Christmas Newsletter 2020


Mercy Primary School

Christmas Newsletter 2020


Welcome to our Christmas Newsletter 2020.  What a strange and unusual year it has been!  We are so happy to be back at school and to have made it safely to this stage.

Despite the difficulties and challenges, the staff and students of Mercy Primary School have had an excellent term.  New ways of learning have been introduced and everyone has embraced the rules we now have to follow.

Special credit has to be given to the wonderful girls in our school – they have followed all the Covid-19 restrictions with a smile and without complaint – girls you have been amazing!

Parents – thank you for your support – together, we will get through this.  The super staff or Mercy Primary – well done and have a great Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone, we hope 2021 is a better year for all.


Barbara Hanamy, Principal.


Mrs. Murray’s Class:  We all came back to a very different kind of school in September and Mrs. Murray’s class adapted to the many changes very easily.  Our oldest pupil had gone off to secondary school and we welcomed a new Junior Infant.  We have become the Best Little Bubble in Birr!

We have been learning and playing together since our very first day.  We are painting and drawing, doing maths and Jolly Phonics, reading and writing  –  we are all at different stages but we are working really well together.

We are doing lots of exercises together – we are getting fitter and stronger by the day.  Our own little gym room is very noisy sometimes, a hive of activity!  We miss people dropping in but feel sure that we will be inviting visitors to lunch and for stories again in 2021.  We are excellent at protecting each other from covid – we are expert sanitizers and hand washers.  We are learning to keep our distance. Stay Safe and have a fabulous Christmas “Wash Your Hands”,  “Stay Back!”. 


Junior Infants and Senior Infants have been very busy.  They have had great fun participating together in creating a lovely Nativity Christmas play.  The girls also enjoyed adding actions to a Christmas song for their family video.

Our recent Aistear themes explored the café, the post office, winter and Christmas.  The girls posted cards to each other and were excited to discover who had received their cards.  The girls enjoyed celebrating recent birthdays.  We have had two parties and eight girls have enjoyed being the centre of attention as they played party games and enjoyed birthday treats.  They had a really good time with all their friends and we look forward to further birthday celebrations in 2021.  Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas.


1st Class:  We have had such a busy term in first class and we are so excited for the Christmas holidays. We’ve been working hard on our writing and making sure that all of our sentences have SWAG!! Ag foghlaim dánta, rannta agus focail nua i nGaeilge. Ms. Dermody even taught us some Spanish – gracias Ms. Dermody. We learned all about the North and South Poles recently and we wrote a report on Penguins. We learned that when a penguin slides on its belly it is called ‘tobogganing’. We carried out some extremely messy experiments during science week and had great fun while learning – sorry for all the dirty uniforms that week!! But our favourite day was definitely the day of our “Virtual Toy Show” with 5th class, through Zoom. We had great fun, while improving our oral language skills and gaining self confidence.  The girls have been focusing on kindness a lot and we have been filling our “Be the Reason Someone Smiles” display in our room. There is a mixture of teachers and students on the board – this is one of the girls favourite activities every evening. We are so excited at the moment preparing for our virtual Christmas performance and doing lots of fun and kind activities from our kindness advent calendar in the run up to the holidays. The girls have worked so hard and deserve a brilliant and relaxing break. Wishing you all a safe and peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2nd Class:  We have had a great term filled with dancing, reading and fun.  We loved Science Week, especially our Ooblek experiment!  We have had two zoom calls with Joe from Birr Library.  One was for Libraries Ireland Week and the other was filled with some of our favourite Christmas stories.  We have worked really hard and are looking forward to spending time with family over the next few weeks.  Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and safe Christmas.


3rd Class  What a busy term….. and 3rd class have been SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS!!!  From dancing for Glee Club and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ ing, to studying Vincent Van Gogh and making magical clay Christmas tree decorations.  We’ve ZOOMED to the Library, and become scientists during Science Week.  We even managed to squeeze in some pizza…. (while learning about fractions of course!!!)

Of course, in November we remembered our beloved who have died, and we now look forward to Christmas and the New Year.  2020 was tough, but we just love being back together in school and staying safe.  Wishing you all a peaceful and fun-filled, special Christmas and hoping you all have a hopeful, happy and exciting New Year.

4th class have had a very busy Term 1. They have enjoyed reading novels in English, completing projects in SESE, doing quizzes on Kahoot and participating in dance for PE.

