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Bligh's Lane
Nursery School

Bligh's Lane
BT48 9PJ

028 7126 7603





MAY Newsletter

Bligh’s Lane Nursery School



                                                May 2012 Newsletter


Monthly Theme                                     

The theme for this month will be Summer Gardens / Minibeasts.  The children will be learning about the parts of a flower and about common minibeasts such as ladybirds, snails, butterflies, bees etc. There will be a ‘Camping’ theme going on with barbeques (not real ones!), tents and sleeping bags. All of these activities help to extend children’s language, creativity and understanding of the world around them – plus, its great fun!                                                          



Songs and Rhymes

Little Arabella Millar                                                  5 Little Monkeys

What do you suppose?                                            Here is the Bee Hive

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary                                       5 in the Bed

I’m Taking Home a Baby Bumble Bee                       Round and Round the Garden

                                    (Don’t forget to collect your song sheet from the porch)


Early Mathematical Experiences

We will be reinforcing the ‘Rectangle’ shape this month – children generally find this shape the hardest to learn, so you can help by pointing out rectangle shapes to your child whenever you see them.  We will also continue to look at patterns in the environment and on minibeasts, as well as comparing their sizes and shapes.                                  



Reading and Writing

The children are all very interested in reading story books and many of them can be seen in the classroom reading stories to each other in their own words.  This is the best kind of practice for ‘real reading’.  Continue to read to your child at home and find time to visit the Library.  Many children are already writing their own names – this is not a necessity, as the Year One teachers prefer to teach the children the proper letter formation techniques themselves.  But we would never discourage a child who wants to write. Often adults show children how to write their names using capital letters – please do not do this – you are not helping your child, in fact it will be even harder for your child to learn to write his/her name properly. As an example, look at the difference in these two names:


BETHANY / Bethany and CHRISTOPHER / Christopher. As you can see, most of the letter shapes are completely different apart from the initial letter.



Environmental Visits

  • The children will be taken in small groups during the month to the Café in the Rath Mor Centre, where they will have some juice and a bun.  We use this opportunity to talk about all the shops and what they sell etc. in order to improve their awareness of the immediate environment. There will also be ‘Café’ Role Play in the classrooms this month



Don’t forget to look at our school website. New photographs are uploaded each term, (which is especially useful for parents who don’t get into school to collect their child very often), as is the monthly newsletter.



Sports Day!

Our annual Sports Day will be held on Friday 25th May this year, so you will receive a separate information sheet and Sponsor Form near the end of this month.  This is a very special family event, which helps to raise funds for the school.  It is essential that each child is accompanied by an adult on this day as the staff will be involved in organising the races and cannot be responsible for the safety of the children as well.  Parents also actively participate in the races – so start training now!!!!  The money raised last year is being spent on your children this year, and so the money you raise will be spent on next year’s children.  Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles are also very welcome! Sports Day will be held in the Long Tower Youth Centre (in the Derry City Football Grounds) from 10.00am – 12.00 noon approx.




Pony Riding


The Red Group have had their first two sessions so far.  They loved it.  They start inside a large arena- so its quite cold – remember to wrap up when its your childs turn!  The children will be cosy in their all-in-one coats.                                                

Blue Group Parents: your dates clash with sports day unfortunately.  This means that parents of the blue group children will have their pony riding sessions on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th May.

Sports day will be the next day- Friday.

We understand that working parents especially may find this difficult, if you have a relative that could come to the pony riding sessions that week this will be fine.


School Closures


The school will be closed on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th of May, (staff will be working on Tuesday 8th)



                       Birthdays this Month 


Grace Doherty            1st                   Eoin Lynch                 22nd

Aodhan Grant             6th                   Abigail McBay            27th

Eamon Luby               13th                 Jayden Toland           28th

Oisin Curran               21st



SPRING 2012 Newsletter










Welcome Back!  We hope you had a lovely Easter. It’s our last term!


Monthly Theme


The theme for the month of April will be ‘Spring’.   As you will know by now we continue to encourage the children to notice and describe changes in their environment – they have seen daffodils growing in their gardens at home or in green areas in the town. The children will also be doing observational paintings and drawings of Spring flowers, so if you have cherry blossoms, tulips or branches with buds on them in your garden, please bring them in for the children to see, and encourage your child to notice changes in your garden or the environment as you travel to school.



