We are very excited to announce that here at St. Colman’s National School, we are embarking on a new adventure. Following on from the success of the Gaelbhratach Flag, Active Flag and Green School Flag Initiatives, we are now taking on the challenge of obtaining an Amber Flag.
The Amber Flag aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for all the children in the school. Positive mental health means feeling good in your body and your mind, getting on well with others, feeling grateful for everything you have, enjoying life and feeling proud of the special person that you are. Positive mental health is important to us as it enables us to lead happy, fulfilling lives. The Amber Flag encourages everyone to be caring and considerate to one another and bring an improvement in our wellbeing.
We have been working on some great ideas during the year and will continue to nurture the wellbeing of all our pupils, staff and parents through our Amber Flag work.
Amber Flag Committee
We have formed an Amber Flag Committee. This committee is led by student representatives from Ms Wall’s 1st/2nd class and Ms O’Sullivan’s 5th/6th class. Ms M. Kearney is coordinating this new initiative who works with fellow teacher representatives Ms. Wall, Ms M. O’Sullivan, Ms Hazelwood, Ms Maloney, Ms Lawton and an SNA representative Jemma. We meet regularly and bring forward any suggestions or ideas from the children in the school, ensuring this initiative is inclusive for all.
End of Month Birthday Parties
As a result of the current Covid restrictions, many children are missing out on celebrating their birthdays with family and friends as they usually would. The children’s emotional wellbeing is something that is very important to us. Therefore, we have decided we will hold a birthday party within each class on the last Friday of each month to celebrate all children who have had their birthday in that month. The class teachers provide fun games and activities along with a party atmosphere.
Amber Flag Display
We have created an Amber Flag display board where every class is in charge of the display board for a period of three weeks.
The two Junior Infant classes were the first to be in charge of the board. They read the story ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’. They discussed how everyone is unique and special and that everyone should be proud of their differences. The children completed lovely Elmer artwork.
World Mental Health Day and Fundraising Event
On Friday 9th October, we celebrated World Mental Health Day. We held a fundraiser in aid of Pieta House. The children dressed in green and during the day, classes went on a wellbeing walk up to the pitch while singing ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’. The children had fun doing mindful colouring and guided meditation during the day. Also, the children read the story ‘Have You Filled a Bucket Today?’ and became bucket fillers in the classroom. A bucket filler is someone who says or does kind things for others. We raised a total of €636, which has been handed over to Pieta House. Thank you to all who got involved and donated to this worthy cause.
World Kindness Day
World Kindness Day which was on 13th November. On this day, the children wore crazy hats displaying kind words on them which they created at home. The children had a google meet assembly where they showed off their hats to each other. We also sang the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and the children wrote kind words or messages for someone in their class and left it on their desk during the day. The children took part in a smile challenge and it was lovely to see all their smiling faces. Finally, we read the story “Say Something” by Peter Reynolds and the children were asked to think about their voice and what they think would help make the world a better place. Have a look at the video below to see what some of the children came up with.
Act of Kindness Advent Calendar – Every day for the month of December, there was a kindness challenge for the children and staff to do.
Virtual Christmas Concert – We organised for each class to be recorded singing a Christmas carol outdoors. The staff were also recorded singing their own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. All videos were compiled into one video and shared on social media for the parents and community to see.
Christmas Jumper Day – Everyone wore Christmas jumpers and we had a fundraising event for St. Vincent De Paul where we raised €1010. Classes went on a Reindeer Walk singing Christmas songs, we watched the virtual Christmas concert, danced to Christmas music at break time and had a google meet assembly with another class. The classes took part in Christmas carol singing outside classroom windows. Santa visited all the classes with a treat for each of the children. We also sent Christmas cards and letters to residents in nursing homes.
Inside Out Day
Inside Out Day is a children’s mental health awareness campaign. Children were asked to wear an item of clothing inside out to encourage everyone to always be kind, as you never know how someone is feeling inside. The children were encouraged to remember that how someone looks on the outside doesn’t always reflect how they are truly feeling on the inside.
We organised Lá Glas where the children wore green to school to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The children enjoyed doing lots of art and dancing to Irish music.
Virtual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The children were asked to take a photo or video of themselves at home either reciting a poem, playing a musical instrument, singing a song, dressed up, having a mini parade or showing a drawing or craft they did. These were compiled into a video which was shared on social media on St. Patrick’s Day.
We organised Wellbeing Week where we had a theme for each day.
On Mindful Monday, we took part in guided meditation and mindful colouring. We also listened to Bressie read “The Magic Moment” story where we learnt a very useful trick to manage our big feelings. Close your eyes, think of your happiest memory and squeeze your finger and thumb together.
On Thankful Tuesday, children wrote acrostic poems to show gratitude. The children made gratitude jars and wrote thankful letters to parents or a friend. On Wellness Wednesday, classes took part in yoga lessons and we had a poster competition where the children created wellness week positive posters.
On Triumphant Thursday, we had class celebrations of personal triumphs where the children emailed pictures of themselves with any awards, certificates, trophies or medals they achieved to show the class. On this day, each of the classes went on an Easter egg hunt.
On Feel-good Friday, we had our end of the month birthday party, did extra art, watched a movie and had golden time.