Letter from the Principal March 14th

Below is a copy of the email sent to parents/guardians March 14th

March 14th 2020As you are now aware, all schools have been instructed to close until the 30th March 2020. We understand that this is a difficult time for parents and guardians, when you may need to consider the reorganisation of childcare whilst ensuring the impact on your children’s education is minimised. We want to support you and your children as much as we can at this time. This announcement came quite suddenly and teachers had very little time to prepare. However, we have put arrangements in place which will support and extend pupil learning while the school is closed.

Teachers have given serious consideration to the type of work to assign and have compiled a series of tasks and activities that will be made available daily.  Assignments will be teacher-led but pupil-managed and self-correcting. The schedules of work have been agreed by teachers at each level and will be built around Reading, Maths and project work. Please bear in mind that the assignments are not compulsory nor is it a requirement that children complete every activity listed. It is up to you and your child to decided what work you would like to carry out during this time off school. It is also important that you are mindful of your child’s age, ability and learning needs. Please be assured that teachers will not be expecting all children to have completed the same amount of work. At most, we suggest that  at the present time,  pupils in the lower half of the school would spend no more time than half an hour a day on these assignments and no more than one hour for those in the upper half.

  • Assignments will be posted for what would have been school days starting next Wednesday, the 18th March.
  • Classes from Junior Infants to 2nd will receive a daily schedule of work available on the homework section of Aladdin Connect. This section was recently enabled  and can be viewed on your Aladdin app or web browser .
  • Third to Sixth classes will receive their assignments on Google Classroom.  Google Classroom has just been launched by the school , so teachers and pupils received only a very brief introduction. All children were given their login details but they will need your assistance to download the app or login via the website at home .We feel that this platform will best support teachers’ endeavours to help parents and pupils during this unplanned break from school.
  • If you have any problems accessing  Google Classroom. please email Deputy@saintbrigids.ie.
  • Children who were absent from school will receive their log-in details in a text message shortly.

Those parents who may wish to find alternatives to the above may find these sites useful:

Without any doubt, the most valuable things you could do over the next while is to encourage your child to read regularly . Each child in the upper classes brought home a class novel and I believe that the shared reading of this will bring much enjoyment and benefit to your child and your family.

Please find attached a nice social story about COVID-19 and some information from the Department of Education about speaking to your children about the virus.  More  information, ideas and recommendations will be posted on our website and twitter feed @stbrigidsns in the days ahead.

I hope that everyone keeps healthy and safe over the next few weeks and we look forward to welcoming you all back to school as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Denis Courtney.

Letter re Parent Teacher Meetings

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This year the Parent-Teacher Meetings for our school will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, November 20th and 21st.. We look forward to having you visit the school and meet the teachers.

In order to provide parents with the most convenient time for them, we use an on-line appointment system. This system gives more control to parents and facilitates consecutive meetings for those with more than one child in school. Each appointment is 10 minutes long and we would ask all parents to keep to these timings. If you have a concern that may merit more time or discussion, it is best to arrange a meeting for this purpose at another time. We also ask that any queries relating to after-school activities, choir and team selection etc are best addressed by the relevant organising teachers.

We ask that you do not bring younger children to school or into these meetings as they often distract parents from the important discussions with teachers. Please make arrangements for your children to be collected from school and/or supervised by an adult while you are in your meetings.

The Parent Teacher Meeting is an important time to meet in a one to one setting where the focus is solely on your child. It is an opportunity to discuss your children’s education and happiness and to reflect on his/her overall growth and development. It is a chance for the teacher to learn more about your child in order that we can all work together for your child’s success. Furthermore, it lets your child know that you care about their progress and their school and this can be a very affirming event.

I would also like emphasise that you, as parents and guardians, know your child best. For this reason, we value your attendance and your views as part of a meaningful discussion on his/her overall education and personal development.  These meetings are also another prompt to celebrate your child’s uniqueness, his/her talents, abilities and personality. Whilst remaining mindful of any challenges or concerns, it is also an ideal opportunity to focus on their strengths and achievements and to build their self-esteem.

As many of you know, our STEM Room is now up and running after a major modernisation and investment over the summer holidays. If time permits, we would be pleased to have you visit and see this new learning space. Later in the year, we hope to have you back to see some of the amazing STEM projects that are a regular part of your child’s learning in St. Brigid’s.

I look forward to seeing you next week.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Denis Courtney.

 

Scarlet Fever in 4th Class

 

There has been another confirmed case of scarlet fever in 4th class. It is therefore a possibility that children in the 4th classes may have been exposed. Please read the following advice from the HSE.

What is scarlet fever?

 Scarlet fever is a scattered red rash and high temperature caused by bacteria (Group A streptococci). Occasionally these bacteria can cause kidney or heart complications. Prompt treatment with an antibiotic usually prevents these complications. Treatment will also prevent spread to others.

What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?

 A scattered red rash that is often most marked in the creases of the joints and over the stomach. It usually blanches (goes white) when pressed on. The skin may feel rough to the touch, sometimes described as feeling like sandpaper. Someone with scarlet fever will have evidence of a streptococcal infection somewhere, usually in the throat or sometimes in the skin.

What should I do if I think my child has it?

 If your child develops any of these symptoms bring him/her to your GP for examination. Tell the doctor that another child in the school has scarlet fever. The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for your child. It is important that your child takes the full course of medicine.

Can my child stay in school?

 Your child can return to school when he/she is well and has finished one full day of antibiotic treatment.

What can I do to prevent spread of infection at home?

 The bacteria are spread through contact with nose and mouth secretions so:

•  Wash hands thoroughly after wiping nose.

•  Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food.

•  Wash dishes well in hot soapy water.

•  Do not share cups, straws, spoons, eating utensils etc.

Cyber Safety Day

Safer Internet Day takes place on Tuesday 5th February, 2019 and this year’s theme is “Together for a Better Internet”. In light of this we would like to share some findings with you from the Cybersafety talks that were delivered to our 4th, 5th and 6th classes last October by Cybersafe Ireland.

Pupil Survey

Cybersafe Ireland is an Irish children’s charity which provides guidance to children, parents and teachers on safe and responsible use of the Internet. Prior to their visit, each child undertook an anonymous online survey based on their use of the Internet, digital devices and social media. The results below reflect some of the significant findings from the surveys.

  4th 5th 6th
Ownership of a smartphone 18% 25%Almost
60%
Ownership of a gaming console   50% 61% 58%
Talking to a stranger online every day 10% 10%25%
Playing 18+ video games 22.8% 26% 38.2%
Appearance in a YouTube video in which
their face can be seen
20% 20% 25%
Use of Social Media Apps 4th class 5th class 6th class
Snapchat 18% 20% 41%
Instagram 8% 20% 42%
Whatsapp 10% 25% 47%

We all have a role in empowering the children in our care to be responsible digital citizens and increasingly more and more children are gaming online with classmates or strangers. Very often parents and guardians report a level of aggression or gamer rage in children which can spill over into the classroom.

Additionally, many children are randomly browsing through YouTube videos or are indeed posting their own videos in which their face can be seen or they are posting and sharing personal information as well as accepting friend requests from strangers on social media apps.

If we are all to “Work Together for a Better Internet” we would like to offer you some tips suggested by Cybersafe Ireland:

  • Do your research on safety for each app or game. Install and use them yourself if you
    can, or check them out on YouTube. A great website for information on apps, their risks
    and safety settings is www.commonsensemedia.org
  • Discuss your concerns, agree rules (e.g. for sharing info and accepting friend requests)
    and check out the privacy/safety settings and reporting mechanisms together.
  • Keep an eye on their friends’ lists, language and tone they or others use, who they’re
    talking or gaming with, and what they are sharing online. Reiterate importance of
    controlling their information.
  • Discuss how words and actions can affect others. Encourage your child to look after their
    friends and to stand up to cyberbullying by always telling you when they see it going on.
  • Agree time limits up front and technology free time. Keep devices out of bedrooms,
    especially at night. Always try to model the same behaviour yourself.
  • Check out parental control options, especially for younger children, but do not place too
    much reliance on technical solutions as older children often find ways around them.
  • Snapchat & Instagram have an age restriction of 13 years old &  Whatsapp is 16 years old

Useful Links

Advice for Parents on Apps

Advice on Social Media

Advice for Parents

E-Safety Kit for Families

Advice for Pupils

Family Agreements

Christmas Letter

Dear Parents, Guardians and Families,

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas here in St. Brigid’s as
classrooms and corridors glisten with decorations and the colours the season. I’d imagine that by the end of next week, pupils’ excitement will
be palpable. It’s a great time to be amongst children.
The ‘Countdown to Christmas’ brings both excitement and pressures.
Families are bombarded by the advertising and media hype that
surrounds the festive season. Whilst determined to retain the magic of the
season, school can be a refuge from the commercialism that can often
take hold in December. We aim at fostering that delicate balance that
keeps children in touch with the true meaning of Christmas without losing
the instinctive delight and anticipation that Christmas always brings.
Providing a quality academic education for pupils is a priority in St.
Brigid’s, but so is fostering school values and personal development so
that children flourish and grow into rounded, caring, confident young
people who know they have much to contribute. Christmas offers many
opportunities to reinforce these aims in very practical ways.
Our Christmas season began in November with the preparation of
Christmas cards and the shoe-box appeal. I think this year’s appeal had
the biggest response ever and it was so rewarding to see pupils present
their boxes with pride and generosity as they knew their gift would make a
difference to some less-fortunate boy or girl on Christmas morning. Many
thanks to Ms. O’Brien for organising it and to all who contributed.

It was wonderful seeing so many of you at the Christmas Fair this year. This
fair was a fantastic, fun-filled “gathering” of the many stakeholders in our
school and its success (both socially and financially) is testament to the
commitment of each part … parents, teachers, pupils, the community
Centre management, the local community and local businesses. Many
thanks to all who contributed and supported the fair. Special thanks to
Pamela Moore, Nikki Carroll and our hard working P.T.A. and the many
parents and supporters who helped with collecting, sorting and preparing
the displays or gave time on the day.
Earlier this week, Mrs. Noelle Mac Donagh unveiled our new crib
in the reception area. The wooden frame and background
artwork creates a beautiful scene and captures so much of that
first Christmas morning. The result is spectacular. Thank you, Mrs. Mac
Donagh.

Now it’s over to the children who are invited again this year to create their
own cribs for display in the main hallway between Friday, December 14th
and Thursday December 20th . Thank you to Mrs. Stokes who has prepared
this display – we hope many parents will be able to visit.
As I write, pupils from sixth class are organising a variety concert to be
presented to the residents of Mount Hybla Nursing Home next Tuesday.
We are always in awe of our pupils’ talent and I’ve no doubt but that
they will bring great joy and entertainment to the residents.
Our Carol Services will be held at 11.00 a.m. in our parish church on
Wednesday December 19th and Thursday December 20th. Again, this
year, in an effort to address safety concerns and to afford parents the
opportunity to attend the Carol Service in some comfort, we have opted
to hold two carol services on consecutive days. The class performance
dates have been published on our school app. We look forward to seeing
you all there!
Separately, I wish to congratulate all who helped in any way to secure the
Phoenix Park Racecourse site for the new Edmund Rice Secondary School.
This school is an essential addition to our community and will eliminate a
lot of stress for families and children. Special thanks to our P.T.A and
particularly to Ms. Eveleen Maher, Ms. Eithne Mc Grath and Mr. Nick
O’Brien for leading this campaign. Whilst there may still be a long road to
travel on this project, this decision is a very good start.
Finally, I hope all your homes are filled with warmth and joy this Christmas
and that 2019 is good to us all! Nollaig Shona Daoibh.

Denis Courtney

Principal

Foot and Mouth Disease

December 14th 2018
Dear Parent or Guardian,
There has been a case of hand, foot and mouth disease in the Junior Infants and your child may have been exposed. The
following are commonly asked questions about the disease.

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?
This is a disease caused by a group of viruses which usually affects young children. It causes blisters on hands and feet and
mouth ulcers inside the cheeks and on the tongue. They may also have a sore throat and high temperature. These symptoms
last for 7–10 days.

How long are children infectious?
Children who are ill are infectious. Also they may carry the virus in their faeces for many weeks after they have recovered and
so can continue to pass on infectio

Can you catch it more than once?
Yes, but children who are ill during an outbreak at school or nursery are unlikely to get it again during the same outbreak.

How long should children stay away from school?
Children who are unwell should be kept off school until they are feeling better. Keeping children off school for longer than this
is unlikely to stop the virus spreading. There may be other children in the school who appear well but are spreading the virus.

How is it spread?
The virus is spread by coughs and sneezes, and is also found in the faeces of infected children. Some children infected do not
have symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others.
Is there any treatment?

Is there any treatment?
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease – it is usually a mild and self-limiting illness. If a child feels
unwell paracetamol may help. Antibiotics and creams or ointments for the blisters are not effective. Children recover just as
quickly without them.

Is it the same as foot and mouth disease in cows?
No. A completely different virus causes foot and mouth disease in cows.

Is it dangerous?
No. All make a full recovery.

What is the incubation period?
Symptoms start 3-5 days after exposure to the virus.

How can spread be prevented?
Since the virus is found in faeces, scrupulous attention must always be paid to hand washing after using the toilet.

