Category Archives: Nursery

Dancing bears and a Burns flashback!

The sun was shining this week as we handed out our final teaching packs of the term, and school session. It was lovely to see so many families, socially distanced of course, and it will be even better when we can have children back in the building in August. It seems very quiet when we are in there at the moment. Preparations are well underway for having everyone back with the number one priority being Health and Safety. Details will come out on Wednesday next week so that everyone knows which days their child will be attending as we begin to move back towards something resembling normality.

If you follow @CreateLearnEdin you may have seen the official Burns and Beyond videos which were posted this week. As you may remember, Ms Stamati and P6 worked incredibly hard and had a lot of fun as part of this project and it was lovely to watch the videos, see some familiar faces and hear some of our P6s speak so articulately about what they had enjoyed about the project. You can watch the short version of the video here or if you have a little longer (most of us do at the moment!) then the longer version is here. Well done to everyone who was involved (credit also to @burnsandbeyond and @UniqueEventsltd).

Someone else who has been busy creating fantastic experiences and sharing them on social media is our dance teacher in residence, Eleanor Robertson. Read all about how she has supported and encouraged Nursery children to take part in the Bear Hunt transition project in one of the latest blog posts on the Abbeyhill School Artists website and watch her brilliant dance video here. Mr Martin and the Nursery team have also been working really hard to engage the Nursery children who are moving up to P1 in August and everyone is joining in and sharing their experiences on Twitter which is fantastic to see. I made sure I left my label on when I was in school on Thursday…have you left yours yet?

Our Staff Superstar this week is the brilliant Mrs Pender who has developed new skills over the last few months, not just by finally getting onto WhatsApp but by working out how to use Teams and managing to join every P1 story session (sometimes sideways, occasionally upside down) which the children love. She’s also supported one of our Hubs and has taken a lot of time and made a huge effort to make the experience memorable and successful for the young person she’s supporting. Well done and thank you Mrs Pender! Checking out what everyone has been doing on Teams, Elis has done some very neat colouring by number, Otis, Duncan, Sara and Marlena had done some brilliant wok on the layers of ocean, John did some very funny nonsense poetry, Erin submitted some great work on collective nouns, Alma is a banana tree (really Alma?!), Zuzanna managed some Maths that would have had me reaching for the calculator and Luca in P7 did an amazing drawing as part of the P7 Moving On Up project which has taken place this week to replace the 3 day high school visit that they should have been. Well done and thank you to Mr Forde also for working tirelessly to encourage and support the P7s as they navigate this time which should have been packed with all our usual transition activities in school. Consider yourself a runner up Superstar winner Mr Forde! However, our Junior Superstars have to be the P6s who represented Abbeyhill so well in that Culture United ‘Burns and Beyond’ video so well done to Mat, Jasmine, Amelia, Cadha, Liam and Maya!!

This time next week the holidays will be upon us but there will be one more blog from me before we bid goodbye to the 2019-20 school session. It’s ended in a way none of us expected at the start but I very much hope that this time next year normality has been fully resumed and lockdown is all just a distant memory!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Back to school – almost!

It’s been quite an up and down week as we have waited for news on what school will look like when we return in August. We got this information today and you can read Alistair Gaw’s letter here. Further details will be sent to families by the 24th June including which groups their children will be in and which days they will attend school. In school, we will spend the final two weeks of term preparing our classrooms and learning spaces with our reduced capacity and essential Health and Safety in mind as well as carrying out our final food parcel delivery and Hub volunteer sessions. I have no doubt that we will look back on this term as a strange one but one that has had lots of positives – new skills learned and hobbies started as well as lots of family time. However, we shouldn’t forget those for whom it has also been incredibly stressful – for people living alone, keyworkers separated from their families and those for whom extra family time is not the positive experience it is for some. Whether it’s a return to school or work, I know there will be plenty of people who are very glad that this situation may be coming to an end. Please continue to observe all Scottish Government advice and guidance as it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that we are only in Phase 1 of recovery and could easily slip back if everyone starts to bend the rules.

