Tag Archives: Abbeyhill Ambassadors

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

Irn Bru vs. Glenfinnan Viaduct

I was delighted to be back in school today and spent time with P3, who were working on models of volcanoes, and P5 who had some very impressive Scottish iconography adorning their walls. Which do you think are true Scottish icons?!

We had Parent Council on Tuesday evening and it was great to see so many new and returning faces. Although online meetings have their drawbacks, they also fit well round family life and so keeping our meetings virtual for now works well. Keep an eye on the Parent Council page for the minutes of the meeting where we discussed everything from road safety to the Library.

Thank you to all our staff and families who continue to work so hard at keeping Covid-19 at bay with our infection control measures. We have had to send a few ‘warn and inform’ letters home with information about cases in a few classes but unfortunately this is the reality that we face with restrictions lifting. Some may say it’s a price they are willing to pay but for others there is still very real and understandable anxiety around Covid-19 so please respect and support each other as we continue to work through this.

Next week we will see the welcome return of the Daily Mile as everyone from P3-P7 attempts to run or jog a mile every day. This is a 15 minute burst of physical activity a day which has been shown to improve children’s physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing. P3-7 will be encouraged to run or jog for 15 minutes, gradually building up fitness at their own pace until they can achieve their daily mile. Look out for staff wearing their trainers and joining in on Monday!

I will also be asking teachers to help their class decide on who their Abbeyhill Ambassador reps will be and we will be busy making sure our windows are beautifully decorated ready for the Colony of Artists festival next weekend. It’s come around fast!

Have a lovely weekend.

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 

Looking ahead…

It may only be August but you have to be fast when it comes to the festive season and I’m delighted to announce that we’ll welcome M&M productions to Abbeyhill to perform ‘Dick Whittington’ in two separate showings for everyone from Nursery – P7! By going a little early we’ve secured the production at just £6 per child which is a fantastic price for a professional performance. Look out for more details coming out soon.

It’s Meet the Teacher next week and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as are able to come into school to meet some of our community partners as well as have a look round classrooms and have an informal chat with teaching staff. Please remember that this is not Parent’s Evening and if you would like an private conversation with your child’s teacher, you can arrange one at a different time. Parent’s Evening is next month and more information will come out about that shortly.

On Wednesday I met with Lynn Yeneka from Education Scotland who is keen for Abbeyhill to be involved in the pilot of a new STEM award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which would see us working to achieve 5 different elements over a 3 year period. This could fit well with the work we are doing with Education Scotland and Mrs Lansdown on Gender Balance so please watch this space to find out more as the pilot unfolds.

Yesterday I met with Russell McLarty who treated us to a storytelling session in assembly on Monday before talking to P4-7 about Chit Chat Club which starts next week. Russell and I discussed plans for ‘Listening Walks’ which we hope to reveal more about and start in the next few weeks. Russell is also keen for Abbeyhill to take part in the Nativity Labyrinth event at Meadowbank Church again this year and, judging by the success of last year, I think it’s safe to say that everyone will be keen to go!

Meanwhile, it’s the Colony of Artists festival in just a few weeks and final preparations are well under way. Alice Myers was in school this week planning a photography treasure trail which looks really exciting! Please make sure you visit the festival (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September) as there is always a fantastic atmosphere which gets better and better each year!

Spotlight on…Primary 3 with Mrs Flowers

P3 have just finished ‘Silly Billy’ by Anthony Browne. In the book, billy gets rid of his bedtime worries  by telling his worry dolls and popping them under his pillow. P3 made their own ‘Worry Monsters’ to take away any bedtime worries they might have.

WM.jpg

Well done P3, I think these would sell out in moments in the playground!

Have you read….

…your Scotland 4 Kids magazine?  There are loads of great articles this month including ‘Stop fighting’ (p6) and the WOW (What’s On Where) list for Edinburgh (p14-15). I’m going to be checking out the Batch Lady website www.thebatchlady.com for batch cooking inspiration which you might find useful coupled with ‘Not a sandwich in sight lunchbox savers’ on p6. Miss Macdonald will be interested in ‘Question Time’ (p8) which talks about modern day philosophy for children, something she has done a lot of with her classes. It also helps you to deal with the perpetual ‘why?’ question!

Next week is the Families Connect coffee and information session, Meet the Teacher, Parent Council, the first meeting of the newly appointed Abbeyhill Ambassadors AND I’ll be doing Outdoor Learning with P1 while Mr Hamilton and Mr Martin are on a ‘Play for Learning’ course. Check back on Friday to see how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Mindful pretzels

Our first full week of term has certainly been full! New children have arrived each day to start Nursery, our P1s have done a week of full days, we’ve had our first assemblies of the session and our first trips are being planned. P5 are even rehearsing a play!

On Monday, we launched the concept of Abbeyhill Ambassadors which will amalgamate the roles of Pupil Council and House Captains. Our Ambassadors will be the first port of call for special responsibilities and everyone who has applied is excited at the prospect of doing even just some of the activities that Pupil Council carried out last year; they took part in Abbeyhill Decides with Simon Preston (Chair of our Parent Council), launched the 2045 climate agreement with MSPs, built a bug hotel with Graham Construction, met with Councillor Alison Dickie to talk about what makes Abbeyhill and Edinburgh a special place to be, took receipt of our Christmas bikes, inspired other schools with our campaign to ban plastic straws from the school AND did a #2minutestreetclean. Our 2019-20 Ambassadors are going to have their work cut out to top that! Successful Ambassadors will be announced in assembly on Monday so check back next week for further news.

We’ve started to use the ‘Yoga Pretzels’ resource to complement our Mindfulness programme which runs from P1-P7. Nursery have their own yoga teacher and yoga is starting to creep upwards through the school as well. The staff even had a few taster sessions at the end of last term!

Outdoor learning is being promoted more heavily this year with a focus on regular opportunities to learn outside, whether it be in our playground or slightly further afield. On Monday next week, the teaching staff are having their first development session of the year with Robert May, Holyrood Ranger where we’ll explore the vast array of experiences that can be provided at no cost just a stone’s throw from our back gate. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for some photos of the activities we’ll be trying out!

This week we even had our first (slightly) wet break outdoors with staff and children commenting that they preferred to be out in the rain and getting fresh air than being cooped up inside all day. We’re very lucky to have lots of natural shelter at Abbeyhill for the heavier downpours and we’re hoping to make it through the year without having to retreat indoors for anything less than severe weather.

See you next week with updates on everything mentioned above as well as the theme of the story from Russell McLarty at Monday’s assembly and information on a potential STEM project with Education Scotland!

 Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher