While worrying news is all around us, we have kept life at Abbeyhill as busy and as upbeat as ever this week. Primary 1B have set up a garden centre in their classroom and P2 did a book scavenger hunt for World Book Day! P6 celebrated WBD with P1A and it was just lovely to see larger groups being able to meet again like this. P3 shot informational videos of their model International Space Stations and P5 went on their first proper trip of the year yesterday, to the Museum on the Mound. They seemed to have had a fantastic time and apparently it was worth missing assembly for… P7 haven’t stopped (apart from their Read and Relax session) and have done everything from making pancakes to carving out book character potatoes! Thank you to Mr Hamilton for organising our World Book Day events and to Mr Woodhouse who ran a suitably cheesy book-themed Disco Daily Mile for the occasion! It was great fun seeing everyone’s outfits, especially when we call came together for our first ‘in person’ assemblies since early 2020.
Our family update today includes details of our latest Warn and Inform letters, information on how the lifting of restrictions is affecting us in schools as well as details of Easter clubs and wider support for families. Please check your emails or contact the school for more details.
If current world events are worrying your child or family, please consider some of the advice from the British Psychological Society . If you want to do something to help, the Ukrainian Catholic Church on Dalmeny Street and the Ukrainian Community Centre on Royal Terrace are accepting donations for those who have lost everything, as are other Ukrainian centres around the city.
On Tuesday we were commenting that there was real warmth in the sun and by Thursday we were battling blizzards to get to school! P3 made the most of the snow by bundling up in waterproofs and heading to the park which we are so lucky to have on our doorstep – it was just a shame the snow didn’t last long! They then headed back to school to work on their ISS models…check the P3 twitter feed for the finished articles. P6 and 7 also enjoyed heading to the park with the P3s and the importance of warm clothes for their upcoming trip to Lagganlia definitely hit home for some P7s….
P7 they also made ‘trench stew’ as part of their WW1 topic and even tried their hand at baking their own hard tack biscuits! Much to Mr Woodhouse’s surprise, most of them enjoyed the meal!
Elsewhere, P2 have enjoyed hearing what their adopted tiger, Gopal, got up to during his February break – where do you think he went on the train? P4 have been using their Maths, numeracy and problem solving skills to design different shaped fields for farm animals as well as bringing active strategies into their lessons to help them apply their knowledge. P5 have started a Mesoamerican Civilisation topic and I’m looking forward to hearing their finished ‘I Like Food’ poems after spending some time with the class yesterday while they were exploring similes in poetry prior to writing their own.
The Abbeyhill Ambassadors managed to dodge the storms and blizzards and got out into the community to join the Keep Abbey Street Tidy campaign by doing a timed litter pick challenge on Tuesday. They were able to fill half a black bag in 5 minutes which was great in terms of removing rubbish from the street but sad that it had ended up there in the first place.
At the end of a very busy week our new Head Teacher, Mrs Moira Robertson, came to visit and she thoroughly enjoyed meeting children, parents and staff. It’s not long until she starts and she is very much looking forward to being part of the Abbeyhill community.
Next week, P5 are heading out to the Money Museum and we are gearing up for our first ‘in person’ assemblies in nearly two years! Everyone will be dressed up for World Book Day and it will be lovely to come back together and share this experience with P1 and 2 who don’t quite know what to expect!
There has been no slowing down for the approaching holiday at Abbeyhill this week! P1 have some new digital cameras and have been practising all week…there may be a few of Mrs Ketchin as I was in the class yesterday and was asked to join in with a few selfies!
P2 have celebrated Safer Internet Day (8th February) by discussing how they use online devices before working on ideas for their own games. Miss Smith is convinced there are some future star app developers in the class! P3 have had a really busy week making props and costumes for ‘Abbeyhill Space News’ and some incredibly detailed work has gone into their Valentine’s cards. Parents who follow @Abbeyhill2026 will also have loved the action shots from the crash mat challenge race that they undertook with P7!
P4 have been in a bubble this week (I thought it was quiet) but have still kept busy with a quick dash out to the playground in between breaks for some outdoor Maths as well as some indoor place value challenges. With hats.
I really enjoyed being part of the audience for the Abbeyhill dry ski slope challenge with P5. Tensions and excitement were high as each skier took to the slope; congratulations to the winners who saw their ski models make it safely off the slope and beyond! P6 and P7 had their first rugby session with Leith Hawks this week and there is some fantastic footage for parents who follow @Abbeyhill2023 twitter feed. P7 have also been busy making models of fighter planes for their WW2 topic, as well as brushing up on their coordinates and grid reference skills using maps of Edinburgh.
