Category Archives: Latest news

European Schools Sports Day!

European Schools Sports Day!

European schools sports day took place last Friday 24th September. It was a huge success. All day long people were outside getting active. We had three challenges, plank burpees and star jumps. We brought in some scooters , footballs, mats and trampoline and helmets. We had a mini soccer blitz. While doing these three challenges we were tested but had fun too. We had so much and hope we do it next year!

Term 1 Senior Infants

Senior Infants had great fun taking part in our different Aistear activities.  For our Autumn theme they created autumn paintings and poems.  The children enjoyed creating potions and spells in our Hallowe’en Aistear. They had a great time taking part in nature walks, European Sports Day and Amber Flag celebrations.  They enjoyed our different Maths Week activities and loved our outdoor maths trails.  Well done to all pupils for using their ‘maths eyes.’ 

Our Nature Walk.

Our Nature walk was on the 6th of October. We saw nettles, dock leaves, delicious blackberries, and lots of trees and birds.

Digital Technologies.

The Senior Infants pupils are busy learning coding! The pupils are creating correctly sequenced algorithms. They are accurately entering their algorithm into a Bee-Bot and using logical reasoning to debug their algorithm or code if required. Then they share this work with an audience of their peers!

Term 1 Junior Infants

Junior Infants have been very busy since returning to school after mid-term break. In Aistear we have been learning about Neil Armstrong and his trip to the moon. We have been learning about the changes in weather in Winter and created beautiful winter wolly art. Finally, we had great fun in P.E. this term. Our tennis coach Josh has been teaching us how to play tennis.

Christmas 2021!

This October Junior Infants have had a very busy few weeks learning about the themes of autumn and Halloween. We completed lots of fun activities in Aistear and learned about how some plants and animals change in autumn. This month the children also learned about how they have grown and changed since they were a baby and we examined their baby pictures to see if there were any similarities or differences. Finally, this week we celebrated Maths week. The children had great fun going on a Maths trail, creating rockets using different shapes in Art and also creating lovely colourful patterns.

National Tree Day 7th October.

Junior Infants and Senior Infants at Cloonakilla N.S celebrated National Tree Day on Thursday 7th October. Students gathered outside with their teachers near our outdoor classroom. Gerry, our caretaker, planted a Wild Cherry Tree as we watched with excitement. Students from each class helped Gerry by watering the tree after it was planted. Our Green School Committee will check on the tree and water it weekly.   We are very excited to watch our tree grow and to see beautiful white and pale pink flowers in the spring.


Our Nature Walk.

Our Nature walk was on the 6th of October. We saw nettles, dock leaves, delicious blackberries, and lots of trees and birds.

Aistear The Doctor.

Aistear Autumn!

Digital Technologies.

Some of the Junior Infants pupils are busy learning coding! The pupils are creating correctly sequenced algorithms. They are accurately entering their algorithm into a Bee-Bot and using logical reasoning to debug their algorithm or code if required. Then they share this work with an audience of their peers!

The Junior Infants have created beautiful Arts and Crafts!

Newsletter, May 2021

Newsletter, May 2021

Dear Parents,

Please find below details of forth coming events in our school and events we took part in.

Sacrament of Confirmation

We have been informed by the Parish Office that the Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated for 6th class on Monday 16th & Tuesday 17th August.  You will be informed of exact day and time when this information is available to us.

First Holy Communion

The Sacrament of First Holy Communion has been postponed until autumn when children return to school.  2nd class pupils will however celebrate First Confession in the school on Wednesday, May 26th.

Junior Infant Enrolment Evening

Our traditional Junior Infant Evening will not go ahead again this year. Instead 1 parent will be invited to bring their child to the school for a 15 minute session in small groups week beginning June 14th.  An information video will be emailed in advance of this meeting with all relevant school information.     Parents will be informed of the exact day/time in advance.

RSE Programme

4th/5th/6th classes attended a “Growing Up” presentation by Laura Kiely on Thursday 6th May.  The talk dealt with the sensitive areas of the RSE Programme. Class teachers will have covered the relevant sections of the RSE Programme dealing with body names/changes/ growing up etc. by the end of May. Parents are always notified in advance of these classes so that you have an opportunity to address those issues at home with your child.

