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Bligh's Lane
Nursery School

Bligh's Lane
BT48 9PJ

028 7126 7603





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


Barney Song (I love you)

When Goldilocks went to the house of the Bears

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

If you're happy and you know it

Granny's glasses

Open, shut them, open, shut them

My eyes can see

I have ten little fingers

Two little eyes

One, two buckle my shoe

The Hokey Cokey

I look in the mirror

Miss Polly had a Dolly

I wiggle my fingers

Bend your body

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 arrange these meetings on a day and time that suits you as soon as reports are ready.

Ambulance and Paramedics Visit

Paramedics from the ambulance service will bring a special ambulance to the school on Tuesday 2nd February.  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 Visits

The dentist and/or oral hygienist who are based at the Gasyard, will come to our school during this month to talk to the children about the importance of looking after their teeth and healthy eating.  Each class will also then visit the Dental Surgery at the Gasyard to have fun sitting in the dentist's chair and using the equipment.  The aim of such a visit is to allay any fears which some children may have about the dentist.

Special 'Language' Focus

The staff have been working especially hard this year with promoting language in the school.  During our last parent/teacher meetings lots of parents have been asking how they can help their child, so Mrs O'Doherty has prepared some special 'activity packs' that will go inside each child's Library Bag.  These packs aim to give you some ideas of how you can help to boost your child's language development at home.  A little time spent helping your child with language each week will help him/her to be ready for the demands of Primary school.

School Photographer

The school photographer will visit on Thursday 11th 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 till 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 8.45 am.

Mid-Term Break

The school will be closed on Friday 12th (a Staff Training Day), Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th February for the Mid-Term Break.  Please remember, if you pay for your child's dinner to only bring payment for the days the school is open.

Birthdays this Month


Ava McGinley            1st





January Newsletter

Happy New Year

We hope you all had a peaceful Christmas and the staff would like to wish all the children and their parents a very Happy New Year.  Welcome back to your second term in Bligh's Lane Nursery School! Thank you for all your support to date - especially to all those who attended the Nativity plays - this meant a lot to the children.

Nursery School Applications

If you have a child (or know of a child due to start Nursery in September 2010 (i.e. 3 years old on or before 2nd July), and you have not already given in his/her name, please do so as soon as possible.  The application forms are now available.  Children DO NOT have to live in Creggan in order to apply to our school, but they DO have to be resident in the North.  The closing date for application forms this year is 20th January 2010.

Primary School Applications

Parents should now obtain an application form from their preferred Primary School for admission to Year 1 in September 2010.

Monthly Theme

The general theme for this month will be 'Winter'.  The Colour table will be White so we hope the children can find something white to bring in to school.  The Key Words that the children will be learning this month are: Igloo; Eskimo; Polar Bear; Penguin; Ice Cubes; Ice Berg; Icicle; Freeze; Melt; Frost and Snowflake.

Songs and Rhymes

The Penguin Song

Funny Little Snowman

Five Little Snowmen Fat

A Chubby Little Snowman

The Snowball

Little Jackie Jack Frost

I'm a Little Snowman

Three Little Kittens

Adorable Penguin

Here's a Little Snowman

(Remember, copies of the above songs and rhymes are available in the porch)

St Vincent de Paul

Thank you all so much for the gifts you brought for the St Vincent de Paul Appeal, you were exceptionally generous this year, and we hope you enjoyed the little ceremony at the Chapel.

Environmental Science

During this month the children will be learning about Artic Animals, icebergs, the effects of snow and frost, and about the process of melting and freezing.

Early Mathematical Development

We will focus on the 'Square Shape' this month so you should see this reflected in the children's art activities.  You can reinforce this at home by talking about/pointing out square shapes to your child.

Extended Schools Programme: Reminder

Mrs Gillen's Class will stay for their second week this week, since they didn't get two weeks before Christmas.  Mrs O'Doherty's class will stay for their next two-week block beginning Monday 11thPlease read the Poster on the Porch door each week so that you know which class is staying late, and keep the attached timetable in a safe place.

Road Safety Talk

The children will have an 'interactive' talk about road and car safety on Monday 11th.  We will be emphasising the importance of children sitting, belted in the BACK seat of cars, as well as talking about crossing the road safely.


The staff would like to extend their sympathy to Mrs Marie Doherty, Extended Schools leader, whose father died on Christmas Day.

Birthdays This Month

Caoimhe McGuinness                        2nd

Tiernan Sweeney                              8th

Eoghan Kelly                                    15th

Happy Birthday!


Christmas Newsletter

Monthly Theme

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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.

Songs and Rhymes

Nativity Songs

-  Here we go up to Bethlehem

-  I was there on the night when Jesus came

-  Away in a Manger

-  Follow the Star

Christmas Songs

-  Jingle Bells

-  When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney

-  Santa Claus is coming to town

-  5 Little Reindeers

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

Nativity Plays

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

MONDAY  14th DECEMBER        9.30 am         Mrs O'Doherty's Class

TUESDAY 15th DECEMBER        9.30 am         Mrs Gillen's Class

The Children will get the opportunity 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.

Banyan Theatre

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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 Tuesday 8th December and the story is 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'.

Special Guests

The Primary One children and their teachers from St John's Primary School will be invited to attend the dress rehersals 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'!

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Santa Claus will visit the school on Friday 18th 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 after Santa leaves, and all the children should be collected at 11.30 am.  There will be no dinners that day, so parents who pay for meals should only bring FOUR days dinner money that week.

Christmas Dinner

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The children will have 'Christmas Dinner' in school with all the trimmings on Friday 11th December.

St Vincent De Paul Society Appeal

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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 has 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 before Monday 14th 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 Wednesday 16th 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 1.00 pm, and then all children should be collected from the Chapel at 1.30 pm.

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.

Christmas Presents

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Every Christmas the parents in this school bring presents for the staff - and of course this is very much appreciated.  There are now 7 permanent members of staff 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 for their teachers.  We would be delighted if every child brought the staff a Christmas card - this would mean a lot.  Thank you.

Extended Schools Programme

We have had a very positive response with regard to this programme from children and parents.  The new Dance programme seems to be a great success!.  The Extended Schools programme will not run on the week of 14th December, as it will be a very busy week.  This means that Mrs Gillen's class will only have had one week before Christmas.  The children in her class will stay again for their second week when we return after Christmas beginning Tuesday 5th January 2010.

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.

Library Visits

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Both Classes visited the Creggan Library in November, where the children were read to by the Librarian and sang songs and rhymes.  We hope to visit the library again this month because there are special Christmas Story time sessions organised.

Christmas Holidays

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The school will be closed to the children from Monday 21st December until Monday 4th January (inclusive).  Children should return to school on Tuesday 5th January 2010.

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

Nursery and Primary Applications for September 2010

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If you have (or know of) a child due to start Nursery in September 2010 (i.e. 3 years old on or before 2nd July 2010), 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 usually sent out by schools in January

Christmas Birthdays

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Ciara Meenan                               5th December

Molly McClay                                 9th December

Amy O'Reilly                                 16th December

Nathan Hammett                         16th December

Callum McLaughlin                       23rd December

Holly Cooley                                26th December

Aliya Karatas                               30th December

Molly Burke                                 30th December

Rian McCartney                           31st December

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BANYAN THEATRE:                                               TUESDAY 8th

CHRISTMAS DINNER:                                           FRIDAY  11th



ST MARY'S CHAPEL:                                             WEDNESDAY 16th

SANTA AND CHRISTMAS PARTY:                         FRIDAY 18th


November Newsletter

Monthly Theme


The theme for this month is 'Autumn'.  Instead of a colour table we will have an 'Interest Table', which will encourage the children to look; explore; touch and talk about items from the environment.  Please let your child bring in anything that is Autumn related e.g. leaves, berries, chestnuts, bare branches etc.

