All posts by marycarron

One Day Together 2017


On Friday, October 6th, we celebrated One Day Together, to highlight Educate Together’s National Fund-raising efforts. At our assembly, 5th class gave an excellent presentation on what it means to be educated in an Educate Together school and helped the rest of the students to see the many ways in which we are similar to other schools yet also to think about the ways in which Educate Together schools differ from other schools in some important aspects. Their presentations, which show a very good understanding of the different aspects of our ethos, are displayed on our Ethos Board at the top of the stairs.

Here are some quotes from their writings.

In Educate Together schools the children can get creative and voice their ideas and opinions.

We do not treat you differently if you are different.

Educate Together is not a one belief school.

As kids in an Educate Together school we are respected by teachers and staff. We are allowed to wear what we like so we can exercise our own individuality. We call our teachers by their first names so we can have a better working and personal relationship with them. I feel very privileged and grateful to be in an Educate Together school.

No matter who you are, where you’re from and/or what you believe in, you always have a chance at an ET school.

I love my Educate Together school and I’m really grateful that I go to one.

We are asking everyone to give generously to our annual ET fund raiser – Halloween Dress Up Day.


   Enjoying Tree Day 2017



Many schools are discovering the value of using mindfulness to help create calm in classrooms, to increase children’s capacity to become still and notice what is around them and to help them feel good about themselves. Research has indicated that mindfulnesss practices, although simple, are very profound and can create a solid foundation on which to build self-worth, compassion and resilience. 

Research by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland shows that one in three children will have experienced a mental health problem by the time he or she reaches 13 years of age. Experts say that while mindfulness may not be the ‘absolute fix’ for children’s mental health issues, it can at least help give them skills from a young age to develop their resilience and ability to cope with the ups and downs of life.

Our teachers have been using mindfulness techniques for some time and sharing lots of good ideas.  Part of our mindfulness practice in school has been our very successful Mindfulness Monday initiative,  in which a class take on to remind us every Monday to take a mindful moment every so often and to focus on the positive. The students in fourth class  are creating a set of positive inspirational thoughts, one of which will be promoted and displayed each week. 

Many experts believe that ‘little and often’ is the way to go with mindfulness practices, so constant small reminders to ‘take a moment’ can be very effective. Our teachers use ‘Yoga Pretzels’ which are fun yoga activities for kids (& grownups!) and small visualisations throughout the week. Children are also given regular movement breaks during the day and opportunities to learn outside when possible, including Forest Learning.  On Monday nights, as part of Mindfulness Monday, children will be asked to write a Gratitude Log (or similar as appropriate) as part of their homework.

Some useful resources for doing mindfulness at home are: which has a range of materials and a link to the RTE Nationwide programme on Mindfulness in Schools where you can learn to teach kids yoga through online training


Children have many opportunities to learn outside, close to nature.




Forest Learning

Forest Learning is an educational initiative designed to offer pupils an opportunity to achieve through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment. Regular sessions take place in a woodland environment, where the landscape itself adds to the experience of learning. Fifth and Sixth class have been participating in the Forest Learning experience for the last few weeks in St. Enda’s Park. Here are some pictures of the pupils at work.


Cyber Safety

In this year which marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, there is no doubt that the ‘digital landscape’ has changed enormously in recent years, in particular for the younger members of our community for whom a world without smartphones is unimaginable. This fact was brought home to me recently in a conversation with some 9 and 10 year olds who incredulously wondered how on earth we managed to survive without mobile phones! And while the world has undoubtedly benefited from the advances in mobile technology, and children have unprecedented opportunities to learn, to create and to interact in new ways, the advent of smartphones, social media and increased access to technology of all kinds does bring increased risks for young people.

CyberSafeIreland published its second annual report yesterday, September 13th.

During the last year CyberSafeIreland has spoken directly to 4,893 children aged between 8 and 13 and 885 parents across Leinster and has made some disturbing discoveries in regard to children’s behaviour online. According to the report:

  • Despite age restrictions of 13 and older on many social media services, the vast majority of children under 13 that we have met already had a significant online presence
  • 16% of the children surveyed spent in excess of 4 hours online a day.
  • 22% of the children surveyed were in online contact with strangers. Most of these (14%) reported that they were in contact at least once a week and 6% of this number every day.
  • Nearly a third (32%) of children have either never spoken to their parents/guardians about online safety or have not done so in the last year.
  • In almost two-thirds (64%) of our workshops with 8-10 year olds, at least one child was playing adult rated games.
  • 12% of all children reached had shown themselves in YouTube videos.

The report outlines what it considers to be the risks to young people online, and why they are particularly vulnerable, and is well worth reading by parents in order to keep abreast of developments and safety issues. In fact, the report stresses that, “children and young people need the guidance of teachers and parents to learn to manage and cope with this added dimension to modern life” and that, “parental engagement in, and supervision of, their children’s online lives is an extremely important strategy in mitigating these risks”.  At one point the CyberSafeIreland report quotes the ISPCC’s assertion that online safety is the “child protection issue of our time” given that there has been an increase in younger children contacting their Childline service with online safety concerns.

Another significant finding of the report is that,  “Almost 70% of teachers surveyed reported that they do not feel sufficiently resourced to effectively deliver educational messages on Internet safety; this is up from 64% in 2015/16”, and the report  recognises that “both parents and teachers need far more support in order to protect children from online risk, and that children, as avid users of technology, need to be empowered from a young age to use the Internet both safely and responsibly”.

Read the full report here: 

There is also a good article on explaining their digital footprint to your child at the following link:   

New Term Update

 Wellbeing Week 2017

Welcome back to all children and families for the 2017/2018 school year, and in particular we welcome our new class of Junior Infants. Hopefully they will all settle into the routines of RETNS very quickly. A very special welcome also to our new staff and we wish all in our school community a very successful and enjoyable year ahead. 

We start off the term as always with our Wellbeing Week in which the children look at what will help make this year a happy year for them and how they can help others. Pupils’ wellbeing is very important to us in RETNS and we are always looking at ways in which we can improve wellbeing, whether through encouraging increased activity, healthy eating choices, positive attitudes and culture or working with the children in new ways to help promote a happy school for all. Through our assemblies, our in-class work in SPHE and our ethical programme, Learn Together, and through our many student committees, we listen to the pupils’ voices, we actively foster empathy among our pupils, develop leadership and teamwork skills and encourage creativity. We aim to actively foster and create a safe, supportive environment in which all of our students feel cherished, stimulated and proud to be the best version of themselves.  All of our work is towards equipping our pupils with the skills and resilience they need to make the most of learning and school, to be good citizens and to become changemakers for good. We encourage children to be kind, to look out for each other, to be role models for others and to ensure that bullying never rears its head in our school. If potential bullying situations arise pupils are encouraged to speak up and use the power of the school anti-bullying ambassadors team to nip any potential bullying in the bud. Each child is encouraged to be part of the solution of creating a school where all will feel safe, happy and cherished for the unique individual that they are.

Last year 4th class read an inspirational quote to the school each week. This one emerged as a favourite: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito” Dalai Lama.

An apt quotation for a new term.


     5th class have placed some motivational posters around the school.


Story Sacks

Last term a number of  children worked with their parents and grandparetns to produce some beautiful stroy sacks for use in the school. The results were amazing, extremely creative and each one very individual. These will be stored in the specially made ‘sacks’ to use during special story times in the junior classes. A huge amount of planning and work went into the making and filling of the sacks and we are very grateful for all the time and effort spent by those who took part in the project. While acknowledging that the project was time-consuming, everyone was delighted with the outcome and those involved thoroughly enjoyed the process.


Drone Footage

After our very successful Blue Star programme last year we were delighted to hear that the Blue Star team would like to use our drone footage as part of their promotional material for this year’s programme. Check it out here!

 BSP Promotional Video.mp4

Art Gallery


Also by Junior Infants


Senior Infants were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. They also produced some wonderful Still Life paintings inspired by the work of Cezanne.



First Class read ‘The Magical Garden of Claude Monet’ and were inspired to paint in an impressionist style.


Second Class have done some lovely sunflowers and paintings.


Senior Infants and Third Class took part in an Art Review with a school in Poland.


Fourth Class have done some Still Life chalk pastel drawings. 


Work of some budding artists in Fifth Class.


Final Blue Star Event – Europe Day Celebration


Click here to view our Blue Star Programme Final Report

Blue Star report (Final)

We marked the end of our participation in the Blue Star programme with an Open Morning on Tuesday, May 9th, (Europe Day) to which parents, guardians and members of the local community were invited to view the children’s work and talk to our student ‘guides’ about what each of the classes have been doing as part of the programme. Displays included written work, art work and projects as well as videos of dramas enacted by the children, a specially composed Rap and some PowerPoints presenting work completed as part of the programme. Later we gathered on the playground to have an aerial photograph taken with a specially commissioned drone, which caused great excitement! 

As our special event to mark Europe Day and the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome this year, we all dressed in blue and walked through the local housing estate, joined by parents and some local residents, making our way to the local park where we sang Happy Birthday EU and did our Handshake for Europe

Staff and students have enjoyed participating in the Blue Star programme, with the combination of learning new and interesting facts, creatively presenting their learning and celebration which have all been aspects of the programme. 

Euro Wave

Handshake for Europe


Marian Harkin, MEP, visits RETNS

On Friday, April 28th, we were delighted to welcome to our school  Marian Harkin, one of our Irish MEPs. Marian told the children she was honoured to have been invited and she was very impressed with the work they were doing. Ciara Corcoran, chair of the Student Council, welcomed Marian to our school, then to begin her visit Marian was treated to a beautiful performance of ‘May We Never Have to Say Goodbye’ from our choir.



A number of representatives from each class gave details of what they have been learning in the Blue Star programme, culminating in a spirited rap performance from sixth class detailing the achievements of many famous Europeans they have been learning about.


Marian spoke to the children about aspects of her work as an MEP and agreed to visit each class to take questions. Assembly concluded with all the children singing the European Anthem, ‘Ode to Joy’.


Celebrating Marian Harkin’s visit with the official Blue Star.

During the afternoon Marian made a visit to each class, taking questions from the children, which ranged from her favourite aspect of her work to her views on the effects of Brexit and whether she thinks there should be more women in Irish politics! 

Two representatives from the Blue Star programme also attended assembly on Friday and had a tour of the school to look at the children’s work. We are now looking forward to the culmination of our year’s work, our Europe Day celebration on May 9th.

Marian Harkin, MEP, and representatives from the Blue Star programme, Ryan and Isolde, listen intently to the choir performance.


Blue Star Programme. Leaf Hunt – Our eTwinning Project

Have a look at the PowerPoints created as part of the Leaf Hunt eTwinning project. The children really enjoyed taking part in the project and would love to do some more eTwinning in the future.

Leaf Hunt by groups from 2nd and 3rd Rathfarnham Educate Together

 Leaf hunt Sicicilian Primary school

As part of our Blue Star Programme each member of Third Class  researched a folktale from the country they had picked.  

Saul made a video at home of his story. Watch it here.

EU Ambassador visits RETNS

Blue Star Programme

The 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome was marked in RETNS on Friday 24 March by a visit by the E.U. Ambassador, Mr. David Daly, his wife Aideen and their daughter Ceola.  Mr. Daly is presently E.U. representative for South East Asia, having previously been E.U. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Prior to this he represented the E.U. in Australia.  

Mr. Daly was initially greeted by a song “as Gaeilge” from the school choir.  He then heard members of the Student Council make a presentation on the history of the E.U.  Mr. Daly then spoke about his role as EU ambassador and took questions from children from all classes.  His answers covered topics ranging from the most important thing he does in his job (thinking!) to the things he most enjoys (working with people from all cultures) to his one time (continuing!) ambition to play for Sligo Rovers!

 Ambassador Daly’s wife Aideen and his daughter Ceola spoke to the children about what life was like moving from country to country every four years, the many good points as well as some difficulties, ie. missing family events at home etc.  Aideen also spoke in Irish to the gathering and referred to her love of Irish and how useful it  is at times to be able to speak a language that not many other people worldwide recognise! 

 The assembly then watched a sample of videos created by Sixth Class students on “Inspirational Europeans”.  Ambassador Daly made particular reference to the role of the EU in ensuring that a situation such as that experienced by Anne Frank, one of those inspirational Europeans, would never happen again.  

 The visit continued with a tour of some of the school’s EU displays and a brief visit to First Class, where Mrs. Daly read a Hungarian story to the children, who have recently been learning all about Hungary.

 The visit concluded with refreshments, including EU star cookies (!) in the staffroom.

 It was a great day at RETNS.  Photos attached.

by Aileen Cronin



On Friday, March 10th, we had a visit from Eamon Ryan, T.D., also as part of our Blue Star programme. Our assembly began with the Student Council making a presentation with facts about the EU.  Deputy Ryan then addressed the whole school, speaking about the EU, why it was set up, how it has evolved and its benefits for Ireland.  He then took questions from each class group and the Green Schools’ Committee.  The questions covered a range of topics from life as a T.D. to his thoughts and opinions on more complex issues such as climate change and Brexit.  Deputy Ryan  then posed for photos in our School Hall and Wildlife Garden.  To finish the visit we sang our school song “Everyone Belongs”, the theme of which corresponds to the EU motto “United in Diversity “.


The Student Council presented some EU facts. 
Deputy Ryan answered questions prepared by the children.
  Chatting in the wildlife garden.


Deputy Ryan with our Student Council.