Tag Archives: Christmas

On the1,000th day of Christmas…

…that’s how it’s starting to feel! The term has raced past and we still have a lot to fit in before we finish on Friday. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported one (or all!) of our Christmas events so far; we’ve already been treated to a wonderful Nativity and last week we had the magical P7 Christmas ceilidh which was enjoyed by everyone as always. Everyone made such an effort and looked incredibly smart in kilts and dresses before doing Mr Chetwynd proud with their ceilidh dancing after all his training in PE. We missed Mr Hamilton but all his efforts to work with the P7s while they designed invitations, placemats and table decorations helped to create a truly wonderful evening.

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On Thursday, we took part in Underbelly’s Community Christmas and were wowed by a fantastic light show which was projected onto the side of the infant building whilst our very own choir sang. Mrs Flowers and Ms Howson ran a hot chocolate stand and we were pleased to raise £100 in school funds so thank you everyone who came along to support and enjoy the festivities. We’ve already signed up to take part next year!

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This week is full of parties and festive singalongs in assembly before we break up on Friday for the Christmas holidays. Thank you to each and every one of you who have supported Abbeyhill in some way over the last term and I look forward to seeing what 2020 bring for us!

(Christmas) lights, camera, action!

December has started in style at Abbeyhill with two festive events to kick the celebrations off! Our choir were honoured to be asked to go to Waverley Station and provide the musical accompaniment to the Christmas lights being switched on and by all accounts they excelled themselves. Thank you to Miss Macdonald who has worked incredibly hard with them to prepare their repertoire!

Well done to our P1s who gave a fantastic performance of their Nativity, ‘Whoops-a-Daisy Angel’ at Meadowbank Church on Friday. It was lovely to see all the friends and families who came to support so thank you if you were there. Thank you to Mr Hamilton who worked incredibly hard to prepare it with them, ably assisted by Mr Laidlaw and Mrs Pender who worked her usual magic with costumes, props and general Nativity know-how! Mr Woodhouse and P2 provided excellent percussion and P2 and P3 supported as a joint choir. Thank you also to Mrs Flowers for preparing the P3s to be such brilliant narrators! Parent Council were also there selling the 2020 Abbeyhill Fundraising Calendar. Have you got yours yet?

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As we enter our second last week of term, we’re thinking of everything we have to celebrate; parties, festive feasts, family and friends. However, we’re also thinking of those less fortunate and continuing our assembly theme of kindness. Yesterday, we focussed on random acts of kindness and were inspired by ideas from around the world that we could adapt for our community. So, look out for Abbeyhill-ers offering to let you go first in the queue in the supermarket, positive messages in chalk on the pavement, litter being collected just ‘because’. Our Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be choosing some random acts to carry out as a group once school resumes in January and I look forward to supporting them!

Still to come, we have our P7 Christmas Ceilidh, the Community Christmas event (which is open to the public), Family Film Night and lots of Christmas parties. P7 will also be reporting the latest news from Sky in Livingston this week which everyone is looking forward to watching back at school!

Please remember that school breaks up for Christmas on Friday 20th December 2019 and resumes for pupils on Thursday 9th January 2020.

Festive wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Let the festivities begin (almost)!

It’s been a busy week in school with more merriment just around the corner as December kicks off next week! We’ve got the P1 Nativity, Christmas parties, Family Film Night, Community Christmas and the P7 Christmas Ceilidh all coming up over the next few weeks and I hope those of you who are part of the Abbeyhill school community will join us for what you can. Our choir is even getting the chance to perform live at Waverley Station as part of their Christmas lights switch on ceremony and I’m very much looking forward to going with them and Miss Macdonald.

I’ve spent time in the playground as well as in class with P3 and P6 this week and am looking forward to visiting P2 next week. I’ve also had the chance to teach P7 and P5 so it’s been a lovely week with lots of opportunities to speak to the children of Abbeyhill who help to make this such a lovely school to be a part of. I have also been compiling our class newsletter which will be sent home on Monday and it’s fantastic to read about just how much is going on in school that despite being in and out of classes all week I still didn’t know about!

