The New Year has started very well for us here in Firhouse Educate Together as the children returned from the holidays with a real sense of ease and belonging in our new school building as indeed we on staff did too.
This week our Parent-Teacher Meetings are taking place and I'd like to thank all of you who helped to move furniture, boxes and rubbish around the building today as you came and went from your parent-teacher meetings. That's the kind of spirit that makes a great school community. So, if you're coming in for a meeting tomorrow be prepared to give a hand if you have a few minutes to spare. We really want to get our school into ship shape.
Next Tuesday politicians will meet with the Staff, PGTA Committee and parents regarding the high percentage of children in our school with Special Educational Needs.
Also if you are free tomorrow evening, Wednesday 17th January, up to 8.30pm, or Saturday 20th January 10am to 12 noon please call in to the school and help us to sort PCs, move furniture, fix furniture, hang noticeboards etc.
Today we also started our 'Volunteer Sign Up Drive' where we have a table, in yard in the morning and in reception after that, with 7 different school initiatives we'd like you to volunteer to help with:
- Coffee Morning for Politicians on Tuesday 23rd January 10am -11am in the school P.E.Hall. We need people to speak to politicians, to take visitors on a tour of the school, to set-up and serve tea/coffee and to clean up afterwards. If you are free to do any one of these things on Tuesday morning please sign your name on the page or let your child's class teacher know.
- Green School Committee: we need two parents to join this year's committee. You would need to be able to attend meetings twice a term during the school day to motivate and encourage the children with recycling, reducing water and energy usage etc. Our teacher Jen co-ordinates our Green School initiative and we're aiming for our 2nd Green School Flag.
- Forest School Committee: we need parents to get involved with furthering our Forest School programme. You would need to be able to give a couple of hours to gardening and other outdoor activities during the school day throughout the year. If, you can only join us once a month or so that would be great. If Grandparents are interested please encourage them to join us and share their love of gardening with the children. Our teacher Rachael co-ordinates the Forest School initiative.
- Active School Committee: we need parents to get involved with developing sports in our school and planning sporting events. You would need to be able to attend meetings twice a term during the school day to motivate and encourage the children to plan Active School ventures. Our teacher Conor co-ordinates the Active School initiative.
- Learn Together Committee: we need two parents to form a Learn Together Committee with two teachers and two pupils from each class to further develop the programme in our school. Our teacher Lynne co-ordinates the Learn Together Programme.
- Student Council Committee: we need two parents to join this year's committee. You would need to be able to attend meetings twice a term during the school day to motivate and encourage the children on the Student Council. Our teacher Sarah co-ordinates our Student Council.
- Library Committee: Sinéad (former Principal of Griffith Barracks MDNS) will lead the setting up of our school library on Fridays (start date to be confirmed). Initially, there will be a lot of books to catalogue and scan into the system and there will be the setting up of a library room while we wait to move into our Curved Library downstairs. After that there will be much to do getting the children used to a proper library in our school where we will have sections for books in English, in Irish and in many other languages.
Roots of Empathy: this programme is continuing with 1st Class as the children eagerly await baby Axle's next visit tomorrow. Many thanks to our Special Needs Assistant Geraldine who co-ordinates this programme and to Bernadette for volunteering and being so committed to bringing Axle along and engaging fully with the children.
Swimming: 1st Class enjoyed their first school swimming lesson last Thursday and we are looking forward to going agin this week. We only left one bag on the bus and we were a little late getting out to the yard at collection time.... so if we are running late this week we will have the children go home from the front door of the school at reception as soon as they have collected their school bags. If we are on time it will be collection from the yard as usual. We would also like to have two parents, from 1st Class, join us each week for the swimming between 12 noon and 14.05. Please let Eamonn know if you can join us.
Photographs: please let your child's class teacher know if you haven't received a class or group photo you ordered from Vincent McNamara.
Clothes Collection: this fundraiser collection continues daily at the school until January 25th. If there's no-one in reception to let you in (our Secretary, Lisa, works from 8.30 to 12.30) please leave bags in the reception lobby or phone me on 087 330 1332. Many thanks to those of you who have very kindly donated already.
Lost Property: the lovely clothes in our school's lost property container in reception are overflowing. If your child has lost clothing please check the Lost Property. Please also put your child's name on their clothes. If there's no-one in reception to let you in (our Secretary, Lisa, works from 8.30 to 12.30) please phone me on 087 330 1332.
Internet: we are still without internet in our school building. The saga is long and the amount of time it has taken chasing after Schools Broadband, Eir, Viatel etc is outrageous but there is light in sight and we should have temporary Wifi working within the next two weeks. Please note we continue to be unable to print / use internet for teaching/learning/roll books/ email etc unless we have data available on our personal phones and these are then dependent on accessing a signal which is very poor in the school. Thank you for your understanding as we struggle on with this.
ICT: When our Wifi is up and running we'll share with you all the ICT news we have as we've signed up for two exciting initiatives involving Camara, Google and five other E.T. Schools. Our teacher Conor will co-ordinate the projects and our teachers Eamonn, Sarah and Lynne are also involved.
After-School Classes: Drama, Irish Dancing and Ballet are in full swing with Stage School and ArtZone about to start.
CFFC (Catholic Faith Formation Classes) will start on Wednesday 24th January once we have enough children signed up. Please phone me if you wish your child to take part and prepare for First Communion.
Suggestion Box: our Suggestion Box in reception is feeling very much neglected as it has been empty for months! Our school has had a Suggestion Box ever since our first year in Tymon Bawn Community Centre and it has been very helpful for generating new ideas over the past four years. So if you have any ideas or suggestions for new initiatives or how we can improve anything in our school please drop a note into our Suggestion Box.
Reminder: School will be closed on Friday 13th April 2018 as Department of Education and Skills holds Language Curriculum Training for our Teachers.
I'm looking forward to chatting with many of you tomorrow as you call in for Parent-Teacher Meetings and or to help with furniture moving etc tomorrow evening or Saturday morning. I'm also looking forward to discussing with politicians, our difficulty, as an inclusive school, meeting the needs of our pupils simply because the class sizes are too large to give children with additional needs an equal opportunity. Most of all, I'm looking forward to your help with this and with all of the above.
Very best wishes and sincere thanks for all that you do everyday for our school in so many ways.