!
Over the past year, there have been many Extracurricular Activities (ECAs) in the school: Gymnastics (Niamh and Karen), Maths Club (Sarah and Noeline), Book Club (Sarah), Athletics (Fiona and Karen), Drama (Catherine and Grace), Debating (Evan), Chess (Tom), Scratch Computers (Niamh, Rob and Karen), Soccer (Evan), Lego (Marta (parent), Aoife (parent) and Noeline), GAA (Katie and Rob), Choir (Paula and Colette), Cookery (Victoria from Kids in the Kitchen), Tin Whistle (Aoife and Eamonn from Walton’s School of Music) and Keyboard (Krisha). Many thanks to the teachers, parents and tutors that made this possible!
The mobile library visited the school on 10th and 7th June. This is a van containing lots of books that the children can borrow for up to a month. The service is run by South Dublin County Council and we are very lucky to be able to receive it. Children from 3rd to 5th class will be availing of the mobile library service on a monthly basis next year. Alternate years will be able to use the service, so each class from 3rd- 5th will get a turn every second year. If your child’s class is not selected this year, please don’t forget that there is an excellent library, with many events going on throughout the summer, which is free to use. It is located on the Newcastle Road, in the Super Valu Shopping Centre. Happy reading!
Green Schools Committee
We are now in our 3rd year of Green Schools. We currently have a Green Flag to show how successful we have been in managing waste at school. Each year, a new Green Schools Committee is chosen democratically, who work together to ensure that we have a clean and enjoyable environment in school, by highlighting the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling rubbish.
Furthermore, we have also started a pilot programme of using water filters on the classroom taps so that we can eradicate the use of plastic bottles over time. This was a process started by our dear friend Paul Kilgarriff. We will continue to work on this project, which was so close to his heart.
Write a Book
The winners of the Dublin Write a Book competition were honoured at an award ceremony in the Dublin West Education Centre on June 18th. Four classes participated, First Class Red, Second Class Red and Green and Fifth Class Green, and there were two winners from each class. Well done Abeeha, Maciej, Gabrielle, Oran, Talal, Hamnah, Amanda and Lolita!!! Not all of our winners were able to attend the ceremony, but those who could were presented with their award by an author of children's books who had read all the entries. She was very impressed by the standard of their work and the beautiful way their books were presented. Well done to everyone who entered and keep up the story writing! Watch this space, you may have met the next J.K. Rowling here!
This year, each of the classes have been on at least one school trip. In the final term, children went to many different places, including Larchill (junior infants), Imaginosity (senior infants), Tayto Park (first classes), the Zoo (second classes), Kildare Maze (third classes), Crystal Maze (fourth classes), Zip It (fifth classes) and Grand Canal Dock (sixth class). What fun!
Esker’s Got Talent
5th class Green organised a talent show, the finals of which took place in the school on Friday, 13th June. The heats took place in the classrooms in advance. Many 3rd-6th children performed, with singing, a drama, gymnastics, hula-hoops, the keyboard and violin all featuring. The tension was palpable when naming the winners! Joint first place went to Jenesa (3rd Green) and Reem (6th), 2nd place to Katelyn (4th Red), Joint 3rd to Greta and the drama group (Arthur, Talha, Soufiane and Ibrahim). Esker really does have talent!
Idiom of the week
A competition has been held for the “Idiom of the week”, alternating between senior and junior classes every week. The children have worked so hard in creating stories, storyboards and poems explaining both the literal and idiomatic meanings, while expanding their vocabularies. A €10 book voucher was awarded to the winner at their assembly each week. Well done!
Parent Teacher Meetings
Parent teacher meetings were held for classes in the school in two blocks, in November for senior classes and February for junior classes. These meetings are really important in helping you to see the work that your child has been doing at school and provides an opportunity to see their work up on the walls. Our teachers are always happy to re-arrange times if those allocated don’t suit, or to arrange additional ones, as long as they are given prior notice.
On Tuesday 13th of May, 2nd Class Red and 2nd Class Green hosted Science Day. They invited their parents to come and see some of the experiments that they had done in class.
The school hall was set up so that there were 5 stations. Each station had a different experiment at it, as well as some second class experts demonstrating how the experiment worked to parents. The following experiments were included- Balloon Rockets, Paper Helicopters, Hovercrafts, Acrobatic Clowns and finally ‘Navigate the Maze,’ in which the parents had to try to guide a ping pong ball through a maze of unifix cubes using a straw. It was great fun!
Second classes Red and Green received an Excellence Award from Discovery Ireland, as a result of the tremendous work that they had done in the areas of science and maths. The plaque was presented to the children on Wednesday, 25th June. With thanks to Niamh and Fiona for organising all of this!
During the year, many of the children in school took up the keyboard and tin whistle. How lovely it has been to walk past and listen to them as they play! We had a wonderful Christmas concert in which the choir, bell ringers and students performed.
The school choir has provided music for different events, with particular thanks to Paula and Colette for their help. Their rendition of our school song ‘What a wonderful world’ is very emotional! We have been very fortunate in having an assembly every week for junior or senior students. Each week, we have been treated to songs from each of the classes, supported by their teachers.
On Friday, 30th May concert we had the Graffiti Concert in the school. It was the most exciting classical concert for the children of 2nd class, 4th, 5th and 6th. (3rd class were on their school tour). A string quartet, made up of two violinists, a viola player and a cellist performed a repertoire of the most famous and most exciting pieces of classical music, from Bach to Offenbach, from Monti's ‘Czardas’ to di Capua's ‘O sole mio’, all the way to Elvis. There was even some Irish dancing thrown in!
16 strings, 8 dancing feet and four voices performed a hilarious all singing, all dancing, comedy, classical performance with great musical expertise and fun. I think that it was the most well received show that we have had in the school. Thanks Paula for organising this!
Ethical Education Assemblies
As part of our Ethical Education curriculum we have a weekly assembly that highlights different topics from the ‘Learn Together’ curriculum encompassing Moral and Spiritual Development, Ethics and the Environment, Equality and Justice and Belief Systems. These reflect our Educate Together ethos.
Each week a different class performs a song, poem, drama or a special reading related to the topic. There have been many assemblies such as the Multi-Faith/World Religions assembly, Environmental awareness, the UN Rights of the Child and Martin Luther King Day in January, where Sixth Class re-enacted the main events of the struggle for civil rights in the USA. These assemblies play a significant role in bringing the whole school together.
PTA Toy and treat Sale: The PTA ran a very successful Toy and Treat sale in December 2013, which raised €665 after deductions.
PTA Book and Treat sale: The PTA organised the Book and Treat sale in April 2014. Thanks to all who sent in donations of wonderful cakes and treat as well as lots and lots of books. €573 was raised.
PTA Clothes collection: A clothes collection was organised by the PTA to raise money for the school. This raised €81.
The PTA also organised the class photos. And what a wonderful job they did! Thank you all so much for the hard work that you have put in over the year.
Parent Information Evenings
A number of information evenings have been held for parents over the last year. The meeting held to discuss RSE and second level schools was well attended and parents found it very informative. Another evening was held to discuss the Anti-bullying Policy. This was a joint Esker/Lucan East ETNS meeting, with a speaker from the National Parents Council present.
Esker ETNS is in the process of revising its Anti- Bullying policy in line with the Department of Education’s Anti-Bullying Action Plan.
The Student Council are a group of democratically elected children that work in school to represent the needs of the children, giving a voice to the pupils. They meet on a regular basis and discuss important issues, thereafter relaying information back to the children in class. This year, eight representatives went for training as Anti-bullying Ambassadors. These ambassadors will highlight the issue of bullying and how to deal with it and will encourage children to come to them of they have a problem.
The ambassadors are trained to know what to do and to contact the teacher or Colette or Tom when there is a problem. They (along with the staff) will be talking to the older children about cyber bullying, internet, mobile phone and X-Box/ games where they might encounter nasty behaviour and what to do to stop it and to report it.
Second Level Schools
We have always had high priority status on the enrolment criteria for Adamstown Community College and the majority of our children have moved on to Adamstown CC from here. We were due to lose this priority when we moved out of Adamstown to Esker Lane. However, following negotiations between our Board and the Board of Adamstown Community College, I am delighted to report that we will retain the same level of priority that we always enjoyed. This is very reassuring for our parents. We will also have high priority status in the new secondary, Kishoge Community College, which will temporarily use our current building at Adamstown, until they move to their new Clonburris site in September 2015.
We have been awarded the great sum of €71,000 (with a promise of a further €9,000 in the next two years) to further equip our school with computer technology. We have already in place interactive whiteboards in 15 of our classrooms and have already purchased a bank of 16 tablets and a charging trolley. Rob and some members of the Board of Management will investigate the best way to use this grant to maximise ICT provision in the school.
Per cent for Art Grant
It is probable that a grant of €38,000 will be also awarded to us to allow the school to purchase a major piece of art work designed to enhance our new school building. The Board of Management will put out for tender for projects when we move to our new building.
New Junior Infants
We welcomed our new intake of junior infants to the school on Wednesday, 19th June. They came in to meet their new teachers, Aoife and Karen, and had a good look at all of the toys! We look forward to seeing you all and getting to know you in September. These will be the first junior infants that will have only ever known our new building. We can’t wait for you to see our bigger and better classrooms in the new school! Please contact Suzanne as soon as possible if you have a child that you wish to register for 2015, 2016 or 2017.
As this is our first Gazette, we would like to take this opportunity to bid a fond farewell to our sixth class, who will be leaving us for pastures new at the end of this month.
Sixth class first began their journey with us in Esker Educate Together NS in September 2007, as senior infants. They were a lively bunch- then as now, and were first inducted into the Esker family by their teacher Gemma Stokes. In the first year, they became a tightly knit group that really looked out for each other.
In their time at Esker, they have grown up together, shared many happy as well as some difficult times together and have forged friendships that we hope will last a lifetime. Many talents have come to the fore, with musicians, athletes, poets and actors all created during their time at Esker. Their graduation ceremony was held on Thursday, 19th June.
There was a wonderful ceremony with parents, family and our current fifth classes in attendance as invited guests. 6th class excelled themselves with their performance of our school song 'What a wonderful world', with Tom on keyboard, Aoife on accordion and Deirdre on violin. They also marked their friendships with one another with a rousing performance of ‘Lean on Me’. Each child spoke about the talents and character of another child in the class and we were thrilled with how warmly they spoke about each other and how united and supportive they are of each other.
The performance finished with a rendition of 'The Graduation Song' and a symbolic walk through the bridge of parents and pupils out to the yard. We had a great party with cakes supplied by parents of the children, Mrs. Eldiev, Mrs. Aabirouch, Mrs. Rechima and Mrs Rostam, a special thank you to you all. There was also a special graduation cake made by Mrs Ioanitescu. The children presented the school with a beautiful piece of artwork ‘Blowing to the Future’
We would like to wish you all the best of luck in your new secondary schools, as well as in the exciting futures that lie ahead of you.We would also like to congratulate Reem, who was presented with the Paul Kilgarriff ‘Croí na Scoile Award’ on the day.
See you in Esker Lane!
We hope that you all have a lovely, fun-filled summer and that you return refreshed in September, prepared for the start of a new chapter in our new building. We look forward to seeing you then. Have many adventures and keep safe!