Tag Archives: Chit Chat

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.

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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

Good weather for ducks!

We’ve tried to put a positive spin on the somewhat dismal weather we’ve had this week and our outdoor activities have all gone ahead including Forest Adventures in Nursery, their trip to Weehailes and Woodland Wednesday in P1. We even had outdoor break in the rain yesterday and everyone thought it was worth getting a bit wet to have some fresh air! Next term, we are going to set ourselves the target of having no indoor breaks – unless the weather is really severe. We’ll need to be organised…spare socks at the ready!

Yesterday, some P4-7s enjoyed their second week of Chit Chat Club with Russell and Jan at Meadowbank Church.They all have their own favourite elements, some love the games, others enjoy hearing and telling their own stories and the food is proving to be very popular! Next week is the last session of the term but we hope to be able to continue next session.

On Monday, Primary 7 visited The Risk Factory where they were faced with a series of scenarios designed to test their decision making and team work skills. The class have been sworn to secrecy over what is involved so as not to spoil it for future visitors but they really impressed with their common sense thinking in what could potentially be real life situations. Even in trickier situations where they may have made the wrong choice, they were able to reflect upon it and talk about what they would do differently. Primary 7 were a credit to the school and represented Abbeyhill Primary brilliantly during their visit.

On Tuesday the whole school stood on Montrose Terrace and London Road to cheer on children from other Edinburgh schools taking part in the annual Taxi Outing. This is always an exciting day for everyone and as well as watching a variety of decorated taxis drive by, we were also lucky enough to gather a huge amount of sweets which we shared between the classes (whilst discussing the place of sweets in balanced diets of course). In amongst all this, we had to dodge the water balloons and water pistols being aimed at us. It was a fantastic morning with lots of happy (and slightly wet) faces all round. We hope the children in the taxis enjoyed their trip to Archerfield!

Next week, the countdown is truly on to the end of term (28th June) as the P7s head off to their respective high schools for their 3 day visits. For some, this is when reality sets in and there is usually a mixture of excitement and sadness when they return to school. Good luck P7, we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on.

We also have Parent Council on Wednesday so if you are an Abbeyhill family member, please feel welcome to come – even if you haven’t been to a meeting or event before. The Parent Council have worked so hard this year and given us many memorable moments so I look forward to thanking them on behalf of the Abbeyhill community.

We also have P1 Garden Games, a ‘Welcome’ meeting for new P1 parents, Councillor Alison Dickie visiting AND our second staff yoga session! Check back next week to see how we’ve got on.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Hello Sunshine

What a lovely week it has been! Let’s hope that the weather defies the forecast and stays sunny for the long weekend. Please remember that the school is closed on Monday 20th May for Victoria Day and we are also closed to pupils on Thursday 23rd May as we are a polling station for the European Elections.

Over the last few weeks we’ve had lots going on as always. We’ve had staff development sessions on Mindfulness, Gender Balance and Equality, supporting learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL) as well as planning for the end of this session and the beginning of next. As a staff, we evaluate our progress in our Standards and Quality report (which will be shared on our website by the end of the term) and set targets for improvement with a plan of how to achieve those targets. Again, this will be shared on our website. Before this happens, Parent Council will be asked to cast their eye over relevant sections so if you are interested in this process or would like to contribute, please don’t miss the next Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 19th June.

Before that happens, Parent Council are busily preparing for the Summer Garden Party on 1st June and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant day! An email/letter went out earlier in the week asking for willing volunteers so please let the team know if you would like to get involved. Otherwise we will see you on the day for such fun as ‘soak the teacher’ (oh dear), BBQ, tombola, crazy hair stall, bake sale, a police van, fire engine and garden games!

In preparation for this, the Parent Council held a Playground Makeover event last weekend and would like to thank everyone who managed to come along and help. Lots was achieved including a new sand table being created, new herbs planted, benches and railings planted. They even managed to move the fence from the Wildlife Garden to the Nursery area and it looks fantastic!

PC garden tidy

This week I’ve been out of school for two very worthwhile events; an Edinburgh Primary Head Teachers’ Association meeting on Tuesday where discussions ranged from school improvement planning to strategies for working more effectively, and a Health and Safety Conference where the focus was more towards health, particarly the mental health and emotional wellbeing of staff. Looking after ourselves enables us to do our jobs well and provide help and support to others. So I feel that I was one step ahead as earlier in the week I booked a yoga teacher to come in next month to do two staff taster sessions with a view to running a regular class after the summer holidays!

Russell McLarty also came to visit us in P4-7 assembly to talk about the next block of Chit Chat club which will run as an after school club for 3 weeks in June. If  you haven’t seen the letter/email for this already, please look out for it next week as places are limited and it was a very popular club last time it ran!

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Have a lovely long weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 21st May.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher