Category Archives: Abbeyhill Ambassadors

A funny old week!

Well, what can we say? It started relatively normally with the fantastic experience of future playground planning with Lesley McMillan from Architecture Design Scotland as well as the third and final session of our parent literacy sessions and ended with us waving goodbye to the whole school and nursery for an unknown length of time. Naturally, rumours are flying as to how long the school closure will last but just on the off-chance that our P7s had their last day at primary school today, Mr Hamilton piped them out of the front door – just the way he would have done on the 26th June. And the good news is that if we are back by then and this is all just a memory we’ll do it all again! Head to our Twitter page @AbbeyhillPS to see the video.

Back to that positive start to the week. The Abbeyhill Ambassadors met with Lesley McMillan from Architecture Design Scotland and she talked to them about the concept of ‘Campfires in Cyberspace’ which the Ambassadors grasped enthusiastically. We showed Lesley round our favourite spaces in the playground and then went back inside to begin to plan what we would like in our playground.

Quiet, reflective spaces featured heavily, as did areas where nature and wildlife could flourish. All this will be taken into account by the Parent Council as they plan our Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden but in the meantime, the Abbeyhill Chicken Coop has been commissioned and will hopefully be ready to be filled by the time we return to school. I’m sure there will be a lot of good natured argy-bargying as to who gets to feed and look after our new arrivals!

Sadly, a lot of our other activities were cancelled; P3 missed their trip to the Botanics and on the instruction of the Council, our Parents’ Evenings had to be cancelled along with every other school who had them scheduled this week. We got the very sad news that the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, which every child had ticket for in May, was cancelled. The Swimming Gala, highlight of the Spring term sporting calendar and due to take place on 1st April, was also cancelled. However, one thing that had to be delivered differently rather than being cancelled was assembly. Instead of being together in the hall, we went outside to play and got all of the toys out of the shed as well as our Loose Parts Play on the pitch. It was declared ‘the best assembly’ ever and left me thinking ‘Why don’t we do this every week?!’. More fresh air, more physical exercise and more time to build on relationships with staff and friends all equals improved physical, mental and emotional health. Watch this space for more outdoor assemblies when we return!

On Tuesday we were told that certain staff should make arrangements to work from home immediately and on Wednesday the news came that was not unexpected but at the same time came as a shock when it became reality. There is no doubt that schools being closed, as well as a lot of the other places we all enjoy going, will be challenging for all of us. It’s not good for anyone to have the routine and structure of the day removed, and to have far less social interaction than normal. However, if there is anything positive to be taken from this situation so far, it’s that kindness seems to be on the increase. Emissions are down! People are becoming more appreciative of the smaller things. Hopefully these are things that we can hold on to when we return to normality, which we will. This too shall pass.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

STEM, Art, gardening, cooking…thank goodness it’s Friday!

Our classes have been busy this week and I was lucky enough to spend a day in P7 this week and even more luckily, on a day when a trip was planned! P7 are working with staff at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on a project based around Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches which are currently displayed there and it was a pleasure to see their own sketchbooks which they have created as well as witness the time and effort they put into creating their own emblems, inspired by Leonardo.

Over the next two weeks, they will visit with P2 and help their younger buddies to make dragon masks so watch this space for some photos!

P1 have been out on the hills as usual (luckily for them the rain didn’t start until after school) and have been using natural resources to help them with their current Maths topic of time. Well done P1!

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P2 planted Mirabilis Jalapa perennials in their own alphabet pots which they had made. Not only will they look lovely as they grow in the classroom but they might even be able to be transplanted into our outdoor planters which will form part of our Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden which was launched on Monday! It was fantastic to get so many parents and lots of really useful suggestions for how we can get started, from landscapers to project managers and practical tips for growing with the children. I can’t wait to see it all begin to take shape and I’m confident there will be a lot of discussion about it at Parent Council next week.

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P3 have also had a busy week as they have made pancakes in the Cooking Classroom which included recipe writing, measuring and munching! (None made their way to Mrs Ketchin’s office I notice…). They even found time to design and make their own wooden boats before testing them in the water tray and YES they all floated!

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P5, 6 & 7 had a visit from Generation Science yesterday and learned all about electrical circuits.Everyone now knows what electrons, atoms and negative charges are, as well as how to build their own ammeter!

On Tuesday I was on a Child Protection course to update my qualification in this area. We discussed some hard hitting topics and examined practice from across Education, Health, Social Work and the Police. Online safety was discussed at length with advice for parents (and practitioners) to think of the internet as a place when you are trying to decide whether to let your child use a particular app, game or website. Just like the real world, the internet is a wonderful, diverse place with amazing things to see and do but also with plenty of hidden dangers that young people need to be guided to navigate and deal with. Would you let your child go to Waverley Station, speak to as many strangers as possible, swap phone numbers and get on an unknown train? This is the reality of what many apps and games encourage children to do with TikTok being one of the most toxic apps available at the moment.

Next week, our Parent Literacy course starts on Monday and the tutors plus teachers are looking forward to sharing tips and strategies that we use in school to help you help your child. We have a Parent Council meeting on Wednesday and I shall also be at a cluster Head Teachers meeting where P7 transition to high school will be a strong agenda item – not long now! Mrs Watt and I shall be holding interviews for citywide Pupil Support Assistant posts and the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be crossing their fingers that they get a reply to their letter to a local soup kitchen offering to spread kindness round the community.

And finally…

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Scotland yet but if you are concerned about anyone in your family, please do not come to school or send your child to school but seek advice from NHS 111 immediately. Do not physically go to your GP. In the meantime, the usual good hand hygiene practices and caution about seeing anyone who has travelled to an affected area will help to keep your family healthy. The Easter holidays are still 5 weeks away but it is worth checking your travel insurance in case you have trips booked to any of the affected countries which you may be advised to cancel.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Burns…and Beyond

Burns and Beyond

This week has seen P6 embark on a host of exciting activities as part of ‘Burns and Beyond’, a project run by Culture United for Abbeyhill and 3 other lucky Edinburgh primary schools who will have the opportunity to participate and engage with Burns Night and Scottish culture through live performance, workshops and a special Bairns’ Burns Supper event in the Assembly Rooms Culture United is an ERASMUS+ funded project that partners cultural events with education providers to deliver multidisciplinary education in schools. In Edinburgh, the partnership is being delivered between the Council’s Creative Learning and Culture Services through the Burns and Beyond Festival, working with four Edinburgh primary schools. 

 

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P6 visit the Assembly Rooms with the other schools taking part in ‘Burns and Beyond’ to

As part of the ‘beyond’ section of the project, to celebrate Chinese New Year and Burns Night falling on the same date of 25th January in 2020, Burns & Beyond is also collaborating with Edinburgh’s China Ready initiative and key attractions, to present a programme of activity and events celebrating the national events, Scotland’s friendship with China and the work Edinburgh has produced in recent years to attract and welcome Chinese visitors to the capital. We’re very excited for the culmination of all Miss Stamati and P6’s hard work next week!

Don’t worry, be happy!

That’s the message that the Abbeyhill Ambassadors are spreading over the next few weeks as we carry on from our ‘Kindness’ focus in December and spread positive vibes throughout the school. They’ve decided to use playground chalk to write positive messages in the playground and post-its inside. The tricky part is, they need to try to do it without being seen! Keep your eyes out…you might just catch one of them in their next act of kindness.

 

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While this is fun and makes everyone (hopefully) feel good, they have also decided that they would like to explore supporting children less fortunate than themselves and over the next few weeks we will look at whether we can donate book packages to care centres and get involved with our local homeless shelter. Watch this space! 

Spotlight on P1

P1 have been busy consolidating their growing knowledge of 2D shapes this week and took to the playground to show Mr Hamilton what they’ve learned. 

 

Next week…

…I’ll be at a conference for Edinburgh Head Teachers on Tuesday, our whole school Burns celebration assembly is on Wednesday, P6 have two Burns and Beyond events on Wednesday and Thursday including their Bairns Burns’ Supper AND it’s the very popular Parent Council Burns’ Supper which is returning for its 3rd year on Thursday. Tickets have already sold out so if you haven’t got yours yet….you’ll have to be faster in 2021!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

(Christmas) lights, camera, action!

December has started in style at Abbeyhill with two festive events to kick the celebrations off! Our choir were honoured to be asked to go to Waverley Station and provide the musical accompaniment to the Christmas lights being switched on and by all accounts they excelled themselves. Thank you to Miss Macdonald who has worked incredibly hard with them to prepare their repertoire!

Well done to our P1s who gave a fantastic performance of their Nativity, ‘Whoops-a-Daisy Angel’ at Meadowbank Church on Friday. It was lovely to see all the friends and families who came to support so thank you if you were there. Thank you to Mr Hamilton who worked incredibly hard to prepare it with them, ably assisted by Mr Laidlaw and Mrs Pender who worked her usual magic with costumes, props and general Nativity know-how! Mr Woodhouse and P2 provided excellent percussion and P2 and P3 supported as a joint choir. Thank you also to Mrs Flowers for preparing the P3s to be such brilliant narrators! Parent Council were also there selling the 2020 Abbeyhill Fundraising Calendar. Have you got yours yet?

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As we enter our second last week of term, we’re thinking of everything we have to celebrate; parties, festive feasts, family and friends. However, we’re also thinking of those less fortunate and continuing our assembly theme of kindness. Yesterday, we focussed on random acts of kindness and were inspired by ideas from around the world that we could adapt for our community. So, look out for Abbeyhill-ers offering to let you go first in the queue in the supermarket, positive messages in chalk on the pavement, litter being collected just ‘because’. Our Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be choosing some random acts to carry out as a group once school resumes in January and I look forward to supporting them!

Still to come, we have our P7 Christmas Ceilidh, the Community Christmas event (which is open to the public), Family Film Night and lots of Christmas parties. P7 will also be reporting the latest news from Sky in Livingston this week which everyone is looking forward to watching back at school!

Please remember that school breaks up for Christmas on Friday 20th December 2019 and resumes for pupils on Thursday 9th January 2020.

Festive wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher