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Amber Flag Celebration at Cloonakilla NS

On Thursday 23rd of June we had a celebration to raise our Amber Flag.

The Amber Flag Committee was made up of pupils from 4th, 5th and 6th classes along with Mrs. Cronolly. Chairperson and Vice chairperson were Grace Meares and Emma Byrne from 6th class.

Secretaries were Isabelle O’Toole and Margarita Zubkova from 6th class. The Treasurers were Ruth Byrne and Mya O’Toole from 5th class. Evan Mimnagh Reilly and Oisin Cooney from 5th class were PROs. Jack Sherlock from 4th class was our poster designer and he designed all of the posters you saw around the school this year advertising the various Amber Flag events.

As an inclusive school, we want everybody to feel able to talk about anything that is bothering them, openly and without any judgement. The Amber Flag programme is all about promoting positive mental health strategies and allowing children to feel comfortable and happy or if they are not feeling happy, knowing that it’s ok to talk to somebody they trust.

There are lots of things already going on in Cloonakilla School to promote mental health strategies, like the Stay Safe programme, Yoga, Mindfulness, our gorgeous Sensory Room, Sensory Garden and Outdoor Classroom created by Mrs McCabe and Gerry, and all of the great things you do in your classrooms. The Amber Flag just supplements all of these.

The Amber Flag is all about promoting positive mental health here at Cloonakilla National School.

Some things that the Amber Flag Committee have organised this year to promote mental health are:

  1. We held our annual Christmas Joke Day with jokes every hour to put a smile on everyone’s faces during the week before Christmas.
  2. We held a big Christmas Quiz for the whole school on Zoom
  • We held Wellbeing Wednesdays during Lent where we had guided meditations every Wednesday morning on the intercom led by a member of the Amber Flag Committee.
  • In April we held our Easter Raffle where we sold tickets to raise money for Wellbeing Spaces in classrooms.

This raffle raised €1527.45 towards wellbeing spaces. Lots of local businesses donated amazing prizes towards this great cause. We now have Wellbeing Spaces in 3 classrooms upstairs, and there will be more to follow. We are waiting on the orders to arrive.

  • In May, we held our annual ‘Change Your Perspective’ photography competition. We had lots of creative entries and we put them together in a video which all class teachers showed to their classes. The winners were Tom Lynham from Ms. Donnelly’s 1st class in 3rd place, Nicole Daly from Ms Finnegan’s 3rd with her brother Josh from Mr Connolly’s 4th class came 2nd.  The overall winners were Evelyn Alves Passes and Beth Buckley from 5th class.

We asked our wonderful caretaker Gerry Doyle to raise this year’s Amber Flag, which will fly high for the next 2 years outside Cloonakilla National School.

Term 3

Senior Infants had a great time working on their Aistear themes of The Zoo and The Restaurant. They enjoyed the role play area where they were very busy chefs, waiters etc.  

In Art, the children painted beautiful cherry blossom trees.  They listened to the story ‘Handa’s Surprise’ and drew lovely baskets of fruit for Handa. They created colourful stained glass windows to honour Mary in the month of May. We talked about the importance of staying safe on the roads and learned the ‘Safe Cross Code.’ 

We are enjoying our GAA sessions with our new coach Alan. We are learning new skills and games in his training sessions.

Term 3

The children in Junior Infants have been very busy since we came back to school after the Easter holidays. We’ve talked about the importance of staying safe on the roads and learned the ‘Safe Cross Code.’ 

Our exciting theme this month for Aistear is ‘The Pizzeria.’ We’ve been very busy feeding all of our hungry customers in role play and making beautiful pictures using dried pasta in Art. We are really enjoying our weekly ‘Show and Tell.’ Children have brought in their favourite toys, teddies, medals, books and even a horse shoe which everyone thought was very cool! 

We started GAA sessions last week with our new coach Alan and cannot wait for all of the fun we will have in the forthcoming weeks.

Term 3

First Class have been busy learning about sunflowers. We discussed the life cycle of the sunflower. We planted seeds and observed them growing. We learned all about the different parts of the plant and their functions. We explored paintings based on the sunflower and created our own works of art. 

