February Newsletter 2019

February Newsletter 2019

Catholic Schools Week

We celebrated Catholic Schools Week from Jan 28th – Feb 1st. Mrs Cronolly introduced the programme each day with a thought for the day and all classes partook in various activities which focussed on the Catholic ethos which permeates our school. A prayer service was held during assembly with 2nd-6th classes. 2nd class marked Grandparents Day by inviting some of our grandparents to the school. It proved a very enjoyable afternoon with lots of chatting and memories shared. We thank God for the gift of grandparents.

Dates for your Diary

Non Uniform Day: March 15th

Do This in Memory Masses: Wednesday, 20th March @ 7.30pm & Wednesday, April 10th @7.30pm

First Confessions: Wednesday, 27th March @ 6pm in Ss Peter & Pauls Church

The Sacrament of Confirmation: Wednesday, April 3rd @ 11am

New Infants Induction Evening: Thursday, April 11th @6 -7.30 pm

First Holy Communion: Saturday, May 11th @11pm

School Closures

Midterm break: Feb 20th (Teachers In-Service Day), 21st & 22nd

St Patricks: Monday & Tuesday 18th & 19th March

Easter Holidays: Monday, 15th April to Friday, 26th April

Sacramental Preparations

First Holy Communion

The children have been attending Mass as part of the “Do This in Memory Programme”. This is a very important part of your child’s preparation for the sacraments and attendance is required. Preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion will commence in school after the midterm break. We thank you for your support and participation.


6th class have been invited to attend the Confirmation Programme “Exploring our Faith” in Ss Peter & Paul Church. The enrolment ceremony took place on Tuesday, Feb 12th and the programme will continue on Thursday, Feb 28th for 3 weeks.

School Self Evaluation

As part of School Self Evaluation a School Self Evaluation Report and School Improvement Plan (2018-2020) has been drawn up and is available on the school website. As already outlined we will be striving to increase our literacy levels with particular emphasis on reading and comprehension. The main focus will be on Literacy Lift Off Programme (1st class & Senior Infants) and Guided Reading throughout the school. 1st class have already benefitted from a 6 week intensive course in Literacy Lift Off and it is has now commenced in Ms Martin’s Senior Infants. Please continue to read with your children at home and try to establish a pattern whereby it forms part of your daily routine. While improving your child’s reading skills it also gives you an opportunity to spend some quality time with your child that is removed from the world of screens and online activity.

R.S.E. Programme

4th/5th/6th classes will attend a “Growing Up” talk presented by Fiona Fallon on March 28th/29th. The talk will deal with the sensitive areas of the R.S.E. Programme. It is important that parents communicate openly with their children about these issues as it is a challenging time in their lives and we all need to support them as best we can.  Class teachers will cover the relevant sections of the RSE Programme dealing with body names/changes/growing up etc. Parents are notified in advance of these classes so it gives you an opportunity to address those issues with your child.

Stay Safe Programme

The Stay Safe Programme is currently being taught in Jun Infants, 1st, 3rd and 5th classes. This is a personal safety skills programme which seeks to enhance children’s self protective skills by participation in lessons on safe and unsafe situations, bullying, inappropriate touch, secrets, and the dangers of communicating with strangers. It is very important to encourage your child to discuss the content of these lessons at home. Parents can learn more about this programme at www.staysafe.ie. Our children’s safety both in the real and virtual world is a priority for us all. Please check your child’s online activity at regular intervals to ensure their safety.

Health & Safety

In the interest of Health & Safety we have installed 2 special chairs for emergency evacuation down the stairs.  They will be used to evacuate anyone who may have difficulty using the stairs, in case of an emergency.  The chairs and training for staff members cost approx. €1800 and it was funded by the Dept. Of Education & Skills

Child Protection

Our Child Protection Policy now comprises of (1) Child Safeguarding Statement and (2) Risk Assessment. This can be viewed on our school website and a hard copy is available from the school office on request. If you have any queries/concerns with regard to child protection please contact: Mary O’Rourke (Designated Liason Person) or Heather McCullagh (Deputy Designated Liason Person).  If there are any comments you would like to make in regard to improving our Child Safeguarding Statement please contact me directly. This statement will be reviewed at our next Board of Management meeting.  Your comments will inform this review. Parents will be notified via email of this review.

STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics)

STEAM Education is a new initiative that is being rolled out in a select number of Primary schools. We, in Cloonakilla, are delighted to have been nominated for participation in this programme. “Engineering-in-a-box”will be co-delivered by STEAM employees from Athlone based company Teleflex, in both of our 5th classes commencing on Wednesday, 13th February for a 10 week programme.  STEAM Education bring STEM and Arts into primary schools in a series of fun and interesting demonstrations and experiments with the aim of fanning the flames of wonder and excitement that these subjects can bring to young inquiring minds. I would like to thank Kelly Marie & Dermot Neary (Parents of Eleanor Neary- Senior Infants) for nominating us for this programme.


We are always adding to our library of apps on our ipads. This term we have purchased many apps including Britannica kids, Myths and Legends audio books, National Geographic World Atlas and Maths Drill. 

5th and 6th classes have been using their I.C.T skills during the Junior Entrepreneur Programme. They have used Microsoft Word to create persuasive advertising posters for their products as well as market research surveys and questionnaires. We also analysed the survey results and converted the data into bar charts and pie graphs using Microsoft Excel. The students on the storytelling teams have been busy keeping a digital record of our progress by conducting recorded interviews with the winning teams and taking photographs of our work, which they will use to create a PowerPoint presentation for our J.E.P showcase day.

Miss Harney’s 5th class are participating in a project that integrates e-learning at a national level. Recently they compiled a bar chart detailing their favourite hobbies using Microsoft Excel and emailed it to their partner school. Miss Cunniffe’s 5th class have kept the school community updated on our Active School Flag activities. We recently created an Active School Flag page on our website where we record our activities.

We display the Frásaí na Míosa for Irish on the news ticker on the home page of our school website. We also have a new page on our school website hosting the names of websites that teachers recommend for parents to use with their children.

Junior Entrepreneur Program – JEP

Our 5th and 6th class students have been busy participating in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme, which provides opportunities to experience real-life business learning.

Successful local entrepreneurs, Kevin and Mary Dooley of Dooley’s Florists, visited our school to engage in a discussion with our students, which provided invaluable insight into the running of their business.

Recently, the students pitched their own product/service ideas to a panel of Dragons and one product was selected from each classroom. Our classrooms are now in the process of producing the chosen products and these will be available for sale soon at our J.E.P Showcase Day where we hope to sell the products to the pupils, staff and the general public.

Each individual in the class has a role to play in this project as part of the marketing team, the sales team, the designing and production team, the financial team or the storytelling team.

World Book Day

World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday, March 7th. Special activities will be held in all classes to mark this event and to promote further interest in reading. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedules at home to mark this occasion with your children. Book tokens will be distributed to all classes so this is an opportunity for the children to purchase a book of their own choosing.

Spelling Bee

The annual Eason’s Spelling Bee county final is due to take place on Thursday February 14th in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.  After holding an in- school competition Kyra Brennan Donovan from Ms Kiely’s 6th class emerged as our school representative.  Kyra will compete at the county final on Feb 14th. We wish her the very best of luck. 



Basketball training for 5th & 6th class boys and girls has been on-going with Ms Kiely and Ms Connaughton at lunch time. Well done to all who participated in basketball training.  A panel of twelve players has now been selected and all players are training for an upcoming Roscommon Primary Basketball Tournament.  Our group will see us play Cornafulla NS, Roosky NS, Lisaniskey NS and Frenchpark NS. The top team from each group will go forward to the semi-final in term 3. 


Ms McCullagh has commenced badminton training for all those interested from 4th class during lunchtime on Wednesdays.


The Spar 5-a-side tournament will be taking place in April.  Training for 5th & 6th boys will commence this month with Mr Kilbride and the girls will be coached by Ms Kilmartin and Mr O’Leocháin.

Cumann na mBunscol

The Cumann na mBunscol sports quiz will take place on March 13th.  A few lucky boys and girls will be selected to represent the school at the mini 7’s on April 10th.  Selected children will be taking part in a tournament including Ballybay, Summerhill and Cornafulla in May.  Training commences in April with Mr Kilbride, Ms Fallon and Ms O’Keeffe.

Active Flag

Our Active School Flag Committee are:

Aoife Carroll and Sean Noone (6th class)

Brian Finneran and Szymon Sckozen (5th class)

Marianne Molloy and Rachel Akahomen (4th class)

Christina Waldron and Grace Meares (3rd class)

Isla Walsh and Chloe O’Callaghan (2nd class) and

Davy Warde and Alex O’Brien (1st class).

  • Active Break Challenge

All pupils participated in the “Active Break Every Day Challenge” during Nov/Dec for a 4 week period.  It was a great way to generate whole school engagement with the Active School Flag process.  It also means that children gained more active minutes every day as the weather became colder and wetter.  Popular resources used were 10 @10 and Go Noodle.

Sporting Achievements

Our school would like to acknowledge physical activity and sporting achievements attained during and outside of school hours.  Please email us photos of the above for our Active Schools Display if your child is involved in noteworthy events.

  • Art Competition: 1st to 4th class are busy designing a poster to go with our slogan “Commit to be fit, don’t just sit” (Grace Meares) winners will be announced after the mid-term break.
  • “Do your talking as you’re walking” Policy has been introduced on yard as part of our Active School Flag.  Anyone found loitering may get some star jumps or lunges to get them moving.  We also have an “Active Line” initiative.  Children from various classes are rostered to keep classes moving with a selection of exercises until their teacher collects them from their line. “Active Star” certificates will be distributed on Fridays to those children who make in the greatest effort.
  • “Cycle Right” course with Ms Connaughton’s sixth class on March 5th.  This course will provide practical cycle safety and skills training to promote competent and confident cyclists for the future. 
  • Trisha McDermott, dance teacher and choreographer will carry out dance workshops with the following classes on Wednesday 27th for 4 weeks.  1st class (Ms Fallon), Sen Infants( Ms Donnelly) 3rd class( Ms Finnegan) and 6th class(Ms Kiely).

Volunteers Needed

Are you involved in a career based on physical activity? We are looking for volunteers to come and share their ideas/activities with the children during National Active School Week which takes place from May 7th to 10th.  If you can donate one hour of your time during that week please contact us.

Green Schools

Well done to Dylan Conway in 4th Class and Maebh Noone in 5th Class who were the overall winners of our new Green School Codes for our theme Global Citizenship and Energy. The winning codes will be displayed in all our classrooms and each class will learn our new Green School Codes.

Well done to all the children in each class who entered the competition.  There were a lot of creative and catchy codes and the art work was fantastic. The winners from each class are displayed on our green school’s noticeboard.

We will have “A Switch It Off Month” in March to promote saving energy in our school. “The Switch It Off Month” main aim is to reduce our electricity usage in our school. Mr. O’Leocháin will conduct energy lessons with the Senior Classes. Ray Foley from An Taisce will visit to conduct an energy workshop.

4th classes will be constructing projects at the end of February and March. They will be asked to focus on recycling objects when constructing their projects. These projects will promote recycling.

Amber Flag

Our mindfulness group meets each week to promote positive mental health.

All children from Junior Infants to 2nd class have had lessons about how to use our lovely Buddy Bench.  Children who are feeling lonely can sit on the bench and a buddy invites them to play.  It is working very well. The winners of the Infant Buddy Bench colouring competition were:

Lilly and Kayden from Ms O’Keefe’s Junior Infants class

Clara and Christopher from Ms Sexton’s Junior Infants class   

Ryan and Mollie from Mrs Martin’s Senior Infants class

Kiersten and Matthew from Ms Donnelly’s Senior Infant class

Each winner received a certificate – Well done to all

Cooking All Stars

Children from Ms Harney’s 5th class will soon be participating in Cooking All Stars in collaboration with Supervalu.  The children will learn food hygiene and preparation skills. They will try out some healthy recipes and will hopefully have fun and practise their new skills in the kitchen at home also!

Sensory Room/Garden

We are currently well on our way to finishing the kit-out of our Sensory Room.  Our hope is that it will be a relaxed and calm space where any child, at a time when they need it can de-stress in this supervised quiet environment. Its features will include lighting, sound, interactive equipment and soft play area.

Our Sensory Garden is at the planning stage and hopefully over the next few months work will begin on this outdoor area.  It will be a garden area where the children can enjoy a variety of sensory experiences with opportunities to stimulate their senses.

Non-Uniform Day

A non-uniform day will be held on Friday, March 15th. All monies raised will go towards our new sensory garden. Plans are currently being drawn up for same.

Junior Infant Enrolment

Our Junior Infant Enrolment will be completed this week. All successful applicants have been notified pending return of required documents by Feb 15th. Incomplete applications will render the application null and void.

School Photographs

County Photos visited the school on Feb 12th. Proofs will be distributed shortly and all orders/monies should be returned to the class teacher promptly. The photographer will revisit the school on Friday 5th of April for Confirmation photograph for 6th class. Communion photograph will be taken of children in their Communion Clothes on Monday 13th May.


In keeping with Cloonakilla N.S tradition, our 6th class students have received their new personalised school hoodies which they can wear in lieu of their school uniform jumpers.

MS Readathon Success

Congratulations to Muireann Lambe who won an ipad for her efforts during this year’s Readathon. Overall the children raised €3769.71 for Multiple Sclerosis and €414.36 was donated   to our school library.

After school activities

Lego Club

Lego club commenced for 3rd and 4th classes in January until February 25th.  Every Tuesday the children spend an hour working in teams on their lego creations.  Lego develops children’s problem solving and fine motor skills as well as enhancing creativity, communication and critical thinking.  Lego Club will re-commence 1st – 4th class on March 5th.

Spanish lessons

Spanish lessons continue on Tuesday evenings with Begona Sammon and a new session of lessons will commence on March 5th.