Newsletter Summer 2019

This year we wanted Positivity to be our focus. As we look back there are so many moments that highlight that sentiment for us as a school.

Firstly, we all witnessed the children progressing from strength to strength. As we know Maria Montessori based her method on guiding the children to work with materials and in turn empowering them to master their environments. As we did that, the children, in their different ways, according to their stages of development made great strides forward.

We put on scary Hallowe’en concerts, the children wrote humorous plays, we sang and danced and created costumes and backdrops. We held fruit and veg parties. We had fundraisers led by the children in which the whole school participated. We shared Montessori materials, a love of learning and leant a listening ear to people we became friendly with during the 9-12 Class’s visits to The  Orchard (an Alzheimer’s respite centre in Blackrock). We laughed together and shared joy and positivity. We followed op on our hard work towards an Energy Flag and we achieved it.  The sun came out for us on Sports Day, we celebrated the graduates and heard their moving speeches and we ran races together.

We will miss our graduates Caoimhe, Emily, Julia, Kate and Patrick but as they say themselves they are well prepared for secondary school, which is what we all want. They are ready for the next phase of their lives. Continuing in the spirit of Positivity two of the sentences that stood out for people in our graduate’s leaving speeches were Julia’s  ‘This has been by far the best year of my life’ and Patrick’s ‘I can safely say that nearly every day here has been a good day.’ We will also miss the other children that are leaving and wish them and their families the very best.

We had an Alumni Tea Party and people from as far back as the 60’s came to mingle with our soon – to – be alumni. We sipped tea, had treats and ran around in the garden with old friends. It was all done in the spirit of celebrating the Children’s House Primary community.

Some of the outings we have enjoyed this year are The Mill Theatre, The Ark Educational Centre, The Cool Planet Experience, the DSPCA, Killruddery House and our annual Carlingford overnight stay and Clara Lara extravaganza.

‘It is all about participation and not about winning’, however, winning is an added bonus, especially for a small school. We were very proud to have achieved Association of Irish Junior Schools (AIJS) awards in Art and Short Story Writing. We were delighted with all the stories the children wrote as entries to the AIJS Short Story Writing Competition. The quality was excellent this year. Éabha came first in the 3rd and 4th Class category with her story  ‘Sometimes there is no warning’ ,  Grace was Highly Commended in the 3rd and 4th Class category and Patrick came third in the 5th and 6th Class category with his story “They Call The Wind Mariah” (please see stories attached).

We also came joint third in the Eason’s Spelling Bee. When it came to Basketball we defended ourselves well and the girls’ basketball team won some of their matches in the AIJS championships.

Thank you to all the parents for entrusting us with your children.

Thank you to all the staff for your hard work during the year.

Thank you to our Board for your ongoing support.

Children, parents and colleagues enjoy your well-earned holidays. Have fun! Stay positive and I look forward to seeing you back after the holidays.

Micaela Kuh

Principal

 

 

They Call the Wind Mariah    by Patrick

As I glanced out the window, my mind drifted back to the last time I was here. Things were so much simpler back then. But everything had changed…

I am Mariah. I live in the Brazilian rainforest and my father is chief of one of the many tribes. Our tribe loves nature and the rainforest. We’re one of the few tribes who can still see and talk to the many nature spirits of the rainforest, so perhaps it’s no surprise that my father fell in love with a wind spirit.  Sadly, my mother died giving birth to me.

Having a wind spirit for a mother has always made me unique. I am human and a wind spirit, and I can change between the two easily. I had an idyllic childhood, exploring every corner of the rainforest, bottom and top. I loved the freedom I had in my wind form, but I also loved being part of the tribe. I had the best of both worlds, and I loved it. But both of my worlds were shattered when I turned 16.

My grandfather had been chief for many years, and even though he was nearly 70, no-one thought that would change anytime soon. Then my grandfather caught a fever, and he passed away quietly in the middle if the night. Nobody knew where he had got the fever from, but no-one thought it was suspicious. After all, there are lots of ways to get disease in the jungle.