Science Week was very interesting this year – the children took part in a series of online workshops learning about Electricity, The Corona Virus, Our Senses, Magic Tricks and Optical Illusions and Dinosaurs.

Also the girls have been working with local artist Caroline Conway on a Luminaries Project. This art and history project is based on local stories from the Duchas Schools’ Folklore Project. The project ‘A Fairy Story from Birr’ was unveiled on the 17th December and the children were very excited to see their work projected onto the walls of Mercy Primary.

The girls are now getting into the Festive spirit – they’ve learned poems and dances, recorded a Christmas video for their parents, had Zoom storytime with Joe from the library and created beautiful artwork and Christmas cards.



5th Class:  Happpppppy ‘Holly’days everyone!

WOW we made it and what a wonderful, productive and surreal time it has been since returning to school.  We really have been as busy as the elves in Santa’s Workshop over the past few months and have loved every second of it!  Although school has been different in terms of keeping to our own class bubbles, maintaining social distance, the endless hand washing and sanitizing  –  we are all so grateful to be back together with our friends in our classroom learning together as one.

We  really noticed just how big and important a part technology plays in the world today.  We have had amazing Zoom workshops which allowed us to learn and interact from our classroom:  Biodiversity,  Your Place in Space,  Leave no Trace,  Intro to the Solar System, Halloween and Christmas Story time with Birr Library, a Virtual Toy Show with 1st Class, and we even connected with Fr. Tom and Fr. Anthony as a whole school   –  it has been fantastic!


Some highlights from 5th Class this term:  SESE:  Learning all about the Famine with Miss Carroll.  Maths:  Mastering our long division (we are very proud),  English – we have read 2 novels ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree, and ‘Matilda’.  Gaeilge:  bhíomar ag obair go crua ar foclóir nua, na briathra néamhrialta agus go háirithe ár scríobhneoireacht.  We are loving our drama, our creative Christmas art (check out the school website for some pictures).  We have missed singing, but we really polished our dancing shoes this term with our rendition of ‘All I want for Christmas is You’  giving Mariah Carey a run for her money — strictly come dancing here we come!

Our Advent class calendar and Christmas song countdown got us all into the holiday spirit and made us all really appreciate the little things in life during such difficult times.  We are excited and very deserving of our Christmas break and want to wish you all a very happy, safe and magical Christmas with your loved ones and a prosperous New Year.  2021 we are ready for you  – and remember the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to show love from far and near.


6th Class: Season’s greeting from Rang 6!!

We have had the busiest and bestest first term ever!!  We are more than ready for these holidays.

Firstly, I would like to thank all of you for helping in keeping our school and classroom safe and healthy.  Attendance has been really good but if your daughter needed to be at home you kept her there and for this we are very grateful.  We are heading off to enjoy our Christmas healthy and happy and will hopefully return the same in 2021.

In school we spent a lot of time in September getting used to the new restrictions.  Every girl in 6th did this with a smile and got into the swing of things from day 1.  The days and weeks since September have flown up here in 6th.  We have worked so hard and are on track with all of our subjects.  We have really enjoyed our morning strolls in the park when possible.  We clear the heads and get ready for the day ahead.

In drama we have unleashed some amazing personalities in our classroom.  Everyone takes part in everything from mime to improvisation.  There are a few budding comedians in our class.

We did loads of fun activities during Maths Week including a Maths trail around the school.  Zoom has become a regular feature in our room with Judi Curtain zooming into us to tell us about life as an author.  Joe Kinane from Birr Library has also featured a couple of times and thrilled us with a spooky tale at Halloween and brought some Christmas Joy this December.

We ALLLLLL dressed up for Halloween and had a fantastic pizza party!!

Science week was EPIC!  We did loads of experiments and had another couple of zooms which were really interesting.

We are just finished our second novel this year and have really enjoyed reading more and more.  We get to watch the movies too which is a massive bonus.

We have had so much laughter and fun up here in Rang 6.  The sun shines in our window most days and makes us all thankful that we are back here and able to enjoy this happy and safe environment while spending time with our friends.  Schooldays…REALLLLY are the BEST days!!

Happy Christmas everyone and here’s to a wonderful, healthy and COVID FREE New Year!

Check out our Christmas poem on See Saw.  It’s HILARIOUS.

We wish you all a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

School closes Tuesday 22nd  December at 12.15 p.m.

Re-opening on Wednesday 6th January 2021.

Le gach dea ghuí í gcomhair na Nollag agus

na hAthbhliana.








Mercy Primary School, Birr, Co. Offaly