Developing the whole person


Just some of the photos we captured today as most were taken on grandparents phones; we would love you to share them with us if you have more!
Thank you to our PA for a fabulous spread and for the lovely presentation of the hospitality area! Thank you to Fr. David for the lovely mass and to all involved in making Grandparents Day so special. It is always lovely to meet the wonderful grandparents in our community.


As part of Internet Safety Day,we welcomed Garda Mick Dee in to speak with pupils from 2nd-6th class about the dangers online. He was excellent and the children really responded to him. He spoke separately to 5th and 6th class pupils also.
We invited him along with the chairperson of our PA, Laura Molloy, to launch our smartphone contract, something we have been working with Laura on for a while, With the findings of the survey that parents supplied months back, we composed a document that we hope will help parents who want to keep smart phones for post primary school.
We will not police who has and who hasn’t a phone thought they are not permitted in school. We are promoting the contract in partnership with parents and hope that a community of good practice will help to delay the start of smart phone usage until post primary school.
We invite you to chat about this at home and we would be happy to file all signed contracts so that children appreciate the commitment that they have undertaken.
Thank you to Laura for her design

A letter from Unicef

It was a proud moment to receive this letter today from Unicef. Well done to our pupils for making such a difference by fundraising such a significant sum to help those in Gaza

Click on the file to read. We hope that there will be peace soon

Junior Achievers

We thank all the Junior Achiever Elavon volunteers who finish up today and over the last few weeks. The children had a great time with this civics programme and it was lovely to have parents facilitate.

Our cheque goes off to Unicef!

Well done to Saoirse, Sonia, Jessica and Alison who composed a lovely letter to go with their cheque for €2,142.45 to Unicef on foot of their recent Santa Dash. We value the student voice greatly here in Scoil Ghormáin Naofa.

Visiting Middletown Nursing Home for Christmas

Well done to our school band and 5th/6th class choir who performed for the residents of Middletown Nursing Home today , including Fr. McCarney and Mr. Breen and Ms. D’Arcy’s granny who very very proud to see all.
I am so proud of the children who not only performed beautifully but treated the residents with respect and dignity and brought a lot of joy today. Click the link for a snippet of their lovely playing


On Friday 8th December, Niall Breen’s 5th and 6th class pupils undertook a 5km Clone run in aid of Unicef – Gaza Emergency Appeal This fun run has become an annual event since its inception four years ago. Under the guidance of Mr. Breen, the children trained daily during the weeks leading up to the run and each child’s individual fitness level increased which was an added bonus! On the day, there was a Christmas disco in the yard for the whole school and the younger pupils excitedly cheered the senior pupils as they embarked on the run. The local gardaí were on hand to greet the returning runners with the siren and lights! Parents joined us on the run and also provided some well deserved hot chocolate and refreshments upon their return. We would like to thank Canavan’s Londis for their generous donation towards the refreshments. We chose Unicef this year as a way for children to help fellow children living in areas of conflict. While we don’t want the worries of the world to weigh too heavily on the children, we like to nurture a social conscience in allowing them to help those less fortunate than themselves at Christmas. The children raised over €2,200 euro which will go to the purchase of emergency kits, blankets, tarpaulins,  medicines and water purification tablets. We are immensely proud of their efforts in raising so much money for Unicef. 

Our fundraisers – Santa Dash 2023

Hot on the heels of our very successful Shoebox Appeal collection, we are now looking to fundraise for Unicef in light of the events in Gaza. We would like to support fellow children affected.

5th and 6th class will undertake a 5km Santa Dash on 8th December and are training daily for the event. We are thankful to parents who will steward and provide refreshments and also to the staff who are undertaking the run with them. Biggest thanks goes to Mr. Breen who is coordinating the event again this year!

We love the designs that the children created for the sponsorship cards. Well done to those who were selected as the winning designs!

Nature based learning

Some nature base play captured! We have big plans for nature based learning going forward and may be asking parents with skills to come on board as we develop this area. More to follow…..

Hallowe’en fun!

It was great to see such self expression in the array of costumes here for dress up day!! Well done all!

The Student Voice

Caoimhe and Tabitha dictated an email to me which we sent to the Parents’ Association in response to their survey regarding the 6th class gift. Hearing the pupil voice is so important to us and we are grateful to the PA for extending this invitation to the pupils. It’s also important that we model gratitude for such kind gestures. Well done girls!


Huge thanks to parents Laura Molloy and Shane Fleming for their trojan work in completely revamping our sensory space! We just love it! This space is a wonderful hub for a time out for children with diagnoses or for children who may need a time out. It will get so much use. Enjoy this before/after reel for a glimpse of this super space! (click the link below)


We really won the jackpot with our Parents’ Association! They do so much for us to make school the best place it can be! Last night, Laura, Fiona, Danielle and Ronnie were in until half ten putting down our new sensory corridor to be enjoyed by all pupils (and staff!!!!) Stay tuned for videos and pictures. There has been such a buzz of excitement today! Kinaesthetic learning is how some children best learn so we are delighted with this installation. Special thanks to our chairperson Laura who designed the decals and organised the whole project!

A kinaesthetic-tactile learning style requires that you manipulate or touch material to learn

Click the links above to see our pupils learning in such a fun way!

Turkey Syria Appeal

Well done and thank you to Ms. Lynch and her wonderful team for raising €2,220 for the Turkish/Syrian relief fund via The Irish Red Cross. We are indebted to our prize sponsors, Seafield Hotel and Resort, Amber Springs, Mary B’s Off Licence, Arklow Golf Club, Kate Kos painter and The Fitness Tailor.

Well done to all our pupils who kindly donated a toy to be given to the children affected by the earthquake. The donations will be made via Arklow United Football Club and Heart to Hand

March – Arklow Music Festival!

We had a fantastic week at Arklow Music Festival with every class entering a competition. We came away with a third place, a 2nd place and 4 first place trophies!! More than this was the feeling of jobs well done, rehearsals that were enjoyed, collaboration with friends, face paint and costumes that added to the fun and the real life embodiment of the drama and arts curriculum.
I would like to thank the teachers for their direction and enthusiasm. I would like to thank all staff for their ideas and help with costumes, facepaint and all the other ways they helped.
I would like to congratulate each and every little actor who so bravely stood up to perform today and on Monday – it’s not an easy thing to do! You were all just amazing and we are so proud of you!
Performing at Arklow Music Festival is a memory I treasure from childhood and I hope it will be the same for all our pupils!


Monday: We are off to a super start for Friendship Week! Today senior classes buddied up with younger pupils to make friendship bracelets. They discussed their likes and interests and it was a lovely bonding experience.

Friendship Week – Tuesday
Well done to our Amber Ambassadors, Student Council, Ms. Penston and Fiona on the fantastic morning that was had today! Breakfast and conversation was enjoyed by all! Thank you to Brennan’s Bread, Salt Rock Dairy and Pettitt’s Super Value Arklow for sponsoring the food and drinks!

Friendship Week – Wednesday

Today’s activities included searching the enchanted wood and school surrounds for friendship rocks with lovely messages on them! This hunt was great fun! We are going to enjoy reading compliments slips later!

TURKEY/ SYRIA Fundraiser

The winners of our adults’ draw are :

Seafield voucher- Rosarii Kinsella

Amber Springs- Anne Marie Staff

The fitness tailor – Marie Breen

Kate Kos painting – Neil McCormick

Hamper – Anna Doherty

Arklow golf Club Voucher- Leonie Doyle

Huge thanks to everyone who baked, bought tickets and donated to our fundraising efforts. We are currently nearing €1900 and will give out the official figure next week when all the money has been collected!
Huge thanks to Ms. Lynch who spearheaded today’s efforts and to all the staff who rallied the troops to make today so successful!
What a great way to enter the mid term!
Enjoy the break everyone!


To mark Safer Internet Day, we had Gardaí Sinéad and Fiona in to speak with all classes at an age appropriate level about the dangers and issues associated with being online. Children are definitely accessing more content at a younger age. I have asked them to email some blocks on to me but in the meantime, there are helpful resources at this link: They also emphasised the need for parents to supervise what their children are playing and if they are engaging with strangers online. It could be a good dinner conversation to have.

The Student Voice

This morning, there was a very productive joint meeting of The Student Council and The Amber Ambassadors. I look forward to reading the minutes and see what plans and decisions have been made!

Care home penpals!

We had lovely news today when Aodán received a response from his carehome resident along with €5 for him to spend on himself! What a treat and unexpected reward for an act of kindness!!


Today was a really interesting day for 3rd-6th class students as they welcomed Niall from Trócaire. Niall taught the children about global justice and there was lots of fun with interactive board games. We love to develop our students’ social consciences.


Pictured is Eoghan who was spotted very kindly looking after a junior infant who fell on yard. He brushed his hands down and helped him up! We love to see these acts of kindness – enjoy your sweet treats Eoghan!


3rd and 4th class really enjoyed their visit to Carnew Mart today where they learned about farm safety and enjoyed a tour of the mart. They were treated to nuggets and chips and a goodie bag! A great day all round!


On Thursday 25th November, our community gathered at Ballyfad for our first annual Shine a Light event. Organised by Fiona along with her team of Amber Ambassadors, the event was arranged to shine a light on mental health positivity and awareness in school.

On the night, our families arrived at Ballyfad woods to be greeted by a magical scene with fairy lights adorning the trees. Fiona and Sharon had created a really special setting for the event. The evening commenced with a performance of ‘You are my Sunshine’ by the school band (including teachers and students playing guitars, violins and glockenspiel). All children sang in the school choir. There were reflections and we were treated to sound meditation with chime bells and Tibetan bowls from Bernie from Sundara whos specialises in sound therapy.

The fact that it lashed on the night did nothing to dampen the spirits of the school community who warmed up with hot chocolate and treats afterwards served by Finola,. Angie and Sam. We would like to thank The Ashdown Hotel, Topline Bolands and Joanne’s for their kind donations on the night.  

By taking the event out of the school building and away from the books, we showed that we are a community of families with a shared care for one another’s wellbeing. 

Homeless Appeal

Closing date is this Wednesday for our homeless appeal. We would love to see some more donations. It doesn’t need to cost anything, lots of these might be in your house in good condition – thank you


5th and 6th class, under the coordination of Mr Breen, will be taking on their Santa Dash this Friday. We are very proud of them! They have been training hard and all their sponsorship will go to the local Ukrainian hub who have provided lots of support to our Ukrainian friends. Well done to the very talented artists who designed the sponsorship cards this year!


Well done to our Student Council, Ms. Penston and participating families- we collected 83 boxes! Thank you all


Thanks to Mr Breen’s class for teaching the younger students how to fill out an online survey about their views for the locality. The student voice is really important!

European Day of Languages


How adorable are senior infants singing their French numbers song! Click on the link above to view!


Well done to all our amazing pupils on another great assembly full of recognition! We value improvement just as much as continued success – well done all! Thank you to the teachers and SNAs for recognising and valuing the various individual talents

A visit from Gold Winning Paralympian Carol Carr!

We had a super opportunity today in that we welcomed Irish Paralympic gold medalist Carol Carr to our school. Carol brought her guide dog Arlo who was a hit with the children too! Carol shared her experiences as a female athlete with disablities and was most inspiring. We feel that it is so important to promote both inclusion and gender equality in sport so this was a fantastic experience and we are grateful to Lisa Hempenstall for arranging this visit. The children were enabled to see Braille and see Carol’s Hall of Fame certificate and her gold and bronze medals. We hope the children take something from this visit.

We are so thrilled to have received our second Amber Flag! Well done to our hard working committee! We are so proud!

Consultation with school communities around bullying.

Thank you to our Student Council and Amber Ambassadors who undertook this government survey around the issue of bullying. We value the student voice greatlyhttp://

Amber Flag Renewal- May 2022

We have submitted our application for renewal of our Amber Flag for wellbeing. Huge thanks to Fiona for all her hard work and well done to our Amber Ambassadors for their ongoing hard work also! We have had a lot of fun along the way!

We Stand with Ukraine

Thank you to all who donated to our Ukraine collection. The spirit of solidarity is strong in the school and I have attached some images of artwork and the donations. We have started planting our corridor of sunflowers to welcome any refugees that may come to our school. They will receive a warm welcome from us . Many thanks to Kieran Byrne and Sharon Keating for providing this collection facility for Heart to Hand


Click on the link for advice from NEPS (National Educational Psychology Service) on how to talk to your child about war

The Irish Times: Our pupils’ views on the war in Ukraine

We are delighted to have been asked by journalist Jen Hogan to contribute to an Irish Times article on how the war in Ukraine is affecting children. At an age appropriate level (3rd-6th class), I will talk a little about it on Friday at assembly as children may well be thinking about it. There is some good advice for parents in this article. Thank you to our wonderful contributors who showed great empathy in their feedback.


What an amazing day we have had! Well done to all on great fundraising – we raised over 600 – final total to be confirmed! Well done to all on dressing up so creatively – we were blown away by the hair drama!! The children had a great day and it was a lovely end to Friendship February. Thank you to Fiona, Sharon, our Amber Ambassadors and Student Council. Thank you for all the donations of prizes.


On Friday, we spoke about some recent amazing achievements of Irish women in sport including those of Rachael Blackmore, Rhasidat Adeleke and Leona Maguire. We continue to promote equality for all our pupils and also the respect for one another in sport and the wider world. This might be a nice conversation to have over dinner


Lucky senior infants and 1st class had great fun learning with Carmel this week as they sewed peas and cornflower seeds! They love the feel of soil in their hands and are looking forward to seeing them grow!

Friendship February

We are using Kindness Jars as part of #FriendshipFebruary this week. We hope that being friendship detectives and reporting acts of kindness will foster and encourage kindness in school. It is important to recognise and name a kind act.

We are excited to kick off #FriendshipFebruary tomorrow in association with Special Olympics Ireland. Here Anna and Aodán are displaying our quote of the week – Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud!

Activities for those isolating at home

Here is our school padlet which is jam packed with activities for your child to engage in if you are isolating/restricting movements currently.
There is something here for everyone!

Santa Dash 2021 – in aid of St. Vincent de Paul

Huge congratulations to 5th/6th class whose contribution of over €1700 to St. Vincent de Paul, Gorey, will make Christmas better for some families in poverty in our locality. We are so proud of them.

What a fantastic morning with every child completing the almost 6km loop!! We are so proud of you all. Special congratulations to Ravindra who crossed the line first with Mr. Breen! Huge thanks to Mr Breen and all the staff who participated and helped, to the parents who stewarded, ran/walked, prepared/donated refreshments. There was quite a spread on their return – and well deserved too!!
The other pupils in the school gave the seniors a great send off and enjoyed their active disco on yard and a little Christmas treat as a reward. You all looked so great in your dress up clothes!!

Inside Out Day!

On Wednesday our Amber Ambassadors are running ‘Inside Out Day’. Children are permitted to wear their clothes inside out and odd socks too! The message we are sending is that we are all unique and different, how someone looks on the outside may not always reflect how they feel on the inside and our feelings matter (thanks Fiona for the wording). We hope that this will be a little light hearted fun on Wellness Wednesday. There will be no homework on Wednesday to mark the day.

Listening to the Student Voice

Here at Scoil Ghormáin Naofa, we actively promote the platform for the student voice. With this in mind, we have four councils; The Green School Council, Amber Ambassadors (for mental health), Active Flag Committee and The Student Council. These councils represent their fellow students and meet regularly, minutes of which are stored with those from staff meetings. Keep an eye on our website for the many initiatives they will be involved in over the year!


The Student Council and Active Flag Committee of Scoil Ghormáin Naofa, Castletown, worked collaboratively to create a Super Healthy Day last Friday. The day kicked off with children arriving with their helmets and scooters to enjoy fun movement breaks throughout the day. There was great excitement with children zooming around the school yard!  The Student Council distributed a range of healthy breakfasts to each classroom. All of the produce was donated by local companies and shops. Salt Rock Dairy from Tara Hill provided delicious creamy milk and Staffords Bakery delivered multiple packs of their tasty brown soda bread. Student council member Ellen made healthy granola bars and Nutorious Nutrition donated jars of their signature granola.  Certainly the carbon footprint was minimal for this venture and children were made aware of the produce that is available locally. We would also like to acknowledge Lidl Arklow, Pettitt’s Supervalu Gorey and Tesco Arklow for generously supplying healthy low sugar cereals and fruit.All packaging was recycled, Salt Rock glass bottles will be reused and unopened cereal boxes were donated to the local Food Cloud collection. Even our pupils’ hens were fed the leftover cereal! We are delighted that this sustainability will satisfy the interests of our Green School committee who work hard to improve our practices all year round. The healthy, happy atmosphere feeds into the work being done by our Amber Ambassadors (for Mental Health).As part of our Active Flag, the action continued with pop music on the yard at breaktime. We want to encourage our students to move as much as possible and we aim to provide a variety of fun ways in which to do so, thus tapping into the interests of the various students. I would like to commend our staff and students for the collaboration in making the day so memorable. Mens sana in corpore sano!


Communions and Confirmations 2022

The following information has been requested by the parish office for anyone making First Holy Communion or Confirmation in 2022.

‘ We are now taking registrations for Communions and Confirmations for 2022,  I would be grateful if you could let the parents of children who are due to make their Communion and  Confirmation to log onto and register their child’

Parents are asked to:

  • Fill in all details asked for on the application form
  • If their Child was baptised in the Parish of Arklow, Castletown or Johnstown to give exact date of baptism
  • If their Child was baptised outside the Parish to make sure to send in copy of Baptism Cert same week as they send in their application to
  • If any parent has difficulty doing an online form or have queries they can contact Siobhán Murphy, parish secretary, on 085 2534718 or the above email.

Many thanks


Secretary, Arklow Parish


Ms. Walker’s class made a beautiful display to honour and remember those whom we have loved and lost. May they rest in peace

Station teaching – thematic

Station teaching in Ms. D’Arcy/Ms. McDevitt’s class – children love hands-on experiential learning and we have invested in more materials for this.


The pupils of Mr. Breen’s 5th and 6th class were delighted to welcome Micheál O’Scannail from RTÉ news2Day to our school to record a feature on Budget 2022. It was a great experience from many perspectives. The children were enabled to experience the process of making a segment for television; the cuts, the outtakes, audio and visuals. Exploring film and digital media is an exciting way for children to learn and to have the opportunity to interact with people who work in this field was invaluable. Working on this feature enabled the children to have an opinion on the country’s budget and they prepared for the visit by discussing where the country’s money would be best invested. Isobelle Roland (5th class) believed that ‘some of the budget should go to mental health. Because of Covid, a lot of people without families haven’t been able to socialise’. She believes that some money ‘should go to paying counselors to go to people’s houses and chat to them to make them feel less lonely.’

We believe it is really important to foster the children’s independent thought and social consciences so that they are prepared when they reach voting age and know that their voices count. The RTÉ News2Day experience was a really fun way of learning about the country’s finances and we are very grateful to Micheál and his team for the opportunity.

