Mid Week Catch Up on Sports and Well Being Week

We’re fortunate to have staff who get together to organise activities and learning for sports and health week each year. So good they are no online and expected to be done in people’s back garden’s/ play areas as they were in lockdown! We have been utilising every area of the schools grounds and hall all week from P1 – P7. (Nursery are having their own session next week – see the google classroom for nursery end of year activities…) Between rugby, fitness for boxing, Caley Thistle visits and each class playing traditional games from around the Commonwealth countries it’s been fantastic. We’re still playing it cautious as we are aware that COVID is still very much with us so you are only invited to one of the sessions this week rather than dropping into every session you fancy which is our usual practice. P7 tomorrow and the rest of the school on Friday will be having a constant running relay between the classes on the path of the flood prevention area across from the school. A wee reminder that if you want to dust down your trainers and join in with your child’s class, or, indeed, just come along and join in with any class, your child will get the points for their house. A note has gone out on Dojo saying what time your child’s class will be running. (Just think of the steps you’ll get in!) If you’d rather watch and cheer on there is plenty seating. Parent Council is going to make sure there are teas and coffees available for P7 run tomorrow and all day Friday. Tomorrow we’re looking forward to more events and a special cycle stunt show in the afternoon thanks to so many of our young people who cycled/scootered or walked to school in May. Sustrans awarded us this treat!

Still no news on classes and staff for next year. Again, I promise as soon as I can I will share the information. As you can see, my internet is back working as are my emails. I’m getting through them but if you have contacted me and there is no reply by the end of the week or Monday please resend as I wouldn’t want to miss any question you have or information you want to share.

Missing Photos…and New Ones Today

No idea why these didn’t come through on Monday – sincere apologies! From last week’s P6 class, star awards and inter school athletics.

Our juniors had a great day today following in their older peers’ footsteps at The Bught Park – well done all – and for your excellent behaviour and teamwork, cheering on each other and all around you. Very proud of you all. Massive thanks to the staff who have spent hours (you’ve no idea!) getting this ready and also to the rest of the staff back at base who were covering. June is definitely upon us….and on that note: as soon as we know the staff who will be teaching your child next year we will let you know. We appreciate this can be a tense time so as soon as Highland Council has let us know we will share…

Rainbow Colours and Sports Week

Don’t forget if you want to wear rainbow colours tomorrow and donate £1 it will be for the Leanne Foundation – a Highland charity for children – find out more here.

Reports will be out tomorrow and next week is Sports and Well Being Week. Thanks to Mr Grandison and all staff for the activities and learning that they have put together. Still being cautious, we want to invite you to the park only on Friday (Thursday for P6/7) to join us to cheer on the children or to join in with your children’s classes. The Parent Council is organising a healthy hamper and we will be able to buy raffle tickets as of next week. More details to come but thought I’d let you know if you can join us next Friday you will be very welcome…and you will gain points for your children’s houses!

Wee reminder that we have Friday off. You might have herd that some have holidays from tomorrow and some on Monday but in Highland we have Friday only to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. We’re looking forward to the special lunch that the cooks are providing tomorrow as well.

Update from the athletics Baillie Cup…first race, first bronze! All going well so far…

Aileen Mackay, HT

Bits and Pieces and Parents in Person!

Look on Highlife Highland website to see all the opportunities for weekends and during the summer – lots of activities for young people and most are free.

Parent Council tomorrow evening at 6pm – we can meet in person! However, I know some of you liked the online version as you can’t attend in person due to your family circumstances so there is a link to a googlemeet here so you can still contribute.

We have our first P1 Parent Meeting on Wednesday at 6pm as well and, again – in person! This means we can show you the classrooms and Miss Mackay and I will be on hand to answer any questions.

Reports are out on Thursday. What a pleasure I’ve had reading them all and reading your child’s learner statement. All have made improvements and the commitment of our young people to their learning is to be celebrated. It doesn’t happen by chance: parents, carers and families are the biggest influence and add in quality teaching and planned curriculum and it’s going to be a positive experience.

We are aiming for our sports, health & wellbeing week next week. More will be shared hopefully tomorrow. We usually invite parents and carers to all events but there will be just the one that you are invited to – so look out your walking/running shoes as you can get points for your children’s teams by taking part! (You can also do this remotely if you are working…) Hopefully the weather will be kind but please know that we may need to postpone if the rain pours down.

Some photos from last week including our star award winners, P6 checking out liquids and densities and terrific athletes who represented the school well on Saturday. (Check out ‘trainer’ MacDonald dishing out instructions!)

Aileen Mackay, HT

Perfect Hosts!

We’ve had a number of visitors to the school this week and each has commented on the polite, friendly, focused on learning young people in the nursery and school – from other early years providers to Culloden Academy staff and Education Scotland inspectors. Writing attainment, across the school, is positive and slightly higher than across Scotland with reading and numeracy on a par. We’ve been commended for our relationships policy in action amongst staff as well as young people. perfect hosts, every time.

No pats on the back, though, for ourselves: we’re striving to be even better. We’ll be sharing our school improvement projects with the Parent Council for next year and then I’ll post here but we all need to work for our young people here. Never be worried to ask for help to work with your child at home – we’re here! No judgements and always willing to listen.

How are your five ways to well being going? And your well being challenges? I’m proud of myself this week as I’ve managed to STOPP before speaking or doing something! It really did help me make a good choice. Adults need to STOPP as well….even calm, collected me…(!)

Mental awareness is not just for a week a year. I left the blog last Friday asking how you were and to make sure you talked with someone. Hope you’ve done that. What one thing have you done to help you be optimistic this week? What one thing brings out the gratitude in you? Life is hard for so many at the moment it’s so important to find the good in each day. That’s not meant to be patronising – it’s how I get through tough days myself.

Photos and a smashing video of Ms Bennett and a group – Eurovision has nothing on them! So lovely to have star award winners all together as a group after assembly. P2/3 had a good session around what’s good for the body as part of our substance aware curriculum that we use across the school and P6 were using exotic fruit to eat as a stimulus for writing – fantastic stuff.

Have a good weekend and enjoy time together with friends and family when you can and if you’re working, enjoy how you are contributing to the economy and society!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Basketball and Rugby

Highland Rugby Club

Highland Rugby Club are delivering coaching sessions every Tuesday at Culloden Pitches for P4-P7s 4-5pm. There is no cost to attend these sessions however you must book in at https://booking.highlifehighland.com using code 5300CULL. Contact Active Schools Coordinator lynne.fraser@highlifehighland.com for more information.

Junior NBA Basketball

Highland Bears will be hosting Jnr NBA Basketball sessions which start on Monday 6th June for 4 weeks finishing on Monday 27th June 5-7pm at Millburn Academy. These sessions are open to all P6 and P7 pupils. No cost. Players get to keep their strips at the end of the 4 week block. The emphasis is on fun, learning new skills and drills and making all sessions inclusive to all abilities. No experience required. Parents must book before attending these sessions. Please see attached poster for the QR Code to book on to these sessions. Contact ryan_devlin2005@hotmail.com for more information.

Massive Thanks!

Thanks to all staff, young people, parents, grandparents and friends of the school who came on Saturday to help with the grounds clear up. It’s only since last Monday that visitors have been allowed into school so it was lovely to see so many of you joining us to catch up on the work not done because of the building works and then the lockdowns. We were truly humbled by people’s dedication and commitment. Many thanks to the local gardeners who also donated plants – much better to have cuttings from local gardens than new plants from elsewhere. Hopefully now we will be able to keep the grounds in good shape…but we will have another Saturday morning where people can join in.

Education Scotland is coming for a visit on Wednesday to the school. I had asked for volunteers from parents to come forward and discuss how the school managed during lockdowns and managed to remain focused on children’s learning. Thanks so much to those who have said they can be online tomorrow, Tuesday 11.45 – 12.30. If you had missed the invite and are keen to have your say please let me know and I’ll give you the googlemeet link.

Here’s to another good week ahead.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Constantly Learning

‘Back in the day’ when it came to the month of May schools used to be slowing down and reflecting on the year. Not nowadays and certainly not in Smithton! From nursery to P7 there has been active learning across the school. There are children this week who have been asking for extra support so they can get as much out of the school day as possible. There have been children reading for pleasure and writing during their free time. P4 stunned Miss MacDonald with their knowledge of structuring a science report while P7 have been planning workshops for the Five Ways to Wellbeing. A lovely comment this week from Kodaly music tutor who was so impressed with our friendly, engaging and calm children across the school. Our focus on wellbeing remains – not at the expense of literacy and numeracy but to enhance literacy and numeracy.

Have a look at two boys who were so engaged with finding their letters that they didn’t know they were being filmed! You’ll notice this is on our new You Tube Smithton channel – please subscribe so you can then get all the latest videos showing the language of learning happening at school.

Chloe told us all about the Leanne Fund for Cystic Fibrosis today in assembly and let us know about our rainbow colours day 2nd June when we’re asking people to wear rainbow colours and, if possible, donate £1 to CF. You’ll see her photo in the slideshow below. We had hoped to do something way back in December but there were so many absences that we decided to wait until the better weather.

We hope that families across the Smithton Primary school community are managing to engage in our Wellbeing Challenge 2022.  We believe that considering the “5 Ways to Wellbeing” really can help to make us feel good and cope well with life and with the challenges that it can bring.  Classes across the school are busy developing their understanding of mental wellbeing this term.
Since ‘Give’ is one of the “5 Ways to Wellbeing” we thought that we could do some fundraising through our Wellbeing Challenge.   We are aiming to raise some money for The Haven Centre and for our school fund.
Pupils will be coming home with a sponsorship form in their schoolbags.  (Please look out for it!)  It would be fantastic if you were able to encourage your child to seek a little sponsorship from friends and family.  
There is no hurry – we will look to collect in sponsorship money sometime at the beginning of June.

Slideshow has symmetry, music, working together and personal achievements in dance and other out of school events. One of our student teachers, Mr Lyons, does historical enactments so has enthused classes this week with his medieval fashion… Our young people learn loads in school but so many of them learn even more in their clubs, hobbies and sports. Having wider achievements provides more experiences which allows us all to have a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I love the photo of our P2 boy loving his camouflage in the bushes! A bit like the Five Ways to Wellbeing.. connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give. See how often you use these five ways over the weekend. Point them out in your children when you see them focused on their wellbeing. It’s been good mental health week for adults this week….how are you? Please share with someone how you are.

Have a good weekend and hoping to see many of you tomorrow – thanks to those who have signed up to help! See you at 10am.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Class Photos on Wednesday

Please note there will be class photos taken on Wednesday. These will be taken outside, we hope!

Apologies for lack of slideshow on Friday..we had a brilliant first assembly back – the photos don’t do it justice. So lovely to have star award winners in the same place at the same time! It was also clear that we have a number of staff who had assembly for the first time with us rather than being on screen as well so it was a learning experience for many! The young ones sat beautifully considering it was such a big affair.

Look out for Isla who has had her hair chopped. A number of children have done this over the years to donate their hair to other children who need wigs so we’re really proud of Isla for doing this. On another note we had P3 young engineers having a great time using their talking and listening skills alongside problem solving, team work and resilience to get things right. Delighted to see young people choosing to collect plastic that they can see around the school grounds and put into recycling…are you gathering your plastic waste in may to see what is actually able to be recycled? Never a dull moment!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Mental Well Being – A Challenge for All

Another step in the right direction for freedom and the ‘new norm’ courtesy of Jason Leitch – click here for latest COVID news.

Smithton Primary – Wellbeing Challenge 2022

In very simple terms, people with mental wellbeing have the ability to feel good and to function well in their day-to-day lives.

At Smithton Primary, we want to ensure that promoting mental wellbeing is at the very heart of what we do.  We feel that the school is well placed to help develop a better understanding of mental wellbeing across our whole school community:  pupils, staff, parents, neighbours and friends. 

The promotion of mental wellbeing can help to safeguard people’s mental health, and therefore its importance cannot be overstated.

As part of our work on this, we would like to invite pupils and their families to take part in our WELLBEING CHALLENGE.   Throughout the month of May 2022, we will focus on the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’.  These 5 Ways (Connect, Keep Learning, Give, Take Notice, Be Active) may help to develop a greater sense of contentment and life satisfaction, which will in turn lead to enhanced mental wellbeing.

We hope that families throughout the Smithton Primary school community will enjoy this challenge together and will perhaps feel the benefits of it.  How many of these wellbeing-enhancing activities will you and your family be able to do?

In the process, we are also hoping to raise some money for our school and for The Haven Centre.  We would be most grateful if you were able to consider gaining a little sponsorship for your endeavours!

We aim to communicate with you further throughout the month of May.  Keep an eye out for some tips on how to keep your mental wellbeing positive.