Posts on this page are in a chronological order with most recent updates on the top.
There are a few new entries again. On the activities outside the school page you find a short piece about Carmel’s group going on a ride around Sligo with the local bus service.
In the after school knitting club Samara’s teddy is finished! She brought it home already. If you like to see it, go to the extra page about the after school knitting club by following this link.
Another extra page has also been added about the rope making workshop with Steffi Otto that took place in March. Highly recommended.
And obviously there are some new snippets on this page here also if you simply scroll down …
Geraldine Lavelle Visit
We has a very inspiring visitor coming to SSP before the holidays. Here are five accounts written by children from Deirdre’s class:
Today a girl called Geraldine talked to us about her disability. She was knocked down by a car and has been in a wheelchair since the accident. She was very inspirational because she didn’t stop being active. She did wheelchair sports. She showed us a video of her playing sports and her quote was, “Never stop and go for it.” We asked her quite a few questions and she told us about the things she finds hardest since she had her accident. I can only remember one and it is negative attitudes of other people. She told us she is learning to drive. Her kitchen is specially made with lower counters. She has a helper every morning and night. I enjoyed her visit.
A woman called Geraldine visited our school today. She has a disability. She is paralysed. She uses a wheelchair to get around. When she was 27 years old, she got hit by a car. Even though she was wearing her helmet, she was still injured badly. She was in hospital for one year.
Geraldine still does activities like paddle boarding, basketball, hurling, rugby and racing. In her wheelchair, she can go between 5km and 10km per hour. She has a personal assistant to help her getting up and going to bed. I thought she was lovely and she is a great person because she is so positive and so active.
And this is Geraldine Lavelle
Geraldine is a girl who has a disability. She is unable to walk and that’s why she uses a wheelchair. Today she came to visit us to talk about her life and what it’s like not being able to walk. She told us how old she is and what things are difficult for her. She told us that she plays sports in a wheelchair. She also met lots of other people who have disabilities. Some people were born with a disability.
I was interested in how she is so strong, not crying that she can’t walk. If I was her I would cry that I was not able to walk, even if I had someone to help me. I didn’t ask her if she likes writing stories. If she comes back, I will challenge her with the 7 times tables and I might win this time!
A girl came into our school today to talk to us and she had a wheelchair. She had an accident five years ago. She was riding her bike and she was hit by a car. She was wearing her helmet. If she wasn’t wearing the helmet, it would have been worse, she might have been killed.
She talked about her accident and everyone asked her questions. She likes sports even though she has to be in aa wheelchair. She enjoys it and she’s very positive. Her favourite thing to do is rugby but in the wheelchair. Her least favourite thing to do is putting her shoes on. Maybe she will come back to the school again and play dodgeball with us. She might have a race in the yard. She said she can go at 5km per hour in her chair. It was interesting listening to Geraldine and talking to her.
Geraldine is a wheelchair user. She is 32 years old and she was 27 when she had the accident that got her in the wheelchair. She was cycling and she was hit by a car. Geraldine said that if she didn’t have her helmet on, she would not have been there to talk about it.
Before she had the accident, she loved to play sports. But Geraldine did not stop doing sports because of her disability. She does wheelchair rugby, supping, horse riding, hand cycling and wheelchair basketball.
She made us realise that just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t mean that person can’t do everything people without disabilities can.
Geraldine has set up the Geraldine Lavelle Trust. The links are here:
We hope to see her again soon.
Art Workshop and Exhibition
On the 11th of March two students from the IT Sligo came to SSP for a full-day art workshop. Together with Una and Hannah the children produced a myriad of beautiful artifacts. Some impressions:
So the hall of SSP was made into an artist studio for a day and the results then were taken by Una and Hannah to bring them to the Model Gallery to display them in an exhibition of our own works. We also went to attend the official opening which took place on the 28th of March. When you look at the pictures closely you will actually recognise some of the pieces from the photos above.
