Donard School

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22a Castlewellan Road, Banbridge, County Down BT32 4XY

028 4066 2357

Donard School

A Bridge to Learning

  1. Classes
  2. Early Years


May 2024 update 

It has been a busy month here in EYP. We have had a dreamy time exploring all things fairytale’s. This month we have been exploring the tales of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. We have been having a ball with themed artwork, cookery, attention autism, sensory stories and music. We are delighted to have had sessions with Stuart our music therapist and have taken the opportunity to have nursery outside when the sun has been out. We cannot wait to see what we get up to next. 

April 2024 Update

We have welcomed April with enjoying lots of Spring activities. We have been working very hard completing spring themed fine motor tasks such as threading flowers and putting flowers in the toy garden. We have even planted flowers in soil and made beautiful spring gardens in art and spring biscuits in cookery. We have also began our Fairytale topic and spent a week exploring Cinderella. We enjoyed dressing up, making blue, star biscuits in cookery and creating beautiful carriages in art. We are looking forward to hearing lots more fairytales and exploring themed activities soon. 

March 2024 Update 

We have had a very busy March in EYP. We started the month with our World Book Day celebration. We enjoyed spending the day listening to and completing activities on The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We also had a blast with our Word Book Day Parade as we all showed off our fantastic costumes. We have also been loving exploring our Easter topic. We have listened and joined in on our ‘We’re going on an Egg Hunt’ sensory story, made Easter nests, decorated Easter eggs and even went on an Easter Egg hunt in the sensory garden. We have been loving spending time outdoors as the weather is getting warmer and as always having lots of messy play with water, sand, rice and foam. We cannot wait to see what we get up to next. 

February 2024 Update 

Since our last update, we have been having lots of fun and have been working very hard. This month has been very busy for us as we have been continuing our clothes topic whilst exploring Valentine’s Day, Pancake Tuesday and nursery rhyme based activities. In our clothes topic we had great fun using icing to put jumpers and trousers on our gingerbread men and decorate woolly hats in art. We have been feeling the love through our Valentines activities as we enjoyed a love themed attention autism, made valentines cards for our loved ones and decorated heart shaped pancakes. We have also been having great fun as we have been exploring activities based on one of our favourite nursery rhymes, 5 little ducks. We have enjoyed water and sensory play, making lovely feathery ducks in art and of course singing along to the song with the ukulele. EYP have enjoyed exploring outside in the sensory garden and in the playground and we are very happy to see the first signs of spring! 

January 2024 Update

Since we have come back from Christmas, we have been having a blast in Nursery! We have been exploring the world around us with the weather and our clothes topics! We have been dressing up in our winter clothes to experience the cold (and a little extreme!) weather we have been having recently. We have been exploring the weather through songs and while outdoors in the sensory garden. It has been great fun! Our teacher has also been introducing some makaton signs for the days of the week, the weather and our emotions! At the beginning of January, we learned a little about our feelings through song and an introduction to the colour monster with lots of sensory play, art - creating a beautiful feelings tree outside our classroom and had yummy cookery alongside this. We have loved being back in school and can't wait for the warm, sunny spring and summer months ahead of us!

December 2023 update

December has been great fun in EYP! We have gone into full Christmas mode and took part in a very special school play. Our parents came to watch our show and we did so well. Santa will definitely be impressed! We also took part in the Daily Mile Santa run where we got to explore all the decorated classroom doors on our way out to do our walk. They were fabulous! We also had a Christmas jumper day and have taken part in lots of play related to Christmas. Our cookery has been Christmas themed where we have made some salt dough decorations for our Christmas  trees and some gingerbread men for our sensory story - 'The Gingerbread man'. We can't wait for Santa to come visit us in school and we hope to hear we are all on the good list!

November 2023 update

During November in EYP, we have been very busy getting to know our topic - My Clothes! Singing lots of songs related to the different clothes and dressing some dolls in different types of clothes! We also began to identify sock matches. A very important job at home! We then began to explore Winter outside and in the classroom with lots of ice in our water tray and playing with some fake snow! We are nearly ready for Christmas and we are hoping for a blanket of snow on Christmas day!

October 2023 update

We have all been superstars in Nursery in October, we have settled in to our classes really well and are working really hard on some new skills within our play. We have explored 'Autumn' and 'Halloween' topics this month and have really enjoyed taking part in our sensory experiences which have come with it - from cookery to fun in the tuff tray! We also have been loving sensory story and attention autism before we go home everyday. Our favourite story so far has been 'Room on the Broom'! We can't wait for everyone to come back after half term for more fun learning!

September 2023 update

September has been very busy for our Nursery bunch. We began school for the first time and spent our first few days exploring the classroom and our toys! We focused on our topic 'All about me' where we used our senses to explore activities and toys linked to our body such as washing the baby, crazy hair paper plates and singing our head, shoulders, knees and toes song. One of our favourite nursery songs! We also began to look at autumn and are exploring the changes around us such as the falling leaves, autumn colours and plenty of conkers! We also began some new activities such as attention autism, sensory story and cookery! We are so excited for a fun filled year!

May 2023

May has been a fun filled month. We celebrated the Coronation at the beginning of the month and continued with our spring topic by planting sunflower seeds - we can't wait to watch them grow! We then moved on to our nursery rhyme topic and learnt to sing Old McDonald Had a Farm, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Humpty Dumpty. We also explored our nursery rhymes through cookery, art, sensory play, Attention Autism and play-based learning. We continued to work hard in literacy, focusing on our letter formation and in numeracy we did lots of different shape and space activities. We're excited for a fun-filled June to end the school year. 

April 2023

In April we learnt about all things Spring. We enjoyed more time outdoors, learnt about Spring through Attention Autism, art and play based learning. In literacy we've been working really hard on letter formation and initial sounds and in numeracy we've been handling data: learning about minibeasts and sorting them by colour and size. 

March 2023

March was a really busy month for Class 1A. We celebrated World Book Day, St. Patrick's Day and Easter. We had lots of fun exploring these festivities through sensory art, stories and Attention Autism as well as in our numeracy and literacy lessons. With the weather getting better we've had more opportunity for outdoor learning this month and have enjoyed exploring different areas in the school such as the sensory garden where we had an Easter Egg hunt. 

February 2023

In February we were busy exploring lots of different themes including Valentine's Day and Pancake Tuesday. We explored our topics through lots of play based learning and fun group sessions like Attention Autism and sensory story. We also continued with our music therapy sessions which we look forward to every week! We had a joint play session with Class 1B and had lots of fun making new friends in school. 

January 2023

In January we got settled back into school after the Christmas break! Our theme was all things winter and we learnt about winter weather, snowmen, winter clothes and arctic animals. We also got to explore and learn about Chinese New Year. We've started weekly music therapy sessions in class which we love - the noisier the better! This month we've been really enjoying our group Attention Autism sessions and are working really hard on our focus and concentration. 

December 2022

December was all about Christmas! We enjoyed lots of Christmas themed literacy and numeracy, had a Christmas 'Big Play' session with the rest of  junior school in the assembly hall for High Five Friday and made lots of lovely Christmas themed arts and crafts. We loved having our Christmas dinner, wearing our Christmas jumpers and even got a visit from Santa! In the last week the Big Play Bus came to visit and we had so much fun in the sensory section and the soft play!  

November 2022

In November Class 1A have been busy exploring their topic of People Who Help Us. We've looked at people who help us at home, in school and in the community and we've had lots of fun dressing up and learning through play. In November we also took part in nursery rhyme week and had lots of fun focusing on a different nursery rhyme each day. Alongside all this we've still been working hard with our numeracy, literacy, cookery and arts activities. Over the next few weeks we're really excited to get into the festive spirirt and make our learning about all things Christmas.

October 2022

Throughout October Class 1A have explored their topics of Autumn and Halloween with lots of practical, hands-on learning. We participated in whole-school activities including assembly, an autumn big play, and a Halloween costume parade. We also celebrated numeracy week and had our first High Five Friday to look after our wellbeing. We've been working really hard and are doing really well at following class routines and improving our independence. 

September 2022

Class 1A have had a very busy month settling into school. We've been getting used to lots of new areas in the school and have enjoyed trips to the play park, sensory garden and music therapy. In class we've been getting to know one another through our 'All About Me' topic. We've had lots of fun with a range of art, play and cookery activities. We're excited for a busy, fun-filled school year.  

Class 1 - May 2022

Class 1 have had another very busy month. We did lots of sensory and play based learning based on the farm. We were very lucky to meet ‘Lucky’ the lamb. The pupils enjoyed cookery, art activities, attention autism and learning in the outdoors.

Class 1 -  April 2022

Class 1 enjoyed a short month in April . We finished off our Spring topic with lots of exciting activities. We also enjoyed 'The Great Outdoors' cookery challenge. We got stuck into lots of exciting and practical hands on Easter activities.

Class 1 - March 2022

During March we enjoyed the changes in the weather and had great fun in the sensory garden and enjoyed outdoor play. The pupils explored and experienced the season of Spring with lots of practical and sensory activities. We also celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day.  The pupils also completed art, cookery, literacy and numeracy tasks.

Class 1 - January 2022

We started off Term 2 looking at the season of Winter.  Some of us were lucky enough to be able to get out to play in the snow on our first week back. The pupils have explored winter through lots of sensory trays - real snow, ice cubes and arctic animals. We completed lots of art activities- painting snowmen, creating snowflakes, silhouette polar bears, foot and handprint penguins.  The pupils also completed fine motor tasks, Literacy and Numeracy activities, made bird feeders during World Around Us and snowman biscuits in Cookery.


Class 1 - December 2021

A very busy but fun filled month in Class 1.  We finished off our ‘Celebrations’ topic and the pupils explored the theme of Christmas.  They completed lots of sensory play experiences, enjoyed our weekly Cookery and Art sessions, fine motor tasks, Literacy and Numeracy activities and continue to enjoy being outdoors.  The pupils also enjoyed our ‘Santa Daily Mile’ and Christmas jumper day.

Class 1 - November 2021

Another very busy month in Class 1.  The pupils explored the theme of Autumn, Diwali and Nursery Rhyme Week.  They completed lots of sensory experiences and thoroughly enjoyed exploring, experiencing and using their senses during our indoor autumn walk.  We have enjoyed our weekly cookery sessions, fine motor tasks, numeracy activities and continue to enjoy being outdoors.  We also welcomed a new pupil to our class, and he has settled in so well.

Class 1 - October 2021

 We’ve been busy bees again this month.  The pupils explored the theme of Harvest, enjoyed well-being day and our jungle themed numeracy week.  They completed lots of cookery, fine motor tasks,  numeracy and enjoyed being outdoors. The pupils have also been learning to work together.  We also enjoyed two fun filled weeks of Halloween activities, exploring and getting messy with lots of sensory activities.

Class 1 - September 2021

The boys and girls have settled back into school life with full gusto.  They enjoyed lots of play based learning activities and loved heading outdoors.  We started our topic ‘Happy Days’ and the pupils have explored and experienced the themes of birthdays and Chinese New Year.  We love our sensory play, relaxation time and attention autism sessions. 





Class 1 Update - January 2020

This month Class 1 have been very busy exploring our topic ‘Winter.’ We have been very busy painting with coloured ice, making our own snow and creating Melted Snowmen pictures.

We have also been focusing on Healthy Eating and used the blender to make yummy smoothies to share with the school. We loved the sound of the noisy blender!

We look forward to see what the rest of the year brings!

Class 1 Update - November 2019

Class One have had a lovely month exploring all things Autumn. We have created lovely artwork using our handprints to make hedgehogs and have loved exploring the Autumn colours—red, yellow and orange.

This month we enjoyed music therapy and made lots of delicious treats in cookery! Class one celebrated an 8th birthday this month!

Class 1 Update - October 2019

Class One have been working hard to complete Autumn sensory activities and explore the different textures and sensations from various materials. We have been busy making chocolate apples, buns, jelly and fruit salads. We really enjoyed the Maths Dinosaur Week. We had great fun learning the “Five Little Dinosaurs” rhyme.


5 Little Dinosaurs
Five little dinosaurs trying hard to roar,
One stomped away and then there were four.
Four little dinosaurs hiding near a tree,
One stomped away and then there were three.
Three little dinosaurs peeking out at you,
One stomped away and then there were two.
Two little dinosaurs ready now to run,
One stomped away and then there was one.
One little dinosaur not having any fun,
He stomped away and then there were none.

Class 1 Update - September 2019

Welcome back to all our wonderful pupils in Class One. We are looking forward to a fun filled year of fun and exciting activities.

Our topic for this term is Materials and Seasons. We have been busy discovering lots of different textures and materials. We have been exploring the story of the Three Little Pigs.

Class One have had lots of fun exploring and learning about all the different materials the Three Little Pigs used to build their houses. They really enjoyed trying to blow the houses down using the fan.

We have been enjoying lots of sensory play exploring lights, sounds, smells, textures and taste.

We are all looking forward to a great year in Class One.

Class 1 Update - June 2019

Class 1 have been celebrating summer time in spite of the weather. We have had lots of sensory fun with sand castles, water pistols, pineapples and lollipops, - not to mention making our own ice-cream and walks in the Park. We also enjoyed a beautiful morning in Newcastle with a walk along the Front. All our pupils did so well at Prize Day—they are all exceptional and we wish we could give them all a trophy!

The Staff in Class 1 want to wish all our pupils and their families a very happy and healthful summer. We will miss you all!

Class 1 Update - April 2019

This month class 1 have had lots of fun exploring our “Up” and “Easter” topics. We have listened and moved to a variety of ‘sport’ and ‘mini-beast’ music. We explored sports equipment and a variety of mini-beast toys through water play, attention grabbing activities, art and our toy bars. We used the touch screen to explore balls bouncing, flying kites and rockets.

We had a fun time when we joined the junior classes for the “Easter Sensory Sensations”. In class we made cards for our families, explored eggs by rolling them through paint to create marks and made nest buns in cookery.

Class 1 Update - March 2019

Look how much fun we have in class 1!

Class 1 Update - February 2019

Class 1 have started their new topic Up, Up and Away, by exploring balloons and bubbles. Of course we couldn’t let Valentine’s Day go by without spoiling our Mums with chocolates and a lovely card. All the pupils enjoyed a little bit of pampering too with rose-water foot baths and massage.

Class 1 Update - January 2019

Class one have had a lovely month. We had snow storms in class - one was dry and the other was wet.
We enjoyed walks in the local area and also liked exploring ice and real snow!

Our special story this month has been “Sneezy the Snowman.” We’ve created snowmen in art and participated in many other snowmen activities e.g. exploring images through ICT. We also made yummy snowball buns for cookery.

We had lots of fun dressing up and we dressed up in hats and mittens and enjoyed the “Three Little Kittens” rhyme time!