Friendship Group is an evidence-based group work programme that helps children who are experiencing difficulty making and keeping friends to develop the skills they need to interact appropriately with their peer group. Friendship Group is about giving children a place to develop and practice the skills they need to form healthy friendships. This proven programme was designed in the United States and is rooted in a strong understanding of children’s development.
What does a child learn in Friendship Group?
The ability to make and keep friends is a really important life skill for children to learn. Some children need an extra helping hand to learn these skills and this is what Friendship Group is for.
Friendship Group helps children to make and keep friends by teaching them about:
- Feelings – how to recognise their own feelings and the feelings of others
- Solving problems – how to negotiate with others and find solutions to problems
- Working together – how to play fair, cooperate, get along with others and develop their give-and-take skills
We are proud in St Mary’s NS of our strong commitment to forging and maintaining positive and meaningful friendships.
Creative arts therapies is a collective term used for art therapy, dance movement therapy, drama therapy and music therapy. They are evidenced-based health professions with a strong research foundation. They work with a focus on psychosocial, cognitive, emotional and physical needs and utilise creative mediums that allow an alternative and additional means of communication. They coordinate planned and creative use of the art forms to accomplish individualised clinical goals within a therapeutic relationship.
Creative Arts Therapies are proven to:
The Incredible Years (IY) Programme is an international early intervention programme which aims to achieve long-term positive impacts on children’s behaviour. It consists of three types of programmes for parents, children, and teachers. In St Mary’s NS both teachers and SNAs are trained in IY to create a whole school positive approach to behaviour. The programme is designed to have long term reductions in problematic child behaviours, such as aggressive, externalising, hyperactive and oppositional/non-compliant behaviours. We are a proud IY school that wants to make a positive difference in the lives of the children who attend our school. The foundation of this approach is inclusion for all and a willingness from staff to accommodate all needs.
St Mary’s NS is extremely proud of our Student’s Council which gives pupils the opportunity to have THEIR say in THEIR school. Student Councils can create a sense of ownership of the school and its activities among the student population. The establishment of a Student Council gives students an opportunity to acquire the sort of communication, planning and organisational skills which will be of benefit to them in their future lives
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based programme delivered in primary school classrooms which has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children by raising social-emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the programme is a baby (Sadie) and parent (Lorraine) who visit third class (virtually) every three weeks during the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy instructor coaches the children to observe the baby’s development and to label the baby’s feelings. The baby is the ‘teacher’ in this experiential learning, while the instructor helps the children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. The Roots of Empathy instructor also visits before and after each “family” visit to prepare and reinforce teachings using a specialised lesson plan for each visit. Research results from national and international evaluations of Roots of Empathy indicate significant reductions in aggression and increases in prosocial behaviours.
The Curriculum – Roots of Empathy primarily addresses the affective (feelings and emotions) side of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum. However, it is cross-curricular as it features strong links to maths, music, art, language and literature, and Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE). The Roots of Empathy curriculum is specialised to the learning outcomes of four different age ranges from junior infants to 6th class. There is a theme for every family visit, with nine themes covered and three visits per theme (pre-family visit, family visit, post-family visit).
All in the school community were saddened to hear about events unfolding in the Ukraine. The school decided to support the Ukranian people by making an appeal to the school community to donate much needed funding to supply vital necessities for refugees seeking refuge in Poland.
This idea came from our Polish SNA Pati Simring whose friends have actually taken in refugees to their homes in Poland. Their kindness inspired Pati to start up an appeal. Pati sourced materials directly in Poland so that they get to the Ukranian people immediately.
Le Chéile NS and Melody Cafe in Limerick heard about our appeal and jumped on board to help.
Sing Out with Strings (SOWS) is a groundbreaking initiative in conjunction with the Irish Chamber Orchestra that offers all our pupils the chance to learn music for free with qualified musicians. Inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan model of music education, Sing Out with Strings provides our pupils with free singing, song-writing, violin, viola, cello and double bass tuition, harnessing the power of music to develop pupils’ key skills, including concentration, co-ordination, listening and teamwork. There are also several “Meet the Musicians” workshops throughout the year where children meet musicians from various different genres.
Our new inclusion Policy indicates our commitment to an all inclusive school environment. This policy was ratified in April 2022.
Listen to a clip of Junior Infants singing the ‘Welcome Song”. We are a welcoming school.
Mukhttar taught 2nd class to say ‘hello’ in pashto. Pashto is spoken in Afghanistan. Mukhttar’s family came to Ireland from Afghanistan.
Mukhttar taught 1st class how to say ‘hello’ in pashto. Pashto is spoken in Afghanistan. Mukhttar, Elyas, Ashra and Rahmania all come from Afghanistan.
Our Wellbeing statement reflects our school’s commitment to safeguarding and enhancing pupil and staff wellbeing.
Our Steering Committee is made up of Staff members and students from our school council. We are actively involved in making our school a place of welcome and inclusion for all. This photograph was taken on the 8/4/22 when our school signed the pledge. Ahmed Hassan Mohamed attended on the day and spoke to the older classes about the importance of identity and how language gives us a strong sense of who we are. He reminded the children of how we never know what the future holds but that education gives us choices and opportunities. He also pointed out that all of us are global citizens and part of a wider community that share so much in common – the need to belong, the need to feel safe and understood, the need for friendship. Ahmed told us that curiosity is good if our questions come from genuine interest in another person. We cannot learn if we don’t ask!