On Tuesday I attended the funeral of a former colleague who had passed away unexpectedly very shortly after retiring earlier this year. He had devoted his working (and personal) life to enhancing the educational experiences of the young people he worked and volunteered with as well as raising a devoted family. Hearing friends, family and colleagues talk about him with such passion was an inspiration. It made me reflect on the reasons why we all do this hugely enjoyable but sometimes challenging job and be thankful for all the dedicated colleagues, professional partners and parents who support our children to be the very best that they can be every day.

Also on Tuesday, I attended the North East Locality Group which was a group of Parent Council representatives from this area. It was interesting to hear about the work being done at other schools and useful for parents to be able to compare experiences and make meaningful contributions; in this instance on the Edinburgh Children’s Partnership Children’s Services Plan (a very long title!). I fully expect that this will make it onto the agenda of our next Parent Council meeting at Abbeyhill!

Next week, please look out for our Class Newsletter and a festive edition of the Save the Date list which I know parents find helpful. I will also be attending a full day Respect for All  course (the Scottish Government’s refreshed anti-bullying guidance), visiting Ratho Primary as part of our Leading Learning Partnership and interviewing for Early Years Assistants posts, as well as watching the choir wow the crowds at Waverley and spending time in classes. There’s no slowing down for the holidays yet!

Have a lovely weekend,

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.

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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 

Nothing short of a triumph!

…is surely what the professional reviews will say of our Nativity this morning! Well done to Mrs Lansdown and the P1s as well as all the other staff and children who worked so hard to make it such a successful performance. The P2s were fantastic narrators and angels with P3 doing a beautiful job as choir. Thank you to Russell McLarty and his team at Meadowbank Church for being such brilliant hosts; it was fantastic to have the show up on the big screens so no-one at the back missed a moment!

Monday saw the first proper Christmas event at Abbeyhill with our P7s enjoying a brilliant ceilidh. Thank you to Mrs Souness for teaching them the dances as well as Mr Martin for working so hard with the P7s to make invitations, decorate the classroom, prepare food (in our new Cooking Classroom!) and make sure that everyone had a great time. It’s always a lovely way to kick-start the Christmas celebrations and is such a special event for the P7s.

Monday was also the day that Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Serrag held a coffee afternoon to introduce ‘Families Connect‘ to Nursery and P1 parents. This is a programme run by Save the Children and is all about increasing parents’ skills and confidence to support their child’s learning, whilst having fun together! Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Serrag were delighted to get a really good turnout and will be starting the programme when we return in January.

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On Wednesday, we had our Christmas lunch and Ms McCourt absolutely outdid herself this year; the dinner hall was decorated with tinsel, tealights (battery operated of course), tablecloths and festive napkins. Lots of staff came down to enjoy lunch with the children – the lure of an early turkey dinner was too good to refuse! Thank you to Ms McCourt for making it such a special occasion; the reaction from the P1s made it all worthwhile!

Yesterday, not only was it the Nursery Christmas party, with a very special visitor in red of course, but we also had a very exciting delivery from Network Rail who work with partners Story Contracting and Hibernian Community Foundation to spread ‘Edinburgh Cheer’ which you can read more about here. This year, they decided to present us with 17 reconditioned bikes that have been restored by Network Rail employee Simon Lloyd. We’re holding a free raffle next week so check back to see who won a Christmas bike to take home!

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Finally, as I said at the church, it’s Mrs Lansdown’s first and last Christmas at Abbeyhill as she will be leaving us next term to take up a very exciting opportunity with Education Scotland. Mrs Lansdown has brought so much to us in such a short time and we will be very sad to see her go, although we do of course wish her the very best of luck. And who knows, she doesn’t live far away so maybe we’ll be able to persuade her to come and visit us?! All we can say is, good luck topping that Nativity to next year’s P1 teacher …!