Songs and Rhymes

Autumn Leaves are Falling Down

Mr Wiggle and Mr Waggle

Five Little Leaves

Days of the Week Song

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Diddle, Diddle Dumpling

Harry The Hedgehog

More Nursery Rhymes

We also begin learning songs for the Nativity Play in the middle of November

(Many parents are not taking their copies of the songs and rhymes from the table in the porch - we spend time typing and copying the rhymes every month for your child's benefit).

Observing The Environment

As our theme centres around Autumn, the children will have an opportunity to explore the grounds of the school to heighten awareness of the change of season.  They will also be learning about Owls, Hedgehogs, Squirrels and the changing shape of the Moon.  You can help us reinforce our theme by talking to your child about changes in the environment as you drive/walk to school.  For example, show your child the 'bare' trees; or the leaves falling; or the colours of the different leaves and hedges and point out the moon at night.  Let them pick up some leaves to bring to school - again talk about how the leaves are the 'same' or 'different'.  In this way you can help to teach your child about the world around him/her.

Early Mathematical Experiences

As you will have already noticed on the 'monthly planner' on the Parents' Notice Board, we will focus on leaf and circle shapes this month.  You should see this reflected in art activities that are prepared for the children.  Comparing the shapes and sizes of leaves (and counting them) and trees is also a mathematical experience.  We will also highlight 'Autumn' colours with the children, purple, brown, orange, yellow and red.

Warm Clothes

Please make sure that your child has a coat to school every day now as we go outside even if it is cold and wet as we can use the covered area of the playground.  The weather is getting much colder and if your child does not have a coat we will not be able to let him/her out - this can be very upsetting for some children.

First Environmental Visit

Our first visit will be to Claudy Country Park for an Autumn Walk.  We had intended to go during October, but it was far too wet and so we have not set a date for this visit, as the weather is so unpredictable.  But we will give you as much notice as possible.  Normal class times will apply.  The children will explore the park and then have a chance to play on the swings and slides.  A lot of preparation goes into our visits with the children.  For example, we will talk about our rules - 'stay beside your teacher and don't run on ahead'.  You can remind your child about this also.  Please ensure that your child is dressed warmly, has a coat with a hood and suitable shoes for the weather every day.

Extended School

The Extended School Programme begins on Monday 9th November with Mrs Gillen's Class.  Remember, the Extended Hours are offered three days per week, are flexible and children can be collected any time before 2.45 pm.  If you are also collecting a child from St John's Primary School, please come for your nursery child first.

Children's Photographs

The purpose of displaying children's photographs in the hall is to highlight the learning experiences that take place in the nursery, so please take time to read the accompanying captions.  It is not our intention to display a photograph of every child, every month but we do try.

Educational Toys For Young Children

Here are the most popular toys and activities in the nursery that you could consider for your child this Christmas:

1.  Books:  The children are really enjoying reading at the moment, especially the 'Traditional Tales' such as '3 Little Pigs', the '3 Billy Goats Gruff', 'Goldilocks', also 'Spot' and any type of 'Lift the Flap' books etc.  The Early Learning Centre and Easons have a lovely range of suitable books for this age group.

2.  Blocks:  Building with blocks develops many skills such as concentration; awareness of shape, space, counting, height, length and colour; creativity and imagination.  Children will never get tired of them.

3. Small World:  Farm, Zoo, Castles Space etc:  Children love these toys because they become engrossed in another world.  Children will build on existing vocabulary by learning the names of the animals, people, machinery and they will love to sort and line up the animals etc (don't buy very cheap sets as the animals and people will not stand up and your child will only become frustrated).

4.  Drawing:  Practice with pencils, pens and markers is essential for developing pre-writing skills.  We buy lots of different types of paper and note books in the 'Pound Shops' for the children to use - they love them!.  Buy markers that are the thicker type - easier for your child to hold.  Remember: Set the rules for drawing e.g. "we only use markers when we are sitting at the table" and always supervise.  Megasketchers are great for drawing and scribbling and have the bonus of stampers which reinforce shape and colour, as well as the fact that there is no risk of your child drawing where he/she shouldn't!  Argos has a good range of megasketchers.

5.  Cutting and Sticking:  You will soon see some photographs in the hall of the children learning to cut - again, an important skill.  Children love this and will spend large amounts of time at this activity.  Save all your Christmas wrapping paper and cards and let the children cut them up after Christmas.  Again, set the rules before your child starts - "Scissors are dangerous, we cut at the table, we don't walk about with scissors or touch anyone with them, we put them safely away when we are finished".  Always supervise.  We use cellulose paste in school for sticking, so you can buy that and make it up yourself.  The Early Learning Centre has children's scissors - remember they have to be sharp enough to actually cut.

6.  Dressing Up:  There are beautiful dressing up clothes in the town at the moment.  The girls are into the 'princess' type dresses and the boys love the 'work men, police men and cloaks'.  When a child dresses up they 'become'  another person and you will see a different side of their personality.  We bought lovely small handbags in Claire's Accessories for the girls and the boys would love tool boxes.

7.  Jigsaws:  This activity develops language and concentration.  At this stage the jigsaws need to be fairly simple perhaps 10-12 pieces and the picture on the jigsaw needs to be clear and un-complicated.  Children should 'lift' the pieces out of the tray - not tip them out, as the pieces are then upside down.

8.  Bicycles:  Your child will soon be at the stage when he/she is ready to try a Two Wheeler Bike.  Obviously, most of the children will still need stabilisers.  Riding a bike gives the child a great sense of achievement as well as developing coordination and balance - so important for young children.  Many parents take their children along the Back of the Quay to ride their bikes as it is safe and flat.

H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu)

There have been two confirmed cases of swine flu amongst the children in the school, many other children have been off sick and we suspect some of them could have it as well.  One member of staff has had the virus.  We are doing all we can to protect the children, but because the virus is airborne this is practically impossible.  Hygiene is always a priority in our setting but even more so now.  Staff and children are constantly washing their hands, and the children have been very good at catching their sneezes.  All the toys are sprayed lightly with Dettol Disinfectant every day when the children leave so that they are clean and safe to use the next day.  The door handles and sides of the doors are sprayed every day also.  As you know, it will be impossible for us to prevent the virus spreading in the school.  As parents you must not send your child into school if he/she presents with vomiting, headache, high temperature, general soreness, cough or diarrhoea.  Ring your GP immediately and let us know how your child is so that we can keep other parents informed.  Children who have asthma or other medical conditions are most at risk.  Parents must make their own decisions about whether or not to expose these children to potential infection.

Musical Pathways to Learning

This is a new initiative by the Board to help improve children's capacity to learn from nursery school right through primary school all over the city.  The programme started last year and a music teacher came into the school every Friday and taught the children in small groups.  That teacher has now moved on to St John's Primary School with the P1 children and the programme will continue right through to P7.  A new music teacher, Katrina, will come to our school after Halloween and the programme will start over again.

November Birthdays

Leon Kelly                                    7th

Naomi McLaughlin- Gallagher     15th

Kaysie Quigley                            21st                                               

Meisha Quigley                           22nd

Keirsha McGlynn                         23rd    




Halloween Newsletter

Monthly Theme

The theme for the rest of the month of October is 'Halloween' - beginning Monday 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

The Witches of Halloween

I am a Pumpkin

Pumpkin Song

Five Currant Buns

The Wheels on the Bus

1,2,3 Little Witches

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 mealtimes 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 of talk about these paintings with your child.  Some of the 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 Thursday 22nd 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 Friday 23rd 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 and your child's teacher will arrange a day and a time for this meeting very soon. (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 Monday 26th October and will re-open on Monday 2nd 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.

Parent Governors

Congratulations to Mrs Martina Stoddard and Mr George McGowan who have been elected as Parent Governors.

Extended School

The Extended school programme will start on Monday 9th 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 9.00 am - 1.30 pm, 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.


Grainne McGuinness                   5th

Lillian McBay                              13th