November/December 2020

Mr Murray


A (Very Personal) View from The Office

2020 has been an unusual year for me. As all the staff and a few (very helpful) parents know I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis two years ago. When it reached the point that I couldn’t straighten my fingers (no more cycling as I couldn’t pull the brakes and no more golf as I couldn’t grip the clubs) and I was experiencing difficulty walking we went for the nuclear option. I was put on an immuno suppressant drug. Not alone has this drug stopped the arthritis but it has reversed almost all of the effects of same.

This is great, but it leaves me very vulnerable to viral infections. Yes, the Corona Virus is especially worrying for me. Following meetings with Rev Canon Gyles and the staff I expressed the view that I would be here in September to oversee the successful reopening of Sandford Parish N.S. I have in effect become the “bubble wrapped principal”. During the school day I run the school from the office. I stop at classroom doors. I bring my own lunch utensils and if necessary, I eat alone.

It would be churlish of me to pretend that I don’t miss the daily interactions with the children. Junior and senior infant yard duty is still mad (when I’m on duty) but fun to see them learning to play with each other. The “wall flowers” are no longer shy and are getting used to big school yard. 1st and 2nd play away and only come to me when hurt. 3rd and 4th still enjoy a bit of banter (if Mayo win, I’m finished) and 5th and 6th just do their own thing.

While I have always known how good the staff are, this year has really brought home to me how lucky the children are. The staff are demonstrating the same care and affection towards me as they do towards the children every day. Events that I would ordinarily organize are being organized by various staff members. The same commitment is evident and always with a smile on their faces. When the children have departed, I occasionally visit classrooms. I look at the superb projects on the walls, I admire the beautiful artwork being displayed. I hear stories of children progressing and of children supporting each other. I share for a moment the same sense of pride in the children that is a teacher's privilege. As I have said elsewhere, I am, to a certain extent, on the outside looking in this year. But it is thanks to the efforts of staff, children and parents that I am here at all.

Hopefully a vaccine will bring respite for everyone and 2021 will enable my getting back to doing what I do best. Some call it leading learning, but I call it supporting superb practitioners as they go about their daily work unphased in a calm reassured way. I might even get to visit the classrooms again while the children are present.

A sincere thank you to everyone who has been involved in keeping the school open for business. Rev. Canon Gyles and the BoM. The PTA and all the parents. All the staff and especially the children.

Happy Christmas and a safe New Year.

Senan Murray

6th Class

Here in 6th class, we've had a very busy half term. The children ,as always,  have embraced everything with enthusiasm and delight.  We've continued with our Daily Mile and are getting fitter and faster by the minute. We had great fun carrying out science experiments as part of Science Week for the class and made some fantastic bird feeders which were designed and made from a variety of materials.

In English we have been busy writing our own stories and have displayed them in our classroom. I have no doubt that there are many future authors in our midst.

In the run up to Christmas, we have been singing carols for the virtual Carol service under the guidance of Ms Lyons as well as producing some wonderful Christmas art work. We have also completed our Christmas tests and are delighted to have them over. 

For the first time this year, we got to use the I Pads- we learned all about the Australian Aborigines' and their way of life.  We are looking forward to getting to use them again after Christmas.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of the children for their hard work, commitment and enthusiasm in 6th class so far this year. I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday and look forward to seeing all of the children in January. 

Best Wishes

Ms Shaw


5th Class  

Fifth class have really enjoyed being back in school! We are all really happy to be back to our normal routine and love seeing our friends every day! We started doing the Daily Mile twice a week in September and now were are doing it every day. We really love it and we are getting fitter by the day!

This month, we worked on projects about the Ancient Greeks. This was extra-special because we were able to use the school iPads for the very first time! We learned lots about the Ancient Greeks and Ms Elders is so impressed with our projects.

We created lots of amazing art pieces this month. We have been learning about how to use drawing and colouring pencils in different ways and we created really colourful emus! We also studied the work of Tim Burton over two weeks and then drew our own Tim Burton ‘selfie’ for our classroom Instagram board.

We loved dressing up in school for Halloween today and were really excited to eat our treat that we baked for homework. We hope that you all have a Happy Halloween!

4th Class

Hi all,


We have had a great term in 4th class. The children have learned so much and have worked so hard!


We learned about Native Americans and how they lived all those years ago. The children discovered that these Nomadic people lived in teepees. 4th also learned about the roles these settlers had within their family units. It allowed us to compare and contrast how roles in society have changed over time. Some of our art was reflective of our Native American learnings as the children created dream-catchers and decorated “animal hides” of their own. We continued to work hard in Maths where we have looked at Multiplication, Division, Number Sentences, and Money. In Science, we spent some time learning about light and conducted some cool experiments of our own. SPHE, Geography, Gaeilge, and Drama brought much excitement along the way too.


I am very much looking forward to the New Year. I hope that you all stay safe over the next two weeks and enjoy your time together.


Take care,

Mr. Condell

3rd Class

Back in November, we had Science week.  We made science experiment videos for homework and went outside to make cloud playdough in the yard.

 In history we have been looking at early Christian Ireland.  We made models of monastic buildings and we made our own illuminated letters, just like those in the Book of Kells.

It’s been a very busy time in maths.  We have started multiplication and division and we even learned about decimals too.

We have really enjoyed writing letters to residents in the Royal Hospital Donnybrook and making Christmas cards for the community.  Writing the prayers for the carol service made us think of all we have to be thankful for.

We made origami Santas, designed Christmas jumpers and looked at the works of Henri Matisse and Heather Gallery in art.

We are all looking forward to Christmas and spending time with our families.  We are using our class advent calendar to help us count down the days to Christmas Day.

From everyone in 3rd Class, we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year!

2nd Class

Dia Daoibh from Second Class!

We are now well and truly settled into school and have had a great October! We love Spooky Season and have enjoyed doing lots of Halloween themed reading, writing, art and music! We decorated our classroom with decorations. Ms. Laing read Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’ to us and we really enjoyed it. We loved writing spooky stories, creating wonderful witches’ legs for art and learning the Monster Mash dance! We learned about the Festival of Samhain and its history and traditions. Second Class have loved getting set up on See-Saw. We really enjoy being able to show our parents some of the great things we get up to during class!

Rang a Dó want to with you a very Happy Halloween!

1st Class

What a wonderful first term we have had. First class have adapted extremely well to the new normal of going to school during a pandemic.  They have all been very busy learning, playing with their friends, making sure that they stay safe in school, and of course performing in the Nativity. In fact first class have been so good that they must all be on Santa’s nice list this year!

In November we began learning tables each night for homework and we now know all the way to +6. We have been getting some extra practice each day by playing the daily 10 game. First class also know all of the 2D shapes and are very good at drawing them. We began a new topic in December called tens and units and it is fair to say that first class love it. They have spent lots of time making groups of ten with lollipop sticks and cubes and even made a number bigger than 100! Wow!

In English we have been practising long a short vowel sounds. First class love to do word study each week and always spot the tricky words straight away. Not only have we been learning sounds, we have also been putting our learning to good use by writing lots of fun and interesting reports and stories. First class love to make up fun characters and are excellent story tellers.

One of the highlights of our day every day is Gaeilge. I think that it is our favourite subject. First class love to sing songs as Gaeilge and we have had many exciting games of Deir Ó Grádaigh.

Perhaps the highlight of the term for first class has been performing in this year’s Nativity. We couldn’t let the opportunity to tell the story of Christmas pass us by and were certainly not going to let Covid-19 stop us. We recorded the Nativity in small snippets and pieced them all together to make a movie. We hope that the parents and other classes have as much fun watching it as much as we did making it.

Wishing everyone a very merry and safe Christmas this year. See you all in the New Year.

Ms Emily Murphy

Senior Infants

Happy Christmas to all and congratulations on making it to the end of Term 1 in a very different year. Our learning for the second part of Term 1 has been based on two themes: “People Who Help Us in our Community” for November and of course “Christmas” for December. We have spent a lot of time learning about and discussing the various different occupations and then deciding what we might like to do when we grow up.

Our Tricky Words Tree is filling up as we learn more and more words every week and we have nearly reached the number 10 in our maths learning, meaning we know lots of different ways to add all of the numbers up as far as 10!

We are enjoying Christmas themed stories at the moment. The children are happily making play dough mince pies, wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards and letters and delivering them to each other from our Christmas Post Office role play area. We would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas from Senior Infants.

Junior Infants

This November Junior Infants learnt all about An Post. They set up their own post office in the classroom where they decorated, wrote and delivered letters to their classmates. They then made and wrote their own Christmas cards. The whole class walked down to the post box outside Scoop where every child got to post their own card. I was nervous with the tales of enormous delays in the postal system that our beautiful cards wouldn’t arrive, but luckily after a few days they did. The parents of Junior Infants got quite a surprise when they found letters from their children in their post boxes!


This December, the Junior Infant classroom became very festive with tinsel, twinkling lights and the all important Christmas tree decorating the room. The children made their own Christmas decorations, wrapped presents in Santa's workshop and listened to lots of Christmas stories. They also shared a family tradition they have on Seesaw. I got lots of ideas for new Christmas traditions from the children.  


Junior Infants have had a great first term in school and I hope everyone has a lovely break over the holidays. 

Ms Rogan