Many of those in attendance were parents of children in Junior Infants, who acknowledged that they didn't know what was already in place in the school - this added pleasure to the conversation as many of the ideas suggested are already in place in our school and many have scope for expanding.
The following are ideas suggested along with some comments from Caitriona on each suggestion. If you have further ideas, get in touch and let us know.
A multi-cultural dance and music event or day
Have an Ethnic Day to celebrate people from different cultures
- Fabulous ideas! We will definitely keep these in mind for future planning.
- Our multi-cultural food fair was such a success last Friday that we had numerous suggestions that it could be broadened to include music, dance, clothes and so on so there is definitely scope there for expanding that.
Parents in to read books
Child picks their favourite book and their parent comes in to read it
- This is part of our annual calendar. For Mother Language Week, parents, grandparents and other family members are invited in to the school to read a book to children in their mother tongue.
- There is scope for expanding this throughout more of the school year. I see this working best by parents taking the initiative individually and volunteering to go into their own child's class. So please let your child's teacher know if you would like to do that, what book you would like to read and when you are available. Please note that it is very important for children to hear each language spoken by adults who have first-language fluency in that language and so we warmly welcome parents in to read books in their own first language.
- We have some books in two languages in the school and would love to get more.
- We have books from a number of different cultures and hope to continue to build this store.
- We have a strong relationship with the library service, with the mobile library visiting our school every month and also loaning us sets of novels for use throughout the school. We are also aware of their online resources.
- We did a tour for parents to Tallaght library in April 2016 and regularly share their events via our website and Facebook feed.
- We have brought children to Tallaght library and hope to do so again.
- I'm sure there are even more supports that Tallaght library can offer us and we will keep that in mind.
Parents come in to the class when they have a particular interest in an area or topic
- We would love to see more of this happen. So far, we have mostly relied on parents letting us know their availability and interests. Also, it has happened more in Infant classes than in older classes. We will certainly reflect on how this could be expanded and used to benefit the children in their learning.
Careers - parents come in to talk about their job, how they got there and what they do
- These are great ideas and could be used to help the children think about and plan for their futures. If any parent would like to pilot this, please let us know. It would be great to get a few trial-runs done this year so we can consider how it might work on a broader level when planning for next year.
Exercise their logic – games with parents
- We had parents and community members come in to the school as part of STEM Week in January 2017.
- Again, if any parent would like to come in and trial this, we would love to see how it could work and be developed.
- Shane has started training GAA football teams in the school this year and the older teams (separate for boys and girls) have their first matches in October 2017.
- If any parent would like to work with pupils on developing another sports team for our school, please come and talk with Caitriona.
Teach coding to the children
Academy of coding – invite them in
Logic programming and coding
- We have a class set of laptops, which is timetabled for use across each week. Some teachers are choosing to teach coding during their class' laptop time. We are almost ready to buy the class set of tablets we fund-raised for last year and this will give extra opportunity to develop ICT skills in the children.
- We also have Beebots, which teach basic programming in a child-friendly way. The Beebots are scheduled to visit each class throughout the year. They stay with each class for approx a fortnight so that children can develop their skills across a number of lessons close after one another.
- Coding Club for children in 4th and 5th classes is starting on 9th October, led by teachers.
- Coder Dojo will be starting in January 2018, led by a parent.
- Once we see how these go, we would consider expanding them to include younger children.
- Lovely idea, once the logistics are ironed out.
- Our calendar is set for this school year. If any parent has ideas on how to develop this idea, please approach the Parents Association to discuss it, with a view to it possibly being included in the calendar for the 2018/19 school year.
- This is a beautiful idea and so important from a child's identity point of view. We will certainly consider introducing this.
- This is a lovely idea and we would be happy to facilitate access to the school grounds at weekends for organised events with child protection and health and safety plans in place.
- Again, the calendar for this year has already been set but the Parents Association may be open to including such an event on their calendar for the 2018/19 school year.
- If you would like to set up your own event for this school year, outside of PA and/or Staff support, come talk with Caitriona.
- We have done a few initiatives like this over the years. While there was great enthusiasm from parents in the early years, the coordination of it and work involved in encouraging parents to take part has proven to be quite onerous and unsustainable. Trying to do it without parental support is difficult as the adult:child ratios required mean using significant amounts of support teaching time, which can't be justified too often.
- There is a parent who has been discussing school gardening with me recently and I am hopeful that his passion and enthusiasm will prove infectious once we get going!
Nursing homes linkage – visiting – e.g. parachute, singing songs – every child gave a small donation
- We visit TLC at least once a year, singing for the residents and chatting with them. We have been doing this since 2012.
- A donation was never suggested before. We can suggest it next time we are arranging a visit.
- We have been reluctant to do this due to the high number of children in our school whose grandparents live abroad.
- We will certainly discuss this again and would be glad to hear ideas regarding how to get around that sensitivity for children who could not bring their grandparents or older person to school.
- We have been reluctant to do this, given the diverse living arrangements of our families and the high number of schools in the area, all of whom need to fundraise - we felt it would be unfair to ask parents whose children attend another school to donate money to our school.
- This is definitely worth discussing again and clarifying the Board of Management's position on this, at this stage of our school's development.
- There is significant work involved in organising a Fun Run, particularly for the first time. However, it would be in line with our Active Schools programme and so is worth considering.
- As for previous ideas, please let your child's class teacher know if going on a local trail with the children is something you would be interested in doing, particularly if you have knowledge or skills that could be useful.
- We have taken part in various partnerships and this has been quite successful e.g. CraftED, SARI, Blue Star Programme, Heritage in Schools, NCAD and many, many more. Some of these have come from connections with parents in the school. If any parent has a skillset or connection that would be useful here, be sure to get in touch.
- Lovely idea
- Talent Shows generally require a lot of practice and rehearsal, which takes away from teaching and learning time. We would need to examine the rationale for that pay-off.
- We will consider introducing a smaller-scale version of this as we further develop school assemblies this year.
- Our Parents Association have run these successfully over the past few years and have further workshops planned for later this school year.
- Aoife (teacher) did try to introduce a broader-scale version of parents and children meeting after school to share activities (called You and Your Child) back in 2014 but there wasn't the interest amongst parents.
- Lovely idea. If anyone would like to organise this and has ideas about how to go about it, please get in touch with me.
- This is very much in line with our pilot home learning programme that we run in the senior classes. I don't think we have yet had parents come in to present the project with their child but we would welcome that.
- Eldon's 3rd class took part in the Mini Scientist Exhibition last year and, as part of that, opened a Science Fair for all children in the school. When we have more pupils in the senior end of the school and when we have had more experience with this programme, I can see us opening up the Science Fair to parents also.
Spelling bee or similar in Maths - adults competition as well – chn versus parents
- It would be lovely to be able to take part in every initiative going but, unfortunately, doing so would take so much time from teaching and learning the basics, the school curriculum, that it would be counter-productive. As we grow into the senior end of the school, teachers have the freedom to sign up to the programmes that interest them and their class and fit their planning for the school year. Perhaps one of our teachers will choose one of these programmes. If not, we can look at introducing them once we have consolidated the basics in the senior end of the school.
- Debating/persuasive language skills is part of the school curriculum and is taught in senior classes. We would relish the opportunity of having a parent with court experience or skills coming in to help us run moot trials in the senior end of the school. Please let us know if this is your skill-set!
- We have sets of percussion instruments in the school, as well as a piano and keyboards.
- Children in the senior end of the school learn how to play tin whistle.
- Last year, children in 2nd class were offered the opportunity to avail of free piano lessons.
- If teaching children how to play musical instruments is in any parent's skill-set and you would like to share that skill, please let me know
- Mervin has been in to visit our school a number of times and has always been warmly received by all. We would love to develop that relationship further
- We take part in the Incredible Edibles programme each year, growing plants from seeds.
- We have developed raised beds in the school garden. However, maintaining the beds is quite difficult, especially during school closures, and it is very difficult to keep momentum going.
- Sounds fun! Go for it! If you would like space in the school to do this together, come talk with me and I will see what we can do.
- The pictures outside Caitriona's office/library were worked on together by pupils, staff and parents.
- The felted map of the world that is now hanging in Caitriona's office was a collaborative piece of art created by the class that are currently in 4th class.
- Another mural sounds great - if you are an artist and you would like to lead this, let me know.
- We have had a few tries at this, with mixed results.
- There are a few logistical concerns with this, meaning that it is quite a bit of work to organise and coordinate.
- If you would like to organise this, please talk with the Parents Association about their experiences and possibly including it in next year's calendar
- Wonderful idea - any takers for organising it?!