Tag Archives: AlwaysOutdoorLearning

STEM, Art, gardening, cooking…thank goodness it’s Friday!

Our classes have been busy this week and I was lucky enough to spend a day in P7 this week and even more luckily, on a day when a trip was planned! P7 are working with staff at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on a project based around Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches which are currently displayed there and it was a pleasure to see their own sketchbooks which they have created as well as witness the time and effort they put into creating their own emblems, inspired by Leonardo.

Over the next two weeks, they will visit with P2 and help their younger buddies to make dragon masks so watch this space for some photos!

P1 have been out on the hills as usual (luckily for them the rain didn’t start until after school) and have been using natural resources to help them with their current Maths topic of time. Well done P1!

87db0d02-fe99-44a7-b66e-d42bd63bee84

P2 planted Mirabilis Jalapa perennials in their own alphabet pots which they had made. Not only will they look lovely as they grow in the classroom but they might even be able to be transplanted into our outdoor planters which will form part of our Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden which was launched on Monday! It was fantastic to get so many parents and lots of really useful suggestions for how we can get started, from landscapers to project managers and practical tips for growing with the children. I can’t wait to see it all begin to take shape and I’m confident there will be a lot of discussion about it at Parent Council next week.

4f9bcb6d-4888-4c55-b669-81671b7cb1f9

P3 have also had a busy week as they have made pancakes in the Cooking Classroom which included recipe writing, measuring and munching! (None made their way to Mrs Ketchin’s office I notice…). They even found time to design and make their own wooden boats before testing them in the water tray and YES they all floated!

IMG_2687

P5, 6 & 7 had a visit from Generation Science yesterday and learned all about electrical circuits.Everyone now knows what electrons, atoms and negative charges are, as well as how to build their own ammeter!

On Tuesday I was on a Child Protection course to update my qualification in this area. We discussed some hard hitting topics and examined practice from across Education, Health, Social Work and the Police. Online safety was discussed at length with advice for parents (and practitioners) to think of the internet as a place when you are trying to decide whether to let your child use a particular app, game or website. Just like the real world, the internet is a wonderful, diverse place with amazing things to see and do but also with plenty of hidden dangers that young people need to be guided to navigate and deal with. Would you let your child go to Waverley Station, speak to as many strangers as possible, swap phone numbers and get on an unknown train? This is the reality of what many apps and games encourage children to do with TikTok being one of the most toxic apps available at the moment.

Next week, our Parent Literacy course starts on Monday and the tutors plus teachers are looking forward to sharing tips and strategies that we use in school to help you help your child. We have a Parent Council meeting on Wednesday and I shall also be at a cluster Head Teachers meeting where P7 transition to high school will be a strong agenda item – not long now! Mrs Watt and I shall be holding interviews for citywide Pupil Support Assistant posts and the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be crossing their fingers that they get a reply to their letter to a local soup kitchen offering to spread kindness round the community.

And finally…

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Scotland yet but if you are concerned about anyone in your family, please do not come to school or send your child to school but seek advice from NHS 111 immediately. Do not physically go to your GP. In the meantime, the usual good hand hygiene practices and caution about seeing anyone who has travelled to an affected area will help to keep your family healthy. The Easter holidays are still 5 weeks away but it is worth checking your travel insurance in case you have trips booked to any of the affected countries which you may be advised to cancel.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

We love being part of our community!

From our new community garden to working hard with our royal neighbours, read on to find out what we’ve been up to at Abbeyhill this week! Our class newsletter went out today and it’s great to read about all the different things going on in each class. Nursery have been taking advantage of significant Early Years funding that was recently made available to each setting and lots of new STEM equipment has been arriving over the last few weeks. Plenty of it has gone into the garden so you may have already spotted it!

Speaking of gardens, yesterday I met with a playground development officer to discuss our proposed outdoor classroom and community garden. Simon Preston, our Parent Council Chair, was also there and we were pleased to hear about support that be offered in terms of building and sourcing the items we need to transform the area on the grass that has recently been revealed following the removal of the thorny bushes. If you are able to join us on Monday for the official launch of the project then Simon, Mr Woodhouse and Mr Hamilton look forward to giving a little more information on what you can expect to see before the school year draws to a close in June. P1 and P2 will both be exploring planting in the new garden as part of their projects this term although P3 is planning to go a little further afield and visit the Rainforest! Watch this space to find out what they are up to as they explore this topic.

If you have our newsletter, you’ll be able to access the official photos from P6’s Burns & Beyond project that I wrote a lot about last month and P4 and P5 have also been heavily involved in live performance this week as they were lucky enough to secure tickets to The Lion King at the Playhouse where they all had a wonderful time on Wednesday afternoon. I spent time in P5 on Thursday and enjoyed hearing them tell me about their favourite parts as well as discussing the technical elements of the production!

P7 have continued to represent Abbeyhill’s new partnership with The Palace of Holyroodhouse and visited again this week as part of a project which will see them create and bind their own sketchbook will be used as the project continues. P2 are very much looking forward to the culmination of this particular project which will see them be able to get involved and explore what the P7s have learned with them as well as doing some sketching of their own.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next week, we have our Outdoor Classroom launch and a Generation Science workshop for P5-7. I’ll be lucky enough to spend a few days with P7 so I’m looking forward to being part of the workshop as well as accompanying them to The Palace of Holyroodhouse to see their artistic skills in action!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Hitting the ground running, as always!

It’s been a short week for pupils but the staff returned from the October holidays on Monday and packed a lot of work into 2 days before normal service resumed. We completed First aid training, explored the new Dyslexia Guidelines, refreshed our knowledge of leading and managing trips near and far, attended a cluster Maths event (led in part by Miss Macdonald), recharged with some Mindfulness and had a discussion about staff wellbeing and workload. As soon as the children returned on Wednesday it was back to busy normality with Forest Adventures in the Nursery, a ‘Give Racism the Red Card’ workshop in P7, the start of an Edinburgh University Music project and the start of intense rehearsals for the choir in the run up to the festive season. I had an Abbeyhill Ambassadors meeting this morning and prepared them for a high level of duties next week…see below for everything we have got going on!

 

On Tuesday evening, a group of Abbeyhill-ers represented the school at the centenary celebrations for Save the Children. Along with Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, they paid tribute to the charity which supports children all over the world to grow, develop and become who they want to be – and has done for 100 years. We have personally benefited at Abbeyhill as Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag have delivered the StC ‘Families Connect’ programme for the last two years which has had positive feedback from all the families involved. Thank you to the parents and staff who went along on the night and supported as well.

 

If you enjoy the festive season and keep an eye on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website to see what’s coming up, you might have spotted that Abbeyhill is going to be part of Community Christmas and we’re very proud and excited to be one of only two schools in Edinburgh selected to take part. Our special night is going to be Thursday 12th December so watch out for more information as the time comes closer. Our choir will be performing and the outside of the school will be transformed with a magical light show.

I hope everyone comes back to school rested and refreshed and ready for a very busy week next week; we have Parents’ Evenings, P1 Open Day, a visit from some Panamanian teachers AND the Parent Council Halloween Parties. Not to mention the fact that most of the staff will be embarking on the October step-count challenge…there’s already a lot of competitiveness coming to the surface between the teams and it hasn’t even officially started yet! 

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

How has that happened?!

It’s the October holidays already! Thank you to each and every parent, child, member of staff and community partner who has contributed to a very packed programme at Abbeyhill since August. I look forward to more of the same when we return. We’ve got Parents’ Evening, Uniform Exchange, the Halloween discos, M&M pantomime, Children in Need Toy Sale, P7 Christmas Ceilidh, Family Film Night AND a very special festive surprise which will be revealed after the holidays. There are new clubs starting including an after school club with parents Vlad and Dimitra, as well as an Active Schools Parkour club. Oh, and we’ll fit in some learning and teaching too!

Spotlight on…P1

IMG-0389

To wrap up the term, P1 have been out on a very windy Forest Adventure today and what’s the best thing to do when it’s windy? Build up your tent and see how many you can squeeze in! Everyone came back to school with rosy cheeks and full of tales from their morning out. Well done P1!

