Author Archives: S Ketchin

Be Kind to Others

That’s the message from our latest block of ‘Building Resilience’ work which we launch with an assembly and then develop into classroom and family activities. We used the book ‘Have You Filled A Bucket Today?’ by Carol McCloud to explore the idea of giving kindness in order to receive it. We watched a great video on YouTube about the idea of a kindness boomerang as well and as you’ll see from P2’s work below, this idea really helped everyone to understand the concept. Each class made different interpretations of how to show kindness and it was inspiring to hear them all at our ‘sharing’ assembly this morning.

On Tuesday it was Safer Internet Day so P6 and 7 had a visit from PC Karen Maguire to talk about the importance of internet safety, especially with social media, and how every online action can have a real life consequence. Please have a chat with your child and make sure you know what they’re up to online!

P7 enjoyed a second visit to McDonald Road Library where they returned their books and chose new ones. They took part in a ‘book scavenger hunt’ in the library and had to follow clues to find particular books. Everyone took part enthusiastically and P7 are looking forward to strengthening this important local link with their next visit.

A small group of P7s also ran a mini bake sale for P4-7 with all the proceeds going to Cancer Research; well done to all the P7s who took part and thank you to the families who supported this.

I hope that you all have a lovely February break and come back raring to go for the second half of the Spring term. Coming up when we return is a P6 & 7 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) day and P4 are going to the National Museum to see the Ancient Egyptians exhibition. Read more about this in our newsletter which went home today! Parent Council Talent Show rehearsals will also start and it’s not long until the big day….

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Stay cosy!

I hope you’re wrapped up warmly as the weather has taken a decidedly chilly turn! Please take care over the weekend but be sure to get out and enjoy frosty Edinburgh at the same time. We’ve been busy in school as always with highlights including P7 and P2 visited the residents at Trust Housing Association on Montrose Terrace to perform some Scots songs and poems. The residents thoroughly enjoyed our visit, particularly joining in ‘O Flower of Scotland’ at the end. It was great to see the P2s and P7s performing so confidently to an appreciative audience. We look forward to returning soon for a follow up visit.

P7s have also been running the Healthy Tuck shop which is proving to be very popular. This runs Tuesday – Thursday with a variety of healthy snacks on offer. Favourites this week have been the strawberry and blueberry cups! Next week, P7 will do a snack-swap event so look out for more details when we come back to school on Monday. On Tuesday, there will a small bake sale for P4-7 which has also been organised by P7, with all funds going to Cancer Research UK. Cakes will cost between 20p and £1 and the P7s will talk about this further in assembly on Monday.

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On Wednesday, Mr Martin held a meeting with P6 parents to discuss their trip to Lagganlia in September when they will be in P7. It was a good opportunity for parents to ask any questions and find out a bit more about the activities that the children will do while they’re at Lagganlia. Everyone is excited already! Please check your emails or schoolbags next week for more information if you were unable to attend the meeting.

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Next week, it’s Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 5th February. We’ll be using this opportunity to have conversations across school on what a great place the internet is, but what dangers can also lurk there. If this is a subject that causes headaches in your house and you’d like to get a bit more information before chatting to your child, have a look on the Safer Internet Day website. There are areas of the site that you could look at with your child, including this Safer Internet quiz which is all about consent in a digital world.

Please remember that next Friday (8th February) we break up for the February half term. School and Nursery resume as normal on Monday 18th February.

Kind regards,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…

Happy Burns Day from all of us at Abbeyhill! Thankfully, none of our plans have gone ‘agley’ (awry) and we enjoyed a fantastic Burns Supper and ceilidh last night which was organised and run by our brilliant Parent Council. Thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a success; I’m delighted that it was supported by the Abbeyhill community and was a complete sell out! Our new Cooking Classroom was used to prepare a lot of the food (check Twitter for photos) and everyone enjoyed their soup, haggis and shortbread.

In assembly today, every class performed a Scottish poem to celebrate Burns and did themselves proud. Thank you to the parents who have been helping them to practise all week!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

New Year Resolutions still holding fast!

We’ve had a great start back at Abbeyhill and hope that everyone else returned to work and school feeling rested and re-charged after the holidays. Or perhaps you were glad to escape the chaos of home and went back to work for some peace and quiet!