Korean Maths and Writing
Yu Min recently brought her abacus (counting frame) to the school and showed us how to do calculations with it.
And she also taught us how to write our names in Korean letters.
The Big Snowdown
There isn’t too much snow in Ireland too often. But there was this one fabulous day when we arrived at the school in the morning and we found the whole ground covered in white:
Deirdre and Maíre cleared the way to go in.
But it didn’t take long and we all came out again for a day that we will surely remember for a long time. Shapes, weight, temperature, melting points, teamwork, self-care, balance, grace, light, what else do YOU see in those pictures?
In the afternoon when Martin arrived, the snow had started melting on the ground, but the works of the children where still standing.
Duplo and Lego
We have recently bought a couple of new Lego models which are now used by the children to learn how to follow instruction manuals. We find it stunning how good a lot of the children actually are in reading these instructions.
We also added a new set of Duplo, the larger version of the Lego material, which is easier to use for smaller children.
Two of a number of shelves that children from Deirdre’s class made in recent weeks:
It took Hodan about 6 hours in total from the first sketch to the last screw.
Well, hazard a guess who wins this game …
Winter Performance 14th of December
Our Winter Performance took place on the 14th of December. As in the years before the children had great fun bringing dance, music and drama live on stage.
If you follow this link you will be able to go a separate page where you can see pictures from the past. It stays in the memory: penguins, jingle bells, guitars, tin whistles, somalian dances, macarena …
There is also a report on the Primary Colours Exhibition and Workshop that the older children attended. You can find it on the page Activities outside the school.
Another nice piece has been added to the Model Gallery page where you can find a report written by Olivia about a Science Workshop that took place in November.
Music Generation Continues
We are happy to have Dave Flynn another year teaching music to the children in the school. This year the older children get the opportunity to try the basics of playing the ukulele. This program now runs for a number of years and it is such a great addition to our school. Thanks for everyone involved in making this happen.
Classroom routines in SSP are part of the schoolday too. Some snapshots of the youngest in Carmel’s class doing work on letter “I”. This is part of the Jolly Phonics program that we use in SSP to teach phonics, sounds, and letters.
For each letter there is a song. For the letter “I” it runs like this.
Kung Fu / Qi Gong
In October we had Willem Akkermans as a tutor in the school to teach the basic ideas and moves of Kung Fu / Qi Gong to the children. Kung Fu as a term means to work hard so the children are also learning the importance of focus and practice as well as having fun trying all the exercises and games.
There was a party again at Halloween and as usual the children had fun dressing up.
But this year we also found out why it is actually called Hello Ween. Interested to know? Check here.
Plus: there was a Halloween special pizza invented by the children in Carmel’s class.
There were a good few onions ready for harvesting in early October. After clearing out the patch it was quite easy for the children of Carmel’s class to pick them.
The 10 Minutes Snapshots
In most cases when we take pictures of something that happens at SSP we simply stay with this activity. Carmel had the idea to take a few snapshots of the activities in the school that are on at the same time. Obviously she cannot be at two different places at exactly the same time. But she can walk around the different rooms and take pictures of what goes on within a ten minute period. Here are some of them:
What you see quite clearly in this compilation is the extremely differentiated range of activities, instructed or self-determined, in cooperation with adults, or children on their own, creative and conceptual thinking, problem solving, whatever …
Caterina left SSP last year because her family moved to Dublin. But in her memory she kept a connection to our school and when the chance was there to come to Sligo in June, Caterina also visited our school for a day. That was a really nice idea and the children who were in class with her last year were happy to see her again.
And Caterina’s brother Rafael decided, if his sister was to stay he would not want to go either. So we had in fact two visitors on the day.
This gives us an opportunity to also thank the De Rosa family for donating the children’s bike to the school that now is used extensively by the younger children in Carmel’s class.
School Tour 2018
A separate page has been entered into our ‘Extra’ section with pictures from the school tour 2018. Check here.
Trombone and Trumpet
If you are a regular visitor you will certainly remember the Euphonium, a brass instrument that Dave brought in one day to show it to the children. There are pictures further down this page here, if you want to scroll down.
This time Dave brought in a trombone and a trumpet. The pictures of the session with Dave tell the story without any further words:
And, yes, it works. Obviously not as smooth as Tommy Dorsey or Louis Armstrong yet, but there is a sound and that’s the first step.
Rhubarb and More Rhubarb
From May on our school garden is flush with rhubarb. The plants are so strong and produce such an amount of fruit that we cannot possibly use it all ourselves. Hence we brought some (actually: a wheelbarrow full) of the rhubarb to Abbeyquarter Community Centre where we would be sure it doesn’t go to waste.
After five years of being with the school Bernie retired in April from her position as school cleaner. As a little present she took home with her a hand-made bench, courtesy of our woodwork room – and she also got a little farewell party with a big cream cake:
We wish to express our gratitude for her continued support that reached well beyond her job. And we hope that she can enjoy her retirement, particularly spending more time with her grandchildren.
Sweet, Sticky, Unhealthy, all that you don’t want … and yet, great fun for once:
Easter Treasure Hunt
This is nearly a tradition now, whereby the children do a treasure hunt around the school building and premises before the Easter Holidays. This time they had to find all pieces of a jigsaw before they got the cue where the treasure was hidden.
St. Patrick’s Day …
… was a welcome opportunity for Deirdre’s class to try out a few new designs.
And those of the children who liked painting better had their fun, too.
Art with Shannon Re
As part of the Punc 1×1 program (see below on this page) we had Shannon Re in the school. She is an artist who also teaches painting to children. In a couple of workshops she worked with them on their painting skills, using water colours, but also crayons.
Mo Robertson came to the school in March to work with the children on decoupage designs. This is upcycling technique for decorating old items.
There are more pictures from the workshop with Mo on the Activities in Classrooms page.
Cake Sale Helps Sponsor New Goals
In December the senior children organised a cake sale. The money raised was used to support the purchase of new goal posts for the hall. These goals arrived in February and they are used extensively already.
In November parents joined the children for a day playing games in which mathematical concepts are used. Maíre had set up a number of games in the hall. Parents and children chose freely which game to play at what time and there was a lot of fun for all involved.
Certainly this is an activity to be repeated.
Doctor & Home
The infants in SSP have great fun at present engaging in role play on the themes of “Doctor” and “Home.” There are broken legs, aching tummies, nurses, doctors, demanding babies, patient grannies, tired brothers and sisters … all at once populating the chill room (and sometimes the corridor, too). In debating the actual course of their play the children engage in an all-encompassing curriculum, stretching from language development over SPHE as far as science and history.
As for the nurturing capacities in your child we suggest you reverse roles for a night: let your child bring you to bed, bring you a good night snack, read a book, and sing a lullaby. But don’t be surprised if you are checked for having brushed your teeth properly – as recommended by the chill room doctors.
During break times many children like playing dodgeball. This has evolved over the last year and there are a few dodgeballs exhibited in our “Ball of Fame Memorial” outside Deirdre’s classroom. Recently however the children have made up a new set of rules for their games. Hence it is now called Dodgeball 2.0; if you like to know details about the variation please ask your child directly.
Snakes in Ireland
Last year we had a note on snakes in Ireland in our school newsletter. There is evidence now that a particular species of snakes in fact does exist in Ireland. It is known under its common name Cherry Blossom Dumdum. It hatches in woodwork rooms all over SSP. The most distinct feature of this variety of snake is its friendliness, particularly towards children.
Deirdre’s class has recently learned about the history of cocoa. Tariy wrote a little summary about cocoa. Here it is:
“Cocoa beans come from the cocoa tree. And people take cocoa seed or cocoa beans to make chocolate. Well, that’s in our days. In the past time they made a bitter drink. It was called the drink of the gods. In the past there was no sugar, so they put spices in. After a few years they took the fat out of the chocolate and made it into bars. It was only in Central America. Now it’s in Europe and other places. And white chocolate is made from cocoa butter. Milk chocolate is milk and chocolate mixed together.”
The annual reading day is scheduled for Friday, 9th of March. Devoting a special day to the reading performances of the children has become a tradition over the last number of years at SSP. If you like to look back on the last years’ events, check here.
Reading is an essential element of our school life (see e. g. here).
We also read stories to the children regularly – being read to is just as important to get a feel for the value of books as is reading yourself. Over the first few weeks of the school year Deirdre’s class listened to the story “In Deep Dark Wood” by Marita Conlon-McKenna. Deirdre read the story to her class, and the children constantly discussed the content, questioned the plot, and made suggestions for the further development in the book.
A group of Deirdre’s class is working on the production of another film. The children decided that the them would be a “crazy family.” They have developed and written the script in the time before the Halloween break. At present we are rehearsing. The actual filming is envisaged for the first weeks in the new year.
Halloween Party 2017
Another year – another party. Halloween was as usual a very exciting event at SSP. Some snapshots …
There is still swiss chard available directly from our organic garden in the school. The plants will be ready for harvesting until severe frost sets in. Please let us know a day of two in advance if you wish to get some of the swiss chard (and how much). We will then pick it for you and give it to your child to bring home.
Punc 1 x 1
SSP takes part in a cooperation with the Model Gallery, Sligo. During the school year 2017/18 there will be paintings from the Niland Collection exhibited in the school. Each painting will be on display for a few weeks.
Visits of artists to the school will take place, too. These will be organised by the Model Gallery. We are glad to be one of seven school in County Sligo to take part in this fabulous project in the coming year.
While a painting is exhibited at SSP the title of the painting is not initially revealed and the children are encouraged to come up with their own ideas and thoughts what would be the best name for it. Here are some titles the children came up with for the first painting:
The Happy Death; Twilight; Alive and Dead; Ugly Faces; Two Faces Behind the Stage; Two Sad Souls; Two in Dark Light; Two People at Night; The Night Sky; Frightened in the Dark; People Behind Bars (The idea being that they are prisoners); Bodies in a Coffin; Drowned in the Water; The Full Moon; Mum and Dad (The artist might have painted his/her parents who are dead); The After Life; The Dead of the Moon; The Wonders of the Soul; The Dead of the Night; Grounded (Locked in their room); Suicide; The Corrupted Souls.
The original title was “Two After Dark” and the painter was Anne Yeats. The children tried their own versions of it also:
Before the artist was revealed the children also speculated about the painter.
Most of the children thought the artist is female.
Some thought the artist is male.
Most of the children think the artist was young.
Some children thought the artist is older (The theory is that the artist is depressed and older people are more likely to be depressed).
All of the children felt that the artist was sad when they painted the picture.
Other thoughts from the children
Perhaps the artist was thinking about their own death.
Maybe the faces are of a mother and child. The child (artist) is looking forward to seeing their mother in the afterlife.
The black and blue are dark colours but yet there is light coming from somewhere. Maybe things will get better for the artist.
Weekly School Meetings
Our weekly school meetings will continue to take place each Friday. In the meeting children and adults discuss any pressing issue. These meetings have grown into a really important part of our school life. Here the children find a forum to voice suggestions for activities, and solve problems that concern the entire school population.
NCCA proposal for review of Primary School Curriculum
The Board of Directors of Sligo School Project has issued a statement as a submission to the call by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment for feedback on the proposal for review of the Primary School Curriculum. The statement can be read by following this link.
Babies in Carmel’s room
We can proudly present the results of another addition to SSP: Four babies have arrived in Carmel’s room! They were already received with great joy by the children in the school.
Obviously babies need a lot of attention and the one or the other time there are wet nappies, too.