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Welcome to our fourth edition of the Gazette, marking ten years of Esker Educate Together. And what a wonderful ten years we have had. From our small beginnings in Adamstown, we have grown and grown, and enjoy our perfect home in Esker Lane – quite befitting with our name!!!
So many people down through the last ten years have made the school what it is and we are so grateful to all of you. Over this time, we have seen many families and friends come and go, as their children moved on. We have happily prepared our sixth classes each year to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
But we were not prepared for the news that our Deputy Tom had decided to retire early, moving on to the next chapter in his life.
Tom started in Esker in 2007, having previously worked in Bray School Project. He has had a long standing interest and commitment to the Educate Together ethos.
He has been a wonderful support to the staff throughout his ten years here, wearing many hats as a beloved teacher, a school leader, parent supporter, musician extraordinaire, chess supremo and general all-around good guy. He has worked as a SEN teacher as well as a Home-School Teacher, so has gotten to know a huge number of parents and children. Children will special education needs have been particularly close to Tom’s heart in his time at the school.
We wish Tom a very happy future filled with many exceptional adventures. He will leave ‘big shoes to fill’!
Our door will always be open to any visit whether to say hello or to play us ‘What a Wonderful World!’.
You will always be welcomed with open arms!
Health & Wellbeing
This year we have seen a big focus on health and wellbeing, and being grateful for both the people in our lives and our health.
We have tried to encourage both a healthy mind and body at school, providing our students, staff and parents with many ways of working on this. This all started with Health and Wellbeing week in September 2016, which was sponsored by SDCC and organised by Gemma.
It was a chance for us to be mindful of our surroundings, concentrate on our mental & physical wellbeing, connect with our friends, and take a chance to be thankful of what we have rather than looking at what we don’t have.
Active Week and Active Flag
The School took part in Active Week from 3rd April 2017. The Active Schools Flag is awarded to schools who strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. It's recommended that all children get 60 minutes of vigorous exercise everyday - at the moment only 20% of children in Ireland are meeting this requirement so the aim of the Active Schools initiative is to get ALL children more active, more often.
Seóna, Karen, Gemma, Karen, Jane, Liz and Sinéad have all been involved in encouraging the children to get fit and have lots of fun!!!
A committee of children was formed too, which helped to decide on sports of interest. We hope to be awarded this flag by the end of 2017.
Many activities took place including Colette’s ‘Active thought of the day’, music in the yard to get children active, outdoor homework (i.e. play outside), GoNoodle dancing, Sportsperson dress up day, Football Allstars match (Reds versus Greens), whole school assembly of talented athletes. After the assembly the whole school walked a mile with a smile.
Activities throughout the week included: Go noodle in the class, chair yoga, 6th class yoga, class to 1km walks, healthy smoothies made by our parents, sensory walks, mindful eating, gratitude lists, and daily brain breaks with relaxing music and a thought of the day to focus on. The parents also took part and relaxed with yoga and kept fit with a 5km walk.
We had a ‘getting to know you’ coffee morning. It was great to meet new friends and to re-connect with familiar ones too.
Many clubs also came to the school including Gym Stars, Adamstown Cricket Club, Lucan Harriers Athletics, North Kildare Cricket Club, Dublin Lions Basketball, Weston Hockey Club and Karate. They taught us lots of new skills! Gemma also led orienteering and Liz led kin ball.
Keeping our body healthy, keeps our mind healthy. Don’t forget to keep active and enjoy the outdoors over the summer!
In February 2017, ably supported by Gemma and many volunteers from 6th class, the children were involved in the Food Dudes initiative. This encourages children to try new fruit and vegetables, with a small prize at the end of each day and also aims to combat childhood obesity.
After 16 days, many of the children have come to love a whole variety of new foods! It can take up to 5 tries of a new food to like it, so keep on tasting and trying, superheroes!!!
Hope in the Darkness
Esker ETNS was involved in supporting the Hope in the Darkness charity in March 2017. Homelessness is a very real and relevant topic for all of us today. Unfortunately, it is an issue that is affecting our friends and families every day. We think that a really important lesson to teach children is that, if we are in a position to help others, we should.
We sent out a request to our families to donate snack foods, drinks, and fresh fruit and vegetables and yet again we were overwhelmed by the generosity of all of our families in the school. We had over 10 crates of food that was donated by our parents and children. Carambola our lunch company also kindly donate 100 snack bags and 100 water bottles.
Gemma drove in to Dublin on a Saturday night and gave them our donations. She saw first- hand how far your generosity went towards homeless families and individuals. Thank you to everybody who donated, our small contributions resulted in a huge amount of food.
Seachtain na Gaeilge
This year, our SnG celebrations went on from March 6th – 16th. We celebrated with the Irish writing ‘Wall of Fame’, Seanfhocail (proverbs), Irish trails, céilí (Irish dancing), buddy reading, siopa beag, céilí sa halla and our big ceolchoirm (concert). It was a fantastic fortnight that enabled the children to put all of their Irish language to good use. The new travelling ‘siopa beag’ was a huge hit this year.
A big thank you to our live band who performed tirelessly at our Céilí (dance) which consisted of Tom, Evan, Deirdre K, Aoife B, and Frank ( Alex’s grandad from JI Green). The children really tried their best to use their Gaeilge, and really appreciated the fact that a language is only alive (beo) when it is spoken and used.
Is breá linn an Gaeilge!!
Some classes took part in the Incredible Edibles program. The school was given seeds by AgriAware, which were planted in the new garden outside.
“Schools are supplied with grow packs containing everything they needed to grow a veritable feast of healthy foods!”
At Esker, we have a Student Council. Children from 3rd to 6th are chosen to represent their classes in helping to shape the school through democratic process.
In order to help to fund more new Educate Together schools, the student council decided that they wanted to contribute to the Educate Together movement. They wanted other children to have the opportunity to go to a school like Esker ETNS.
They decided on a movie day fundraiser for the school, and titled it ‘Esker goes to the movies’. Every child donated €2 which bought them a movie ticket and a bag of popcorn. Delicious!!! They introduced the idea of the democratic process into the junior classes.
Green School Committee: A Walk for Water
On 22nd March Colette, Gemma and the Green School Committee went to Glendalough to take part in a walk for water with An Taisce. The idea behind the walk was to walk in solidarity with other children around the world who have to walk for water daily. We were learning about the value of water, especially clean water and how we have a responsibility not to waste it. We began our day by meeting with students from other schools and An Taisce. The Glendalough park ranger was there to point out the wildlife we spotted on our walk. All of these animals, from feral goats, deer, and ravens depend on water to live.
We went to the upper lake and filled up containers full of water and placed them in our back packs. The weight was considerable, and it made our 6km walk that bit tougher. The weather was against us that day, it was freezing cold and rained a lot. As we were walking in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in developing countries, we could not let a bit of bad weather discourage us. The children did so well on the walk, and never complained once. They were fascinated with the surroundings and even enjoyed spotting and discussing natural landscapes, and clouds that they had learned about in geography.
They realised how lucky we all are that we can simply turn on a tap when we are thirsty or dirty. We don’t have to boil our water to avoid getting sick. They realised that we need to make a concerted effort not to waste such a valuable resource. The Green School committee presented what they learned to the school at assembly which was based on the Global Goal 12 – responsible consumption.
Every child was given a vote on what they would like to watch. The junior classes voted for ‘Trolls’ and the senior classes voted for ‘The Secret Life of Pets’.
A great day was had by all, and the student council raised over €800. Well done to our very hard working Student Council!!!
Green School Committee: Spring Clean
On the 16th May, many parents, children and our Green School Committee rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up our community. Each year we have taken part in the An Taisce Spring Clean and each year the number of people who have taken part has increased. Despite it being a wet and windy day, our spirits were not dampened.
The children and parents worked tirelessly in the school ground and the surrounding school area to clean up. We picked up over 20 bags of rubbish, from crisp packets, bottles, cans and cigarette packages. We were shocked at how much we gathered in a relatively short time. The children were delighted to do their bit for their community, and it really illustrated the importance of using the bin. We have installed two new litter bins outside of our school, as we have noticed an increase of litter on the grounds.
Please take responsibility for your own litter. Use the bin. If you see litter on the ground pick it up, you are helping everybody by keeping our streets clean. A huge thank you to everybody who took part.
Each year we buddy up classes, a junior one with a senior one. This has always been a great way for the senior child to share their knowledge, while it helps the younger child by having someone to look out for them and help them.
Many classes this year have done buddy reading as well as working on ‘Global get-togethers’
Global Citizenship School (GCS)
Paula started the GCS last year and has managed to involve the whole school in working on the sustainable goals.
The classes have been involved in ‘Global get-togethers’, where younger classes have been buddied with older classes to learn from each other about topics such as ending poverty, water consumption, reducing inequality, peace and justice and climate change. We owe it to future generations to preserve and maintain the world for them.
By encouraging the children to develop an interest in global issues and enabling them to take responsibility for the environment, we are preparing the children to be active, mindful, careful citizens of the future.
In the coming year, we hope to have termly ‘Global get-togethers’.
The PTA have been very active this year. We would like to thank Farzana (PTA chairperson), Sabaa (PTA vice chairperson), Fatima (PTA treasurer), Ciaran (PTA secretary), Milena, Honor, Maha, Maureen, Zahraa, Marta, Ivana, Rana and Angela.
The PTA organise many things in the school, such as the School Insurance (Honor), the Scholastic Book Fair (Marta) and many fundraisers. They have also taken the school photos of each class, which are a beautiful keepsake of your child’s year (headed up by Maureen and the PTA). This raised €1933 for the school.
The PTA are parents that give over their time to help with making the school a better place for everyone. They are always looking out for new members!
Coin trail for Syria
In October, the PTA were involved in organising a coin trail for Syria. Representatives from the registered charity Human Appeal, a charity working on the ground in Syria, came to our school and spoke to our senior assembly. The assembly was told about how their money could help to alleviate some of the many difficulties facing children and families in war torn Syria.
We created a map of Syria upstairs in the school and children were invited to fill in the map with the coins that they brought in from home. We asked the children to do jobs for their parents to earn money to bring in to the coin trail. This has raised the most of any fundraiser at school – EVER! It raised a staggering €1,451.
The PTA were also instrumental in hosting the Esker Entertains show in December. They supplied the parents with tea, coffee and mince pies, all served with a smile.
‘Toy and Treat sale’ and ‘Book and Treat sale’
The PTA toy and treat sale was held in November and the book and treat sale in May. We were overwhelmed by the amount of donations, which helped to raise €1549 for the school. The children had a fantastic time browsing, buying, using their maths skills paying for items.
The Spring Raffle took place on Thursday April 6th. Thanks to all of our parents for their support and generosity. We received an amazing amount of sweets, chocolate and Easter eggs. There were 57 prizes in all given out! The raffle raised €1181.
The money raised from the events was used to purchase equipment and toys for the children, including a new bike rack.
The PTA organised the 5th and 6th class movie night on Tuesday, 26th June. The children really enjoyed watching ‘Sing’, so well done to the PTA for making it happen!
End of Year Celebration
Many thanks for the wonderful spread by the PTA and the Khan family for Tom’s retirement celebration, on June 28th.
Tom was involved in working with the PTA for many years and will be greatly missed by them.
Home School Community Liaison
We have a had another wonderful year of parental involvement at our school. Gemma has been there to encourage and inspire parents to become involved in creating our fabulous new school garden, as well as the Walking Club, English classes, Gardening Club, Art Club and yoga. There were also cookery/nutrition lessons.
Again, parents have been instrumental in helping their children, with programmes such as CLOVER (sponsored by SDCC libraries), Bedtime Reading Club and using the maths games at home. There are lots of pictures and details on our website.
Never underestimate just how important your encouragement and interaction with your child is. They benefit from your time and your skills, which will set them up for life. Thank you so much for your help this year!
New School Garden
On Wednesday, 31st May 2017 the parents’ garden club held their ‘Grand Garden Opening’ of the new school garden, which they had worked very hard on. Each child painted a stone, which were taken and cast into flagstones to make the pathway in the garden. The parents had dug, planted, painted and decorated the walls and garden beautifully.
Gemma welcomed everyone, the parents then told us all about their work, followed by the cutting of the ribbon. The Student Council also said a few words. As a symbolic gesture, the oldest and youngest student in the school crossed the ‘droichead’ (bridge) together marking that the garden was open for play. The school then celebrated with our happy song, Mr. Blueskies!!! This garden is now very popular with the children in school and is a little oasis of calm.
At Esker, we really encourage children to attend every day and to learn something new every day. We celebrate when children have full attendance termly and at the end of the year. We also encourage children to be punctual, as being late can interrupt the whole class.
Please try to ensure that your child is in the yard betweek 9:10-9:20 each day. Where they cannot attend school, please write a note in their journal or give the teacher their doctor’s note and try to keep absences to an absolute minimum, and definitely do not take holidays during term-time.