We spent our staff in service day on the 8th January overhauling our behaviour policy, inspired by the book ‘When the Adults Change, Everything Changes’ by Paul Dix. We’ve reduced our 26 page behaviour policy to a single side of A4 and reduced our school rules to just 3: Ready, Respectful, Responsible. We’ve removed Golden Time in favour of more immediate consequences and have introduced regular mindfulness sessions into classes and restorative conversations for when things go wrong. We’re 2 weeks in and everyone is responding well to it; children are calm and understand the rules, staff are enjoying having chances to strengthen relationships by seeing an incident through from start to finish and deciding on a resolution with the child. We’re working with the Mindful Enterprise and Bright Minds Meditation to embed mindfulness throughout the school and we’re really seeing the benefit of that in the class who have been working with the Mindful Enterprise for a few years. Please have a read of our new policy below and let us know what you think.abbeyhill behaviour policy

We’ve had Generation Science in this week and they will continue to be with us for a few weeks as they perfect their performances. We’re so lucky that they choose to come to Abbeyhill every year to do their dress rehearsals which means that every class in the school gets the chance to experience science being delivered in a fun, interactive (noisy!) way that gets everyone thinking. Make sure you harness that enthusiasm and visit the Edinburgh International Science Festival when it’s on in April!

This morning we had Don from Road Safety Edinburgh in assembly to remind us all to WOW (Walk On Wednesday). He talked about the health benefits for us, as well as our environment and it was brilliant to see so many hands up when he asked how many people walked, cycled or scooted to school. We’ll have our first Walking Bus of 2019 on Tuesday morning next week (22nd January) so make sure you’re at one of our designated walking bus stops by 0830 if you want to take part! After Don left, we treated ourselves to watching the video of the staff pantomime which was a huge success when we performed it for the children in December! It was a special goodbye to ‘Cinderella’ afterwards as Mrs Lansdown leaves us today for Education Scotland. We’ll miss her but wish her the very best of luck in her new role.

Next week, don’t miss the Parent Council Burns Supper on Thursday 24th January. There are only a few tickets left and at £5 for a 3 course tea for adults/£3 for children, mini talent show and kids ceilidh they will go fast so get in quickly if you’d like to go by visiting the Abbeyhill Parent Council  website. In an ‘Abbeyhill Decides’ vote, pupils will choose how funds raised at the supper will be spent. We also have Parent Council on Wednesday 23rd January where we will be voting for new post holders so if you’d like to get involved then please feel welcome to come along!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Nothing short of a triumph!

…is surely what the professional reviews will say of our Nativity this morning! Well done to Mrs Lansdown and the P1s as well as all the other staff and children who worked so hard to make it such a successful performance. The P2s were fantastic narrators and angels with P3 doing a beautiful job as choir. Thank you to Russell McLarty and his team at Meadowbank Church for being such brilliant hosts; it was fantastic to have the show up on the big screens so no-one at the back missed a moment!

Monday saw the first proper Christmas event at Abbeyhill with our P7s enjoying a brilliant ceilidh. Thank you to Mrs Souness for teaching them the dances as well as Mr Martin for working so hard with the P7s to make invitations, decorate the classroom, prepare food (in our new Cooking Classroom!) and make sure that everyone had a great time. It’s always a lovely way to kick-start the Christmas celebrations and is such a special event for the P7s.

Monday was also the day that Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Serrag held a coffee afternoon to introduce ‘Families Connect‘ to Nursery and P1 parents. This is a programme run by Save the Children and is all about increasing parents’ skills and confidence to support their child’s learning, whilst having fun together! Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Serrag were delighted to get a really good turnout and will be starting the programme when we return in January.

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On Wednesday, we had our Christmas lunch and Ms McCourt absolutely outdid herself this year; the dinner hall was decorated with tinsel, tealights (battery operated of course), tablecloths and festive napkins. Lots of staff came down to enjoy lunch with the children – the lure of an early turkey dinner was too good to refuse! Thank you to Ms McCourt for making it such a special occasion; the reaction from the P1s made it all worthwhile!

Yesterday, not only was it the Nursery Christmas party, with a very special visitor in red of course, but we also had a very exciting delivery from Network Rail who work with partners Story Contracting and Hibernian Community Foundation to spread ‘Edinburgh Cheer’ which you can read more about here. This year, they decided to present us with 17 reconditioned bikes that have been restored by Network Rail employee Simon Lloyd. We’re holding a free raffle next week so check back to see who won a Christmas bike to take home!

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Finally, as I said at the church, it’s Mrs Lansdown’s first and last Christmas at Abbeyhill as she will be leaving us next term to take up a very exciting opportunity with Education Scotland. Mrs Lansdown has brought so much to us in such a short time and we will be very sad to see her go, although we do of course wish her the very best of luck. And who knows, she doesn’t live far away so maybe we’ll be able to persuade her to come and visit us?! All we can say is, good luck topping that Nativity to next year’s P1 teacher …!