Category Archives: Expressive Arts

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Informed

Yesterday’s news from the Scottish Government may have come as a surprise to some but whether you were expecting it or not, there is no doubt that this will feel disappointing and stressful to some. Those hard won freedoms look like they may be on shaky ground again and it’s more important than ever that we follow Government guidance in order to bring the R number down and continue to make progress. To that end, the Colony of Artists committee is meeting this weekend to discuss if any elements of the festival can go ahead whilst complying with the new rules or whether a delay would be more appropriate. Whatever is decided, Abbeyhill will not be taking part this year in a physical sense and have instead prepared window decorations and an online presence, curated by Iliyana Nedkova. Look out for our busy buzzing bees around the community!

Last week we got a lot of positive responses to #WakeUpWednesday on Twitter where I posted some infographics on some of the  social media apps that are most popular with children and young people. There was a new one I’d never heard of and as both a teacher and a parent it reminded me that the only way to support children to navigate the online world effectively is to make sure we keep up with it as much as possible and are prepared to have open and honest conversations about the hidden dangers, as well as enjoy the fun the internet has to offer. To today’s generation of young people, the online world is as real as the physical one and just as much support is needed to navigate it safely and enjoyably.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This week Mr Donald-Hewitt spent his second day with us and enjoyed spending some time in P1 getting to know the class. With limited contacts per day allowed, he will spend time with P4 and P7 over the next two weeks and then catch up with the other classes once he starts on the 28th September. I’m finding it hard to believe that I only have two weeks left at work and just hope that I can get through my ‘to do’ list before I start maternity leave! 

I enjoyed spending some time in P7 yesterday where we had a lot of interesting discussion around the topic of change as we explored the final ‘Building Resilience’ topic of Expect the Unexpected. The P7s talked maturely about sudden change versus expected change and how we can prepare ourselves or support each other through it. There was some mention of sore legs following their 5k march around Holyrood Park the day before (all within the 2 mile limit of school) but on the whole the fresh air and fun seemed to have done everyone good. Everyone is looking forward to the next one and trying to beat Alan’s step count; somehow he managed to do almost double the rest of the class! 

Have a lovely weekend and remember, although the new rules do not come into force until Monday 14th September, we’re all being encouraged to follow them immediately. Stay safe everyone!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

On your bike!

As all 5 year olds and over will have to wear a face covering on school transport from Monday 31st August, now is a good time to start considering different modes of transport rather than heading straight to the car (if you have one) and we have lots of children who already enjoy cycling and scooting to school. Watch this video for some of the benefits of more active travel, from getting fitter to helping the environment – especially in reducing air pollution round our schools.

Thank you to those of you who have supported us this week by using both gates, maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings, only sending one parent into the playground and leaving promptly once you have dropped off/picked up your children. As a staff, we will be discussing further improvements that we can make next week as we continue to try to make all our new routines run as smoothly as possible. We will also be examining guidance due out next week on how we can run our normal events, such as Parents Evenings, with an aim of having our usual ‘Save the Date’ list, or at least more information on how we will be approaching things this term, with families as soon as possible.

Hopefully the forecast is not to be believed and the weather will be better next week; I can’t believe we’ve had our first yellow weather warning of the session already! Sadly because of that some of our classes had to have an indoor break but everyone managed to rush out for some fresh air in between cloudbursts later in the day. Well done to P4 for making use of the sheltered space when the rain put paid to their outdoor learning plans in the wildlife garden!

Outdoor Learning P4

Next week our staff will start to decorate the windows of the school with busy bees to represent the hive of activity that we normally are at this time of year as we prepare to take part in the annual Colony of Artists festival. Sadly, our participation will be online this year but we look forward to 2022 when we can hopefully take part as usual. Look out for buzzing bees around the school and local community!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

 

(The New) Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

….and we’re all very glad about it! The rain is lashing down as I write this and it feels that the ‘summer’ holidays are a distant memory already! Nevertheless, it’s been fantastic to welcome all of our staff and families back to school over the last few days and we’re all excited to start our first full week back together. Some of our families are observing a quarantine period after arriving home from abroad and we thank them for this. We’ve seen from Aberdeen and other places in England just how fragile our newly restored freedoms are and we all have to play our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy as we journey back towards a ‘normal’ life. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated several times already and set out clear information on what to do in the case of suspected symptoms appearing as well as what course of action we will take in school. This is designed to reassure and not to alarm anyone.

As well as welcoming everyone back, we’re also thinking of those who have moved on who didn’t get the send off that they were expecting, although we did our best to make things special given the circumstances! Good luck to Ms Stamati who starts a new teaching job in Greece next week, Ms El Sarrag who has retired from Abbeyhill, Ms Howson who secured a permanent post at Rowanfield school and all our P7s and leavers from other year groups who have started S1 or moved away from the area for new adventures. We will miss you! Goodbyes were counter-balanced with plenty of ‘Hellos’ though as we welcomed our new P1s and new pupils in other classes across the school – it’s lovely to bring you into the Abbeyhill community. Our new Nursery pupils will begin to settle in next week and we’re so excited to meet them too!

We were all pleased, and relieved, at how smoothly things went in general last week. There were a few hiccups as is to be expected when we changed (or abandoned) longstanding routines and there were last minute crises to keep us on our toes – such as essential paperwork for poor Mr McNeil not arriving in time for him to start with his class – but by and large we’ve resolved everything and the whole Abbeyhill community is pulling together brilliantly as always as we move forward. Mr McNeil is enjoying his first day in P3 today – phew!

Normally at this time of year we are sending out ‘Save the Date’ lists for all our key events from Meet the Teacher to our festive celebrations. I’m sure you will bear with us this term as changing guidance means that we can’t be certain what we’ll be able to offer and when although you can rest assured that we will find alternative ways to deliver events such as Parents’ Evening and the Nativity. I had a chat with Iliyana Nedkova, our Curator in Residence and P7 parents, about what Abbeyhill’s involvement in this year’s Colony of Artists Festival (19th & 20th September) might look like so watch this space for news on some exciting online exhibitions. Our whole school Art project ‘Bee Kind’, in line with our key values as well as the theme of the festival, should fit in beautifully and P4 have already made a strong start!

Bee Kind P4

Have a good week and as always, keep an eye on Scottish Government updates, the City of Edinburgh Council‘s website and social media accounts as well as NHS Inform for all the up to date information. You can keep in touch with us by phone or email, as well as our website and Twitter account. 

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Observe, create, imagine. A great approach to life, Lexi!

This week we have been planning for staff to return to school but only if they have a specific task to carry out. The Government guidance is still to work from home if possible and so we are certainly not all going to be in school for our normal working hours between now and the end of term. Some of us were in on Thursday and I know that the staff who were handing out learning packs in the afternoon were delighted to see so many familiar faces turning up to collect them! On the odd days I have been in school, I have made a list of what I want to achieve and it usually involves accessing paperwork or computer systems that I can’t do from home but from this point forward it will be very much geared towards planning new class layouts, signage, thinking about socially distanced lining up points and how we manage the many different elements of our day that will have to change for the time being. Some changes will be positive and we are using this opportunity to gently force us to complete a few things that have been on the ‘to do’ list for a while such as going cashless and digital registration from August. All our plans are still in draft format, as with all schools, until we have authority from the Council to share them with families. I very much hope to have this permission next week as I know how anxious everyone is to know what is happening and what school will look like when we all return after the summer.

It’s been busy on Teams as always this week and I’ve also really enjoyed keeping up with the Nursery Bear Hunt on Twitter. It’s fantastic that our P1s-to-be are able to take part in this city-wide transition project so that when they start with us, no matter which Nursery they have come from, they should have all had the same transition experience and be familiar with the same story. If your child is in our Nursery class, you can request access to this private Twitter account @AbbeyhillNC – well worth it to see friends as well as lots of updates of Mr Martin’s dog, Buddy!

 

I may not be social media’s biggest fan but Twitter has been a great source of information and inspiration and news (from verified, reputable accounts of course!) over the last few months and I’ve enjoyed sharing the different resources that have popped up to support families and staff. My favourites this week have been this video that Mr Woodhouse shared about a hedgehog and a tortoise who find ways other than having a hug to show they care, as well as seeing all the excitement that was generated by Active Schools first virtual Games @ the Hub on Wednesday. As well as it went, I really hope that it can go back to normal for 2021 as it’s always such a brilliant day for the P6s and a real highlight of the summer term.

OCI

Mrs Flowers is banned from getting Staff Secret Superstar for the rest of term to give everyone else a chance but we have had nominations for Mr Andrew Hamilton who has been not only working very hard on ideas to interest and entertain his P1s on Teams, making up learning packs and helping to distribute food parcels when needed but has also been volunteering in the Drummond Hub and supporting the ASL Hub at Rowanfield. So Mr Hamilton is this week’s Staff Secret Superstar! Well done. I love keeping an eye on Teams activity during the week and seeing what is going on, always keeping an eye out for Friday’s Superstar. Elsie made some yummy looking muffins (Freddie was very busy eating his in the background of the photo!),  P2 have continued their focus on dinosaurs (I loved Ruardih’s ‘Dippy’ model), John has been working incredibly hard and I was impressed with his enthusiasm for French and his drawing of a hedgehog (as well as very jealous of the lovely looking cake in the background!), Ella made an epic film trailer of her and her mum’s trip to Finland (I bet that feels like a long time ago!), I was laughing over P5’s attempts to ‘Guess the rectangles’ – have Granny’s eyes recovered yet Gregor? I really liked Lexi’s ‘observe, create, imagine’ and Emilia and Martina’s fantastic artwork and Nate and Martin have produced great posters for our final unit of ‘Building Resilience’, aptly named ‘Expect the Unexpected’, However, this week’s winner has to be Mat who threw himself into Games at the Hub and posted videos of himself mastering not just skateboarding but hockey too. Well done Mat, you’re this week’s Junior Secret Superstar!

Enjoy your weekend and try to get outside if the rain stops!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher