The Bedtime Story

Last night was quite magical at the school. The hall was decked with fairy lights and moon and star balloons, seven soft areas were covered with cosy cushions, and beakers of milk and yummy biscuits were prepared. Then our Nursery and Primary 1 children arrived in their jammies with a teddy and a grown-up! We all snuggled up and listened to stories chosen by the story-tellers – and it was quite funny to see all the teachers in their jammies as well! As each story-teller finished the bedside lamps were turned off, and when all were out and we were just lit by the twinkling fairy lights, we all sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and then went home to our beds.

The evening was a huge success. We have had lots of wonderful comments from the teachers, parents and children and we are already talking about what we could do for next year, so we can include more children! A big thank you to those parents who have already sent in notes or written comments in reading records – they are much appreciated. Please keep them coming about the Bedtime Story and the Book Festival in general!
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Pencaitland Book Festival Week has begun!

The first day of our Book Festival was very successful. Five parents came in to read to pupils or to listen to them read, and they left some lovely comments about the event and how well our pupils can discuss the books they are reading. Thank you to all involved.
Today we start the Swapshop Bookshop and tonight we have the Bedtime Story for Nursery and Primary 1 children.
In school today we have lots of parents again, and Karen Robertson, an East Lothian Education Quality Improvement Officer. Councillor Ruth Currie is joining us to work with Primary 6 and 7, and Scottish author, Garry Paulin, will be presenting his book, Voytek the Bear, to Primary 5, 6 and 7 this afternoon.

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Pencaitland Book Festival

The Pencaitland Book Festival will be held between 17th and 21st November 2008 at Pencaitland Primary School. We have invited authors, parents, councillors, and friends in the community to visit the school that week to read to, listen to or talk to pupils about books to encourage the children to read and write more.

During the week there will be a Swapshop Bookshop to encourage the sharing of good stories and a Bedtime Story evening for Nursery and Primary 1 children and their parents/ carers to promote and celebrate the bedtime story.
More details to follow! Look out for the posters, leaflets and blog updates coming out soon.

The Festival Committee

Edinburgh International Book Festival

On Monday 25th August, a group of Primary 6 and 7 pupils headed off to the International Book Festival in Charlotte Square to listen to Catherine Webb, one of the most talented and exciting young writers of children’s fiction in the UK. She talked about how she became a writer, the subjects that most influence her writing and the stories she likes best. She also signed copies of her books for us.

The atmosphere was wonderful and very exciting – and made even more special when we saw Sean Connery. We found out that it was his birthday, so our pupils burst into song as he walked by!

On their return to school, fuelled with enthusiasm for books and writing (and 007 films!), the pupils decided they needed to plan and organise an event of their own. So the Pencaitland Book Festival is now in the planning process – so watch out for regular updates!

Comments from pupils:

“I really enjoyed Catherine Webb because she was really interesting and a little mental!”

“My favourite thing was watching Catherine Webb and singing Happy Birthday to Sean Connery.”

“Catherine Webb was…zany, barmy, excellent, interesting and friendly.”

When Catherine Webb “was talking about her books and her life, I found it very inspiring…All in all I had a fantastic day.”

“I loved it. It was fun.”

“It was one of the best days of my life!!”

Primary 3 Enterprise

Over the last four weeks on a Monday afternoon, Primary 3 have been developing their skills to work as a team. The children have been encouraged to think about what choices they make as a team and to justify the decisions they have made. They have had to problem-solve, co-operate, and be very creative! The block of lessons culminated in the Eggsiting Tower challenge. Each group had to build a tower with limited resources (yes, including the shoebox!) which would hold an egg (hardboiled!) for 30 seconds.

The teams worked really well. We had some fantastic ideas and results. We all learned a lot about ourselves over the four weeks and had a great time!

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Primary 5 Run for Fun Club

The trainers have been dusted down and Primary 5 have been off and running round the village again in a bid to keep healthy, happy and active!

The boys and girls are already completing the same course we ran last year after only two weeks’ training! The team spirit is high, the encouragement the pupils give each other is outstanding, and we are all having a lot of fun!

This summer we have been joined by Robbie Cleat, ex-pupil, previous Sandra Samuel award holder, and an incredibly keen athlete. Robbie is heading off to university in October, but volunteered his services as he will be working in East Lothian over the summer running Multi Sports sessions, and he is a trained UK Athletics Coach running about 10 miles every week! So a huge thanks to Robbie for his time and contribution.

Have a great holiday and – keep on running!

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Parent Council Meeting – March

The Parent Council met this week and were pleased to welcome Councillor Ruth Currie to the meeting.  Among things discussed was the recent annual audit of parent views.  One quarter of parents were surveyed and the results were very pleasing.  All parents surveyed felt the school had a good reputation in the local community,  the school encouraged the children to work to the best of their ability, staff made them feel welcome in the school and that the school was well led.  Parent Council questionnaires were handed over and will be discussed at the next meeting.  To see the draft minutes of this meeting click on Parent Page(left hand side of home page) and then click on Parent Council (right hand side of page).

Parent Council update – functions and attendance of meetings

The new Parent Council has now had its second meeting. Our main functions are to :

*  support the school in its work with pupils and parents

* represent the views of parents

* promote contact and communication between the school, parents, pupils, the community, nursery and other providers

* report to the Parent Forum.

If you have a child in school or at the nursery, you are automatically a member of the Parent Forum. You have the right to attend a Parent Council meeting if you wish. The Parent Council meetings usually take place in the school staff room, so if every parent wished to attend it would be a little cosy!

Therefore if you wish to attend our next meeting on Monday 3rd December at 7.30pm please could you let the Chair, Neil Hastie, Vice-Chair, Jo Young or Teacher Member, Kim Bartlett know in advance in case we need to book bigger accommodation.

Parent Council Cluster Meeting

On Thursday 15th January there will be a Cluster meeting for Parent Councils at Ross High School.

Alan Blackie, Director of Education, Don Ledingham, Head of Education and Children’s Services, Peter Mackenzie, Convenor of the Education Committee, and Sheena Richardson, Vice Convenor of the Education Committee will be in attendance.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide a forum for cluster schools to come together and have the opportunity to raise and discuss any issues with the panel. The Parent Council have been asked to submit agenda items. If there is anything you would like raised as a member of the Parent Forum, please submit your questions to Neil Hastie or Jo Young prior to the next Parent Council meeting on the 3rd December.

Primary 5 Running Club

The Primary 5 Running Club has come to an end, and huge thanks must go out to the 20 pupils involved for their enthusiasm and  commitment. It was great to see the increased confidence in their abilities and stamina over the 4 weeks.

On behalf of the pupils we wish to say a big thank you to the parent helpers, Mr Johnston and Mrs Metcalfe, as well as my colleagues, Mrs Elder and Miss Chalmers.

Kim Bartlett