School Self Evaluation

Our School Improvement Plan for literacy (2018-2021) concludes this term.  This plan focussed mainly on the Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st Class), Reading Recovery Programme (Senior Infants & 1st) and Guided Reading throughout the school.  We aim to develop reading skills with particular emphasis on comprehension.  It is our experience that while often pupils can be fluent readers they do not always comprehend the content.  Standardised Tests in English and Maths will be administered week beginning May 31st and June 9th.  We will analyse our Standardised Test Results in June but will be very mindful that these results are not fully reflective of our efforts as a result of prolonged closures.  These results will be used in conjunction with teacher observations, teacher assigned tests, tasks and feedback from the SEN team to inform curriculum planning for 2021/22.

Teaching and Learning

Due to school closures we have had to prioritise certain curricular areas in order to ensure that all children could proceed with learning in a meaningful way.  Irish, English, Maths, P.E., and S.P.H.E. were the subjects we have prioritised since our return to school.  Other subject areas have been integrated where possible.  We fully acknowledge the importance of exercise, mindfulness, activities, movement breaks etc. in promoting good mental health in our students and staff.

STEAM Education

This year our two 6th classes are participating in the STEAM Engineering-in-a-Box programme via Zoom.  The lessons are delivered by two engineers from Teleflex, Katy and Cathal.  Every week they present the pupils with interesting lessons and set various challenges and tasks for the children to solve.  The programme introduces the children to the various disciplines of engineering and the engineering design process.


As part of our History Curriculum 1st and 2nd classes will visit Derryglad Museum, Brideswell this week.  Here they will have an opportunity to enjoy many artefacts from the past giving them a glimpse of what life was like long ago.  In June, all classes will engage in Geography fieldtrips through the Green Schools Outdoor Learning Initiative. 

Sport:  Sports Day

A Sports Day will be held for the following class groupings on separate days:

1. Junior & Senior Infants

2. 1st & 2nd classes

3. 3rd & 4th classes

4. 5th & 6th classes

Each class will remain within their class bubble and there will be no mixing between classes.  You will be informed of the exact dates when the weather improves.

Active Schools Week

Our school reinforces the message that children require 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. We, have just completed Active School’s Week May 10th-15th. There were activities scheduled each day. A hoop challenge, a skipathon, yoga & mindfulness, running and a penalty shootout were in this year’s line-up. All children participated with finals taking place in the afternoons for various events. To coincide with this, all pupils tracked their daily efforts.  Active style homework was assigned. This was monitored and recorded by each child to emphasise their daily activity during the week. Children who return their forms will be entered in a lucky dip for their efforts.

A special word of thanks to Emmet Mullally, Mark Hollmann, Jackie Moran, Edel Conway & Johnny Dunning who all volunteered their services to share their expertise in various sporting disciplines.

Ollie Lennon from Clann na nGael continues Gaelic training on Wednesdays with a new block beginning on May 19th. He is focussing on fundamental movement skills this term and his sessions are always most enjoyable.

The children ran a collective 3,983km to Lapland in December of 2020.

In February of this year the children of Cloonakilla NS walked/ran an astonishing 10,516km around Europe. This was as part of our “Every Step Counts” campaign whilst on lockdown. We the ASF committee, are so proud of the enthusiasm shown during initiatives. It shows what a super group of pupils we have to reach such milestones over short periods of time.

Ms Cunniffe is in the process of submitting our application for our Active Flag. A Powerpoint of our ASF endeavours will be posted later this week on our school website. Please take a look to see our journey over the last few years.

Amber Flag

The children from the Amber Flag Committee have been very busy since Christmas! The members of this year’s committee are Kyle Behan, Katelyn Dolan, Emma Byrne, Orla O’Donoghue, Adam Rafferty, Grace Meares, Isabelle O’Toole and Margarita Zubgova. 

During school closures we held our Amber Flag meetings on Zoom with Mrs Cronolly.  We met on Fridays and discussed our plans for promoting mental health and wellbeing at Cloonakilla NS and each week we finished off with a Guided Mindfulness activity.   

We held a whole-school wellbeing “Change Your Perspective” photography competition on SeeSaw. The winners were Ava Cooney (3rd Class) Conor and Holly Burke (1st & 4th classes), Davy Ward (3rd class), Mary Kate and Aoife Kinneavy (2nd & 6th classes). Well done to all who entered and congratulations to the winners. 

The Board of Management has bought us a new Buddy Bench so we now have two fabulous Buddy Benches in the junior yards. The Amber Flag Committee recorded a video to show children from Junior Infants to 2nd class how to use the Buddy Benches appropriately. We have put a poster in each junior classroom about the Buddy Benches.  

We took part in the Walk in My Shoes Awards organised by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and progressed to the final round.  

We received our Amber Flag Completion Certificate this week, along with our 3rd Amber Flag which will be raised along with the Active Flag when Covid-19 Restrictions allow for a joint celebratory event.  

Green Schools

Litter Picking has commenced three mornings a week to ensure our schools grounds are kept litter free. A big thank you to the Green Schools Committee (4th Class), for their tremendous work.

3rd, 4th and 5th classes took part in An Taisce`s National Spring Clean on the week of the 26th of April. Normally, this is a whole school event. Due to current restrictions, this year’s Spring Clean had to be limited to a small number of classes. Well done and a big thank you, to all the teachers and all the pupils who were involved.

For the remainder of the term, all classes will take part in the Green Schools Outdoor Learning Initiative. This involves Nature Trails and Nature Activities which revises our past theme; Biodiversity.

The Green Schools Outdoor Nature Initiative promotes learning about all different types of nature in our school environment in a fun and safe way. Outdoor education not only is COVID-friendly (respecting social distancing), it is also proven to be of vital importance in the promotion of health and well-being in children – both mental and physical.

6th Class Graduation

6th Class Graduation will be held in the school on Wednesday, June 23rd.  Unfortunately we are unable to invite parents to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions.  I realise that it is most regrettable. I acknowledge that they have missed out on many traditional milestones enjoyed in 6th class.  As a Special concession to our 6th class pupils a tour to Baysports has been arranged for Tuesday, June 22nd.  I would like to thank 6th class for being the best they could possibly be during the year and throughout their time in Cloonakilla NS.  

Non-Uniform Day

Non-uniform day was held on Friday, April 30th for Temple Street Children’s Hospital in memory of Laura Carroll R.I.P. Total raised was €1360.  The Carroll family really appreciate your generosity.

Book Rental Scheme

The Book Rental Scheme will continue for 3rd to 6th classes.  The Book Rental Scheme represents a saving for parents.  You have received an email outlining the scheme. If you wish to be included in the scheme please enclose money in an envelope with your child’s name clearly marked on the outside.  This should be forwarded to the class teacher by June 11th.  No late application will be accepted this year.


School photographs have been distributed and we request that you please order online as per information on the proof.  If you are not in a position to order on line, return order to the school. Late orders are subject to a late order fee and postage costs.  Closing date for all orders is Friday, 21st May.  

Outdoor classroom/ Sensory area

We have recently installed an outdoor environmentally friendly classroom which is made from recycled plastic.  It will be used as part of every child’s learning at school.  It is about getting the children outside and providing them with a

different learning experience.  Over the next few weeks we will install a flower fence beside the outdoor classroom as part of our efforts to build a sensory garden area.  Continuing on our biodiversity theme, our wild flower garden area

has been planted and we hope to see some flowers in bloom attracting bees and insects before our summer holidays.

We have already installed an indoor sensory path upstairs.  It will be used for movement breaks.  The path provides time for children to engage with their senses in a focused way and it has been proven to improve learning, memory and concentration, while helping children to manage stress, hyperactivity and anxiety.


We are all only too well aware of the impact Covid-19 restrictions have had on our lives.  We hope there are brighter days ahead.  For now we will continue to implement and observe our Covid-19 response plan.  It is very important for us all to remain vigilant as the virus is still very transmissible in our communities.  On behalf of the Board of Management I would like to express my thanks to our entire school community for your adherence to our plan.  Through your efforts we managed to stay safe so far so please keep up the good work.


Mary O’Rourke, Principal

The Amber Flag Easter News!

The children from the Amber Flag Committee have been very busy this term!

  • During school closures we held our Amber Flag meetings on Zoom with Mrs Cronolly…we met on Fridays and discussed our plans for promoting mental health and wellbeing at Cloonakilla NS and each week we finished off with a Guided Mindfulness activity.  
  • We have been planning for whole-school wellbeing “Change Your Perspective” photography competition for senior classes. This has been sent out on SeeSaw and the closing date for entries is Friday the 16th of April. 
  • The Board of Management has bought us a new Buddy Bench, so we now have two fabulous Buddy Benches in the junior yards. The Amber Flag Committee recorded a video to show children from Junior Infants to 2nd class how to use the Buddy Benches appropriately. 
  • We have put a poster  in each junior classroom about the Buddy Benches 
  • We finished our application  and sent to it to Pieta for new Amber Flag award.
    Stay positive!
    The Amber Flag Committee 2020/2021

Active Schools February Challenge.

Dear Parents,

 For the month of February, as part of our Active schools campaign we are going to take part in a February challenge called “Every Step Counts”. The main aim for the month is to get active. The first thing you need to do is print off the record sheet attached so that you can record the amount of steps you do each day. If you cannot record the exact number of steps that is fine just colour in the foot once you have completed your walk/run. If you miss a day then leave the foot blank. On Mondays, I will ask you to take a photo of your weekly steps & upload it to Seesaw. At the end of the month the steps from all the children & staff will be added up and the aim is that we will have walked enough kilometres to have reached a country in Europe. There is also an app called “Irish Life-My Life” which allows you to get steps for your local club-Clann na nGael. The club have already registered so if you would like to participate just log on to the app & follow the instructions to help them win prizes.(see photo below) Have lots of fun & remember every step counts🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Miss P. Cunniffe.

Amber Flag Christmas Books for Welbeing

As Christmas is just around the corner, why not think about giving a feel-good book as a welcome gift to your family and friends. This list of books promoting mental health and wellbeing comes a selection, many of which are recommended by Children’s Books Ireland. More information is available on

We hope you enjoy these recommendations…this is not an exhaustive list and of course there are many fantastic books available in your local bookshops, online and from the wonderful resource that is our local library.

Happy reading and be well! Happy Christmas,

The Amber Flag Team 2020/2021.

For Very Young Children (aged 0-4):

Feeling Great! By Ailie Busby (lift the flap book for little learners)

ABC of Feelings by Bonnie Liu (alphabet and feelings all rolled into one book)

I Am: A Book About Feelings by Alice Melvin (helps young children to verbalise feelings)

Red Red Red by Polly Dunbar (helping young children to deal with overwhelming emotions)

Minfully Me: Where is Happy? By Louise Shanagher and Rose Finnerty (Using our internal tools to promote positive mental health)

Mum’s Jumper by Jayde Perkin (a story for small children about dealing with grief and loss)

Dare by Lorna Gutierrez (simple poetry about being your best self)

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Funny and touching story about Ferdinand the bull who is not like all the other bulls)

While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar (very topical book about Tortoise and Hedgehog who find ways to have fun while social distancing)

For Children Aged 5-8:

A Zebra Named Zion by Ben Smith (colourful book about a zebra learning to manage sadness)

The Girl With The Parrot On Her Head by Daisy Hirst (picturebook about friendship and loss)

Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival (How do you make a friend? What do you say? This is a lovely book, particularyly for children transitioning from preschool into primary, or children wjo have difficulty making friends easily)

Little Tree – A Story for Children with Serious Medical Problems by Joyce C. Mills (using the analogy of a tree in a storm, this story is inspiring for children whose lives have been altered by serious injury or illness)

Gringer the Whinger by Jane Landly and Sheena Dempsey (funny book about emotions)

Fox and Goldfish by Nils Pieters (a child appropriate picturebook about death, aimed at opening up discussion with trusted adults about dying and loss)

Cad a Tharla Idir Mamai agus Dadai? Jennifer Moore-Mallinos (leabhar deas Gaeilge faoi caidreamh agus mothuchan)

Look Up! By Jung Jin-Ho (a little girl looks out at the world from her wheelchair – a story of friendship and connection)

The Boy in the Jam Jar by Joyce Dunbar (a little boy dealing with hearing loss and his hearing aids is an inspirational tale)

When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland (picturebook with suggestions for dealing with sadness, such as listening to music or going for a walk)

Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto (powerful book about the infinite possibilities of life)

For Children Aged 9-12:

My Feel Good Book: 90 Ways to Feel Confident and Happy to Be You! By Francoize Boucher (Colourful, interactive feel-good book)

Mindful Kids: Dyslexia and Me by Amy Rainbow (book/workbook for children about how dyslexia affects a child)

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (fictional story about London boy, Ade, dealing with his mother’s depression and the loss of his home)

Not My Fault! By Cath Howe (a book about sibling rivalries)

My Friend the Alien by Zanib Mian (a book challenging discrimination, about a boy who befriends an alien)

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf (Alexa and her friends want to befriend the new boy in their class and learn about his life as a refugee from a war-torn country)

The Boy With The Butterfly Mind by Victoria Williamson (an interesting read about a boy with ADHD)

Cen Chaoi a Bhfuil Tu? Go Maith o Anke Kranedonk (Sceal e seo ata trom ach tabhachtach a leamh faoi na dushlain a bhaineann le tinneas le linn na hoige)

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel (Steve suffers with anxiety and the new baby in his family is very sick – how will he cope?)

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten (a fictional story about grief and anger)

For Children/Teens Aged 13-16:

Car Wash Wish by Sita Brahmachari (a sweet story about a boy with Asperger syndrome dealing with grief and the arrival of a new baby in his family)

Knock Knock by Pauline Burgess (troubled Belfast teen, Ben, spends time in a summer camp and uncovers a family secret)

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan (fictional tale about seventeen year old Bobby who cares for his mum, who has Motor Neuron Disease)

Choose You-Become the Unique, Incredible and Happy Teenager You Choose to Be by Dr Sharie Coombs (A book for teenagers who want to take control of their emotions and improve their wellbeing)

It’s Not Ok to Feel Blue and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis (contributions from a number of inspirational people, including celebrities, who open up about how they have managed mental health difficulties in a positive manner.

6th Green Flag Global Citizenship & Energy

We celebrated and raised our 6th Green Flag Global Citizenship & Energy on Thursday 22nd of October. Our caretaker, Gerry Doyle, Ms Gately and the Green Schools Committee raised the flag and all classes had an opportunity to visit the site of our new flag, in their own class bubbles, where one child  tied a green balloon around the flag pole to symbolise their cooperation and help over the last two years. All classes watched a production by the Green Schools Committee and 4th Class created a video called ” A Trip Down Memory Lane” showcasing all the themes of our Green Flag. Our current 5th class project work was on display in the hall.  A big well done to the Green Schools Committee for all their hard work over the past two years. 

Click on the slideshow below to see our Infant classes participation in the 6th Green Flag celebrations!

The Green Schools Committee raising the 6th Green flag Global Citizenship & Energy!

Children representing their classes tying a green balloon around the flag pole to symbolise their cooperation and help over the last two years.

Maths Week 2021

The children in all the classes had a very busy Maths week! They explored many different stands of the Maths curriculum. They did maths trails, played board games, games online, learned coding using Beebots and Scratch. They also used plenty of concrete materials, did quizzes and baked some cakes.

Walk to School Week 2020 (with a Twist)!

How well do you know your 2-5km radius zone? Whilst we can’t run our annual week-long, walk to school call to action event this year, we have an idea to celebrate Walk to School Week 2020 with a twist! We are asking students and families to take a walk into the great outdoors and discover what their 2-5km has to offer. 

From May 11-15th, 2020, Green-Schools Travel is inviting students, teachers and families nationwide to join us in ‘Getting to know your 2km zone’. As part of the #GreenSchoolsStayHome project we have weekly activities to inspire fully exploring your 2-5km zone, and we will ask if students have valued the time and space that they have been granted as part of the lockdown restrictions.

Click on the image below to find out more!