Over the last few weeks in the run up to Advent, the class concentrated on their Main Lesson in English through the lives of the saints. I was astonished to see the number of saints they had covered in their daily work - St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Giles, St Francis and of course, St Martin, to name but a few. Since i am not entirely au fait with all these saints, it was a real delight for me to view their work and see the amazing young people they are and are becoming. I was especially delighted with the little clay sculptures which they had made, vignettes of St Martin which were thoroughly imbued with the spirit and essence of the story. The confluence of ethics and exercise has been an amazing one for me to experience and because Oisin never brings homework back, it is sometimes easy to miss the sheer amount that they do go through while they are at school.
Oisin made this wee hut at home one morning and he took it to school. It has since been occupied by two wee gnomies.
Vignettes from St Martin's life. They all depict St Martin's encounter with the beggar. It was noticeable that many of the Saints which they were studying were those who cared for the poor and hungry.
St Martin divides his cloak in half.
This one has St Martin riding through the wind and snow. They sing this beautiful song at this time of the year about St Martin.
Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin rode through wind and snow
On his strong horse, his heart aglow
He rode so boldly through the storm
His large cloak kept him well and warm
By the roadside, by the roadside, by the roadside a poor man arose
Out of the snow in tattered clothes
"I beg you help me in my plight, or else I'll die of cold tonight."
Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin stopped his horse
And drew his sword and cut his cloak in two
One half to the beggar man he gave and by this deed his life did save.
The beggar and the horse.
This was such a sweet little thing on Donna's desk. With the study of colour, it was just so delicious on a silent, empty Friday November afternoon in the classroom.
St Francis talks to the wolf.
Their writing book.
Elizabeth of Hungary
St Francise again
Here he is with the birds.
Here's the fable of the dog whole swallowed a shellfish.
Preparing the stars for advent
This one's of Paddy Woods who was selling waffles in St George's Market! All those festivals have now gone into something fairly entrepreneual. Go Paddy!
The preperations for Advent continue apace as well. One of the things which has become more and more important for me as a parent and a person in the school are the Festivals. Sure, they are a critical fundraising exercises, but more than that, they are a vital way in which the children experience community. They are the crest of the waves, the peaks in the rhythm of the year. As i have watched them over the years prepare for the festivals, i know that they are doing more than simply receiving an education. They are learning to work as a society, an organic and harmonic whole. As they prepare the grounds, clean the classrooms, indulge in serious spring cleaning and making decorations, they are receiving silent lessons about themselves as human beings. They are also building an excitement within them, a real anticipation about the school and their friends and families coming together to celebrate the year. For these reasons, and more, the festivals are not just PR, marketing and money making exercises. However, there must always be balance, and it is also vital that we do keep an eye on the bottom line when we do organise it. And it is this balancing act which i have watched over the years, which i have come to appreciate, anticipate and enjoy as a member of the school community. To the dedicated and talented, caring and tireless teachers, i must say thank you.