 

Spotlight on…P5 

P5 joined in with the BBC Teach Live – health and wellbeing. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to other ideas schools have across the UK on how to promote wellbeing (many may be brought to pupil council as ideas). We took part in 4 activities with other classrooms across the country doing the same – an emotional check in, art of emotions, growth mindset and a mass mindful finger breathing exercise. It was wonderful to see the class so engaged with this, and it will be on display in the upper  primary corridor.

 

Well done everyone! Have a lovely holiday and see you for more when we resume! 

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

 

 

 

Playing in the park!

On Monday after school, the teaching staff headed to Holyrood Park with Ranger Rob from the Education Centre to learn more about this incredible natural resource that’s right on our doorsteps and how it can be used to enhance our curriculum. A lot of tourists wondered why were walking around with blindfolds on and some ‘friendly’ rivalries were established for a team based ‘Nature’s Clock’ activity and we all came home buzzing with ideas.

P1 were out today for their 3rd Forest Schools Friday and there were huge smiles on their faces when they returned a little while ago! From all the different activities that they are doing it looks as though they should have gone with the teachers on Monday and trained them up!

(Disclaimer – these photos are from last Friday but I fully expect some nice muddy ones from today’s adventure!)

This week, I visited Buckstone Primary School with the Head Teachers from Ratho and Broomhouse Primaries. We regularly meet in this group, as do all other primary HTs in the city, to discuss our own school in relation to progress against a particular ‘How Good Is Our School?’ quality indicator. This time we each presented information about ‘Raising Attainment and Achievement’ (3.2) and it was interesting to hear the different approaches that we all take and what works best in each school. We all took a few ideas from each other and agreed that, as always, it was time well spent.

Spotlight on….the Listening Spot with Russell McLarty

On Wednesdays at lunchtime over the past few weeks I have started to be a ‘Listening Spot’ in the playground. The idea is to have someone from out-with the staff – a ‘friend’ of the school – able to listen to any concerns children may want to talk about. Over the past 2 years I have been keen to help Abbeyhill Primary in different ways and certainly willing to take on this role carrying my ‘Listening Spot’ big umbrella. It takes time to build up rapport, but even over a few weeks it has been good to have some useful conversations and give a bit of encouragement. Where some youngsters may find it difficult to share things which are worrying them the ‘Listening Spot’ may help.

Did you visit…?

Last weekend it was the 14th Colony of Artists festival and as always it was an absolutely amazing celebration of the rich artistic talent that lives in the Abbeyhill area. We are so lucky to be such an integral part of the festival as we have exhibited for 13 of those 14 years and it brings so much to who we are at Abbeyhill. Profuse thanks as always to our curator-in-residence Iliyana Nedkova as without her skill, expertise and organisation we would not be able to have the experiences that we do. Thanks must also go to Vlad Hasiu who worked incredibly hard alongside Iliyana in the run up and over the weekend to produce the exhibits in the school. Thanks to all the other parents, staff and volunteers who helped or visited to show their support over the weekend. If you weren’t able to make it don’t worry, we’ll be back next year!

Next week, P7 leave us for camp at Lagganlia and they are all very excited! Bets are on as to who will have the biggest suitcase and organisation skills are being put to the test as a few have admitted that they haven’t started packing…. I’ve recommended 3 times as many socks as they think they need so let’s see who comes home with dry feet next Friday! All P7 families will be able to follow their adventures through the private Twitter account that Mr Martin and Mr Hamilton have spoken about. Have fun P7!

Meanwhile, back at Abbeyhill the Nursery start their Forest Adventures, P5 have their second attempt(!) at attending the touch rugby tournament at Murrayfield, P4-7 Mindfulness starts again (the P7s will be getting plenty of practice in Lagganlia without their phones), the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be recording new phone messages for the school phone line, a parental behaviour attitude survey will be sent out to families and I will be attending the Edinburgh Head Teacher’s Association (EPHTA) meeting with a focus on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce. We will also send out the link so that you can book your Parents’ Evening appointments for the end of the month. It’s so worthwhile to take the opportunity to discuss your child’s academic progress but if you can’t make either of the dates, please feel welcome to contact your child’s teacher to make an alternative appointment.

Phew! We’re all off for a rest over the weekend so we’re ready for another jam-packed week at Abbeyhill!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher