Early Learning Schools Christmas Shoe-Box Appeal 2016

Huge thanks to all the parents and children who took part in this year’s Christmas Shoe-Box Appeal. The children had great fun filling the boxes and wrapping them again this year.




Over three million children, from some of the remotest and poorest parts of the world, will have some very special gifts to open this year and we’re delighted to be a part of that.






Pic Special – Tales from our Teepee in Glen Outdoor School










Magical Storytelling at Ray and Glen Outdoor Schools

We had a wonderful evening at Glen and Ray Outdoor School celebrating Hallowe’en with a fun storytelling session. Families gathered in Ray for ‘Fun in the Forest’ and in Glen for ‘Tales in Our Teepee’.


The children had great fun playing traditional Hallowe’en games like bobbing for apples and listening to Hallowe’en tales. Everyone enjoyed the delicious homemade pumpkin soup that the children prepared themselves!


Thanks to everyone who came along and took part. It was ‘spooktacular’. Check out the pictures below….






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Fun Hallowe’en Storytelling and Games in Glen and Ray

We’re celebrating Hallowe’en in a fun way with a special storytelling event on Friday, 28th October in Glen Outdoor School, Glenswilly and Ray Outdoor School, Rathmullan.
There’ll be lots of fun with traditional Hallowe’en games like bobbing for apples and coins and much more! In Glen Outdoor School, children of all ages will get the chance to take part in a fun storytelling session in our new Teepee (6.30 – 8.30pm), while in Ray Outdoor School, there’ll be lots of storytelling and fun in the forest (6 – 8pm).





We’ll also have some delicious homemade pumpkin soup to warm us up and children are more than welcome to dress up in their Hallowe’en costumes, but it is optional.


It’s going to be a great evening of fun and if you’d like to come along to ‘Tales in the Teepee’ in Glenswilly call 086 173 7748 or if you’d like to attend ‘Fun in the Forest’ in Ray, call 086 410 7974. The event costs €6 for one child, €10 for two, €12 for three or €15 for four.

Happy Hallowe’en!


Welcome Back!

September marks the start of a new term and we’re delighted to welcome everyone back to Early Learning Schools. We’re very excited to meet all our new friends and it’s great to see some familiar faces back for the year.


The objective at each of our Early Learning Schools is to ensure that each child has a happy, fun and enjoyable experience. We encourage children’s creativity and social interaction and while we spend 80% of our day outdoors, we follow the national early childhood curriculum framework, Aistear, to ensure our children are prepared for primary school.




It’s going to be a very exciting first term with lots of outdoor fun and learning, arts and crafts and much, much more. Keep an eye on our blog for lots of photos!


Bear Grylls Summer Camp

We had a lot of fun at our overnight Bear Grylls Summer Camp. It was a wonderful experience for staff and children alike…camping outdoors, making hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows on our outdoor fire, going fishing first thing and preparing, cooking and eating our catch of the day!


The fun that the children are having on our summer camps proves that, (once you dress appropriately), there is simply no such thing as bad weather!


















Thank You….

What a wonderful week celebrating old traditions stories and skills at Glen Outdoor from 25th to 29th April. Now that we’re back to reality (and 2016!), we’d like to thank each and every person who helped us mark our ‘Step Back 100 Years’ celebrations especially to all staff at Early Learning Schools’ for their support and hard work preparing for the week.

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Without the help of the local community who loaned us their artefacts it wouldn’t have been possible to do all the lovely and memorable activities that we did. A special “Thank You” to Seamus Crawford, Brendan Boyle, Paddy Gildae, Charlie Callaghan and The Auction House for allowing us use their many items.

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To all who came and helped demonstrate the old ways and share stories we are grateful. Adults and children enjoyed and learned from these practical hands on experiences. A massive “Thank You” to Rosemary Crawford and Imelda Callaghan for showing the children how to churn butter and bake bread the traditional way, using the open fire and hot coals at Glen Outdoor School, and to Karen for making jam with them.


To Niall Mc Ginley for telling stories and sharing photos of the different types of transport, especially the first car to come to Donegal in the 1900’s which came to Glenswilly with IH 1 on the number plate. Niall also had an old shop book which had prices of items bought in the day. Tea, sugar and bread were 10p (that is old pennies, which is about 4p in today’s money).Thanks to Bríd Kelly for teaching Irish dancing, to Johnny Friel and Kieran Diver who made toys with the children to Con McFadden and Fulton Buchanan for showing the children how to plant and sow vegetables.