My father became chief. He changed a lot of things in the tribe. He started making deals with shady people. He sold all our land to some loggers. Before, the area where we lived was peaceful and untouched. Now it was a hive of activity.

The loggers had started small, cutting down a few trees in the night, killing a few animals on the outskirts of our land. But now they don’t even try to hide it. They chop down trees in broad daylight right beside us. We can see them driving off in their jeeps, with the tree trunks and animal corpses in the back. I had a pet sloth that I named Henry and I saw his dead body in the back one day. That made me cry more than I ever had before in my life.

The thought of those disgusting people made my blood boil. They only see the rainforest as something to make a profit from, not the beautiful, life-giving thing that it really is. The area around us has nearly been stripped of trees. Sometimes it makes me wonder if being a human is worth it.

The thing that makes me angriest is my father. I still can’t believe that he would sell our land. They promised that they would put us at the centre of a wonderful new town, and that they would change the way we lived. The way we live is perfect! How could my father fall for all their empty promises? They would take what they needed and then abandon him.

I keep trying to talk to him, but he just ignores me. He just says that the only way to survive is to keep moving forward. I can’t make him see that he’s not moving us forward, he’s moving us back. So, when he called me into his hut, I was excited. Maybe we’d finally have a chance to talk about the future of our tribe.

My father beckoned for me to sit down on one of the chairs that now adorned Grandfather’s hut. He had moved into this hut when Grandfather died. Grandfather’s hut was always a bit bigger than the rest, seeing as he was chief, but Dad had nearly doubled its size. He had also added a carpet, a big soft bed and even a television. “Grandfather would be disgusted if he could see you now. I hate to say this, but you ruined the tribe.” I said to my father.

“Honey, I know it must feel like that to you, but I’m just trying to do the best I can for our tribe. Everything’s been so hard since Dad died. It’s not easy being chief with no-one to help you.” he said quietly. I suddenly saw him in a different light. Grandfather was his dad too. His death probably hurt him more than it hurt me. I looked closer and I saw tears in her eyes. I felt unexpected pity for him.

“But, father, I can help you. We can rebuild the tribe together.” I said to him. “That sounds like a fantastic idea. Can we talk about that later, though. I have something I need to tell you.” he told me. “What is it?” I asked him curiously. “I made a deal with the head logger. They said they’d give us  weapons and technology and vehicles to connect us with the outside world, and even a doctor. It will be the first step towards building a new town. They just wanted one thing.” he said, looking away from me.

“I’m giving you away to the head logger. The wedding’s tomorrow.” “WWHHHAAATTTT!!!!!” I shouted. “How could you do this?” My world flipped upside down. There were a million emotions running around my head. I couldn’t breathe. But the emotion that prevailed was anger. The pity I had felt for my father evaporated. “I’m only 16! I never want to get married, especially to a fat old horrible logger!” I yelled. “Wait-” he tried to say. But I cut him off. “GOODBYE!” I screamed. I ran out the door. I kept running into the rainforest, letting go of everything. I felt myself floating up into the air. I was the wind, and I loved it.

I explored the rainforest for hours, only half-aware of what I was doing. Eventually I found myself in the place that was most familiar to me. It was a hut, on a hill beside the river. I came here whenever things became too much for me. No-one else knew about it. Even I didn’t know who had made it, or where it came from. I floated in the door, slowly becoming human again. I sat down on the chair. As I looked through the window at the river, a wonderful sense of calm settled over me. But that peace was broken when I heard my father calling my name.

“Mariah! Where are you?” my father called out desolately. I stepped out of the hut and I saw him. He looked awful. He must have been searching all over for me. He was covered in mud and he had leaves stuck in his hair. “Can we just-” His words were cut off by the sudden hole in his chest, and the red blood spreading from it. My father fell to the ground, dead.

I could see the loggers now. They had stood up from their hiding place. There were 5 of them in total. They all had big guns in their hands. “Hello, Mariah.” said the one in the middle, who was clearly the leader. “You killed my father.” I stated, fuming. “We poisoned your grandfather, too.” he said, smiling. I didn’t think it was possible to hate them anymore, but when they told me that, I did. “How are you, sweetie? Excited for our wedding?” he asked me. I felt sick. I had never felt more angry in my life. “Don’t call me sweetie. I would never marry you. I’d rather die!” I spat on his feet.

“Oh, you’ve made me angry now. I didn’t want to do this, but you can have it your way if you really want to.” They raised their guns and took aim. The first bullet missed, but the second, third, fourth and fifth found their mark. I fell to the ground, blood flowing from me. My dress was soon stained red. I was in so much pain, but I kept crawling towards the hill-top. I couldn’t die like this, not at the hands of the loggers..

Suddenly I could feel the nature spirits all around me, urging me on, helping me to stand. I was filled with energy now. I walked to the top of the hill, still bleeding. I let go of everything that made me human, all the pain and the anger, and I fell backwards. I was the wind, forever and ever.

The loggers were staring at me. I called on the spirits of the river, and the water came crashing down on the loggers. When the water dispersed, I could see that they were dead. I was guiltily satisfied. The loggers couldn’t hurt us anymore. I soared above the trees. I flew until I found my tribe. I swooped down and looked at the empty burnt ground. I called on the rainforest spirits and I saw new green shoots pushing their way through the dead soil. They quickly lengthened into small trees, but they were nowhere near as big as they had been before. Our tribe still had a lot of rebuilding to do. I floated over to the tribe. They were going about their everyday life, with no idea of what had just happened. Somehow I had to make them understand. I blew around, and whispered in each of their ears. They all seemed to understand. They sat there in a daze for a few moments, until an elderly woman spoke. It was my grandmother, who had taken care of me when I was young. She called for a meeting. “Who is going to become the new chief?” she asked the tribe. Another tribe member spoke. “We should choose the oldest, like we used to do. Let’s have a vote. Raise your hand if you agree with me.” The hands of all the tribe members went up. “That would be me, then.” my grandmother said, sounding faintly surprised. I floated away, knowing my tribe was in safe hands.

My tale is still told in the rainforest today. Now all the tribes work together to keep the rainforest the safe and beautiful place it should be. And whenever it’s especially hot, and someone feels a cool breeze rushing past their face, they say “There goes Mariah.”

 

 

Sometimes There is No Warning       by Éabha

 

            I lost my family and friends at an early age. Animals who stood on their hind legs, had hair only on their heads and wielded sharp instruments, came and took them away. I remember the first time they came, the horror of it all, and after they left, nothing looked the same. The ground was bare and the noise of the tools that the creatures had used was ringing in my ears.

 

            My friend, one of the first to have the blade run into his wood and to be loaded into their machine on wheels, had warned me of these creatures.

“They will come, these things who are not birds, nor deer, nor foxes. There is nothing we can do to resist it. It is the way of the universe.” He was so calm about it one might have thought he did not care. I could not believe that this could happen. Our forest was always so calm and peaceful, I could not imagine anything coming to ransack it, and nothing, nothing could have prepared me for the ruin and desolation I would see around me. They would come back though, for me and everyone else. There would be no warning, as it says in the title of this record of my life and experiences in this world.

 

                                                *********

 

Two months after the massacre I had been thinking a lot about the creatures (who I later learned were called hoo-mans and I shall refer to them as such until this book ends or my pronunciation improves). I  had decided that what my old friend the oak used to say to me was worth recalling and listening to, particularly his wisdom on hoo-mans. “It is the way of the world, that they take us trees. We do not die, we become what they make us. Wood lasts for years. A wooden doll outlives a hoo-man. We will let them do what they want with us, for wood can be used for many things, and we will be transformed into something wonderful. Trees rot but humans are clever with their hands, and they will use us to make something good and lasting.”

            He was right. My fears were lessened by the thought that hoo-mans meant no harm, like the birds that built nests in our branches.

            And just at that moment, the hoo-mans came, and I felt scared again. One came with a saw, and took me out of the ground. I, like the others I had seen before, was loaded into their vehicle and there the adventure of my life began.

            The experience of movement that was not the wind shaking my branches was a new one, even though it was not I doing the movement. The journey was long, and , for a tree who has never moved from one place, unsettling. What would they do to me, I wondered. Would I be a floor, a window frame, a door or a shelf, or would they burn me up in a fire? I hoped it would not be the fire. I wanted to last for years, not to be burnt into a cloud of smoke.

            I felt the vehicle jolt underneath me. They would take me to a factory if I was not firewood. That was when I would learn what I would become. The machine stopped and I felt myself being lifted. I was carried into a strange building. I went through what must be a door and into a room. It was small and dark, with a smell of wood shavings and varnish. A man entered and thanked the hoo-mans. (At least that’s what I think happened. The strange thing is they seem to have lots of different languages in one. The few hoo-mans I had seen spoke a different language to these ones). He came over to inspect me. The other hoo-mans left. The man took out a saw. “ Good wood”, he said. I could not understand what he had said, but he seemed pleased. Could I have thanked him, I would have.

 

                                                ************

 

            The last few weeks have been the strangest, most interesting, most wonderful of my life.

The man has made me into the oddest shapes and done elaborate carvings. He has made two main shapes, with pieces removed from the sides, so that each side is like a crescent. Near the middle of one he has cut out two F shapes. He has made two smaller, curvy pieces , that fit between the larger pieces and hold them together. He has made a thinner piece and carved the end so it is like a scroll, with four pieces that stick out and are painted black. These pieces can be twisted back and forth. At the top he put another piece, also black, that is in the shape of an oval. In the very middle he put a piece of paler wood that sticks up. This is the only part of his creation that he did not varnish. He cut out another piece, long and thin, which he did not add to what he had already made. He sanded it until smooth, then did the strangest thing yet. He left the workshop for a while and came back with some coarse, yellowish hair. I had sometimes seen hoo-mans riding through the forest on horses, and the hair he held in his hands reminded me of their tails. Yet why would he use horse hair?

            He fitted the hair over what he now called the  bow, and put something on to the end, shiny and silver. He turned it and the hairs went taut, then turned it again, the opposite way this time, and the bow relaxed.

            Finally he sprayed something wet over me, which took a long time to dry, but when it did, I was smooth and shining. I was ready at last, but I did not know what I was. He put me in a cushioned box. I began to run through a list of possibilities. Was I a table? No. I had been lying on one for weeks and it looked nothing like me. I was thinking of more options when I heard voices above me. I found myself being  taken out of my box again. “ I hope this is to your satisfaction, Miss”, said the man, as he handed me to a woman, standing beside him. “Oh yes!” she said. “ It’s wonderful. I need a good violin.” A violin? I had heard of violins! A bird in one of my branches had told me of these.

            A violin was a more wonderful thing to be than a table, or a door, or a window frame, and certainly better than fire wood!

“May I try it out ?” the woman asked. “You may”, he answered. The woman played me and I saw that this was the finest thing that could ever happen to a tree.

 

(Translated from Tree to English by  Éabha Foy).

 

 

 

THERE ISN’T ALWAYS A HAPPY ENDING  by Grace

Time was running out. It was now or never. My hand hovered over the doorknocker. I asked someone passing by the date. The 14th of November, 1898. I had four more days. I could always come back tomorrow…But no. I had to do it now. I slowly lifted my hand, toes, a deep breath. Took one last look at the diamond and rapped on the door.

I wandered through the hall of the ancient house and tried to remember the last time I’d been there. It had changed more than I could imagine. I passed a servant and asked for the Professor. “He’s busy”, she said. “What’s he so busy with?”, I asked. The servant gave me a look. “Do you honestly think I know?”. Then she realised who I was and quickly said “I am so sorry! I will alert your Grandfather immediately.” “No!” I blurted out. The servant looked confused. “He is far too busy for me, I’m sure”, I explained. “Okay” the servant nodded and scurried off. I breathed a sigh of relief. I walked forward and tried to look where I was going.

 

I eventually made it to his office. When I knocked there was no answer. I walked reluctantly into the office and slowly took the diamond out of my pocket. “Professor Whitmoor”, I called out. Again there was no answer. I walked nervously up to the desk. There was a big piece of paper lying there. It had some kind of drawing on it. Like a plan for destroying a house. This house! How could he do that! I started to have second thoughts about trusting my Grandfather with the diamond. Surely after all that had happened…But after all that he was destroying the house…No, I couldn’t trust him to destroy the diamond. Even after it had made my parents disappear and a lot of others. When she found it washed up on the shore the label had said it could be used for good or bad magic. But it had only caused bad things to happen. The most confusing thing, though, was it had my name on it, Elizabeth Whitmoor.

When my mind came back to the present I heard footsteps coming towards me. The only place to hide was under the desk. But no, I wasn’t scared of my Grandfather. Well only a little. ”Well, well, if it isn’t little Elizabeth Whitmoor,” he said. “Not so little anymore,” I said through gritted teeth. “What might you be doing here?” he said calmly. That’s when all my anger came boiling out. “What am I doing here!?!” I yelled, “What are you doing! You’re meant to be looking after me not leaving me to the streets. So if you think you are getting the diamond, you can think again.” I clamped my mouth shut. I had said too much. I had to make a run for it.

I found myself at a dead end. I had run into a room filled with old statues. “Elizabeth!” I heard. “Come here right now!” I didn’t have much time. Suddenly I remembered. There was a secret door behind one of the statues. I quickly opened one of the doors and shut it quietly just before the Professor came in. I stood there, breathing out in deep, deep breaths, trying desperately to calm down. I slowly walked down the pitch-black corridor feeling my way along. I walked for what felt like hours, until light suddenly came flowing through. I  walked a little bit forward. I was in a small square room. There was an open door and footsteps were approaching it quickly. I didn’t want to run but I couldn’t stay there either. I saw the Professor coming through the door. He was grinning like a lunatic. Then someone came up behind me and everything went blank.

When I woke up I was lying in a dark and small alley. I felt for the diamond in my pocket. It wasn’t here. I checked the other pocket. It wasn’t there. Then everything came flooding back. The Professor must have stolen it. No! I slowly walked out and saw a poster. It was asking for information on the missing Professor Charles Whitmoor. But what about the diamond? Where is it? An anxious man walked by and asked me if I knew of an Elizabeth Whitmoor. “Oh”, I said “That’s me”. “I was told to give this to you. Sorry but I’m late!”. Even before he finished his sentence he shoved a white envelope in my hand.

 

Dear Elizabeth Whitmoor

In the recent case of the disappearance of professor Whitmoor, you are the only known relative of his, which means all his property goes to you. That includes the house and all his money. If you have any further problems contact Edwards & Co. 18 Newbridge Road, London.

From John Edwards

Distinguished Lawyer of the recently deceased Professor Whitmoor.

P.S. Here is a little money left for you. The rest will be coming ASAP.

 

15 years later – age 30

I knew that the fire damage to the hotel would be expensive to repair. But I suppose I have one thing to thank my Grandad for: his money. It would be a big help to repair the hotel. That’s very selfish of me. There are so many people young and old unaccounted for after the terrible fire. Ever since I made the big house into a hotel, a curse seemed to have come down on the village. An outbreak of pneumonia in the summer, a shortage of food and now the fire. What is the cause of it?

I groaned. I hated getting up early. But I had a task ahead of me. I had to clean out the old study, that used to belong to the Professor. It hadn’t been touched in more than 15 years. I slid open the door. The diamond was staring out at me.