We also were learning about materials. We explored how they felt, what they looked like and what they are used for. We used a variety of materials to create some magical creatures. 

We have been learning about the history of Athlone. Working as historians, we have been comparing photos from now and long ago.

Term 3

Second class were very busy preparing for our First Holy Communion. We finally had our big day out on May 14th. We learned lots of prayers and many of our classmates read the prayers of the faithful, the readings and the communion reflection. Afterwards, we got a photo taken in the church and came back to the school to meet our friends in the hall.

As part of our SESE, we have been learning about the hedgerow and completed a Scavenger Hunt around the school yard. We have also been discussing the importance of ‘Road Safety’ around our school and had a poster competition in class.

Term 3

In 3rd class, we have been busy learning about the amazing Irish explorer, Tom Crean. We used pastel and pencils to shade in his features to create texture in the drawing. In Gaeilge, we were learning about the weather. We created thunder and lightning silhouettes using paint and sponges. 

We talked about the importance of staying safe on the roads and discussed the importance of the ‘Safe Cross Code’ 

During the month of May, we celebrate Our Lady. We set up a May altar in our classroom. We talked through a Powerpoint and coloured in a stained glass picture of Our Lady.

Term 3

In 4th class we have really enjoyed participating in STEAM. We brainstormed the possible solutions/ alternatives to fuel-powered vehicles. Next we sketched ideas and then made sustainable boats. We tested the buoyancy of the boats in the water before making any changes. 

We have been learning about Ireland in the 18th Century in History. We wrote about the Penal Laws and the life and achievements of Daniel O’Connell.

We painted beautiful summer meadows in Art. We used a range of different items to paint such as pipe cleaners, lollipop sticks and our fingers for the flowers. 

We participated in a scavenger hunt in PE as part of our outdoor and adventure strand. It was great fun!

Term 3

5th class have had a busy third term so far and it’s only May! We have taken part in sports blitzes and competitions in soccer, Gaelic and basketball. French lessons with our tutor Emeline have been ongoing each week. The children created fabulous projects about World War 1. We have also enjoyed discussing our novels ‘Out of My Mind’ and ‘Ways to be Me.’

Term 3

In sixth class we have been learning about the phases of the moon which explains why the moon seems to change shape each night. As the Moon orbits the Earth, the Sun lights up different parts of it, making it seem as if the Moon is changing shape. We also learned about the Apollo 11 moon landing. We completed some art work to accompany this topic.

Sinéad Nolan from Teleflex visited our school on a weekly basis to carry out the Energize programme in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland. We learned about a variety of science topics including chromatography, energy efficiency, how to detect Carbon Monoxide and natural gas. In our final session we studied reflection of light and built a periscope. During the science lessons we made observations, collected information and used logical thinking to solve tasks. We had the opportunity to experiment and work in teams. We had a lot of fun participating in the Energize programme.

Oral Language: Hot air balloon debate. In this activity we practised skills such as making initial speeches, giving responses to questions and addressing other people’s arguments. We all chose a character, e.g. a historical figure, a climate activist, etc. In the first round each person had to give a short persuasive speech explaining why they should not be thrown out of the sinking hot air balloon. We voted for the most convincing speech and that character advanced to the next round of the debate, and remained on board the hot air balloon.

Egg parachutes. We had to design and construct a parachute that would deliver an egg safely to the ground when dropped from an upstairs window of the school. We learned about the concept of resistance during this experiment. When designing the parachutes, our goal was to create more wind resistance to slow the descent of the egg. We had a lot of fun testing our “egg-cellent” parachutes.

Catholic Schools Week

We celebrated Catholic Schools Week from Jan 24th-28th. We began with a prayer service with Mrs O Rourke and Ms Kelly introduced the programme each morning with a thought for the day. All classes partook in various activities which focused on the Catholic ethos which permeates our school. Children were afforded an opportunity to reflect on the theme for this week which was “Living Life to the Full”. We also remembered all those close to us who have died by creating a “Tree of Remembrance”. 

2nd and 6th classes are preparing to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation so we remember them in a special way in our thoughts and prayers this year.