Language Development

There will be lots of discussion about farm animals, the names of their young, where young animals come from and how they change as they grow.  The children will learn about these things through stories, lotto games, factual dvds, and CD ROMs.  Why not go to the library and find some books connected to this topic to share with your child?



Language and Maths Activity Packs

Please remember to bring your child’s language or maths bag back on Monday, especially the yellow ruck sacks as they are shared between both classes – if they are not back on time a child in the other class will not get a maths game home.


Songs and Rhymes

Spring is the time when the magic comes                 Old MacDonald

Baa Baa Black Sheep                                                 Five green Bottles

I went to visit a farm one day                                    Five little Speckled frogs

Flowers grow like this                                                Cows in the Kitchen


Please make sure to take a song sheet from the porch


Environmental Science                         

Children need to ‘do’ and ‘see’ in order to understand therefore we will be planting Broad beans and Kidney beans so that the children can see the ‘roots’ growing clearly. We will also use factual books and stories to reinforce the concept of growth.  If you are doing any planting at home please let your child help – they learn so much from these activities and will be very sensible if you explain what you want them to do!


 Cress Seeds

Could each child please bring in an empty egg shell inside an egg cup before Monday23rd April, so that they can plant cress seeds.  



Cooking Activity

Mrs Gillen’s class will make their ‘Birds Nests’ this month, with Shredded Wheat; chocolate and mini eggs. This is an enjoyable way for children to learn how birds build nests for their young and the shape a nest should be, as well as the scientific concept of melting chocolate – also it’s delicious!



Book Fair   

Our Annual Book Fair will arrive on Wednesday 18th April and will be set up out in the Hall. The books will be available for one week.  We would ask that all parents buy at least one book for their child. There will be a draw at the end of the week and 5 lucky children will receive a free book!



Extended Schools

The programme starts on the 16th with Mrs Gillen’s class, the Mrs O’Doherty’s class again on the 23rd of April.



Birthdays This Month


Alan Patterson     13th April


Caitlin Hammett  28th April











FebruaryNewsletter 2012

Bligh’s Lane Nursery School



February Newsletter 


Monthly Theme    

The theme for this month is ‘Myself and My Family’.  The children will be involved in discussions about themselves, the people they love and people who help us.  We will be talking about our bodies, how they work and the importance of healthy foods and exercise.  The colour table will be PINK this month, so again please help your child to find something Pink to bring to school. 


              Songs and Rhymes  


    I have ten little fingers

    Barneys Song (I love you)

    Two little eyes

    When Goldilocks went to the house of the Bears 

    One, two buckle my shoe

    Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes 

    The Hokey Cokey                                          

    If you’re happy and you know it

    I look in the mirror

    Granny’s glasses 

    Miss Polly had a Dolly


Early Mathematical Experiences   

We will be developing awareness of the Heart shape this month and also the concept of Big, Medium and Small.  You can help to reinforce these concepts at home by for example, arranging cereal boxes or tins in order of size and then seeing if your child can do it.  There should also be lots of opportunity to point out ‘heart shapes’ in town! The development of other aspects of maths can be seen on the Monthly Planning sheet on the Parents’ Notice Board. 



Science and Technology  

The children will be experimenting with mixing colours using paint and crepe paper.  Other aspects of science will be explored during discussions about the body and functions of major organs (in simple terms!).  If you have any items for our Junk Art e.g. small empty boxes, kitchen roll (not toilet roll) holders, yoghurt tubs etc.  Please send them in to us.  Through this type of play children learn how to attach containers together using a variety of materials such as staplers, masking tape, PVA glue etc.  They also learn about the properties of materials such as cardboard, plastic, paper etc., as well as developing imagination and creativity. 





Mid-Year Reports

Mrs Gillen and Mrs O’Doherty are currently working on the children’s Mid-Year Reports. The teachers will try to arrange for some of these meetings to be first thing in the morning (8.45am) or from 1.15pm onwards as soon as reports are ready. The teachers will let you know the dates and you can choose your preferred date and time.



Ambulance and Paramedics Visit

Paramedics from the ambulance service will bring a special ambulance to the school this month. They bring their stretcher and medical equipment into the classrooms, and talk to the children about what happens after an accident. They let them see (and ‘try on’) some of their equipment! Afterwards, the children go outside to see the inside of the ambulance. We are very lucky to be able to arrange these visits, as the Paramedics do this for us on their days off.



Dental Hygienist Visit

We hope to arrange a visit from “Jennifer” our dental hygienist and/or to visit her in her dental surgery. The purpose of such visits is to allay any fears the children may have about going to the dentist as well as to learn about the importance of dental hygiene.  The children will not have their teeth examined.


Focusing on Language and Maths

The staff have been working especially hard this year with promoting language and maths in the school. During our last parent/teacher meetings lots of parents have been asking how they can help their child, so we have provided special language ‘activity packs’ which will go inside each child’s Library Bag and also maths ‘rucksacks’. These packs and rucksacks aim to give you some ideas of how you can help to boost your child’s language and mathematical development at home. A little time spent helping your child with language or maths each week will help him/her to be ready for the demands of Primary school.  You will also find a ‘Parents’ Comments’ book in your child’s folder – please use this to let us know how your child responded to the activity once a week.




School Photographer

The school photographer will visit on Tuesday 14th February.  Every child will have 3 different ‘poses’ taken as well as being part of a class group photograph. You will receive a small sample of each of the poses and examples of the various sizes available, and you can then decide if you want to buy any of them. Photographs will be taken during class times and your child’s teacher will give you more information nearer the time. There will be no water, paint, dough or anything messy available because of this – so ‘good’ clothes can be worn!   You may also bring other members of the family if you wish – photographs of family members will be taken as soon as the photographer is set up, usually from 8.45am.


Visit to McDonalds

The children will visit McDonald’s, Strand Road, for their dinner on Monday 13th February.  The ‘School Meals Kitchen’ that provides our dinner is closed all that week, so the staff will prepare lunch for the children on Tuesday 14th February.  The school is closed for the remainder of the week, so NO DINNER MONEY is required for Monday or Tuesday.


Banyan Theatre

Karen will return with another story for the children on Tuesday 21st February 2012.




Compost Bins

Don’t forget to keep sending in skins from fruit and vegetables, egg shells, newspapers, sellotape, sawdust, etc. for the compost bins.



Mid-Term Break 

The school will be closed on Wednesday 15th (Staff Training Day), Thursday 16th and Friday 17th February.



Birthdays this Month  


 Halle Boyle     3rd February

 Shane McKinney     6th February


Christmas Newsletter

Christmas Newsletter 2011  


The Theme for this month is Christmas.  There will be a Christmas table in each classroom, so please help your child to bring something ‘Christmas’ related into school. Talk to your child about the Nativity story and help them to learn the songs that you know – especially the first verse of Away in a Manger, as it is very difficult for young children.


Nativity Songs                          Christmas Songs

Here we go up to Bethelem                               Jingle Bells

I was there on the night when Jesus came          When Santa got stuck up the Chimney

Away in a manger                                            Santa Claus is coming to town

Follow the Star                                                 Five Little Reindeers

 (Don’t forget to take a copy of the Christmas Songs from the Porch)


The children perform a very simple Nativity Play each year.  Class performances will be on the following 


THURSDAY 15th December   9.30 am           Mrs Gillen’s Class 

FRIDAY 16th  DECEMBER       9.30 am           Mrs O’Doherty’s Class 

The Children will get opportunities to try out the different Nativity parts during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and we need parents to understand that every part in the play is important because every child is important.  A few children will have a few words to say and it is important to remember that some children are comfortable talking in front of others and some are not – we do not want to upset any child so each child must be happy with their own part. We hold the play early in the morning before the children become tired and it usually lasts about 15 or 20 minutes at most. 

Parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles etc. are very welcome to attend, but we do ask that other children

are not brought to the Nativity plays as this has proved to be very distracting for our small children in the past.  It is essential that the children are at school every day now unless they are very sick, as we will be learning the Nativity songs and talking about the play.  Cameras are allowed since all parents have signed their consent for photographs/videos to be taken of the Nativity Plays. 

On the morning of your child’s Play please dress your child as below:

             Girls should wear white vests, pants and tights (or socks)

             Boys should wear any type of dark-coloured top and bottoms 

We have all the costumes required for each child. 


This is a lady who has visited the school before Halloween. She uses puppets to tell a familiar story and it is all done through mime and music. The children love it. She will be here on Thursday 8th December and the story is ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’. 


The Primary One children and their teachers from St John’s Primary School will be invited to attend the dress rehearsals of the Nativity Plays. It will be lovely for us to see last year’s children again and it will be good for our children to have an ‘audience’ before the ‘big day’!

Santa Claus will visit the school on Wednesday 21st December during class times and each child will receive a gift.   Both classes sit together in the hall for Santa’s visit and the children go up to see him one by one (If you think your child will be afraid of Santa, let us know so that we can seat him/her further away – if a child doesn’t want to go up to Santa, he hands the child his/her present from a safe distance!). We will take a photograph of every child with Santa. This is the last day of school before Christmas, we will have our Christmas party before Santa arrives, and all the children should be collected at 12.00 Noon.  There will be no dinners that day, so parents who pay for meals should only bring TWO days dinner money that week.


The children will have ‘Christmas Dinner’ in school with all the trimmings on Friday 9th December.


During the Christmas season we help the children to understand the importance of giving rather than receiving.  There has been a tradition in the school each year that the parents bring items of groceries, toiletries, small toys, books etc. to donate to needy families on behalf of the families in the school.  Parents have been very generous in the past and we know that this year will be no exception.  Bring what you can into school as soon as you can and before Friday 16th December (items can be left in the porch or given to your child’s teacher). We will take what has been collected to St Mary’s Chapel on Monday 19th December.  The staff will walk up to the Chapel with the children. A priest from the parish and a representative from the St Vincent De Paul Society welcome the children, each child then leaves a small ‘gift’ (i.e. something that you have brought in) in front of the crib and we all sing our Nativity songs.  Parents / grandparents are welcome to attend this little ceremony, which will begin at 1.00pm, and then all children should be collected from the Chapel at 1.30pm.

The staff would like to thank parents in advance for their generosity on behalf of the St Vincent de Paul Society, who will ensure that your donations are distributed to those in need this Christmas. 


Every Christmas the parents in this school bring presents for the staff – and of course this is very much appreciated. There are now 6 permanent members of staff (in addition to students) in the school and we feel that it is too much to expect parents to buy presents for staff.  You all have your own family to buy for and perhaps older children who want to buy presents for their teachers.  We would be delighted if every child brought the staff a Christmas card – this would mean a lot.  Thank you. 


We have had a very positive response with regard to this programme from children and parents. Remember when the children start to participate, they may find that the longer day and new adults too much to cope with. Children can re-join the programme at any time. The Extended Schools programme will not run on the week of 19th December, as it will be a very busy week.

You will receive a new Extended Day Timetable after Christmas and remember, there will always be a poster on the door on the way out of the school that will tell you which class stays for Extended Schools each week. 


The school will be closed to the children from Thursday 22nd December until Wednesday 4th January. Children should return to school on Thursday 5th January 2012.

The staff would like to wish all the families in our school a very Merry Christmas! 


If you have (or know of) a child due to start Nursery in September 2012 i.e. 3 years old on or before 2nd July, please inform a member of staff or telephone 71267603. Parents should also contact their preferred Primary School in order to obtain an application form for Primary One – forms are being sent out from 30th November 2011.


This programme started on the 21st November when the children went up to Bishop’s Park to plant daffodil bulbs with ‘Gareth The Gardener’.  Gareth will visit the school every 2 weeks to work with the children in planting fruit, fruit trees, flowers and vegetables.


If you are clearing out your hot press and find some OLD towels, could you please send them in to us.  We always use lots of towels to dry off the outdoor apparatus in wet weather.


We are taking the children for a ride on the Road Train (Based at the Tourist Information Centre) to see the Christmas lights and decorations in the town. 

Mrs Gillen’s class will go on                           Monday 12th December

Mrs O’Doherty’s class will go on                   Tuesday 13th December 


    Ellie McGahey             19th

    Rhaya McGahey        19th

    Robyn Wilson              27th

    Ava O’Kane                28th








                                MRS O’DOHERTY’S CLASS:   TUESDAY 13th  









(Children to be collected by 12.00 Noon)


Halloween Newsletter

Halloween Newsletter

Monthly Theme

The theme for the rest of the month of October is ‘Halloween’ – beginning Wednesday 12th October.  We will have a Halloween Table in each classroom, so please help your child to bring something Halloween related in from home.  (All items will be returned at the end of the month)

Please note – There will be a lot of art activities using black paint this month, and the dough and water will also be black – so please be aware of this when choosing your child’s clothes for school. Black paint will stain clothes and although aprons are always provided, accidents can happen.

Songs and Rhymes

Halloween is Coming                                      Five Currant Buns

The Witches of Halloween                              The Wheels on the Bus

I am A Pumpkin                                               1,2,3 Little Witches

Pumpkin Song                                                 More Nursery Rhymes

 (Remember, words to the above songs and rhymes are available in the porch) 

Dinner Routine

The majority of the children are coping well with the dinner routine and are willing to try food that they may not have had before. You can help by ensuring that your child sits at the table at home at meal times and uses his/her special knife and fork. They are not expected to be able to cut food, but they can learn with our help. You have all been given a menu, which rotates over 4 weeks.  Two children help the staff to serve out the dinner each day – these are the ‘Helpers’ – a very important and sought-after job! The names of the Helpers will be displayed on the classroom windows so that you will know when it is your child’s turn.  Please point your child’s name out in the morning – this is another way that children learn to recognise their own names and the names of their friends.

Language Development

The Halloween Theme will provide an opportunity for the staff to extend the children’s language – for example, the Water Tray becomes ‘a witch’s cauldron’ and we talk about all the types of creatures that a witch would put into it.  This is all done in a fun way so that children will not be frightened.  Some of the Key words that the children will be learning are: Witch; wizard; cauldron; spooky; pumpkin; skeleton; ghost; bat; spider; web; cloak; fireworks; black cat; broomstick; spell; crescent moon and abracadabra!  The staff paint some of the windows with Halloween pictures to reinforce the new vocabulary – take time to talk about these paintings with your child.  Some of stories that we will be reading will be about ‘Meg’ (the witch) and ‘Mog’ (her cat).  


Many parents are sending their children to school with ‘hooded tops’ instead of proper coats! Every child needs a coat with a hood in school each day. We go outside every day, but we cannot take children out who are not dressed properly for outdoor play. 

Puppet Show

A lady called Karen will visit the school on Tuesday 25th October to present a puppet show called ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’. Karen comes to us a few times every year and her shows are always very good. 

Halloween Party

There will be a Fancy Dress Party for each class on Thursday 27th October.  Usual Class times will apply. All the children should come to school in fancy dress and the staff will dress up too.  Some children don’t like dressing up – if this happens you should bring the child’s costume with you – when they see everyone else dressed up they might put the costume on. 

Parent / Teacher Meetings

There will be two opportunities for you to meet with your child’s teacher this year – October and February. You will also receive a report in June before your child’s transition to Primary school.  The October meeting will inform you of how your child is settling in and will give you an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have.  We aim to see every parent before Halloween.  Mrs O’Doherty will arrange times with parents for Tuesday 18th October and Mrs Gillen will arrange times with parents for Wednesday 19th October.  (Please remember that you can arrange to talk to your child’s teacher at any time during the year should the need arise). 

Principals’ Meetings

Mrs Gillen may have to attend various meetings during the year, but there will be a teacher employed to cover for her.  The children will always be told when this will happen. 

Halloween Holidays

The school will be closed for a week this year from Friday 28th October (a Staff Development Day) and will re-open on Monday 7th November

Hall Displays

There will be photographs displayed in the hall during the year, which attempt to show what, and how, the children are learning during their time in the nursery. Please take time to look at the photographs and read the captions on the display board between the two classrooms. All the photographs will be on the school website (since all parents have consented to this) for the rest of the family to see. You will also find other important information related to the school, and links to educational websites for yourself and your child.   

Extended School

The Extended school programme will start on Monday 14th November. Mrs Gillen and Mrs O’Doherty will explain how this will work to all parents at the parent/teacher meetings. This programme has been running successfully in the school for quite a few years now. Parents must remember that it may not suit all children to stay longer in school. The most important thing is that the children are happy from 9.00am - 1.30pm, and parents should accept the advice of the class teacher on this issue. 

October Birthdays

Birthday photographs will be displayed in the hall and the photo given to the child’s parents at the end of each month.


Chloe McGinley   


Ciarán Ryan-Daly