Our Staff Superstar this week is Mrs Lyall; she helped me out when I was in a Hub-staffing shaped jam and I was very grateful! It was lovely to be in the Hub this week and see so many children from different schools enjoying their time together, in socially distanced bubbles. I felt quite emotional when I saw the Abbeyhill pupils who attended – even if some were almost unrecognisable under their lockdown haircuts! It will just be lovely to see more familiar faces in August. While deciding who would be our Junior Superstars this week, it was lovely as always to see how busy everyone has been on Teams and on Twitter; the Nursery (and Mr Martin) are throwing themselves into the #BearHuntEdin transition project, Neive has done some great writing, Happy Birthday to Sara in P2 and well done to Duncan for tackling some tricky looking Maths! Georgia and Sophia ‘treated’ their dad to a makeover (it looked great, honestly), Eva has mastered the 12 times table and there was some healthy competition between Ola and Martina in ‘Wordshake’. Well done to P7 for getting started with their My World of Work profiles and top marks to Nate, Yasmine and Christina for being the first ones to work out the login! However our Junior Superstars are Freddie, Elsie and Harry for supporting their mum in the DARED challenge and running more than one 5k with her this week! They were also among a group who ran into (no pun intended) Mr Woodhouse when he was doing his own DARED run and jogged along with him for a bit to keep his spirits up! Mrs Souness was particularly impressed with the multiple 5ks so watch out Freddie and Elsie as she may have you coaching a running club when we go back! She might let Harry off…

DARED challenge

I also really enjoyed watching the ‘Meet the Teacher’ videos that each teacher posted into the channel of their class for next session. It’s not quite the same as being able to spend time together in real life but that will come soon enough! Copies of these will be emailed to families with no access to Teams next week.

Next week would normally see our P7s heading off on their 3 day visit to their new high schools which of course can’t happen this year. However, they will be taking part in the ‘Moving On Up’ transition project with different tasks to complete over the 3 days. Visit our P7 Transition 2020 page to find out about different activities, videos and ideas that Drummond has been sharing to welcome the P7s, as well as inviting P7 families to careers events and Parent Council meetings. I’m sure that the P7s will feel as prepared as they possibly can in August and that all nerves will have been forgotten by the end of their first week.

As well as our P7s missing their visit, they’ll miss their last Abbeyhill Taxi Day which is such a shame (maybe Drummond will let them go next year?!) but it was lovely to see this throwback to June 2019 posted on Twitter by @OutingTaxi earlier in the week. I didn’t realise they’d all grown up so much in the last year!

Abbeyhill Taxi Day 2 2019

I hope you get the chance to relax and enjoy the weekend even though it looks like it’s going to be a rainy one!

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

We’ve been on a (virtual) trip!

Yesterday we got the news that we’ve been waiting for and Scotland’s route map out of lockdown and back towards some sort of normality was shared by the Government. For a copy of the full publication, go to the Scottish Government website or you can download a copy from our School Closure: Useful Documents & Links page. Staff should be able to start back at school some time next month in order to prepare for pupils returning in August. At this time, we don’t know exactly what that will look like but will keep families fully informed as more information and guidance is shared with us. Lots of you will have questions and possibly concerns and today I tweeted a link to Parentclub‘s latest supportive information on what this first phase of recovery might mean for you and your family.

Earlier in the week I also tweeted a link to Iliyana Nedkova’s blog. Illie is our Curator in Residence and blogged about her determination to champion the right to art and culture for every child at Abbeyhill Primary School through our artists-in-residence programme even during global pandemic and lockdown, announcing that the Artists in Residence are joining the Cultural Learning Alliance – the collective voice working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to art and culture. Read more about how this programme has been spreading the wonder of contemporary art to every pupil and teacher in and outside the classroom for the last 7 years here.

Over on Teams it’s been a busy week as usual with lots of virtual fun at Abbeyhill’s own version of the National Portrait Gallery (thank you Mrs Flowers); classes got a welcome surprise when they logged in to find that they were ‘going on a trip’! Lots of hilarity ensued as everyone toured the gallery, admiring photos of staff as children and trying to work out who was who. If you know our staff, can you guess at these two photos below?

