PLANTING NATIVE TREES!
We had a busy day planting saplings! Huge thanks to Kate of None So Hardy Forestry for her generous sponsorship and to Caroline and Michael who came digging with staff and students! Thanks also to Carmel for coordinating.
We planted native whitethorn and blackthorn interspersed with native crab apple and rowan/mountain ash. We are aiming to make a natural hedgerow as a valuable food source and habitat for our birds and bees!
Newsletters – an update
We have decided to go paperless with our newsletters from now on. As we keep you up to date on a daily basis with Dojo etc, we have made our newsletter more concise and environmentally friendly!
Sustainable Christmas Decoration Competition
I am launching a Christmas decoration competition. Children are challenged to make a decoration from recycled materials and bring it in to inject some festive colour to our school! Families may help, the emphasis is on collaboration and enjoyment. The deadline is Friday 17th December and there will be prizes for the best – enjoy!!
We are a no-glitter school so you won’t see that in our decorations. Each year I am amazed by the standard of creativity! I will post pictures over the next week – enjoy!
We remained considerate of our planet when we undertook the Santa Dash last Friday. Here are the pouches we sourced instead of plastic water bottles. 83% plant based – it’s the little changes that add up!
Huge thanks to Lucas and Alison’s dad Ciaran for making this compost area for our school. Our Green School Committee is very grateful!
1st and 2nd class had a fantastic field trip to John’s family business. They learned lots about planting trees and were each given a rowan tree to take home! How kind!! Huge thanks Kate and family for this memorable trip.
Well done to our Green School council who gave a great talk on bees with the help and guidance of Sharon, our resident bee lover! Well done all!
OUR NEW GREEN SCHOOL COMMITTEE!
Here are the members of our new Green School Committee. They have a great plan of work for the year ahead including monthly talks with classes around specialist subjects, auditing energy use in school, reducing litter, increasing recycling and getting our wonderful parents involved in some green projects! Stay tuned…..
CLIMATE AND NATURE SUMMIT 2021
As a Green School we are registered participants in the Climate and Nature Summit 2021 which is running this week. We have a newly formed Green Committee coordinated by Ms. McDevitt, Finola and Sharon (pics to follow!) and they have been given brand new shiny badges so that we can easily identify them in school!
Today some classes learned about Picker Pals. We are so close to beautiful beaches and have used them for walks, lessons on biodiversity and for sandcastle competitions! We have just registered to be a Picker Pals school and look forward to playing our part in keeping our local beach clean! Pictured: Junior infants drawing a dirty beach and a clean beach. They learned about how animals can be saved by keeping beaches clean. We can all make a difference!
Day 3 of Climate and Nature Summit – look at this lovely display from Ms. Walker’s room!
Here 5th and 6th class are combining their digital learning with a lesson around sustainable goals and climate change. They did some personal research and enjoyed learning from the ultimate conservationist, David Attenborough!
Friday 05/11/2021 What a great way to finish ClimateandNatureSummit21! 5th/6th class presented their findings on sustainable farming, deforestation and climate change to 3rd/4th class in our outdoor classroom. Look at that sky!! Thanks to all who got stuck in for a school clean up last thing today – we are so lucky to have such beautiful grounds!
5th and 6th class had a wonderful field trip today examining the biodiversity of the local river. The children were thoroughly engaged! It just goes to show how interactive hands-on learning is so effective!
Huge thanks to Cathy Lee for coordinating the event and to Rory Keating and his colleague from Inland Fisheries Ireland for their expertise and indeed the gifts they brought!
Eliminating single use plastics
In an effort to reduce single use plastic in school , we have decided to ban Twistable type crayons from September. Other Crayola crayons are preferable for younger children. It’s a small change but we like to play our part!
We have also banned glitter and our reusable school water bottle is available to purchase in school at a cost of €4.
Great developments in our outdoor garden patch. Here 6th class are tending to our thriving crops!
Great work 6th class!
We were delighted to welcome Micheál O’Scannail and News2Day to our school today to film our outdoor endeavours in celebration of World Bee Day!
Our students had a ball recording in the rainy weather! The wellies and raincoats certainly came in handy!
We are delighted to see the fruits of our labour already – click on this video to see one of our stripy visitors busy at work!
We are so proud of 2nd/3rd class for their super representation of us. We can’t wait to hear their biodiversity rap on RTÉ at 4.20 today!
We were delighted to receive delivery of our beautiful toadstools from The Concrete Lady! They are a beautiful addition to our woodland walkway and I’m sure that our fairies will love their new habitats! Lilian, Charlotte, Tabitha and Hannah found the perfect spots for them!
2nd & 3rd class took part in The National Museum of Ireland’s interactive workshop on Bumble & Bees with Dr Karina Dingerkus as part of #NMI-CountryLife schools programme 2021.
Our students were fully engaged and asked lots of clever questions! We are very proud of them!
Planting a Willow Tree!
Click the link above for more information on our willow planting from Carmel
Our Junior Infants are enjoying building their woodpile habitats for mini beasts!
They also enjoy a movement break in our woodland area!
Our fun new planters!
Well done to all our students who were involved in painting these upcycled tyres. More to follow ……
Please please the Bees!
2nd/3rd class are looking forward to their interactive workshop with The National Museum of Ireland tomorrow around theme of Bees. They have been really buzzzzzzzy preparing for the workshop and will have lots of questions!
Here is their classroom window -we love their art!
Pictured: Our bee habitats ready for Beeville! Stay tuned!
We are proud to be supporters of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan!
We have repotted our plants. They had germinated so well that we planted some seedlings out into our school veg garden! We are growing broad beans, spinach, peas, beetroot, radish, onion and lettuce!
Click on the video above to see the finch who arrived for dinner!
We had a visitor this morning! As lovely as it was to see a hedgehog during daytime, we know that it is not natural so this little guy is gone to our local vet. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. Fingers crossed he will be ok!
*Update* The vet says we have the healthiest female hedgehog ever! As you can see, our infants are delighted. We are now giving her some food and will release her back into a hedgerow shortly.
Click on the link above to see our little friend eating his cat food!
Earth Day 2021
*SEE ALSO OUR OUTDOOR CLASSROOM PAGE FOR MORE GREEN ENDEAVOURS!
Earth Day took place during a very busy week in Scoil Ghormáin Naofa. As a result of lockdown, we have been exploring the benefits of outdoor learning for positive mental well being. Our staff has been delivering the curriculum in a very hands on manner in our developing outdoor classroom.
We would like every day to be Earth Day in our school and are currently devising a long term plan to utilise our surroundings for learning. All classes are currently involved in projects based in nature and our environment. Students of all ages have been digging, sowing, raking, planting and watering. Infants to first class have been observing and recording data with regard to visits from bees and birds and have started to identify a couple of species. Second and third class are working on the All Ireland pollinator plan supported by Ms. McDevitt and SNAs Finola and Carmel. In connection with this initiative, they are looking forward to an interactive workshop with the National Museum around the theme of bees.
Our parents have been hugely supportive with bird boxes, signage, outdoor blackboards, reading throne and fairy doors all being donated for our outdoor classroom and woodland walk. 6th class will be designing natural décor for the little woods inside our school boundaries. They have also been digging and planting new bushes. 4th and 5th class are currently cultivating a bogland which we hope will provide a habitat to frogs and other species next year.
Planting has been prolific with busy lizzies, sunflowers, fruit and vegetables being grown by our students. Our bug hotel is regularly booked out due to how well it is maintained by the housekeeping staff in Mr. Breen’s class!
Developing our outdoor space has been hugely beneficial in giving children a hands on experience of the importance of our ecosystems and their reliance on us as humans. Future developments will include an owl habitat amongst other ideas.
We have found that the happy chatter and engagement of our children is testament to how active learning is so effective. During assembly we discussed Earth Day and agree that we are merely custodians of Earth with a responsibility to pass it on to the next generation in good condition. We hope that providing our students with these learning opportunities will remind them that every day should be Earth Day.
Thank you to the Gorey Guardian for this piece on Earth Day at our school!
Active learning in the great outdoors!
Our students are becoming avid ornithologists! Here is some useful information to help our students identify visiting species!
We have noticed the arrival of a finch since we put out new feed. Some children spotted a buzzard last week- like a red kite only it has a fan tail rather than a forked tail. Well spotted!
We have noted that the birds are in full song lately! Maybe we are more in tune or perhaps we are having more visitors!
Click on the link above to see a sample of us linking the theme of area in Maths with measuring our planned meadow and bogland areas in our outdoor space! We believe that the experiential nature of this type of teaching embeds the learning. Active learning is really great!
Our green fingered students Michael and Oliver engage in some potting activities for the Incredible Edibles initiative! We look forward to their progress!
THE GREAT OUTDOORS!
We have been exploring our 5km radius our birds are well fed and we had great fun making habitats and stick men!
Christmas Art Competition!
We are challenging our students to make a Christmas decoration using recycled materials. There will be lovely prizes for the winners! Click on the link to view our wonderful entries!
I am delighted to announce that we are currently purchasing items for our OUTDOOR CLASSROOM! We have seen that we are utilising our outdoor space so much more since the onset of Covid-19 and would like to continue to do so. Pictured is our gardening group who are going to collect ideas for our outdoor classroom from the student body. Also pictured, junior and senior infants ‘investigating’ outside.
We have a team of staff volunteers who are planning the classroom. We will get started with benches, tables and an outdoor blackboard. As we proceed we will share our wishlist with you as you may be (or may know someone) able to help/donate your time/donate an item. Our dream would be to have a chair similar to the one in the picture to make the area somewhat magical for the children. If you can help, we would really love to hear from you. School funds are tightly bound in cleaning costs currently so all creativity welcome!
Progress update! Look
HALLOWE’EN ART COMPETITION!
Combining our love of art, Hallowe’en and being a green school, here are some entries from our Hallowe’en decoration competition! Well done everyone!!
The students of Scoil Ghormáin Naofa, Castletown are working towards making their school more sustainable. Last year, through their Junior Entrepreneur project, a water bottle made from recycled materials was introduced as part of the school uniform. The idea behind this is that it eliminates single use plastic bottles. Children are encouraged to refill their bottles from one of the fountains on the school yard so it compliments their healthy lunch policy also!
This September, the students have decided to ban glitter from Art lessons. Lots of children love using glitter but it was discussed at assembly how microplastics such as glitter have a devastating effect on marine life. At Scoil Ghormáin Naofa, the students are mindful of protecting marine biodiversity, having hosted a visit from RTÉ’s Éanna ní Lamhna last week. The school took an educational field trip to Clone beach where they investigated the ecosystems there. They learned about how to detect phosphates in the streamlet running into the sea.
Other initiatives include reducing litter in classrooms and the creation of junk art. We have a beautiful green field for play on dry days and we look after our wooded area here. Scoil Ghormáin Naofa has raised five green flags and has an active green school committee who wear their badges with pride!
Greta Thunberg is a real inspiration to the students who downed tools during assembly time on Friday, 20th September in support of Global Strike for Climate Change. This inspirational young eco warrior inspires the students at Scoil Ghormáin Noafa to see that our young people can and must change the world.
5th and 6th class students began a survey this week ahead of a Biodiversity workshop in connection with Heritage in Schools, scheduled for April.
Here they are working with numbers for planning!
Graeme and Jack were horrified by the amount of litter that was found in our school green area. We believe that it has blown in from the outside area as we are trying to be conscious of litter and recycling in school. Nathaniel would like to make a sign for outside saying ‘No litter’. Keep it up boys!
Today, 19-09-2019, we welcomed nature expert Éanna ní Lamhna to our school to talk to us about marine biodiversity at Clone Beach. We enjoyed a beautiful walk to the beach that is just on our doorstep and had some play time while we were there. We learned about natural grasses and how the environment affects the ecosystems on the beach. We hope everyone enjoyed their day.
At Sports Day, we had the pleasure of raising our new Biodiversity flag for the first time! We congratulated Ms. McDevitt and the Green School Committee on their hard work and praised how they made the initiative so interactive for all the students. Our green school committee will be rewarded with ice cream and pizza before the school year is out!
Pictured: Diarmuid, Conor, Harry, Erin and Aaron
Our new Green School Motto!
Congratulations to Harry and Sophia who are our Green School Motto winners. They received lovely eco-friendly prizes. We love both their slogans and the artwork!
There was such excitement today when our junior and senior infants embarked on a trip to the duck pond in Arklow. There they observed native wildlife including a swan and her cygnets! They really enjoyed the fairy door trail too!
To end the trip the children played in the playground and had a picnic. They got a huge surprise when Ms. Russell arrived with ice pops. We hope that they have lovely memories from today!
Well done to all on super behaviour!
Castletown Spring Clean Up 2019!
Congratulations to our civic minded students who gave of their spare time to clean Castletown last weekend! We are very proud of them! Ms. Byrne rewarded them for their efforts!
Pictured: Eimear, Usha and Ravindra
Christmas recycling competition! 07-12-2018
Overall winners: Izaac, Charlotte and Freya!
Imagine, this material could just have been dumped! Now look how beautiful it has become!
We learned about landfills, reusing glass bottles and about the excess of paper that is dumped when it could be recycled! We will think twice in future! As we are a green school, we are committed to consciously recycling in our school. 23-11-2018
A visit from our feathered friends!
Today (23-10-2018) was such a fun and memorable day for our students as they got to experience a bird workshop with Colin Travis. We saw owls and hawks and even got to hold them using a special bird glove! Colin was so patient and kind towards our pupils, giving each one enough time to enjoy their experience. One reminded us of Hedwig from Harry Potter!
This experience falls under the SESE umbrella as we investigate the habits and lifestyles of these beautiful birds. It also comes under the Green Flag heading as it is part of biodiversity.
It’s a thumbs up from Cian!
We are loving the abundance of crunchy autumn leaves in all their shades of crimson, brown and gold! Children were making ‘leaf angels’ – a warmer, drier version of snow angles!! They also loved making leaf men and throwing leaves at one another!
Check out our gorgeous photos of our school mini field trip to Clones beach. This fulfilled the active aspect of our Biodiversity flag project. Thank you to Ms McDevitt who organised and to Julie Robertson for coming to talk to our school about coastal care.
How lucky are we to have this on our doorstep! Memories are made of this……
At Assembly on Friday, we had a really interesting presentation from our Green School Committee members around the theme of biodiversity. We explored what biodiversity is and looked at different types of habitats.
Our students are now taking part in Spring Watch – students can record first sightings of new life with our green school committee and may even receive a little treat from Ms. Russell!
Thanks to Ms. McDevitt for all her hard work and dedication in the green school initiative. Thanks too to Carmel for maintaining our crocus plants. They have now been arranged into a star shape in memory of the children who were lost in the holocaust. #crocusday
Future plans include the creation of a bug hotel! Watch this space!
An Taisce Green Flag Award:
As we all know by now Biodiversity is our theme for our upcoming flag renewal. We have elected a new committee which includes the following people: Katie Kinsella, Jack Kenny, Harry Ryan, Conor Fanning, Aaron Halford, Erin Cunningham, Niall O’Shaughnessy, David Byrne, Carmel, Ms McDevitt and Ms D’Arcy. They are going to fill us with all the knowledge they are learning about Biodiversity throughout the year. We have all undertaken a survey with “The Great Plant Hunt” to find out what our knowledge of Biodiversity is and we will retake this survey in June hoping to see a big improvements. We plan on keeping a small corner of the field for wildlife and possibly have a bug hotel to encourage more wildlife to visit. When the weather improves in the spring we will take part in another programme called the Eco Rangers which involves us recording things we find on various nature walks. Any parents that would like to help out with this exciting flag please contact Ms McDevitt.