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Thanks to all who joined us from the community, parents, friends and family, Gerry Mc Monagle, Mayor, Cllr. Ian Mc Garvey, the First Holy Communion class with their teachers from Glenswilly National School and Anne Mc Ateer, Health Promotion Officer with the HSE who called to Glen Outdoor School to experience the fun and celebrations.

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It was a wonderful week enjoyed by children, parents and staff alike, and an important reminder that the children of today will shape our communities for the coming 100 years. We hope many of the children attending Early Learning Schools and who put their vision for the future in our time capsule will be back to dig it up in April 2036. A date for your diary!!!

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Step Back 100 Years

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We’ve had a great week celebrating life as it was in Donegal 100 years ago. We’ve heard stories of our history, and listened to old tales from the past, as well as stories from the 1916 Rising. We also read our own 2016 proclamation which we have been working on since the start of the year.

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We learned about old toys and brought to life games from the past. We baked home made bread on the open fire, which we ate with our home-made butter and jam, which tasted delicious! Tomorrow is the final day of our week long celebration to mark our centenary, when we’ll learn all about growing plants and vegetables as we plant our vegetable garden.


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To finish the week long celebrations and to mark the next 100 years, we will plant a tree in the garden at Glen Outdoor School tomorrow. We will also fill and bury a time capsule with items from present day and aspirations for the future from young and old. It was a thoroughly enjoyable week and on behalf of all the children, we’d like to thank everyone who came along and made the week so memorable for everyone. Here’s to the next 100!



‘Step Back 100 Years’ to Mark Ireland’s Commemoration Celebrations

We’re hosting a ‘Step Back 100 Years’ week-long celebration of old traditions at Glen Outdoor School in Barrack, Glenswilly next week.

We’re extending an open invitation to all members of the public, family and friends to join the children and staff at Glen Outdoor School to take part in a series of fun activities to celebrate life as it was in Donegal 100 years ago. The events will take place every day from Monday, 25th until Friday 29th April, from 10am-12pm.


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With different activities running throughout the week, the aim is to show the children how life was for children in the 1900’s. To start the week-long celebration, the children and staff will look at old items such as pots and pans, discussing their uses and talking about what items have replaced them in today’s world. Following on from that, on Tuesday, 26th April,  the children will make their own homemade bread, using the open fire at Glen Outdoor School.


On Wednesday 27th, the children will look at old toys from the past and, using everyday materials, they will re-create and play with them. On Thursday 28th, children will have the opportunity to listen to old tales from the past, as well as stories from the 1916 Rising. They will also read their own 2016 proclamation which they have been working on since the start of the year.




To finish the week long celebrations and to mark the next 100 years, the children will plant a tree in the garden at Glen Outdoor School. They will also fill and bury a time capsule with items from present day and aspirations for the future from young and old. For more information on this special event, contact Sally on 086 858 9339 or email sally@earlylearningschools.ie




Thank You for Helping Us Make a Difference through The Ray of Sunshine Foundation

I had the great pleasure of being one of 23 volunteers who travelled to Mtwapa, Kenya last month as part of a collaboration with the Ray of Sunshine Foundation. We went to help build a Rescue Centre for abused children who have been trafficked in the sex trade from as young as three years old. They rely on the charity to bring some hope into their lives, and together, we helped complete the build of the Rescue Centre where the children will have access to support, medical care, nutrition, education and a caring environment to give them a chance of recovery.


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In the lead up to the trip, I carried out various fundraising efforts and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed and supported me through bucket collections, a family fun day at Glen Outdoor School, a clothing collection and a BBQ at the Churchill Fair.


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The money has gone to a very worthy cause and it has made a huge difference to the lives of young girls who will use the Rescue Centre. The Ray of Sunshine Foundation is a fantastic charity and through their work, the children are empowered by education, giving them a chance of a brighter and better future to improve their lives. It also gives them a chance to get out of the poverty trap.  




Children in the western world take so much for granted. The children I met in Kenya have very little, but it was heartening to watch them get such joy from so little and it reminded me of my own childhood. For more information on the Ray of Sunshine charity visitwww.rayofsunshine.ie

Thanks again,



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A special thank you to Cllg Baile na nGalloglach, Milford, for the GAA kit, which went down a treat with the children in Kenya