Tag Archives: Head Teacher’s blog

P1 Registration Week

We’ve had lots of parents registering their child for our 2019 P1 class this week as this is P1 Registration Week. Please make sure your child is registered to start school in August 2019 if they are due to turn 5 before the end of February 2020. As long as you register in time, you are guaranteed a place at your catchment school, whether that is Abbeyhill or somewhere else. At the point of registration, you can also choose to apply for an out of catchment school place if you wish to do so.

This week has also seen the launch of our brand new storytelling clubs and they’ve got off to a great start! ‘Chit Chat Clubs’ run on Mondays and Thursdays with Russell McLarty and Marie-Louise Cochrane, aka Mrs Mash the storytelling cook. I spent some time in the P1-3 session on Monday and they were making apple pancakes to go with their story. No wonder the club is proving popular! I look forward to seeing Chit Chat Club develop and culminate in a ‘story slam’ at the Colony of Artists festival next year.

Gary from The Mindful Enterprise spent time giving P5,6,7 mindfulness refresher sessions and began training P4 in the art of Mindfulness. This is the third year that we have worked with The Mindful Enterprise and children are now routinely using the techniques to help them in all types of situations; to calm nerves before a competition or test, to help them sleep and even to avoid conflict with their peers. This is a valued part of our curriculum and it is good to see another year group benefit from it.

On Monday, we announced the number of straws that we have collected over a 5 week period and it came to a staggering 2,312. We were all shocked as we hadn’t expected it to be this high a number but I had forgotten to factor lunchtime milk into my calculations back in September! We’re busy deciding what to do next but expect to see some publicity around this in the next week or so. Needless to say, now that we are in the habit of collecting our straws and using cups each day instead (which we wash up), we aren’t going to revert to our old ways.

Next week we have our Parent Council AGM, a Fischy Music concert (and the song that P4 wrote will get its premiere!), Children in Need toy sale, Parent Lunch and P4 will be cooking with Chef Stuart from Aizle – check back in and find out how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Happy Campers

We have just welcomed our P7s back from Lagganlia and there were lots of tired but happy faces as they piled off the bus! They have had a great time and it’s been fun to watch their adventures unfold on Twitter. Everyone took part in new and exciting activities and developed new practical skills as well as teamwork and resilience in the face of challenges.  Thank you to Mr Martin, Miss McCourt and Miss Chmielecka as well as all the instructors and staff at Lagganlia for delivering such an unforgettable week.

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Meanwhile, back at Abbeyhill we’ve had an exciting week too. Primary 1 had their first Woodland Wednesday where they spent the morning in Holyrood Park building slides, tents and making patterns with natural materials before coming back to school and taking part in Loose Parts Play for the afternoon. You can request to follow Mrs Lansdown and P1 on Twitter if you’re a P1 parent (or associated with the class) and keep up to date with everything that goes on through their daily tweets. Loose Parts Play was introduced last year at Abbeyhill and is popular with the whole school. P5 and P6 Play Champions help staff to put it out and away again and for two lunchtimes a week there are crates and tyres being used for all kinds of exciting things in the playground! Our new sandpits, kindly built by the Parent Council, are also very popular and this week some of the children worked together to create a sand sculpture inspired by what they could see from the playground – Arthur’s Seat. We’re so very lucky to have such a beautiful view.

Arthur's Seat.jpg

P1, 2 and 3 invited parents and families in for Shared Learning on Tuesday morning and it was lovely to see that so many families were able to make it into each class. With Parent and Family Night approaching, it will hopefully help to give families a little bit of context when discussing their child’s learning as they will be able to picture the classroom environment and learning in progress. Shared Learning events will happen regularly throughout the year.

P6 attended a basketball tournament at Drummond Community High School on Wednesday with the other cluster primaries, Broughton and Leith Walk. The tournament was part of our wider transition work to prepare children for moving up to high school by giving plenty of opportunities to spend time in a high school environment. All the P6s enjoyed the experience of working with different staff and mixing with the other children in the cluster; thank you to all the staff and pupils at each school for working so hard to organise such a good event.

Next week is our last week before the October holidays and P7 are going for breakfast and a treasure hunt at Drummond – check back next Friday to find out more!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Making a Difference

This week we have finished our block of ‘Making a Difference’ assemblies but we’re far from finished making a difference! Each class was asked to come up with ways to make a difference together and every family was asked to think of ways they could help their community. Today in assembly we all heard brilliant stories of our children helping neighbours to tidy up their gardens after Storm Ali had wreaked havoc, walking a neighbour’s dog, giving unwanted toys to another child and taking a homeless person something to eat and drink. We talked about the fact that although those things feel small, they will have meant a great deal to the people involved and it may inspire them to do soemthing to make a difference themselves.

