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20 February 2012

Welcome to the Principal’s Page

Hi. My name is Tomás. Welcome to the Principal’s page of our school website. I hope you enjoy the content available throughout the site and that it gives you a good idea as to what our school is about. As with any other school in Ireland it falls to us at Skerries  Educate Together to do our very best to create a warm, stimulating learning environment for the children who come to our school. This means that we teach all the subjects on the Irish Primary School curriculum as well as the Learn Together Ethics Programme particular to Educate Together schools. If you wish you can learn more about this programme on other pages of our website.

For the moment let me assure you that we are committed to doing our very best for the wonderful children who attend our school. If you are interested in enrolling a child with us you may do so through this website. If you would like to come and see us and just look around you are most welcome to do that also  – just make an appointment with our secretary, Sharon. Fáilte roimh cách. We look forward to meeting you.

20 February 2012

Our Background and Vision

For anybody who may be curious about our school and how it sees itself I would like to provide some backround information and some thoughts on how we aspire to carry out the important task of nurturing a thriving community of learners.

The first Educate Together schools were set up in the mid to late 1970’s. They were set up by a movement of parents who wished to have a different model of primary school available for their children. It was important that the child was considered to be at the centre of all activity based at the school. This ranged from decision making about how the school should be run to the very style of teaching to be encouraged within individual classrooms. It was also important to these parents that boys and girls be educated together.(At that time there weren’t that many co-educational schools). Being from  diverse faith backgrounds, or perhaps from a family which didn’t subscribe to any particular faith at all was seen as an issue which had not, until then, been fully understood and catered for within primary education in Ireland. It was important to these parents that children of all belief systems and none should have the opportunity to learn in the same school setting. It was also important that no specific religion or belief system should be treated as the only possible valid  perspective through which to view and interpret life and it’s meaning.

The exchange of ideas and perspectives on the type of school these parents would like for their children lead to the founding of the first Educate Together type schools. As a result of  discussions and explorations that took place on the journey towards setting up such schools a strong sensitivity and understanding of diversity evolved. This also lead to a commitment to equality which parents wished to be carried through to their own children’s learning. A final cornerstone of the Educate Together movement was the experience of using democratic methods of developing policy and guiding decision making. So,  democracy itself was identified as an important social tool to use and guide us as we both make decisions as well as  seek to encourage children  to engage with and partcipate in society.

How does that all influence how we teach and respond to the children at our school? I suppose that at first I need to say that the education of each child is seen as a collaborative venture. It involves parents, teachers and the children themselves interacting with each other in a way that supports the child to grow as a learner. For this to be real we need to focus on a number of things which I would regard as important. It is important that all members of the school community feel valued and involved in the task of supporting children to develop their own gifts and talents and grow in their understanding of the world about them. It is also important that we are open and receptive to children and parents when they come to our school. It is important that we connect with parents and children – that we greet them in a positive cheerful manner and listen to their concerns when they arise. It is important that we give useful relevant  feedback to parents and to children on how they are getting along as learners. It is also important that we enlist the support of parents in various learning opportunities we can provide to children such as tours, helping out with literacy or numeracy lessons and of course art! As teachers it is also important that we are open to each other as colleagues so that we share expertise and support and encourage each other in providing interesting, stimulating and relevant lessons to the children under our care. At the heart of all our interaction with each other is the need to communicate respect for each other, particularly if we disagree over something. Perhaps the most valuable lesson we can provide to our children is to witness differences of views or perspectives being resolved through genuine respectful dialogue.

And so, it is my hope that we have developed so far as a dynamic learning community committed to sharing views and to each others growth as learners. This could be learning as a child within the school, or, as a teacher  developing their own professional skillls, or, as a parent learning new ways to support and encourage their own child’s development.

Looking forward into the future I would see our school as a place where children from all backgrounds, with differing religious beliefs or with no specific religious belief, with special educational needs and also without such needs, feel welcome and excited about coming to our school to learn. I also see it as a place where parents themselves know that they are welcome and that their roles as primary educators of their children are respected and valued. I would like to see parents feeling comfortable to come forward with their own ideas and initiatives on how their children’s experience of school may be enriched and full of joy. I would like to see teachers feeling enthusiastic about their work  and fulfilled as a result of their efforts. I would like to see teachers’ interest in their professional development and their energy levels sustained and supported by the culture in which they find themselves working. I would like the school, within the wider community, to have a reputation for excellence with teaching and learning and for it to be known as a warm, inviting and dynamic place to visit or be part of.

I believe that the adults among us share a very special privelege – that is the privelege of bearing witness to the emergence of individual persons from  four year old infants to twelve or thirteen year old young people. Lets hope that together we provide a safe and vibrant place of learning for these important people and that we succeed in preparing them well for moving on to a new and fresh challenge – the next stage in their lives – secondary school.

14 February 2012

David’s Class Show and Tell!

David’s Senior Infants and First Class have been practicing doing Oral Reports. An Oral Report is when we give our audience important information. We need to remember to speak slowly and clearly. We also need to make sure that we make Eye Contact with the listener. Today, we brought in some of our favourite things to use for Oral Reporting!

06 February 2012

Friendship Day 2012

As part of our Learn Together /Ethical Education Programme our whole school celebrated Friendship Day on 3rd February this year.

After assembly the senior children buddied up with the infant children and all joined hands to form a  Human Friendship Bracelet outside in our school garden.  The whole school had learned the song ‘Friends Forever’ and the sound of over 150 children singing this song together was simply amazing.

We also planted a cherry blossom tree on the day to symbolise friendship.  Asked why a tree is a good symbol of friendship the children replied that it symbolises strength, nurturing, sharing, protection, blossoming and growth.

During the week the children participated in a ‘Friendship is…..’ art competition.  Their work is inspiring and thought provoking and shows how meaningful friendship is for the children of our school.  Each morning of the week leading up to Friendship Day some children got the opportunity to read their own friendship poems to the  whole school over the intercom.  A child also read out our friendship quote of the week ‘The only way to make a friend is to be one‘ .  Classes read many friendship stories and got involved in lots of friendship activities.

We have been learning all about human rights recently so we supported Amnesty International this year by selling friendship bracelets on Friendship Day.  This activity helped the children to become actively involved in helping Amnesty Intl to provide shelter for the street children of Guatemala.  We are very proud to say that we raised 400 euro.  Thanks to all parents and friends who supported us.

We would like to invite all parents and friends to come and admire the wonderful art work created by the children.  Well done everyone!


Friendship is……..

Human Friendship Bracelet

Friendship is sharing your skipping rope (Miranda, Senior Infants)


you gotta be a friend to make new friends

You gotta sing along with your best friends

You gotta have fun with your best friends

You have the world around you every time you smile at people

And they smile back!  (Adam, 1st Class)


Make new friends, keep the old,

One is silver and the other gold,

a circle is round, it has no end

that’s how long I will be your friend (Emily, 1st Class)


Friendship is about having fun, fun is friends and friends are the best thing in the world (Sam, 1st Class)


Friendship is when you have a friend that you can rely on. The best person who can cheer you up is your friend.  (Audrey 2nd Class)


Friendshp is fun, Friendship is caring,

It doesn’t matter if you are big or small

Or even if you and your friend are in a different class.

Without friends you would be lonely,

Smile, giggle, play if you have friendship,

Friendship is fun, Friendship is caring. (Madeleine, 2nd Class)


Good friends always stay until the end (Ava, 2nd Class)


Friendship is about being kind.

It is blue and pink

It tastes strong and sweet

It smells like flowers,

It  feels soft and fluffy

It sounds like peaceful music (Rob, 2nd Class)


Friendship gives you love and joy

Doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy

It’s Friendship – let’s work together! (Asha, 3rd Class)


Friendship is having someone to play with while you’re at school, or maybe feeling lonely.  A good friend will always be there for you if you are feeling sad. (Nova, 3rd Class)


Friendship is like a bird that flies in the air, knowing they are always there

Come over, then I’ll come over too.  When last did I play with you?

Friendship gets stronger every day like a flower in a day,

All I really want to say is that friendship is wonderful –

It makes you feel good. (Agnes, 4th Class)


I’ll always be beside you until the very end,

wiping all your tears away,

being your best friend.

I’ll smile when you smile, and feel the pain you feel,

and if you shed a single tear,

I promise I’ll cry too! (Evelina, 5th Class)









22 January 2012

Litter Survey

Sylvia and David’s first and senior infant classes got together with Dara and Conor’s third, fourth and fifth classes to do a litter survey of our school grounds. We collected litter and recorded the amount and type of litter that we found on different parts of the school grounds.

We all had great fun and discovered some really fascinating things right under our noses from animal skeletons, to different animal droppings and of course some interesting litter.  Amazingly, when the contents of all the litter bags were put together we ended up with only one and a half black bags, so our school grounds are actually relatively clear of litter.

Well done to everyone who helped on the day especially our parent helpers Charlene, Yolaine, Anita and Michael.

A big thank you goes out to Louise, Therese and Audrey and thank you Nicola for taking the great photos!

20 January 2012

Amnesty International visit Skerries Educate Together

Amnesty International visited our school on Friday 20th January.  Two education officers ran some very interesting workshops for all classes in the school.  The Junior Infant session was based on story and dealt with the issue of fairness.  Senior Infants, 1st and 2nd Classes all worked on gender issues and the Rights of the Child.  Later in the day, 3rd, 4th and 5th class discussed the Rights of the Child in relation to child labour.  

11 December 2011

Human Rights Day 10th December 2011

Every class in our school marked human rights day on 9th December 2011.  The Junior Classes explored the Rights of the Child through story, circle time, role play and art activities.  Our senior students read some inspirational poetry to the whole school over the intercom.  Joanne’s 2nd Class have been learning about the Rights of the Child over the last few weeks.  On Friday 9th, they chose one right that they thought was important and expressed it through art.  Dara’s 3rd Class worked together to create this beautiful and colourful masterpiece about Human Rights.

23 November 2011

Visit to the National Concert Hall

Sylvia’s first class and Joanne’s second class visited the NCH for the ‘Music in the Classroom’ concert. We had a fabulous time.

First class wrote a report on their trip. Here are some of the things that they wrote.

Maia wrote ‘It was fun and they played Raiders of the lost ark and the double bass was huge and there was a story about Tuby the Tuba and the conductor was very nice and I liked the whole concert.’

Kate wrote ‘We sang Toy Story songs. It was just so so so fun.’

Sam wrote ‘The Timpani went Boom! Boom! and after the Timpani the Double bass played and it went dun dun and the conductor made the instruments play Raiders of the lost ark and it went bum buntdentden the do theundudbumpdumpa!’

Eoin wrote ‘My favourite was Indiana Jones and the treasure chest. I like the Irish songs. We went through a tunnel. It was great.’

Daniel wrote ‘ My favourite thing was when the violin was played and the double bass got played aswell and I liked when we were in the bus and it was funny when a woman said toys can come to life.’

Emily wrote ‘First class went to see’ music in the classroom’ in the National Concert Hall. My favourite was the tuba. It was long but it was funny anyway.’

Leila wrote ‘The dancers were my favourite thing.’

Lara wrote ‘I liked the umberella bit. It was good. I really liked all of the time we were there. I loved it. It was the best. I wish I could go again.’

As you can see we all had a wonderful time!

28 October 2011

Dress-up day for charity

Having a bit of a boogie

Today we dressed up for charity.

We were collecting for our patron ‘Educate Together’.

We had a talent show and a bit of a bop!

26 October 2011

Ethos Evaluation 2011

The Educate Together ethos is at the heart of all that goes on in our school.  In order to ensure that this is the case, and continues to be the case, we conducted a self-evaluation of our ethos during the last school year.  This evaluation covered both the lived and the taught ethos and we included all members of the school community: the children, the parents, the Board of Management and the staff in the evaluation.  The Board of Management have discussed the findings and we would like to share them with you.

Overall the feedback from all groups of the school community was hugely positive.

The key findings from the children were that they love their school; they feel important in school, they like their teachers a great deal and they are happy to have no uniform.

This positive view was largely mirrored by the parents. They like the school environment and they consider the teaching staff to be very approachable and professional.  Parents feel that their child’s identity is fully respected and they like the multi-denominational ethos of the school.

Certain improvement areas were highlighted to us from the findings and we are taking these very seriously.  We are currently working on them in order to improve our commitment to provide the very best learning environment for your child:

Learn Together Curriculum

Many parents expressed the view that they would like to know more about the Learn Together Curriculum.  In an Educate Together school two and a half hours are set aside each week to deliver the Ethical Education Curriculum (Learn Together Programme).  In order to support parents in learning more about the programme the teachers have got together and produced a brief yearly plan for each class level which details the topics to be covered.  This will be posted to our website over the coming days and is available in hardcopy upon request. A copy of the curriculum is available in the school and also from our patron, Educate Together www.educatetogether.ie


Our website has been operational for some time but we are delighted to report that we are putting the finishing touches to it now.  We are finalising some policy around it and we expect it to be up and running fully within the next few weeks complete with lots of the children’s school work on display.  We expect to use this as a major means of communication along with our newsletter, notes home and text-a-parent.

Early in the New Year we will be starting a new initiative when we will hold a joint meeting for the board, staff and parent members to come together.   This meeting will allow all these groups to plan and work together around school issues to ensure that we uphold the principles of our ethos as we move forward together.  The individual needs and general interests of the children will be central to this process. The student council will also participate to help make this a reality.

Clarity of Roles

In the ethos evaluation process many parents sought more information on the different groups that make up the school community and how they relate to each other. On our website the roles and members of each group within our school community will be described – The Staff, The Board of Management, The Parents Association and our patron body, Educate Together.  Again , a hard copy of this information will be available on request.

The School Yard

In collaboration with the children, the staff is working at improving the play and social opportunities of the school yard.  We are investing in resources that will enhance and encourage imaginative play and we are working on ensuring that the ethos of our school carries to the school yard also.

In conclusion, the Board of Management will continue to work on ensuring that the school runs according to the ethos as determined by our Patron, Educate Together.   We would like to thank you sincerely for taking part in our ethos evaluation.  Your input is very valuable to us and we hope that, with your continued support, we will make your child’s school days a happy, safe and stimulating experience.

If you have any queries with regard to our ethos please do not hesitate to contact us.

— Jean Timmins, Deputy Principal and Board of Management Member