Tag Archives: Mindfulness

The countdown is on!

What a lovely weekend of sunshine to get us excited for the summer holidays! The rain this morning acted as a timely reminder that we still have quite a bit to do before we finish on Friday though…

Last week we were lucky to have a chance to talk about what we love about Abbeyhill and Edinburgh, as well as share ourthoughts on what is important to us. The Pupil Council met with Councillor Alison Dickie in her role as Vice-Convener of Education, Children and Families and they were all fantastic ambassadors for Abbeyhill as they described the work we have been doing on mindfulness and yoga (practical demonstration enthusiastically delivered by Jack) and the positive impact that our new behaviour approach, which centres around restorative conversations, has had across the school.

 

From Tuesday – Thursday, the school was uncharacteristally quiet as the Primary 7s were out on their 3 day visit to their new schools! This is an annual event and gives P7s across the city a taster of what life as an S1 will be like. Although we have done lots of transition events over the year and P7 have been visiting Drummond regularly since they were in P5, the reality hadn’t truly set in that they were taking the next step in their journey but I’m pleased to say that they all came back to Abbeyhill full of excitement about what’s to come.

We had our Welcome meeting for new P1 parents on Thursday and it was lovely to see and meet new families. Lots of our new P1s are in our Nursery but we also have new friends joining us which is very exciting. Meanwhile, the rest of the school did a swapped classes and classrooms so that all the teachers could take their new class to their new classroom for an hour. Mr Scott-Woodhouse and Ms Stamati joined us and lots of parents took the opportunity to come in and meet them so that they could put a face to a name. Thank you to the parents who suggested that this would be a good idea; next year we will take this a step further and make sure that there is a chance for every teacher to get the chance to meet families rather than just wave in the playground! We also have our Meet the Teacher event in September and the planning is well underway for this already.

We had our final Parent Council of the session on Wednesday which was a chance to reflect on everything that has been achieved this year, from Burns Suppers, playground makeovers and the Garden Party to supporting and organising new clubs, tidying play sheds and buying new equipment for the school and playground. Thank you to the Parent Council; we’re all excited to see what 2019-20 brings.

The week ended on a high note as 2 lucky children from every class attended the Edinburgh and Lothians School Film Competition with the film ‘We Love Abbeyhill’ which was produced by Oliver Ridgewell. A chance to go to the Filmhouse to see all the films that had been produced with and by young people across the Lothians area would have been enough of a treat in itself so imagine the excitement levels when we WON the ‘Best Group Effort’ category! Well done to Oliver who worked so hard on it, as well as to all the children and staff who took part.

This week will be incredibly busy as we prepare to say goodbye to the P7s, Miss Stephen and Mrs Macdougall. Lots of different adventures await them and we hope that they remember their time at Abbeyhill as a happy one.

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!

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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

And the winner is….the Unicorn Squad!

There was a lot of excitement in Abbeyhill this week, mainly revolving around BBC cameras, special visitors from the Scottish Government and (most exciting of all) Abbeyhill’s first ever Maths Quiz! Miss Macdonald organised and hosted this, ably assisted by Mrs Flowers, and it was a resounding success. We were delighted to see so many children and parents taking part in the quiz together. In fact, Miss Macdonald calculated that a third of our school roll from P1 to P7 attended which is fantastic. All of the teams did extremely well and showed off their amazing maths skills. We were particularly impressed with how the year groups worked together to ensure that all children in their team were given the opportunity to answer the questions at their level. A massive well done to the winning children’s team – ‘Unicorn Squad’ and the winning parent’s team – The Number Crunchers’. Maths related competitions such as ‘Guess how many Smarties in the jar’ and ‘How much does this splat ball weigh?’ got everyone’s attention and tested our estimation skills! Well done to the winning parent and child teams who were each only 2 points off a perfect score! There will definitely be another one so watch this space after the summer holidays…

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Back to those BBC cameras….. If you were watching Reporting Scotland yesterday, you might have spotted some familiar faces! On Thursday our Pupil Council were visited by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and Professor Keith Bell from the Committee on Climate Change. The children were told of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling climate change by 2045. Reporters from the BBC and STV news were also present alongside local and national press photographers.