Parental Involvement and Engagement
In my update to parents this week, I asked for support in completing the Parental Involvement and Engagement survey. The Scottish Government has asked all 32 local authorities to undertake this census with parents in their local authority area before March 2022 and your support with this would be very much appreciated. If you are an Abbeyhill parent or carer, please check your emails for the link and QR code to get started.
I was also delighted to say that nearly two years after closing the school gates to almost all parents, we will welcome parents back into our playground from Monday 21st February. This is in line with the general easing of restrictions around social distancing across the country. It will also be safer given the current concerns around road safety at the back of the school that the Parent Council and school are working on together with the City of Edinburgh Council.
When we return, the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be undertaking a street clean as part of our support for the Keep Abbey Street Tidy campaign. They will also be getting opinions from their class on potential playground upgrades which the Parent Council are in the process of applying for funding for – fingers crossed! The Junior Road Safety Officers will also be getting involved with the work the Parent Council is leading on safety at the back of the school and the ambassadors will support them in that.
We will also send out booking links for Parents’ Evening appointments which will take place over the weeks beginning 14th and 21st March. At this time, we are still planning for virtual events.
Our final week of term is upon us! Despite tightening restrictions around the new variant of Covid which all parents were emailed about on Friday, we are still managing to have plenty of festive fun!
Everyone has been busy enjoying the festive season right across the school, from baking to planning a Christmas menu on a set budget, making Christmas decorations and using woodwork skills to create sustainable Christmas trees. Well done everyone!
Christmas Jumper Day
Thank you to everyone who donated to our Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Christmas Jumper Boutique, which ended up being more a Christmas Jumper Day giveaway as everyone took the ‘re-use’ message to heart which was fantastic. The Christmas Disco Daily Mile was a sight to behold!
Christmas parties are going ahead but in classes rather than larger groups; this measure was already in place before warnings about the Omicron variant. Next week we will be extra vigilant with our existing safety measures including the wearing of face masks and coverings, hand sanitising and not having any face to face meetings. Further measures to reduce the risk of Omicron cases will include no indoors mixing of classes for any significant length of time and no non-essential professionals in the school. Although the news of lengthy periods of self-isolation for any households with a positive case is worrying as we approach a holiday that is traditionally spent with friends and family, we would urge families to remain calm and stay safe as they have been doing. We will get through this as a school community as always.
Please remember that our term ends for Nursery – P7 on Friday 17th December between 1155 and 1205, depending on which class your child is in.
Thank you to Mr Hamilton, Mr Woodhouse and Ms Graham (H’s mum!) for all the incredible work they have done to transform the Library (which had suffered terribly over the last 18 months) into a wonderful inviting and inspiring space, just in time for Book Week Scotland next week.
We’ll be quarantining books ready for the Big Book Giveaway on Friday next week and copies of ‘Celebration’ will be available for all adults. ‘Celebration’ is the Scottish Book Trust’s adult giveaway and features poems, essays and short stories – all true, or based true events – which have been written by people all across Scotland reflecting on the theme of celebrations as part of the SBT’s annual ‘Your Stories’ project.
Despite the disappointing news that some planned trips won’t be able to go ahead as planned next week, P6 and P7 still managed to get out and about this week and visited the Scottish Parliament and Calton Hill. Excitement was high as Sarah Boyack took a photo with P6 and P7 witnessed a marriage proposal on Calton Hill! Sadly Mr Woodhouse didn’t catch it on camera but many congratulations from everyone at Abbeyhill to the newly engaged couple.
We are now busy working out what we can and can’t do in the run up to Christmas. Multi-class parties are still off this year but individual classes can still celebrate. We can still do the Nativity, but without an indoor audience. Thank you to Ms Gordon who has miraculously turned it into a screenplay in the last 36 hours! We’re also working on a Covid-safe version of a house event so watch this space for more details.
It is Road Safety Week next week so it is a good time for an update on what’s happening at the back of the school. The school and Parent Council are engaging with councillors and road safety teams about the busy road at the back of the school. Some of the dangers are created by parents parking illegally while either dropping off or collecting their children. This can create a bottleneck which means that passing drivers get frustrated and go faster than they should when they can finally get past, which of course increases the danger. Please consider parking elsewhere and walking, scooting or cycling the last part of the journey to make a healthier and safer environment. Councillors, parking attendants and community police will all be working with us on this issue in the coming weeks and months until the situation is naturally brought under control with the extension of the city centre controlled parking zone.