There are some brilliant plans afoot to make a difference in classes and some that have already got started. P2 have been collecting litter in the playground and after the weather we’ve had this week they have had their work cut out collecting bits that have blown in off the street! P7 are starting a break and lunchtime play programme from Monday which will run every lunchtime and Friday morning breaks. The P7s have a rota for who is on ‘play duty’ and the games will change each day. I think they’ll have to exercise crowd control on Monday! P1 have been looking at food waste and we’re hoping that our school food waste bin will arrive any day now, swiftly followed by our packaging bin.

P4 opened our eyes to the amount of plastic that we’re using with our daily milk and, despite only 6 children in the class having milk each day, they have collected a small bucket full of straws in the 3 weeks that we’ve been focussing on Making a Difference in assembly.milk straws

After assembly, I worked out that over the school year, P1-7 use an unbelievable 16,575 straws, all made of plastic and packaged in plastic. So, with P4, we’ve made a plan that from Monday we will use re-usable drinking cups in every class and collect the straws that we would have used. Thank you to Mr Forrest who found enough cups for everyone in a cupboard! Check back in a month to see how big the pile is and what our next steps are…

Don’t forget that this weekend is the Colony of Artists festival. The school is a venue and it’s looking fantastic! Please come and visit us as well as the rest of the artists who take part, including lots of Abbeyhill children! Check back next week for some fantastic photos.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Maths Week 2018

Maths Week 2018The whole school has been buzzing with Maths activity this week as everyone took part in a house Outdoor Maths Challenge and a variety of activities in class, as well as a homework photo challenge for Scottish Maths Week. Everyone shared what they had done in assembly this morning and activities ranged from Maisie of Morningside made out of 2D shapes in P1 to a ‘build your own theme park’ budget challenge in P5. P7 had to apply their knowledge of Maths to real life situations and have discovered just how widely Maths is used in everyday situations. Mrs Flowers has assured us that she has already had some great entries for the ‘Extreme Maths’ homework photo competition and we’re all looking forward to seeing the rest next week! Maths Week continues in lots of places over the weekend so click here to find out what else you could get up to.

We’ve also had Parent Council this week and it was lovely to welcome some of our new Nursery and P1 parents. It was a packed agenda with discussion on a wide range of topics but food became a central theme (not just because we had some yummy homemade biscuits made by James and John) as we discussed our plans to have parents for lunch so they can try school lunches for themseles, the imminent arrival of our food recycling bin and full fat vs semi-skimmed milk. The next meeting is the AGM and all are very welcome.

P5 Play Champions began their training with Canongate Youth’s Play Rangers yesteday so we look forward to having more play experts in the playground! Our Loose Parts play continues to be very popular and it will be used much more at play and lunchtimes next week. P2 – P7 Pupil Council met for the first time today and received their first assignment…watch this space. We all had great fun doing a jumping photo for the display board! P1s will join us in January once they’ve fully settled into school routines.

Have a great weekend – don’t forget that it’s a bank holiday and there’s no school on Monday 17th September. School resumes as normal on Tuesday. It’ll be a busy one next week as we prepare for the Colony of Artists festival!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Meet the Teacher and Busy Bees!

We’ve all been ‘busy bees’ at Abbeyhill this week and we really enjoyed a visit from Gill Smith, one of the founders of the Colony of Artists festival and Iliyana Nedkova, Abbeyhill parent, our Curator in Residence and Colony of Artists committee member, at our assembly this morning. Gill and Iliyana presented prizes to winners and finalists of the Busy Bees art competition. Winners received a beautifully presented bundle of art materials each whilst finalists got a souvenir poster to display in their classroom.Busy Bees Look out for a trail of bees around Abbeyhill ahead of the upcoming Colony of Artists festival on 22 and 23 September!

On Tuesday afternoon, we had our annual Meet the Teacher event. We tried something slightly different this year with a small ‘marketplace’ event with a few of our community partners in the hall before a short welcome from myself and the teaching staff, followed by a chance to have a look rounmd classrooms and an informal chat between staff and parents. Feedback on the night was very positive so next year look out for more stalls and more time to speak to the partners who help to make Abbeyhill so special! A big thanks to Iliyana Nedkova (mentioned above), Simon Preston, Chair of our Parent Council, Russell McLarty, minister at Meadowbank Church and Scottish Storyteller and Gary Young from The Mindful Enterprise who came along on the evening and of course thanks to all the families who attended.

Next week it’s Scottish Maths Week and Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald have been busy preparing what looks to be a mathematically challenging but fun week of activities! Check back next week to find out how it went. It’s also Parent Council on Wednesday and I hope to see some new faces among the familiar ones!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher