Category Archives: Outdoor Learning

Happy Halloween!

It’s been a spook-tacular week at Abbeyhill with lots of scary decorations appearing round the school, hot chocolate, marshmallows and scary stories around the firepit and of course it was all topped off by the Halloween Disco Daily Mile this morning! Well done to everyone who dressed up – I think some of you must have been up very early with the face paints! Apologies to any of our neighbours who were treated to the theme of Ghostbusters thumping out at 9am…and thank you to the Parent Council who donated prizes for the best spooky dance and best scary face in each class!

Thank you to one of our parents, Jennifer, who is working tirelessly to refresh and tidy our library which after lockdown and building work in the school had become a bit of a sorry state. Keep up with Jennifer’s progress on Twitter @jennifertamu

Adventures in Abbeyhill Library with @jennifertamu

I was lucky enough to spend time in P2 and P4 this week and did some research on behalf of the Abbeyhill Ambassadors who will meet next week to work on their own version of the School Improvement Plan. Common consensus across the classes was they they liked learning (most curricular areas came up in this conversation which was encouraging), school dinners (pizza and veggie hotdogs are the favourites), playing outside and being with their friends. Top dislikes were anyone who is unkind and litter in the playground. Suggestions for improvements ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous (a candy floss bouncy castle is unlikely to feature in the playground any time soon) and a clear focus for both the Ambassadors and Parent Council is emerging. Watch this space and follow @AbbeyhillPupilC on Twitter to find out what happens next!

Our weekly email update went out to families today which featured safety information from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service over bonfires and fireworks, details of the Covid bus location for next week and a fantastic offer from the Collective on Calton Hill who are starting Collective Play on Friday afternoons from 5th November. Donations are welcome but there is no charge and there will be hot drinks, water and snacks provided. Sessions will be outdoor and child-led with a focus on weather systems and biodiversity. Sounds great!

Have a lovely weekend and please stay safe (and dry) if you are out trick or treating.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Fire(pit) in the playground!

Don’t worry, I was assured it was completely safe and all the risk assessments were in place. P7 are having a fantastic time this morning cooking apples with cinnamon as well as bananas with chocolate (delicious, thank you for mine P7!) in the fire pit, which they been taught how to safely light. This experience is part of their weekly Friday Outdoor Learning sessions which are proving to be so beneficial in terms of learning as well as physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

We had an exciting online assembly yesterday where this year’s Abbeyhill Ambassadors were announced. Each class from P1-5 has 2 Ambassadors each and P6 & 7 have 4 as they take on the dual role of Ambassador and Vice/house Captains. Our first meeting is next week so watch this space to hear more about the projects they will work on this session. They will include creating a child-friendly version of our School Renewal Plan as well as a special interest project which the Ambassadors themselves will choose. They will also be tasked with gathering and sharing the views of their class on lots of different aspects of school life so they will be kept extremely busy!

We had interviews for a member of staff in the Nursery; congratulations to Miss Barclay who was successful and will now remain with us on a permanent basis. We also interviewed for a Breakfast Club Assistant and will be delighted to welcome Miss Page as soon as her paperwork is complete.

Well done to everyone who took part in the Colony of Artists festival last weekend, whether it was visiting exhibits in gardens or viewing virtual galleries. Thank you so much to Dave Pratt and Iliyana Nedkova who decorated our windows with our artwork as part of the festival – they look beautiful!

Our Nursery and class newsletters were sent home today by email so please check your inboxes for those. Another NHS Warn and Inform letter was also sent home and is on this website under the Covid-19 tab.

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Happy holiday weekend!

The September weekend is upon us already! It’s been such a busy first few weeks of the term and they have just flown by. This week has seen the re-launch of the Daily Mile, ending on a high with the Disco Daily Mile! There was some discussion about the inclusion of One Direction with Mr Woodhouse taking full responsibility for the music choices. We hope that this is the first of many themed Daily Mile runs and we’re already planning prizes for effort, attitude and progress as everyone’s fitness levels increase.

For the first time since March 2020, classes have been out on trips this week which was very exciting. P3 spent time at Holyrood Park this morning and P6 & 7 were incredibly lucky to be offered the Treetops Challenge experience at Go Ape which has opened recently at Dalkeith Country Park. They had a fantastic time swinging through the trees and came back to school with happy faces, full of tales of the challenges they had faced and new skills they’d learned.

Yesterday we held a live Teams event where I attempted to share information with the whole school about Abbeyhill Ambassadors. We were plagued with technical issues but by a combination of some classes being able to hear but not see (and vice versa), others participating in the chat bar and a recording being shared, teach class will be busy deciding who their Ambassador reps will be. Watch this space for the big announcement next week.

This weekend is the Colony of Artists festival which we shall be participating in with window displays (which the finishing touches are being added to as I type). We wish we could participate in the way that we normally would be hopefully 2022 will see an extra special level of participation as we once again open as a venue. If you are taking part in the festival, or visiting, please make sure you check the Colony of Artists website for any last minute changes that may have had to be made since the brochure was printed. P4 and P5 had a special sneak preview of P6’s dance performance which was filmed for the festival and we were all very impressed with their confidence and choreography!

Have a lovely long weekend and I look forward to seeing everyone when school resumes on Tuesday.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

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