All posts by Fintan

Human Rights Month 2017 in Balbriggan Educate Together NS


Special Edition Newsletter:

Human  Rights Month in Balbriggan Educate Together NS : October 2017

Human Rights Month is an important  month of teaching and learning in our Educate Together school. This year the theme is Children’s Rights and,  in keeping with their age, the children will learn about: What are Rights? What responsibilities come with Rights? What are the Children’s Rights specifically?  How can I exercise my Rights? How can I  help in enhancing other people’s enjoyment of their Rights?  What are the Children’s Rights issues in our school?, in Babriggan? In Ireland? Internationally? Here’s some of the highlights that the children will experience over the month:

  • All classes will follow a core-text which teaches them about Human Rights, generally, and Children’s Rights specifically: Junior infants. , Senior Infants  and 1st class  learn from  the text The Right Start,  2nd and 3rd continue their knowledge of Rights with ‘Lif-Off’ and 4th, 5th and 6th learn from the text  ‘Me, You and Everyone’. These classes are done as part of the school’s teaching of SPHE, English, Drama, Ethics and  Visual Arts
  • All classes Junior Infants to 6th will learn a Rights Anthem for peer-audience concerts The Human Rights Factor  at the end of the month, some of these songs will also  be reprised   for the parent-audience Winter Concerts in December.
  • The school will publish , in proper book form, ( for sale in due course) an Anthology of the Children’s Writing conducted over the month on the theme of Children’s Rights  ( we are looking for a sponsor for this,  would your business/company be interested in  associating themselves this very noble venture? Plenty of media attention guaranteed!!!!!!)
  • The children  from 2nd to 6th will  undertake to put themselves forward for election to the school’s Student Council, by presenting manifestos to their class and voting in peer-elections.
  • Selected classes will learn about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and participate in the international World’s Largest Lesson on October 17th
  • The Student Council, in front of the audience of the  whole set of children in the school,  will interview  and award  the BETNS Human Rights  Hero award and status to two persons in our community who work hard to  enhance the Rights of others. This year’s recipieents  will be Edel Campbell  ( North Dublin Outreach; the right to a home) and Assumpta Hickey ( Balbriggan Children’s  Library; the Right to an Education )
  • Irish Aid, Trocaire, The Office of the Children’s Ombudsman and Goal will do workshops with various classes on issues of children’s rights,  justice, climate-change and sustainable development
  • Our 3rd classes , as is customary, will visit a Traveller’s Site, as part of their work on the right to a home
  • All children will learn about about lesser known international Human Rights Defenders   Leymah Gbonwee ( Liberia), Daisy Bates ( USA) and Kailash Setyarthi ( India) and will  vote for one of these  in an referendum conducted by the Student Council for our BETNS 2017  Human Rights Defender
  • Friday October 27th is our Self-Expression Day, wehre the children are encouraged to dress up, or perhaps make and wear a badge, that says something about their identity ( interests/hobbies?, languages? Religous or non-religous identity? Ethnic identity? Parental/Family nationality? ) Parents, please encourage your children about this day, and it’d be wonderful to see our many various and rich identities celebrated on the day!!!! We will also have a video-booth ( along the lines of a wedding video-booth) where the children may  speak about their identity for the camera/recording?
  • And , for the family , see overleaf for a Human Rights Month  Family Quiz , with a family ticket to a cinema of your choice as a prize


Human Rights Month  Family Quiz

Child’s   Name         _____________________

Please fill in your child’s name ,  your answers to each question, complete the tie-breaker, and send the page back in to your child’s class teacher on or before Friday October  20th ( 9.00am) to be in with a chance of winning  a family voucher for a cinema of your choice.

  • What year was the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the Irish Government ( hint; this is its 25th Anniversary)   ______________________
  • Only one country in the world has not signed up to this internationally respected protection of   children? What country?   ___________________________________
  • Which former Irish President went on to become the United  Nations  Human Rights Commissioner? ________________________________________________________
  • On which birthday does an Irish child offcially become an adult? ________________
  • Which international Human Rights agency has as a motto: “it is better to light a candle  than to curse the darkness” ?  ___________________________________
  • In which city in the USA did Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat on the bus  to a white-man?   ________________________________________________________
  • 7 Which famous Italian educationalist  said ‘early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society?”  _________________________________________
  • What activity, and a children’s right in itself, did the famous psychologist  Jean Piaget describe as  ‘the work of childhhod’?  _________________________________
  • Finish the sentence: Focus ireland is an advocacy and charitable organisation who help individuals and families  who have become ______________________________
  • On  Friday 27th of October in our school , the children are encouraged to dress up or wear a  home-made badge  that signifies  any aspect of their identity (  interests, languages, cultural background, religion or non-religous  life-philosophy, personality,  parental nationality, ethnic identity etc). In our school we call this       _____________–_________________Day



Don’t forget……..

Tie breaker:   How many children are there  in our school ? ___________________________




Autumn Clubs Cycle 2017


 Balbriggan Educate Together :   Autumn  Clubs Cycle 2017

Dear Parents

It’s Clubs time again! 


Please see overleaf a list of clubs that are relevant to your child ( there is a separate list for each class grouping, please ensure that you have ALL the lists if you have more than one child in the school)


Club Registration, run by the school’s Parent Association will take place on

Tuesday September 26th  7.30pm

Clubs will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis, but there are plenty of club places for all!

  • If you cannot make it along on the Tuesday  night Fintan and Elaine will take bookings in Clubs with leftover spaces on the Wednesday (27th  )  morning at 8.40am
  • Clubs cost 30euro per person per club, please have the correct money ready with you on the night. Children from the 3rd,  4th, 5th and 6th classes may queue up in their own right, but must not bring children from other schools with them.
  • Please give the officers of the Parent Association your full co-operation, remember that they are doing this voluntarily on your behalf.  The Parent Association enjoy the confidence and the gratitude of the school’s Board of Management in their  running of this event.If you think it could be run better then join the Parent Association and volunteer your services.  NEW  The PA will give out cloakroom tickets to indicate your place in the queue from 7.00pm onwards, and not earlier in the evening as they previously would have done. If you choose to queue from very early in the day, you will simply be left to queue
  • If you want to know more about any of the clubs , please feel free to approach the teacher directly and to ask him/her about it
  • There is a range of clubs to suit every child’s taste. Please think about ‘challenging’ your child in his/her selection and encourage them to try something new! It is clear from the titles that some of the clubs will be of great interest to the more talented and gifted children, and, alternatively,  some others are for  for the children who need extra help in the school’s Curriculum especially Numeracy and Literacy.
  • The Clubs will begin the week beginning Monday  October 2nd  and will finish the week beginning Monday  December 11th  .
  • A full schedule of the Clubs , and a copy of this covering letter is now posted on the website

A major thank-you is due to all the school’s teachers and care-assistants for their creativity and generosity in putting together this programme.

Scroll down for the full list of clubs for all classes:

Clubs for Junior and Senior Infants:


Day/Tine Club Venue/ Notes
Mondays 1.20 to 2.20 Infant   Masterchef with Clare
Mondays 1.20 to 2.20 Infant Lego Club with Elaine
Mondays 1.20 to 2.20 I love to Read and Write  with Bronagh
Tuesdays 1.20 to 2.20 Infant Athletics with Fintan Outdoors
Tuesdays 1.20 to 2.20  Infant STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) with Clare
Tuesdays 1.20 to 2.20 Cook it yourself with Dan
Tuesdays 1.20 to 2.20 Infant Maths and Technology with Bronagh
Wednesdays 1.20 to 2.20 Number Wizards with Sara
Wednesdays 1.20pm to 2.20pm Art and Craft with Roisin


Clubs for 1st and 2nd Class

Day and Time Club Venue
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Junior Lego Club with Sara
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Language Games with Derval
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Junior Athletics with Fintan Outdoors
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm  Junior STEM ( Science Technology Engineering and Maths)
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Dance and Games with Sara
 Tuesdays 2.20pm  to 3.20pm Sports Conditioning and Games with Cathal
 Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Yoing Scientists with Fiona
Wednesday 2.20pm to 3.20pm Monster  Maths with Aideen
Wednesday 2.20pm to 3.20pm I love Sport with James


Clubs for 3rd and 4th

Day/Times Club Venue
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Senior Masterchef with Clare
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Mad about Sport with James
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Cross Stitch with Lisa
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Lego Animation with Aideen
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Basketball with Derval
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20 pm Table Tennis with Pearce and Micheal
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Coding and Technology with Bronagh
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm 4th Class Only: Books and Biscuits with Derval
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Good Old Boardgames with Cathal
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Learn the Guitar  with Micheal and Pearce Beginners Guitar required
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Crazy about Science with Fiona


Clubs for 5th and 6th

Day/Time Club Venue
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Tennis and Badminton with cathal
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Animation with Micheal
Mondays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Cross-Stitch with Lisa
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Youth Zone with Kerry and Elaine Arts Hall (  a self-directed youth-club atmosphere for up to 20 persons)
Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm  

Basketball with Derval

Tuesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Coding and Technology with Bronagh
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Multisports with Clare
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Books and Biscuits with Derval
Wednesdays 2.20pm to 3.20pm Learn the Guitar with Micheal and  Pearce Beginner Guitar required















Parent Newsletter Thursday September 14th 2017

Parent Newsletter Thursday September 14th

1 Settling In?   I hope that  the boys and girls are settling in  and that they  are happy in the school. If you have any concerns please remember that it is good to raise these with the class teacher and/or with me ( Fintan, Principal).

2 Parent Involvement     As an Educate Together school we are always looking for parental involvment and support in the life of the school. I acknowledge that this can be difficult  for parents who work outside the home. However, I was delighted to learn of a great turnout  of parents for the first  Parent Association meeting ( on Tuesday  5th September) , and  if you couldn’t make that, but are still interested in joining the PA, their next meeting, their annual AGM is  on Tuesday  October 3rd 7.30pm

Another aspect of parental involvement is volunteering as assistants alongside the teacher for specific  classroom-activities ( Literacy stations, Library-time,  Maths Stations, history/geography fieldwork). To that end, we are looking for  some parent volunteers for Maths Stations  on Thursdays from 10.45 for one hour  for a period of five weeks  only, and on Tuesdays for a Library Club from 12.00 for half-an-hour . If you think you might like to do this, and are free to do so, please contact Fintan ( Principal) or Elaine ( Home School teacher) straightaway.

3  Clubs Programme:   The teachers are busy putting together the Autumn Clubs Cycle. The Registration night for this will be  Tuesday 26 th September, with a brochure sent home to you the previous Thursday ( 21st), with the Clubs to begin the following week beginning Monday  October 2nd, for ten weeks.

4  Social Media    It has already come to our attention that many children in the school are  experiencing  hurtful and upsetting attention from others on  various social media. Similarly, it has also come to the attention fo the school that  some children from the school may also be  contributing  negatively to this pattern of behaviour. Parents are reminded that you should at all times be vigilant  and aware of your child’s experience of social media. The school will have no hesitation in reporting to Gardai or Social Services any interactions on social media  that come to our attention that  are of a child- protection nature.

5 Simon Yates Mountaineer:    We are delighted and honoured to welcome one of the world’s leading mountaineers, Simon Yates,  to the  school this Friday (15th)  to do a talk to senior classes on  his travels and escapades as a mountaineer over a lifetime in the pursuit. One particular story of his is recounted in the documentaty film Touching the Void  where he was posed with  a huge ethical dilemma around his very own , and his climbing partner’s  survival.   You can learn more about him on  Any parent who would like to attend this talk, 11.00am is welcome to do so.

6   Human Rights Month   Our first ‘event’ of the year  will be our Human Rights Month which takes place over the month of October.  The design and themes of this month is currently being planned. One feature of this month is our annual Human Rights Hero award which we  give to somebody in the locality ( Balbriggan? Fingal? ) whose work, paid or voluntary,  enahnces the  achievement of human-rights and/or childrens-rights  for others. Past winner of this award have been Paul Rowe ( (CEO of Educate Together), Nora Roban ( Remember Us),  Brian Ruane ( Education),  Tom and Breege O ‘Neill ( Disability services). Would you like to nominate somebody for  consideration for this award?  If so please contact Fintan, Principal, straightaway.

