Wooden Blocks Spelling Education

Summer Newsletter 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We have been preparing for the reopening of school on 31 August and we are pleased that we now have clarity from the Department of Education. The roadmap for the full reopening of schools is available to read on gov.ie/backtoschool. Our new Minister for Education Norma Foley has asked all schools to thank parents and families for their patience and co-operation during the school closures and commended them for their efforts to keep learning going at home.

Classes for the new year

We have tried to keep continuity for the children in the arrangement of classes for next year.

School year 2019-2020 School year 2020-2021 Notes
R 3 Ms McDonald/Ms Doyle R 14 Ms Doyle
R 4 Ms Cantwell R 16 Ms Cantwell
R 7 Ms Crawley R 15 Ms Crawley
R 26 Ms McMonagle R 26 Mrs Healy Welcome back to Mrs Healy
R1 Mrs Boyne R1 Ms Tourish Mrs Boyne will return from maternity leave later in the school year
R2 Ms MsSheffrey R2 Ms McSheffrey
R 5 Ms Tourish R17 Ms Downes
R A Ms McAteer R A Ms McAteer
R 3 Ms Timmins
R 4 Ms A Kelly
R 5 Ms Murray Welcome back to Ms Murray
R 7 Mrs Kildea

A huge thank you and goodbye (for the moment) to Ms McDonald, Ms McMonagle, Ms Banks, Ms McIntyre, and Ms Kathy Kelly. We hope our paths will cross again.

SET team of teachers: Mrs Foley, Mrs Higgins, Mrs Stafford, Ms Pierce (standing in for Ms O Brien) will be working closely with the class teachers to support children’s needs with reading & writing, language, maths, fine motor skills, concentration and attention skills, social skills.

Early Start: Barbara and Evelyn in room 10, Emer and Tara in room 8.

Home School Community Liaison: Olwen will continue to link in with families during the year. We will be unable to have a Parents’ Room or gatherings of any kind in the school this year.

Special Needs Assistants: Aileen, Jackie, Fiona, Laragh, Mary will be working in various classrooms to support children with care needs, sensory needs and independence. As far as possible, they will be working with the same children as last year. As we have some new children who require SNA assistance, the SNAs will be working over a number of classrooms during the day.

Support for Schools

We will be getting advice from NEPS and Special Education Support Service around planning for individual educational needs and wellbeing for all children. Both agencies have useful parent pages on their websites. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment will be advising ALL schools about the curriculum in the new school year. All staff have been busy doing online and remote courses, meetings and preparation for the safe reopening of schools and return to education.

Reopening of School

Senior Infants and First Class: School reopens Monday 31 August, with slightly staggered opening and collection times, to prevent crowding. We will text you to let you know your times. Parents will NOT be allowed to accompany the children into the school building this year. There will be a team of familiar teachers in the yard to assist with directing/escorting the children into their rooms.

Children may wear their uniform or tracksuit. Crests and ties will be available to buy at the school from 19 August 10 – 12 daily.

New Junior Infants: Parents of incoming junior infants have been contacted to arrange a brief visit to their new classroom with ONE ADULT ONLY the week before school reopens. This is the only time that parents will be allowed into the building. A welcome pack and school lunch menus will be given out on the day. Parents may also like buy iron-on crests and school ties which are for sale in the school.

On Monday 31 August, Junior Infants will start school at 10 am. They will be greeted in the yard by a welcome team (familiar Early Start team from last year and the SET teachers) and escorted into the school. Parents will NOT be able to come into the school building this year.

As usual, the Junior Infants will begin with a shorter day, working their way up to the full day over a few weeks.

Early Start: All new Early Start pupils will start school on Tuesday 1 Sept. We will be in touch by phone to arrange an induction visit before school starts.

We are really looking forward to meeting all our pupils and families again!

Book rental, workbooks and stationery

All materials are ordered by the school. The cost is €60 for Junior Infants and €50 for Senior Infants and First class. Payment can be made at the school any morning between 10 and 11 am from 19 August. If necessary, parents can arrange to pay in instalments.

Communication with families

Under the new guidelines, we have to restrict visitors to the school building but we want to ensure that we keep a two-way channel of communication with parents. Principal Margaret O’Reilly, Acting Deputy Principal Helen Foley and HSCL teacher Olwen May will be in the yard every morning to deal with quick queries. We will be happy to arrange a longer conversation by phone or in a safely spaced arrangement. Our school email is info@stbrigidsinfantschool.ie. Olwen’s HSCL mobile number for calls, texts or WhatsApp messages is 086 370 5773.

We will need three up-to-date contact numbers for every child as we will ring immediately if any child seems unwell. No child should come into school if they have any coronavirus symptoms.

If a child has to stay at home, we expect that you will follow up with assigned work so that they do not fall behind with their learning.

Urgent school messages will be sent through Aladdin text. Please make sure we have up-to-date numbers.

We will continue to communicate updates through our website, monthly printed newsletters, phone calls and email. Please let us know if there is anything on your mind, as we want to keep the communication two-way.

Health & Safety for Children, Staff, Parents and Essential Visitors

We will strictly observe the public health and Department of Education guidelines and we know we can rely on the full support and co-operation of all parents and families to keep our children, our staff, and our school and local community safe, happy and back in a normal routine. The only way this can happen if everyone takes personal responsibility to keep the virus suppressed.

Children will be staying and playing with their own class group only in the new school year, with no crossover between classes. There will be no breakfast club this year, but we will continue to provide milk, healthy snacks, fruit and lunches in the classrooms.

There will be a lot of time spent on practising and teaching health education- hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and personal space. Please ensure that every child has a tissue and can blow their nose and catch a cough or sneeze in their elbow. Sing the alphabet while washing hands at home.

Children must be able to tie their own laces or else wear Velcro or pull-on shoes or runners – for the safety of children and staff.

Primary school children will not be required to wear face coverings. Staff may wear visors in certain situations.

Tights, leggings or tracksuit bottoms under pinafores will reduce the number of grazed knees.

We will be spending extra time in the fresh air this year, with as much outdoor learning as possible, so please make sure that all children are dressed warmly and have a hat, gloves and warm coat for the winter. (We have clean spare coats, hats and school bags. Just let us know if you need something.)

We will be observing the very strict guidelines on enhanced cleaning procedures and social distance throughout the school.

We request all family groups to maintain social spacing at drop-off and collection times. There may be staggered arrival and collection times to prevent crowds gathering. Siblings will be dropped and collected together. Keeping a safe distance from other family groups is the MOST IMPORTANT THING parents can do to keep our school safe.

We have been requested by the Department of Education to ask all families to walk to school wherever possible. Families living far away from the school may like to “park and stride”.

There may be a one-way movement system through the school grounds. Please follow the signs. While this may be inconvenient to a few parents, we will be expecting your full support. We will be working in cooperation with the Senior school.

The school carpark will be strictly for staff and Senior School Special Class transport only.

Our safety processes will only be as strong as the weakest link! We need your help to keep our school and local community safe.

The focus in September will be on reconnecting with friends, teachers, school routines and settling in smoothly to school. We will have the children’s wellbeing uppermost in our plans. If we all co-operate with a practical, sensible, calm approach to the arrangements for the new school year, the children will quickly adapt to the new normal and gladly get back to learning and playing in a safe and happy school.