Welcome back again! Everyone seemed to settle in beautifully yesterday, well done to you all for having the children so ready for school.
Junior Infant News:
A few Junior Infant parents were inadvertently left out of my email one week ago. I have now added you all (I hope!) to the general mailing list. Just to clarify for those of you who didn’t get that email, pick-up time today, tomorrow and Friday is at 12:20 pm, and from next Monday, and for the rest of the year, it will be at 1:20 pm. Sorry about any confusion!
From tomorrow, encourage your child to make their own way down the corridor and see how they get on.
All Parents: Garda Vetting: Many of you kindly completed garda vetting forms last June and a number of you are now garda vetted. I will be giving a copy of the “Vetting Disclosure” (like the old “Vetting Certificate”) to each of those parents. Some disclosures haven’t come back yet, but I’m sure they’re in the pipeline.
There are a few parents I will be contacting individually whose forms were returned due to not being completely filled out – don’t worry if that’s you, as you weren’t the only ones to make mistakes!
I will send home garda vetting application forms tomorrow. We are asking as many as possible of you to apply for this, as it is now essential if you undertake any voluntary work in the school. The form is very simple, although there is a tiny box you have to tick which a few people didn’t see – watch out for it! When you send it back to me, it must be accompanied by (a) a copy of your photo ID (passport or driving license, for example) and (b) a copy of a proof of address, e.g. a utility bill. I know all this is a bit of a nuisance, but it is really vital that we get as many parents vetted as possible. After-school activities cannot be run without parent supervision, and parents cannot supervise unless they are garda vetted! So please, please don’t just leave it to others, and thanks so much to those of you who have already applied.
Learning Support / Resource teachers run a great programme called “Smart Moves” in the school. Originally developed to help children with dyspraxia and other special educational needs, it is very helpful for developing gross motor skills and co-ordination in all children. Every child will be given an opportunity to participate this year – some for just a few weeks, others (who need it more) for a longer period. It’s usually a 20-minute session once a week. Let me know if you have any queries or concerns in relation to this.
Fees and contributions:
On Friday each family will receive a letter detailing the book rental fee, field trip fee, and other suggested contributions. Please do bear in mind that some of these are voluntary and that if you are in difficult circumstances, even the book rental fee can be reduced. Do let me know if you need help. Also let me know if you think there is an error in your total. Many families now pay by direct debit or by standing order, and each family will receive a form to give to the bank – ignore this if you would prefer to pay directly.
The teaching staff have been trialling some new approaches to homework, as most of you will have gathered. We will be surveying parents and also consulting the children in the near future about this at some stage in this term. For the moment there will continue to be a mix of traditional “practice” type homework and the “project menu” approach. At a minimum, try to hear your child read every day, or at infant level, read to your child. (Much to be gained from reading to your older child too!) It’s the single most valuable thing you can do to help children progress in literacy.
And once orchestra starts (Thursday, September 8th) do make sure your child practises his / her instrument for at least five minutes per day. (1st to 6th Class only, parents of Infants don’t worry!)
5th and 6th Classes will be taking part in the National Children’s Choir this year. For those of you who remember the last time, the songs are a lot more child-friendly this year – with a few challenges thrown in! – and I think the children will really enjoy it. The idea is that they learn the songs and then rehearse and perform them with children from other schools, in a big concert with an orchestra next April. It’s completely non-competitive and all children take part regardless of whether they think they can sing or not!! More details later in the term.
Have a great September, everyone!
St. Catherine’s National School, Donore Avenue, Dublin 8