October Newsletter

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

October 2020
Dear Parent/Guardian,
With only 2 school weeks to the Halloween break we have a number of updates and information following on from our Staff Meeting last Thursday evening.

Halloween Break is from Monday 26th October to Friday 30th. The Friday before Halloween is always a full school day as normal.

Halloween at school will be almost the same. Children are very welcome to dress up.  We don’t want any parents stressed over this and would like to see the children being inventive with the costumes they already have at home.  Homemade costumes are being particularly emphasised in the senior room. We will support “Trick or Treat for Temple Street” and ask for €2 per child or whatever donation you wish.
Each teacher will host their own Halloween games as we cannot mix the classes. We hope to have a Halloween Parade outside where all the pupils can model their costumes. We will take plenty of photos which will be shown on our Google classrooms and most probably the November issue of the Eyrecourt Examiner.

Google Classroom
There has been no end of speculation in the media regarding schools closing and teaching online. Since we returned to school we have maintained Google classrooms in each room. This is to ensure we are ready if we do get a surprise announcement but it is also for children who are sick at home or isolating while awaiting a test.  The class teacher has resources aligned with the content taught in class.
The class codes for Google classroom are:
Senior Room: 5eezo54
Middle Room: hadvhzm
Junior Room:   advmonr

If you have any difficulty accessing the Google classroom for your child, email your class teacher and they can send you an invitation: etreacy@eyrecourtns.ie, kbarrett@eyrecourtns.ie, amcgrath@eyrecourtns.ie .

To help us prepare further, we have compiled a short questionnaire for parents. It is really important that parents have their input so we can best cater for learning at home if it happens. Click here
Junior infant parents need not fill it out.

Parent-Teacher meetings will be held on the week of 18th and 19th November. Due to Covid restrictions the meetings this year will be held by 10 minute phone call. Parents will receive a time as usual after the Halloween break.

Homework
The return to school sees the return of homework.  It is a link between home and school and children need the extra practice at home of what was covered in school. We have noticed many of our pupils are out of their homework routine with all the disruption last year. So here are the tips we usually share:

  • Have a snack or a break for a few minutes on return home from school
  • Try to start the homework by 4pm latest (so they have the whole evening free afterwards).
  • Have a quiet space for homework with no distractions.
  • If your child finds it difficult to concentrate, set a timer. Each time they get distracted the timer stops.
As per our school booklet received on the infant open day, this is the recommended amount of time your child should spend on homework:
Infant Classes   10 mins
1st& 2nd Class    20 – 30 mins.
3rd & 4th Class   40 – 50 mins.
5th & 6th  Class  50 – 60 mins.
Some children really struggle with homework, especially if they are a slow writer. Set a timer and when your child reaches their allotted time they can stop. Send a note into their teacher explaining they reached their time.
Home school Hub has returned on RTE at 3pm each day. It would be a good programme to record and have for days your child needs extra or is isolating at home.

School Lunches
We encourage healthy lunches in Eyrecourt NS. This is directly from the infant information booklet:
With more and more attention now being paid to health matters, recent research has shown that behaviour and concentration are affected by junk foods and fizzy drinks.   With this in mind, we encourage and recommend good wholesome lunches and snacks. We have adopted a policy on healthy foods, so crisps, sweets, chocolate or fizzy drinks are not recommended.
Please make sure that the lunch you provide can be eaten easily.   For example, an apple might be cut into small pieces, sandwiches cut up small, and oranges are difficult to peel.   Yogurts create a mess and are difficult for small children to manage so please avoid these for school.  

As we are trying to maintain our Green School children bring all their lunch waste home.  You can see by their lunch boxes how much they eat and what they prefer. Because of the extra hand washing, pupils are actually getting longer to eat their lunch in school.
A few pointers that we have noticed in class:
• Every child should have bread sandwich, a wrap or pasta as the main part of their lunch
• A lot of children really enjoy pasta. It is a good filling alternative to bread so make extra at dinnertime.
• Crackers or biscuits do not replace sandwiches and are discouraged
• Yogurts are very messy for the junior room and Frubes are the worst. Even in the senior room some children with yogurts only take a spoon or two and leave the rest.
• Beware of marketing targeted to children and parents. “Fruit flavoured” is not fruit. Try to stick to the basics of sandwich, fruit, cheese/yogurt.
• Drinks should be water or water with a little Mi-wadi or similar.  Again, beware of marketing. Pupils in the senior room are still astonished by the amount of sugar in lunch box favourites such as Capri Sun. We explored the topic in SPHE before. 
• Find what your child likes and encourage them to make their own lunch or help you make their lunch.


Finally, we continue to follow our Covid Response Plan. Staff have been wearing visors since we returned but we are also wearing masks more, especially if we are working closer with pupils. Pupils have been excellent and they need to be reminded to keep their distance as much as they can and keep contact to a minimum. They have invented many new versions of their favourite games. “Catch” is now “Elbow tag” and have really made the best out of the situation. 
Pupils have adapted very well to the extra handwashing and hardly need to be told to use hand sanitisers as they enter and exit the classrooms.
Again, thank you for all your support on our return to school and if you haven’t completed the survey on Online Learning, please take a moment and click here.

Yours sincerely,
Éilis Treacy
Principal

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