Thank you for giving this your attention. If you have any further questions please contact your GP.
Yours truly,
Denis Courtney
Principal

RSE Program

October 2018

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Please find information below re Relationships and Sexuality Education which we will commence teaching this November under the heading “Taking Care of My Body”

Relationships and Sexuality Education 2018

In 2008, a Relationship and Sexuality (RSE) policy document was drawn up in keeping with departmental guidelines. It was drafted by a committee comprised of parents, teachers and members of the Board of Management. It was launched at a meeting for parents on 22nd Jan ‘08 and was subsequently ratified by the Board.

RSE is an integral part of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). The lessons related to RSE are provided under the following headings: Self-Identity, Taking Care of my Body, Growing and Changing, Safety and Protection, Myself and my Family, My Friends and Other People and Relating to Others.

During this coming November, 2018, under the heading “Taking Care of My Body”, your Junior and Senior Infant child will learn about his/her body and will be taught to name parts of the male and female body using appropriate anatomical terminology. (Anatomically correct baby dolls will be used in the lesson).

  • Infant classespenis, vagina, navel.
  • 1st and 2nd classespenis, vagina, navel, urethra, anus
  • 3rd and 4th classes: same as 1st and 2nd
  • 3rd and 4th classes will be able to discuss the stages and sequence of development of the human baby from conception to birth.

                  Conception and birth will not be discussed.

  • 5th and 6th classes: Speakers from Accord will visit 5th and 6th classes on separate dates later in the school year.
  • 5th class will be able to identify and discuss physical and other changes that occur in girls and boys during puberty.
  • 6th class will revise puberty facts and will understand the reproductive systems of male and female adults. They will understand sexual intercourse, conception and birth within the context of a committed, loving relationship. Teachers will be present.

 

We are obliged to teach this programme as it is part of the primary school curriculum. We are sensitive to the fact that, as primary educators, you are best placed to evaluate your child’s readiness for this programme. Therefore, we would recommend the following steps to ensure your peace of mind:

  • If you have any concerns regarding aspects of the Infant programme you are advised to view the lesson plans/resource materials the teachers will use.  These will be available for you to peruse between 1:45pm and 2:20pm in Ms. Doyle’s Room 6 (Infant Building) on Tuesday, 23rd October.  Ms. G. Fay will be available to answer any queries which may arise.
  • If you have concerns regarding the programme for 3rd/4th classes, Ms.G. Fay will be available to answer your queries during the same time-frame.
  • If you wish to withdraw your child from the lessons on the sensitive issues you must inform your child’s teacher in writing. The teacher  will then consult with you as to how best facilitate the opting out process.

Yours sincerely,

 

Denis Courtney


Secondary School Shortages

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I wish to bring to your notice the growing disquiet among the St. Brigid’s N.S. community regarding admission to secondary schools. This issue has been with us for the past few years but it seems to have reached a crisis point this September.

 

In recent times, our local secondary schools have struggled to accommodate the huge numbers that apply to them each year. As a result, many parents are being forced to apply to private schools (which in many cases are also heavily oversubscribed) or to accept places in schools outside our local community.

 

This summer, applicants for September 2019 to Castleknock College (a fee paying school) far outnumbered the available places which resulted in many families being disappointed. Mount Sachville (another fee paying school) is also grossly oversubscribed for September 2019. Given the numbers applying for Castleknock Community College, I expect that many applicants will be disappointed when refusal letters are received later this month.  The only other local option for many parents is the new Edmund Rice Secondary school and while many have been very impressed by the management and ethos of the school, they are reluctant to commit to it as they do not know where it will be located eventually.

The Board of Management and Parent Teacher Association of our school strongly believe that the new Edmund Rice College must be built in Castleknock. A possible site had been identified in the Phoenix Park racecourse and we understand that St. Brigid’s GAA club are happy to share their facilities.  We see the building of this secondary school in the immediate vicinity of Castleknock village as the only solution to the current problem. We also believe that this decision should be published immediately in order the allay pupil anxiety and to help parents make informed choices.

 

This problem is a sixth  class problem now but without a local secondary school it will impact on all pupils eventually. We ask you to contact your local T.D.s and public representatives to make them aware of your concerns regarding the secondary school education of children from St. Brigid’s and the Castleknock area.

 

Denis Courtney.

Principal.

September 26th 2018

Library Help Needed

As you all know we have a beautiful school library which contains over 10,000 books ! We are looking for twenty volunteers to help keep our library tidy. Ms. Gillian Fitzsimmons organises a roster every year with two parents coming in from half one to half two once a fortnight to work in the library. If you have an hour to spare before you collect your children please email info@saintbrigids.ie with your name and phone number.

Thank you