Portrait Gallery

The Nursery started their transition project, based on ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Did you spot any bears while out on your walks this week? Keep up with #EdinBearHunt on Twitter to see how the adventure unfolds! Lots of learners across the school took part in Edinburgh’s Sumdog competition and it was great to see that P2 took to it with enthusiasm – hopefully enough of the class will join in to qualify next time! I also really loved Archie’s video of him completing Mr Woodhouse’s drawing challenge – can you draw yourself blindfolded? It was a great attempt Archie so you’re our Secret Superstar this week! Ms Macdonald has been doing a great job of supporting everyone with Maths (I love her times tables flowers!) as well as teaching P5 and Ms Howson has posted some creative ideas to improve reading skills (watch TV with the subtitles, now that I can do). Ms Stamati continues to be busy keeping P6 busy from home in Greece and Mr Forde and I have ‘met’ with high school guidance staff to discuss P7 transition and are planning to use citywide resources to support our learners who need a little extra help with the idea of moving on. P7 have been making use of the channel that Mr Forde has set up to ask questions about high school and it’s a very supportive environment so well done Mr Forde, you’re our Secret Staff Superstar of the week! Our wellbeing survey has gone out again and I would encourage all our learners to complete it so we can help with any areas you’re finding challenging at the moment.

Please remember, although the weather is forecast to be reasonably nice over the weekend (no Thursday scorchers again though, more’s the pity!) we are still in lockdown. Phase 1 of recovery will hopefully start on Thursday 28th May but please keep in touch with the news and Scottish Government announcements. Twitter is a great way to do this if you’re short on time.

Have a good weekend and I look forward to next week when there will be a class newsletter attached to my ’roundup’ email on Monday. It’s shaping up to be just as full as usual which is fantastic to see!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Lockdown: Week 8 – and some of us are going on a bear hunt!

There has been lots going on as usual this week and we’ve been busy on Teams and Twitter. Opportunities we’ve tweeted about that are not to be missed include the invitation to sign up to Sustrans ‘Outside In’ newsletter for 4 weeks of fun ideas to get everyone moving; click here to find out more and sign up. We posted links from Mrs Mash and Jan Lee Brown who are well known to our children who love storytelling ‘Chit Chat’ Club and who are both running daily story and song sessions on Facebook. Click on their names to find out how to take part! of course today is School Uniform Day! Staff have had lots of fun preparing bitmojis and photos of themselves in school clothes (some even in uniform!) which Mrs Flowers put into an interactive classroom before inviting pupils to send in their own photos to add to the gallery! It’s been really lovely to see everyone joining in and having fun – what a nice way to end the week. And after all that hard work, Mrs Flowers is the deserved winner of Secret Staff Superstar this week – well done Mrs Flowers!

Of course, it hasn’t all been fun and games and we also posted a link to our website with information for key workers whose children are struggling with our current normal. If this sounds like something that’s relevant to you, head to our School Closure: Useful Documents and Links page for the latest advice from the British Psychological Society.

It’s also been busy on Teams with lots to keep everyone occupied. Apart from seeing everyone’s uniform photos, I’ve enjoyed Archie’s video about his lockdown experiences that he made for his Auntie who is a teacher in South Africa, Gregor’s enthusiasm for the Sumdog challenge has brought a smile to my face (I can just imagine your reaction when the website froze Gregor!), Mr Forde has started a very supportive thread about transition to high school where the P7s are posting the questions are important to them. Our Secret Superstar of the week has to be Maya who made a really touching video about how much she misses school – we miss you all too!

Like all schools we’re trying to keep connected with our families and ensure that everyone stays informed as far as possible; unfortunately we can’t answer all questions (no, we don’t know when schools will re-open and like everyone will have to wait for news from the government) but what we do know we share. This week we’ve contacted families with information on the new Sumdog competition that’s just opened for Edinburgh; this is a great way to get kids excited about Maths and doing something interactive every day. We’ve also made sure that some of our families know that another food parcel will be coming their way next week and I once again thank the staff who are collecting and distributing them once a fortnight. It is very much appreciated. Nursery pre-schooler families have received initial information on the city-wide transition project based on Michael Rosen’s ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and P7 families can expect some news next week on what transition will look like for them. I may or may not have been on the phone earlier to a company lining up a special gift for them all to mark their last days at Abbeyhill….watch this space.

On Monday next week staff and pupils won’t need to login as we are all looking forward to our final bank holiday of the session for Victoria Day (18th May). Did you know Victoria Day was started in 1845 in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday but is now also celebrated as the official birthday of the Queen of Canada? The things you learn on lockdown!

Have a lovely weekend. Stay home, stay safe.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher