Newsletter, November 2019

Dear Parents,

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

Football Pitch

Our football pitch is finally fit for purpose following the installation of protective netting behind goalposts during the midterm break. This was funded in part by the Parents’ Association for which we are very grateful. I would like to thank you all for your patience with this project as it has been long and arduous. 5th/6th classes are currently using the pitch during lunchtime and this option will be available to 3rd/4th classes shortly. All other classes may avail of this facility during PE class.


Thank you for your co-operation with regard to implementation of carpark rules.  It is imperative that you continue to observe these rules ALL of the time in order to ensure the safety of all.    Parents have a responsibility to ensure these rules are observed.  Pedestrians are requested to use the pedestrian gate at the footpath/ramp.  Please be mindful of the carpark/front entrance yard on frosty mornings.  The path will be salted but extreme care should be exercised. It has come to my attention that there is chewing gum being disposed of in the carpark.  It is unsightly so please dispose of correctly and please talk to your children on this matter.  Smoking and chewing gum is prohibited in the school grounds.

Junior Infants

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new entrants and their parents.  It is my wish for you all that your time here will be happy and memorable. I would like to commend the Junior Infants for the manner in which they have settled into school life here in Cloonakilla. I would like to thank their parents for their sensible approach in parting with their children and for their co-operation in regard to dropping off their children in the mornings, thereby reducing some of the congestion in the carpark.  Please do not accompany your children to the school door and wait until the bell rings as it creates too many problems for other parents who wish to drop off their children.

Dates for your diary:

Parent Teacher Meetings: Senior Infants to 6th class meetings will be held week commencing November 18th.  Junior Infants meetings will be held week commencing November 25th.

Internet Safety Parenting Talk:  Thursday, 21st November at 7.00pm – 8.30pm

School Closure: The school will be closed on Thursday, 28th November for In-Service training

Sacrament of Confirmation: Thursday, 23rd April 2020 @11am

First Holy Communion:  Saturday, 9th May 2020 @ 11am

First Communion

The Parish Office have not yet confirmed dates for Enrolment for First Communion or Do This in Memory Masses.  You will be notified of dates when we are in receipt of same. 

School Choir

The school choir will sing at 10.30am Mass in Ss Peter & Paul Church on Sun, Nov 16th. The choir will comprise of 4th-6th class pupils. A full attendance would be greatly appreciated.

Internet Safety workshops

ZEEKO (Internet Safety Education) based in University College Dublin will conduct a series of workshops in our school on Thursday 21st November.  We are all aware of the growing challenges young people and their parents face around online gaming, inappropriate content, cyberbullying and fake news. Zeeko’s resources equip children, teachers and parents with the knowledge to ensure their online behaviours protect them from the negative impacts of the internet and technology, allowing them to benefit from the advantages. The workshops will be geared towards 2nd-6th classes and will be age appropriate. There will be a workshop for teachers after school and one for parents from 7pm-8.30pm. This is open to all parents and I would strongly urge you to attend as this is an area that poses a huge challenge to all parents at different stages of your child’s development.

Oral Health School Visit and Workshop

In October, 2nd class participated in an Oral Health workshop carried out by qualified dental nurses who are undertaking a Degree Programme in Dental Practice Management at AIT.  All students took part in the workshop where they calculated sugar content in popular food and drinks.  They also participated in a demonstration of correct brushing techniques and received a toothbrush for use at home.  All students had a fun-filled morning with the team from AIT.  3rd class will participate in this workshop on Wednesday 27th November.  We would like to thank Ann Marie Fitzpatrick for nominating us for the workshop.

Maths Week

All classes took part in Maths Week which took place from 14th-19th October.  We all recognise that Maths promotes the ability to think rationally and to analyse and solve problems. With this in mind throughout the week children were encouraged to solve a Problem of the day.  5th class designed and produced their own Maths games which the Junior Infants subsequently played. They also accompanied Junior & Senior Infants on Maths trails. All classes took part in Maths trails using the school environment as a Maths tool. During this week children were actively encouraged to use their “Maths Eyes” at home and in school. Support teachers conducted maths activities in all classes placing special emphasis on “Maths for fun”. Maths Week activities can be viewed on the school website.

Science Week

Science Week runs from Nov 11th-16th. The focus for this week will be Climate Change. 6th Class attended a show entitled “Science Magic”    in AIT while Michael Bell Heritage Expert conducted workshops with Ms Gately’s 4th class and the members of the Green Schools Committee on climate change. This workshop was funded by Roscommon County Council.  All other classes focussed on experimental science for this week and support teachers visited all classes to conduct additional experiments.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The SEN team are working with class teachers and pupils to support literacy throughout the school through a number of initiatives.  Guided Reading is supported from 1st class to 6th class.  Literacy Lift Off is being delivered to 1st Class in

Term 1.  It will move to Senior Infants in Term 2 and 3.  We are delighted that Mrs McCabe is being trained as our second Reading Recovery Teacher.  This means that more pupils in Senior Infants and First Class can be offered support with literacy through the Reading Recovery Programme.  We appreciate the ongoing support of parents which adds to the success of all these initiatives.

National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)

Under The National Educational Psychological Services Dr Cathal Duffy has been appointed to work with us to support teaching and learning in our school.

Digital Technologies

All of the Special Needs Assistants in our school completed workshops on Digital Learning this term.  We would like to thank the SNAs who piloted the scheme using Beebot computational toys which we had on loan from Athlone Educational Centre.  Pupils in all classes created digital content this term.  The Infant classes used animation with student narration to explore themes in Aistear.  The older classes explored creating digital content using familiar and new content creator programmes.  Pupils presented their content to their own class.

School Self Evaluation

As part of School Self Evaluation a School Improvement Plan has been drawn up for the period 2018-2020. Details of this plan are available on our school website. As per last year we are focussing again on Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st Class) and Guided Reading throughout the school. Guided Reading is conducted in smaller reading groups where children read at their own instructional level. Once more I would urge you to please take the time to read with your child at home and discuss what you have just read in order to ensure your child understands what they have just read. It is our experience that often comprehension levels are significantly below the actual reading level.

As part of SSE the New Primary Language Curriculum will be implemented in English and Irish in all classes from December. Junior Infants – 2nd class have already implemented this new curriculum. Cloonakilla NS will close for pupils on Thursday, Nov 28th for staff in-service on the New Primary Language Curriculum.

Library/Book Fair

Our school library is fully stocked with a wide range of books to suit all readers. All classes are scheduled to visit the school library every week where they have an opportunity to choose and read books independently. Children are encouraged to continue this reading at home and we would ask that you support them in this. Putting aside some time to read with your child is a most rewarding experience on many levels. Also please ensure that your child returns the books to the library in good condition.

We will hold a Book Fair in February 2020. Your support would be greatly appreciated as the school receives 20% of free-books based on monies spent. This would greatly help us to replenish our existing stock.

Debating at Cloonakilla

Sixth class have recently participated in the first debate of this school year.  Ms Kiely’s class proposed the motion “All children should have daily chores” while Ms Connaughton’s class opposed the motion.  Children from both classes

prepared well-written speeches and four children were chosen to represent each class.  Jay, Fionn, Daniel, and Emma represented Ms Connaughton’s and Kevin, Ruby, Lauren and Ella spoke for Ms Kiely’s and Rachel Murphy chaired the debate.  All of the children spoke so eloquently and used humour, supporting research and personal stories to make their arguments.  Debating and public speaking are wonderful ways for children to develop their self-esteem and confidence, as well as increasing their social-conscience and their ability to develop a reasoned argument – skills they will be able to draw on in secondary school, college and throughout their lives.  Well done to all involved.

Local History

4th and 6th classes have been studying the history of our local area with heritage expert, Martin Curley.  Over a five week period, Martin led them through an exploration of the history of our local area using historical OSI maps to

investigate how the area has changed over the past 200 years. The children explored their own townland, the people who lived there, the types of buildings etc.  On October 11th, sixth classes went on a field trip to the nearby medieval town of Rindoon, Lecarrow. They observed historical features including the town wall, the abandoned castle, medieval

hospital, church and mill. Among the ruins of the hospital, the children investigated some headstones. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed studying this aspect of the History curriculum.  3rd and 6th classes have studied the History of Athlone which culminated in a historical tour of the town with children working as historians.


Monksland Cross Country Running Competition

A huge congratulations to all of the 48 children from 3rd to 6th class who participated in a cross country running competition with Summerhill NS on October 24th. It was a super morning and children performed very well in their races. 3rd and 4th had to run 800m while 5th & 6th ran 1000m.  We were very successful, winning 10 of the 12 trophies! We are so proud of everyone’s efforts.

These are the results;

3rd & 4th class boys: 1st Thomas Jordan, 2nd Cian Foley, 3rd Ethan Sammon

3rd & 4th class girls: 1st Saoirse Dunne, 2nd Isabelle O Toole, 3rd Abigail Cooney

5th & 6th class boys: 1st Stephen Kelly (Summerhill NS), 2nd Fionn O’Brien, 3rd Brian Finneran

5th & 6th class girls: 1st Sophie Byrne, 2nd Matilda Parker (Summerhill NS), 3rd Rebecca Mitchell

Active Schools Flag

Our school reinforces the message that children require 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. We as a school are committing to an active break every day from November 11th for four consecutive weeks. To coincide with this commitment, all pupils are tracking their daily efforts and choosing a physical activity from a sheet each day as part of their homework. They try to fill in as many boxes as possible. Children will be entered into a draw at the end for their efforts.

  • Gymnastics will be our chosen PE strand for development this year.
  • We encourage children to use our active school walkway at break times and to do their talking as they’re walking.
  • Active boxes are now introduced for all classes with equipment to promote moving well and moving often.
  • Gaelic coaching has commenced with Marie Kelly for 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th until Christmas. All other classes will receive coaching in the New Year.
  • Roscommon Sports Partnership are lined up to carry out a 10 hour cycling workshop with our 6th class.
  • Game of the month – To promote leadership and friendships, 2nd and 3rd class have paired up with junior infants to teach them a fun game to play during break times. Once they have established the rules and concepts of the game, the infants will be able to play it independently.
  • We would like to acknowledge all sporting success in our school. If your child participates in competitions outside of school in any discipline please send or email in their photo for our ASF board.
  • “Take on the Teachers Challenge” took place in September as part of Active Ireland and National Fitness Day. It was a fancy dress obstacle course. We also challenged the teachers to do as many burpees as possible in 30

seconds, push ups and hold a plank. It was a very enjoyable day.

  • There will be a questionnaire left outside classrooms during Parent/Teacher meetings this month. Please take a few minutes to fill it in to inform our ASF committee of your thoughts and ideas on achieving this very worthwhile flag.
  • Teachers have very kindly volunteered their services during lunchbreaks to share their love of all things sport and fitness. This is confined to 5th and 6th classes.

Mondays –Gaelic for girls with Ms Fallon & Ms Dowling

Wednesdays-Soccer/Gaelic for boys with Mr Kilbride

Thursdays- Basketball for boys with Ms Connaughton

                      Soccer for girls with Ms Martin & Ms Kilmartin

Fridays-Basketball for girls with Ms Kiely

Athlone Library Visit

On Friday, 18th October, 4th class had the privilege of visiting the Aidan Heavey public library for a reading by storyteller and illustrator, Wayne O’Connor.  Wayne had each child transfixed from start to finish with his telling of an age old Japanese fable.  All of the children thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Thank you to all the staff in the library for inviting us and for the warm welcome received.

Green Schools

We are in Year 2 of working towards obtaining our 7th Green Flag, Global Citizenship and Energy.

Our Green Schools Committee have been busy since September, revising and setting up initiatives such as the bin police, litter picking and the bin buddies to make sure our school is a green space.

Energy Mascot Competition

In October, we held an energy mascot competition for 5th and 6th classes. Children were asked to create an energy mascot for our school, to remind us to save energy in our classrooms. The winner was Kyle Behan in 5th Class. Kyle’s ascot will be distributed to all classes this month and it will be our school mascot for saving energy. Well done Kyle!


Climate Action Week 14th – 18th October

We celebrated Climate Action Week the third week of October and raised awareness in our school about Climate Change. The Green Schools Committee worked very hard in preparation for this week, compiling ideas and activities for all the classes.

Junior Infants, Seniors Infants and 1st Classes planted wildflowers with Mr. O’Leocháin.  There was an Art Competition for 2nd and 3rd classes based on Mr. O’Leocháin’s talk “How Bees Help Our Environment”. The Winners were Ryan Hajroussi, Leon O’Leary and Ryan O’Kane. Watch out in our local newspaper for our winning artists!

Both 4th classes made their own projects at home based on Climate Change. They were excellent and they all deserve high commendation for a job well done! 4th Classes showcased their projects to all the other classes in the school.

They explained thoroughly what each project was about and all classes learnt a lot about Climate Change from their projects.  5th Classes completed a workshop with Mura Tierney from GOAL.  A guest speaker from the AIT  Chris Mc Cormack spoke to all the children in 6th Class about Climate Change and the effect it is having on our earth.   Climate Action Week was a great success! We had great fun learning about Climate Change, raising awareness about it and taking action to combat same.  Remember everyone “A Green Space is A Better Place”

After school activities

Lego Club

Lego club commenced for 1st & 2nd classes completed 6 weeks of Lego Club before Halloween. 2nd to 4th classes commenced Lego Club after Halloween.  Every Tuesday the children spend an hour working in teams on their lego creations thereby developing their problem solving and fine motor skills as well as enhancing creativity, and critical thinking.  Lego Club will be opened to 1st to 4th class in the New Year.

Spanish lessons

Spanish Lessons continue on Tuesday evenings until Christmas with Begona Sammon


Christmas Show for Senior Infants.

Senior Infants will attend a Christmas Show “Santa’s Fairy Tale Christmas” in Dean Crowe Theatre on Monday, December 9th.  Class teachers will furnish you with exact details.

Christmas Cards

As a fundraiser The Parents Association have organised for children to design their own Christmas cards.  The proofs have been distributed and must be returned to the school by Wednesday, 13th November.  

Christmas Annuals

The forms for the Christmas Annual were circulated last week.  Please return along with the money by Wednesday 20th November.  We will not be in a position to order annuals after this date.

Christmas Concerts will be held in all classes.  Schedule is as follows:

Junior Infants: Friday, Dec 13th @ 1.00 pm

Senior Infants: Tuesday, Dec 17th @ 11.30 am

1st Class: Thursday, Dec 12th @ 11.30am

2nd Class: Friday, 13th @ 11.30 am

3rd Class: Thursday, Dec 12th Dec @ 1.30pm

4th, 5th & 6th: Christmas Carol Service, Tuesday, December 17th @ 7pm

Non-Uniform Day

Thank you for your response to Non-Uniform Day which raised €600.  All funds raised will go towards funding of the newly erected protective netting at the football pitch.


Attendance for Sept/Oct was 95.7%. Please note that daily attendance is recorded electronically before 10.30am. Any

child not present at this time will be marked absent unless this absence is preceded by a note of explanation from parents as to reason for late arrival. Again please note that all absences over 20 days are reported to the N.E.W.B. It is important that those with a poor attendance record for 2018/2019 improve their attendance for this school year.

It has come to my attention that some parents persist in taking children out from school early on Fridays.  This is not acceptable on a regular basis and will be addressed via attendance days if it continues.  Also children will not be called to the front door until a parent presents for collection. Please do not ring ahead.

Board of Management

The term of the current BOM expires on November 30th.  I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the board for their dedication and support over the past 4 years.  They gave willingly of their time and expertise for the enhancement of our school.  The new board will take up office on December 1st.

Parents Association

Please see newsletter below

Yours sincerely,

Mary O’Rourke


Mary O’Rourke


Welcome to Cloonakilla N.S. Parents’ Association Newsletter. The purpose of the newsletter is to
make you – the parents/guardians—aware of the activities of the Parents’ Association. We hope
you enjoy the read.

Who and What is the Cloonakilla N.S. Parents’ Association? Cloonakilla N.S. Parents’ Association is made up of all parents and guardians of pupils attending Cloonakilla N.S. The Parents’ Association is the means by which parent/guardians in the school can work together with the school for the benefit of all our children.
Cloonakilla N.S. Parents’ Association Committee is an elected committee who takes responsibility for the day to day work of the association. The committee’s aim is to work closely and effectively with the school principal and staff and to support and initiate activities that benefit our children’s education, development and well-being. The committee meets at regular intervals to organise it’s
Our Committee Officers for 2019/2020 are:
Chairperson- Christina Melican
Vice Chairperson – Kevin Murray
Secretary – Jolene Cummins, Co – Secretary – Leeanne Walsh
Treasurer – Laura Carroll, Co-treasurer – John Brennan

We are very fortunate and grateful to have other Committee Members who support the work of the officers, volunteer and attend & contribute to meetings.
Activities of the Parents’ Association:

Fundraising activities/Flag Days • Contribution of funding made to School Goal Posts & Netting / Sensory Garden / School Stage (2018) • Hosting of party after First Holy Communion • Paying for: Inflatables for sports day; Ice Cream van visit; Christmas selection
boxes etc. • Reviewing and offering comment on various school policies.
What can you do? While the committee is dedicated to organising the events for the year, there are times when additional volunteers are needed from the wider Parents’ Association. We would ask that where you can, please do respond to our requests for additional help when needed e.g. Flag Days/Bag Packs, Holy Communion party, Sports Day Supervision etc. The activities and success of the Parents’ Association relies solely on parents/guardians volunteering their help!
Finally, many thanks to the school’s Board of Management; Principal Mary O’Rourke and all the
school staff for their ongoing support to the Parents’ Association.

A Date for your Diary! Fundraising Table Quiz & Social Evening
7th February 2020 Athlone Springs Hotel
***Spot prizes Fundraising Table Quiz & Social