After school clubs
This year, we have been very fortunate to be able to run many after school clubs. These include: lego club, chess, Santry athletics training, cross country, football, basketball, tin whistle, magic club, comic club, cooking club and drama.
We have also seen the full roll out of the Sherpa Kids before and after school service.
This year, many children were involved in the Santry Athletics competition, Cumann na mBunscol. Karen, Sinéad, Rob and Katie organised and assisted with the preparation as well as the races. Trials were held on 13th May in Griffeen Valley Park, while the competition took place on 22nd and 25th May in Santry. Our children made us very proud of their medal winning performances, school spirit, behaviour and also their sportsmanship. Well done to everyone involved!
This year our school participated in the SDCC Cross Country events in Griffeen Valley Park and Corkagh Park. The children raced on the 8th February, 8th March, 5th April and 11th May 2017. They really did themselves as well as our school proud with their performance on the field.
Many thanks are due too to Karen, Seona, Rob and Sinéad for organising.
The Sam Maguire Cup came to visit us on January 30th, with senior player Davy Byrne. The whole school came out to see the cup. The students and staff sang a rousing rendition of Molly Malone, that would warm the cockles and mussels (no, muscles) of your heart!
In line with the aquatics part of the physical education (PE), swimming has been undertaken in 2nd to 5th classes. Swimming is part of the primary school curriculum, so it is essential that all children attend. We also learn about water safety.
Sports day was held on 13th June. We held the junior sports day on the school premises and the senior sports day at the Lucan Harriers grounds, on the Newcastle Road. A great day was had by all the students! The staff run in the senior sports day got the biggest giggle from all of the students!
Skip 2 B Fit
Thanks to the PTA, we had Skip 2B Fit on the 2nd June. The children had great fun trying to ‘out skip’ eah other. They learned many new skills.
Our variety show, Esker Entertains was held on December 20th and 21st 2016. What a wonderful concert we had here in the school just before the holidays. Every class worked really hard to produce songs from the Musicals for the enjoyment and entertainment of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and of course for the children themselves.
We had two Esker Entertain concerts, one for the parents and invited guests on Tuesday and we did it all again for the children in the school on Wednesday. There was a mixture of old and new, much loved, tunes from the Musicals. Songs from The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, The Jungle Book, Les Miserables, High School Musical.
Thank you to all of you parents who turned up to cheer on your children. You were a magnificent audience. Thanks also once again to our wonderful PTA who hosted the parents with tea, coffee and mince pies.
A great days work for us all and a great way to send us all off in to the holidays with music in our hearts.
For the last number of years, Tom has been running a Chess club after school. This has been a wonderful way to learn a very interesting game, work on problem solving skills, meet new people and mostly, have fun!!! They will really miss Tom’s class after he retires but all wish him the very best of luck.
Literacy and Numeracy in School
This year, we have continued to promote literacy in school, with our reading and writing programmes, including First Steps, Languageland, CLOVER, Bedtime Reading Club, Aistear, Lift-Off to Literacy and Directed Reading.
We also support the introduction of the new Primary Languages Curriculum. Teachers received training in the new curriculum on the 7th March. This curriculum will be rolled out nationally to teachers of junior infants to 2nd class initially, followed by 3rd to 6th in time.
We have continued to improve comprehension and vocabulary with the Word of the week, the Writing Wall of Fame and the Class Word Wall. Prizes were given for the classes that made the greatest effort, with the ‘Pizza and ice-cream party’ being won by 6th Class Red, 5th Class Green and 4th Class Green.
World Book Day was held on Thursday, 2nd March. Children were encouraged to read and everyone received a book token towards a new book from Gemma.
Discover Science and Maths
Esker ETNS has been awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Maths Plaque of STEM Excellence [Science Technology Engineering and Maths] for the academic year 2016/2017. This is our fourth STEM award!
Congratulations to Niamh, Deirdre W and Katie who were involved in the promotion of STEM across the school. This included Science Day (3rd May), 2 visits from the SEAI, a visit from a scientist from Science Ireland and the use of microscopes at 5th and 6th class. The NanoWOW program was rolled out in 6th class again. In the coming year, we hope to roll out the use of microscopes to more classes.
We have also invested heavily in 32 more netbooks, bringing the total to 48 for in-class use.
The very famous Niall de Burca visited the school on May 22nd. He had the whole audience hooked with his tall tales and magical characters!
Moon and Sixpence Puppet Theatre came to the school on March 31st. The children were enthralled by the play that they saw!
Lucan Library Quiz
The Lucan Library Quiz was held on the 22nd and 27th March. Teams entered from 5th and 6th classes and did themselves proud.
Details of all of this great work can be seen by logging on to http://eskerstem.weebly.com/
This year, the mobile library have been around to
3rd – 5th classes. This is a wonderful resource run by SDCC, which calls to the school on a monthly basis, enabling children to borrow books. Your local library is Lucan library.
We had a fabulous maths week from 15th-23rd October 2016. Thanks to Gemma, the parents, teachers, SNAs and children! This was such a good week to show the children why they need maths every day and not just in the classroom or maths book.
Junior Infants - Maths Stations. Junior infants showed their parents what they have learned this year by making patterns, sorting, counting, matching and building.
Senior Infants – Maths Stations. Parents came in every day this week to help Senior Infants with their counting, netbooks, patterns, matching and addition sums.
1st Class – Maths 4 Fun session with parents. The children played lots of card and dice games with their parents.
2nd Class – Maths Packs were given to parents, which they used to play maths games with the children.
3rd – 6th Class – Maths Trails. Parents were invited into school to take a team of children from their child’s class on a maths trail around the school. This was a great example of using our ‘maths eyes’ looking at the environment to find shapes, angles, counting, dividing, using fractions and measuring.
The children were able to explain why the need numeracy skills when we go shopping, travelling on the bus, going to the cinema and even sharing a pizza with our friends.
A HUGE thank you to all of our parents who took part this week. We could not have run the week without you, and looking at the children’s faces they loved having you in. We are doing lots of work on problem solving skills with the children, we are focusing on maths language and turning this language into mathematical sentences, and solving. Well done everybody!
Our children all got to experience a summer trip this year, with many also experiencing trips to the parks and library too.
•Junior infants: Larch Hill
•Senior infants: Sealife & Bray beach
•First class: Kildare Farm
•Second class: Clonfert Pet farm
•Third and fourth classes: Victorian Escapades, Mullingar
•Fifth class: Zipit
•Sixth class: Zipit
The school graduation was held on Tuesday, 27th June. It seems like only yesterday that our 6th classes were fresh new junior infants to their first teachers Grace and Rebekah in September 2009.
These classes have seen many changes in their time at school, with changes of location along the way. They have made great friendships, have worked hard, some have excelled at sports, gymnastics, programming and chess.
Most of all, they have showed wonderful school spirit and continue to look after each other.
We know that you will enjoy very bright futures and we look forward to seeing many of you return to say hello in the future!
Ethical Education Conference
This year’s conference was held in Dublin on the 25th and 26th November 2016, on the topic of ‘Raising student voices’.
Here at Esker, we feel that it is very important that student voices be heard, and this is enabled through the curriculum as well as active participation in democratic processes such as the Student Council and Green School Committee.
Educate Together AGM
We were very excited and proud to hold the Educate Together AGM on the 11th February 2017.
As a democratic organisation, it is important that Educate Together’s members come together to discuss matters of importance to our schools. This year ET are developing a new strategic plan. Many thanks for the help from staff, parents and students in helping to show what a magnificent school we have to all those that visited. They were very impressed!
‘Croí na Scoile’ Award
The ‘Croí na Scoile’ Award was awarded to Charley H after the graduation. Go h-iontach, Charley!
This special award commemorates our dear colleague Paul Kilgarriff, who passed away in February 2014. It is given to acknowledge that the student has shown school spirit, kindness and consideration, participation in school life and activities, and leadership within the school. This year, both the students and staff could vote.
Over the summer, you will be reminded about buying school books. We recommend that parents go online and use the supplier at www.openingminds.ie (using your class code).
We have offered out places to incoming junior infants, according to the the Lucan Common Enrolment System (LCES). For more information, please check our enrolment policies on our site www.eskeretns.ie or contact our school secretary on Tel: 01-624 1462.
Board of Management
Many thanks to our Board of Management (BOM) for their work behind the scenes:
•Peggy (Chairperson and Patron nominee)
•Sandra (Treasurer and Patron nominee)
•Catherine (Teacher nominee)
•Shandana and Zydrunas (Parent nominees)
•Marie and Jacky (Community nominees).
Be happy, be safe and enjoy your summer adventures!
We look forward to seeing you all back on the 31st August at 9:20am.
School will finish at:
•12:20 for junior infants (until 15th September)
•2:00 for senior infants
•3:00 for 1st-6th classes.