Parent Newsletter Wednesday August 30th 2017

Wednesday August 30th 2017

1 Welcome  and ‘Important Update’ Form                       

Welcome back to all of our  children and families for the 2017/18 school year. An especially big welcome to our new children and families; we hope you will be very happy in our school.  In addition to today’s Newsletter, your child also has brought home an ‘Important Update’ Form which  should be read thoroughly. Page 1 should be, torn off, completed carefully, signed and returned to the class teacher  tomorrow  with your child. If you have any queries about issues arising  in this important form, please  talk with Fintan ( Principal).

2 School  Calendar

Please see below  a copy of the school calendar for the 2017/18 school year; with all of the important dates  set out for school highlights and events. Parents are reminded  to avoid taking holidays or breaks during term time; the only reason a child should be out of school is when he/she is sick.

3  First day with the Irish Times

At the request of Educate Together head office we had a team of  journalists and photo-journalists  in the school this morning  from the Irish Times recording Day 1 at school for Junior Infants and their parents; so watch out in tomorrow’s Irish Times ( Thursday)  and the Irish Times Online for some footage.

4  Punctuality

Parents are reminded about the importance of punctuality; the child who is late for school  misses out and also disrupts the rest of the class. The children should assemble in the school-yard from 8.30 onwards and be ready to line up with their classes when the bell rings at 8.40 sharp ( special arrangements for Junior Infants for the moment, but this will apply to them also  from Monday 11th September)

5  Parent Teacher Class Meetings

You will shortly be invited by your child’s teacher(s)  to a  Parent Teacher Class Meeting. At this meeting the teacher will address the parent-group for the whole class and give a talk/presentation  on the school year ahead for that specific class. These meetings take approx 30minutes and  will take place  on a Friday before the end of  September. If at all possible please do come along.

6  Parental Involvement  and the Parent Association

Please  remember that the teacher is always available for a ‘quick word’ in the school yard each morning, and at the end of the day. If you want to have a longer conversation than ‘ a quick word’ the teacher will make an appointment to talk with you at a mutually convenient time. Fintan ( Principal) is always  available, too,  for both  ’a quick word’ or an appointment ( for appointment ring 01 6904635) . The Parent Association meet on the first Tuesday of each month, please do  think about becoming involved with this excellent  organisation who work  to support the school in a very valuable way.  Please ask any parent or teacher to point out Aofie Leahy ( Amy’s mum) in the school yard; Aoife is the current PA Chairperson.  Furthermore, through this newsletter,  many other opportunities will arise to become an active parent in the life of the  school; in literacy and numeracy projects, in designing and contributing to school events etc; please watch out in the Newsletters for these invitations.




Balbriggan Educate Together National School

2017/18 School Year   

Wednesday August 30th : Children return to school (Normal full school day 8.40am to 1.20pm SI or 2.20pm 1st to 6th , Junior Infants 8.40am to 11.30am until Monday 11th September when it reverts to normal day 8.40am to 1.20pm)

Tuesday September 26th : Autumn Clubs Registration Night ( ten-week  Autumn cycle of clubs begins the following week)

October 9th to October 27th : Human Rights Month

October 30th to Nov 3rd : School closed for full-week for mid-term holiday

November 20th to November 24th : Arts Week

December 21st: Winter Concerts

Friday December 22nd : School closes for Winter Holiday 12.00 noon (reopens Monday January 8th 8.40am)


Wednesday 7th,Thursday 8th,Monday 12th of February : Parent-Teacher meetings

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday February 14th, 15th , 16th : School closes for mid-term holiday.

Tuesday March 6th : Registration for Spring/Summer Clubs Cycle ( wtih ten-week cycle of Spring-Summer clubs starting the following week.

Monday 12th to Friday 16th March: Feile na  Gaeilge

Monday March 19th : School closed for St Patrick’s Day

Friday March 23rd : School closes for Spring Holiday at 12.00 noon (reopens  Monday April 9th 8.40am)

Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th :  March Easter Camps

Friday May 4th : A Celebration of Teaching and Learning Day

Monday May 7th to Friday May 11th : School closed for full week for mid-term holiday.


Monday June 4thSchool closed for public holiday

Friday June 8th : New Junior Infant Induction Day

Monday June 11th to Friday June 15th : Get Active Week ( including Sports Day on Wednesday June 13th )

Tuesday June 26th :  6th  Class Graduation

Friday June 29thSchool closes for Summer Holiday  at 12.00 noon

Monday July 2nd to Friday July 13th : Summer Camps