Sacraments – October 2021

Congratulations to all who made their First Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation over the last week! Many thanks to Fr. Pádraig and Fr. David for celebrating and to all the teachers for their work in preparing the children and providing such beautiful music.

Books for Malawi


Books for Malawi!
Here is an update on a programme we were delighted to be part of; sending books to Malawi. Huge thanks to Carmel for coordinating and to all families and children who donated so generously. It is lovely to see our name associated with such a worthy cause.

We are delighted to be organising a book collection for children in Malawi. Malawi is a landlocked country on the continent of Africa with a very low GDP. We learned that the pupil teacher ratio in Junior Infants is 130:1 and the children have no books. As an English speaking country, they will find our books most useful. We are so lucky and privileged to have access to so many good quality reading materials. We hope that our students have felt the importance of selecting some of their pre-loved books for donation and of the impact that this will make to the lives of these children.

Talks for parents by Dr. Colman Noctor

* Here is a link to a series of talks for parents in association with the National Parents’ Council and presented by Dr. Colman Noctor
1. Connecting with your child:
2. Helping anxious children :
3. Your child’s online life:
4. Building your child’s social savvy


The excitement of new toys! Our students were delighted to receive these new wooden toys to play  with at breaktime!

Happy #InternationalWomensDay to all our bold and brave young women! You can be whatever you want to be!



Wellness Wednesday was a big hit, we had great engagement from all and the feedback was so positive. We hope that there was something for everyone. Below are some of the resources that we provided

Muscle Relaxation – for adults and children!

Aquarium footage to relax to – enjoy!

Bubble bounce – watch and breathe

Cosmic Kids relaxation

Belly breathing

Storyline online

Check out our Music and the Arts page for images from our art competition!

Our super team of SNAs have set a baking challenge for our students! The first baking challenge is pancakes for the day that’s in it! Feel free to add your own twist and email photos to me ! There will be a prize for the person crowned Castletown Bake-off champion!


Kitt’s video:  02375673-10a7-4c72-b299-f6db8bde8286


Click the link above for the recipe for Finola’s yummy brownies!

DONT FORGET TO WEAR RED/PINK for assembly today! I will have a spy looking for the best efforts for a prize!

Join us at 11 for or weekly catch up, raffles, slideshow and much more

Suggested reading for emotional well-being

This guide is a wonderful index of books that can support children experiencing loss, anxiety , low mood etc.

We hope you find it useful.

Fundraising for Gorey St. Vincent de Paul


6th class handed over their whopping cheque to St. Vincent de Paul today. The members complimented them on their selflessness. Well done again!

Outdoor learning! 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! We have certainly turned necessary outdoor movement breaks into something our children really look forward to. Today, 6th class are working on our outdoor classroom. This is so good for mental well being and contentment. Well done all!

Check out this video of the happy learning environment here! Gardening and gymnastics in the great outdoors!!



Information from the HSE around well-being: supports for parents and schools.

This newsletter provides some great links around positive mental health, physical activity and how to get your child into a healthy sleep routine. We hope you find it useful.

Black Lives Matter is a cause that should not only affect adults but children too. Here are some resources that might help you to have discussions with your children. Thank you to those who shared these resources with me.

The Elmer series of books celebrate diversity and colour differences at an elementary level. The song at the link above is a fun way of sharing a really important message

Reading Material: Today FM provide a list of appropriate reading material recommended by parents. See link below

This article provides some language that may aid conversations with your children around this topic


This article from The New York Times recommends talking to your child about racism from an early age.  Click on the link below


At Scoil Ghormáin Naofa we are committed to the creation of an inclusive environment which celebrates all cultures.


We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in securing our first Amber Flag for the promotion of positive mental health in our school. Amber Flag is run by Pieta House.

Now more than ever, we value the importance of positive mental health and mental resilience. We look forward to building on our mental health practices when we return to school.

We believe that our Amber Flag and Active Flag work well in tandem with one another. A healthy mind in a healthy body.