Christmas came early for the pupils of Portarlington Presentation Primary, in the form of 40 new iPads, with a big Christmas raffle to help pay the €30,000 cost.
The Christmas raffle, organised by the Parents Association, with generous prizes donated by local businesses, is just one festive event lined up forWednesday December 21, the day before the Christmas holidays
On that day, Santa, Mrs Claus and some of their busy elves will spend the day at the school to meet all the children and hear their Christmas songs.
There is a whole week of class performances lined up, reports the new principal Cathal Ruane.
“We have the decorations dusted down, ready to go up in December, but it is amazing how festive the atmosphere is already,” he said.
Each class will put on their own play, over the week before the Christmas holidays, for their families to enjoy.
Rehearsals are well underway he said.
“All the classes are busy practicing for their class plays. There is music heard all over the school, I want to say a huge thank you to all the staff, they really go above and beyond, if it weren't for their dedication the plays wouldn't be possible,” the principal said.
The €30,000 cost of the iPads also includes charging stations and educational software he explained.
“The Ipads have been introduced to assist with our students learning. They have only just arrived but so far we are delighted. All classes will get the opportunity to use them as we have two trolleys to transport them on and they will be timetabled to maximise the learning opportunities.
“We aim to use them for research projects, coding using Scratch, to reinforce learning by accessing educational apps such as jolly phonics in the junior classes. The Ipads can be used through all curricular areas and our pupils get the opportunity in develop their IT skills which is extremely important,” he said.
“ I'm sure they will be used to track Santa in the run up to Christmas,” he added.
He thanked the Parents Association for their support in paying for the equipment.
“They are a hugely supportive, dynamic group,” Mr Ruane said.
It is his first Christmas as principal of the busy 749 pupil school.
“I have been made very welcome. It's a lovely whole school community, including the parents and teachers and most of all the pupils,” Mr Ruane said.
Tickets for the raffle are on sale from the school and Parents Association, with donations also welcome.