Our Pupil Council representatives spoke very well about some of things we do in school to save our planet- recycling, switching off the lights and reducing plastic packaging in our snacks. Our guests were especially interested to find out about our single use plastic straw collection and the changes we have made during our milk time.

Several visitors commented on how polite, well-mannered and knowledgable our Pupil Council were. They did a fantastic job of representing our school and you can watch the clip which featured on BBC Scotland Lunchtime and Evening News here (from 57 seconds).

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Today, P5 rounded off the week with a Bake Sale in aid of a charity which is yet to be decided. They have discussed choosing a few and then splitting what they made between them. Everyone enjoyed visiting the classroom and choosing between some delicious looking home baking. One of Ellie’s raspberry and white chocolate muffins was very welcome with my coffee this morning!

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Please remember that Monday 6th May is a bank holiday and school is also closed to pupils on Tuesday 7th May while the staff carry out a variety of professional development activities. We’ll be reflecting on our work against the School Improvement Plan, refreshing our Mindfulness training with Gary from the Mindful Enterprise and exploring the concept of Gender Balance with Mrs Lansdown who is visiting from Education Scotland.

See you all back at school on Wednesday 8th May!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

New Year Resolutions still holding fast!

We’ve had a great start back at Abbeyhill and hope that everyone else returned to work and school feeling rested and re-charged after the holidays. Or perhaps you were glad to escape the chaos of home and went back to work for some peace and quiet!

We spent our staff in service day on the 8th January overhauling our behaviour policy, inspired by the book ‘When the Adults Change, Everything Changes’ by Paul Dix. We’ve reduced our 26 page behaviour policy to a single side of A4 and reduced our school rules to just 3: Ready, Respectful, Responsible. We’ve removed Golden Time in favour of more immediate consequences and have introduced regular mindfulness sessions into classes and restorative conversations for when things go wrong. We’re 2 weeks in and everyone is responding well to it; children are calm and understand the rules, staff are enjoying having chances to strengthen relationships by seeing an incident through from start to finish and deciding on a resolution with the child. We’re working with the Mindful Enterprise and Bright Minds Meditation to embed mindfulness throughout the school and we’re really seeing the benefit of that in the class who have been working with the Mindful Enterprise for a few years. Please have a read of our new policy below and let us know what you think.abbeyhill behaviour policy

We’ve had Generation Science in this week and they will continue to be with us for a few weeks as they perfect their performances. We’re so lucky that they choose to come to Abbeyhill every year to do their dress rehearsals which means that every class in the school gets the chance to experience science being delivered in a fun, interactive (noisy!) way that gets everyone thinking. Make sure you harness that enthusiasm and visit the Edinburgh International Science Festival when it’s on in April!

This morning we had Don from Road Safety Edinburgh in assembly to remind us all to WOW (Walk On Wednesday). He talked about the health benefits for us, as well as our environment and it was brilliant to see so many hands up when he asked how many people walked, cycled or scooted to school. We’ll have our first Walking Bus of 2019 on Tuesday morning next week (22nd January) so make sure you’re at one of our designated walking bus stops by 0830 if you want to take part! After Don left, we treated ourselves to watching the video of the staff pantomime which was a huge success when we performed it for the children in December! It was a special goodbye to ‘Cinderella’ afterwards as Mrs Lansdown leaves us today for Education Scotland. We’ll miss her but wish her the very best of luck in her new role.

Next week, don’t miss the Parent Council Burns Supper on Thursday 24th January. There are only a few tickets left and at £5 for a 3 course tea for adults/£3 for children, mini talent show and kids ceilidh they will go fast so get in quickly if you’d like to go by visiting the Abbeyhill Parent Council  website. In an ‘Abbeyhill Decides’ vote, pupils will choose how funds raised at the supper will be spent. We also have Parent Council on Wednesday 23rd January where we will be voting for new post holders so if you’d like to get involved then please feel welcome to come along!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher