Letter For Parents/Carers – 26th February 2021

I have a few pieces of information to share with you today.

I will start with the phased return to school. As I am sure you will have heard First Minister shared more detail of the return to school.

From March 15th should the Covid-19 figures allow P4-P7 and S4-S6 will return to school. We are expecting further guidance and detail to be released early next week along with information regarding S1-S3. I will of course keep you informed.

The levels of Covid-19 continue to improve in the NHS Grampian area which is encouraging and it is positive to have more detail of the Scottish Governments timeline for coming out of lockdown should the levels of the virus continue to improve.

The school submitted the report to have out Eco Schools Green Flag status revalidated, and I am delighted to say we passed with flying colours. A big thank you to Amy Dunnett PT Primary for compiling the report and to the pupils and staff for all their hard work. I have attached a copy of the feedback for your information.

Please find a couple of links below which you may find helpful:

What’s new in the city to support families?

ACC are launching Stronger Families Series – a range of free events for parent and carers to support children’s health and wellbeing (P7-S3). The main events will take place throughout March with additional focused webinars in April and May. There is something for everyone, why not sign-up now. To find out more information and book a space click here.

Information from NHS Grampian

NHS Grampian are currently developing a new family-based healthy lifestyle service that offers support to help your child get active, eat well and work towards a healthy weight. A range of topics will be covered including healthy eating, physical activity and behaviour change. The programme would run throughout Grampian and we are seeking the views of local families to help shape what the service could look like. Thank you for taking the time to answer this questionnaire. It should take around 10 minutes to complete and all responses will be treated anonymously.

Fill | Child Healthy Weight Services in Grampian forms.office.com

I hope the weather stays nice for the coming weekend.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Kind regards


Online BookBug Session

Aberdeen City Libraries’ will be releasing a Bookbug video this Saturday (27 February) and it will feature a few more extra-sensory elements and communication supports than usual.

The session includes a visual timetable (Boardmaker symbols), some Makaton signing, an accessible music-and-movement activity and a sensory story time, with suggestions and encouragement for families to create their own sensory stories at home using basic materials. We really hope that this sort of session will be even more engaging for all families than our regular selection of songs, rhymes and a story.

The session will be released on http://facebook.com/Aberdeen.City.Libraries on Saturday 27 February at 10 am and will be available to view for two months thereafter.

Orchard Brae Connect – Online Training

Sensory Processing with Karen Gebbie-Smith (Head of Primary)

11-12pm on Tuesday 2nd March 2021

Orchard Brae Connect are pleased to invite you to this online workshop via Microsoft Teams. This workshop is open to all parents / carers and families of pupils at Orchard Brae School.

We look forward to welcoming you to a relaxed hour where we will explore the senses, understand sensory differences and share strategies to help our youngsters regulate their unique systems. It may also help us to regulate ours too! All you need to bring is an open mind and a cuppa.

If you are interested in attending this event please email rebecca.j.duncan@gmail.com noting the following information:

Your name, email address, child’s name and class

You will be sent a link to join the workshop by email before the event.

Art Activities

What Happens To Flour When We Make Salt Dough?

This week we are continuing to use flour in our artwork by making salt dough and using it to get creative! As always remember that the process is the main focus rather than the finished artwork.

Remember to warm up your hands and eyes beforehand using some of the exercises we’ve practised before! This activity has been split into three levels focusing of different skills and levels of ability. Choose the one that is right for your learner but feel free the experiment and explore! Salt dough is a fairly crude material so make your work quite chunky don’t expect it to hold fine details or stay intact if it is very thin!

To make your salt dough, you will need:

  • 2 cups of plain four
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water

Mix the flour, salt and water in a bowl. If your mixture is too dry, you can add a bit more water or if it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour. Use your hands to knead and roll the dough until it is smooth. The salt dough will keep for several days if it is wrapped in cling film or placed in a sealed bag.

Stage 1: At this stage we are looking for the pupils to show a simple response or reaction as they explore the salt dough used in this week’s flour art. With hand over hand support from an adult, explore the texture and consistency of the salt dough. Can you squash and squeeze it? Can you roll it or pinch it? Try to use your fingers and hands to make prints in the salt dough or even add some food colouring for a more colourful experience.

Stage 2: With appropriate support, use your hands to manipulate the salt dough. Can you roll out the dough and cut out different shapes using either cutters or a knife? Can you use different objects to make impressions in the salt dough? Be as creative as you like but you could try forks, spoons, or sticks. You could also add some food colouring to you salt dough to really make your artwork stand out!

Stage 3: For this stage you will explore how to use the salt dough to create a 3 dimensional model. Can you use your hands or maybe even different tools to mould to salt dough? You could try making a bowl based on things you see in nature, such as a leaf or maybe even a model of an animal. Get creative and use your imagination. Once your model is finished, leave it to dry for several days or put into a very low oven to harden.

Extension: You can also use flour to make papier mache models. To create your papier mache model you will need:

  • old newspapers, comics or magazines, cut up or torn into strips or squares
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of warm water, plus a little extra tap water for loosening
  • Wire or cardboard to make a frame for your model
  • Paintbrush

Make a basic frame for your model using garden wire or cardboard.

Mix the flour and warm water in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Add extra tap water a little at a time to loosen. You want a smooth, batter-like paste with no lumps. You can sift the flour first for a smoother finish.

Cover your work area in more old newspaper. Dip the paper strips in the paste, wipe off the excess on the side of the bowl and stick onto your frame. Use a paintbrush to smooth down the paper and remove any air bubbles or excess paste. Repeat to cover and leave to dry before adding further layers.

Once you are happy with your model, you can decorate it using any media you like!

If you are looking for some inspiration, you can look up images of Alebrijes on the internet. Alebrijes are brightly coloured Mexican folk art sculptures of fantasy or mythical creatures. The first alebrijes, along with invention of the term, originated in Mexico City with the artist Pedro Linares. Linares often said that in the 1930s, he fell very ill, and while he was in bed, unconscious, he dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, “¡Alebrijes!, ¡Alebrijes!”. Once he recovered he began recreating models of the creatures he saw.

Please feel free to share any photos or videos via your child’s teacher, through Google Classroom, or email Amy Dunnett (Principal Teacher Primary)  adunnett@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Home Economics Activities

These week we have a range of different activities for you to try at home, all based around pasta!

How is pasta made?


Pasta Rap Song

How To Cook Pasta In A Microwave

Birds Nest Spaghetti

BBC Good Food Spaghetti Carbonara


BBC Microwave Spaghetti Bolognaise

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Symbol Supported Recipe – Pasta In A Tomato Sauce

Letter To Parents/Carers – 19th February 2021

The First Minister has confirmed that the first stage of the phased return to schools can start from Monday 22nd. We are delighted to be welcoming our Nursery, P1-P3 and a small number of our Senior Phase pupils back into school this Monday.

I am very aware that the first phase of the return leaves many families with the challenge of continuing to support their child at home. I am expecting the next update from the First Minister around 2nd of March. In her briefing in parliament on Tuesday First Minister said that the next potential date for stage 2 of the return could be 15th March.

The Scottish Government will be publishing their framework for coming out of lockdown in the next 2 weeks. In this the main focus is the continued return of schools which is their main priority.

The next area they will be looking at is the potential increase in family contact. When it comes to the re-opening of the economy the first thing will be the re-opening of non-essential shops.

The infection rate in the Grampian area continues to come down which is positive news indeed. I have attached our updated Covid-19 Operational Risk Assessment. You will also find a copy of this on our website (Covid-19 – Orchard Brae School).

We had a very busy 2 days of inset with the staff engaging is a wide range of professional learning, all of which was done remotely with exception of the first aid training. Amy Dunnett the PT Primary has submitted our Eco Green Flag revalidation report. I will let you know the outcome as soon as I know. The poly tunnel for the outdoor learning class will be delivered in the next 2 weeks. A very big thank you to Friends of Orchard Brae for funding this. Looking forward to the spring,  we have a significant number of fruit tree saplings arriving which have been donated by the Woodland Trust.   

Take care and stay safe

Kind regards


Home Economics Activities

This week we have a variety of pancake recipes for you to try at home to help you celebrate Pancake Day.

NLC Symbol Supported Pancake Recipe

CBeebies Perfect Pancake Recipe


CBBC Sweet Pancake Recipe


You might also enjoy this pancake day song from CBeebies…

…or why not take part in the Blue Peter pancake flip challange!

We would love to see how you get on with you Home Economics activities so please feel free to share any photos or videos via your child’s teacher, through Google Classroom, or email Amy Dunnett (Principal Teacher Primary) adunnett@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Learning In Primary

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of a very cold and very snowy week in the Primary Department and given the weather conditions lots of you have loved having the opportunity to take your learning outside.

You’ve shared lots of photos and videos and we are delighted to share some of the things you have been busy learning this week.

Snowman Challenge

It’s not often we have so much snow and you have all been extremely creative in building and decorating your own snowman. It’s also been a great way to get you hands moving as you squashed, squeezed and moulded the snow. Brrrr!

Colourful Creations

Some pupils also took part in some very cold and colourful outdoor art and science this week.

We were very impressed with how you made ice marbles using balloons filled with coloured water as well as using food colouring to create artwork in the snow.

You also been busy exploring art indoors too. It’s been a great opportunity for you to work on making choices, developing your motor skills and creativity and just possibly getting a wee bit messy too!

Learning Through Outdoor Play

The weather this week has provided lots of opportunities for you to play outside and even when you’ve been playing, you’ve still been learning!

You have been able to explore the snow using your senses, feeling how cold it is against your skin, how the air smells different, how it feels to walk through it and how wet it is when it melts, especially when you forget your wellies and waterproofs!

It’s been amazing to see all the sledging you have done throughout the week, both at home and at school. Some of you have been learning to use your core strength to sit on the sledge while you are being pulled along. Others have been working on their sharing, waiting and turn taking skills when there weren’t enough sledges for everyone to have a go. It’s been fantastic to see how some of you have become more confident as the week has gone on and are now able to try sledging down a hill all by yourself!!

Karen’s Creative Challenge

Karen has set a new challenge for you…pouring! Have a look at her video below and maybe you can have a go over the long weekend. We’d love to see how everyone gets on.

However, many of you are still enjoying practising the skills from the previous challenges, especially tower building.

Life Skills

The weather has been good for helping you to practice and develop your independence in dressing, especially putting on your boots, jackets and not forgetting your cosy hats, scarves and gloves!

You’ve also been busy working on other independent life skills such as setting the table, shopping and lots and lots of yummy baking!!!

We can’t wait to see what you get up to next week even though it is the long weekend so no school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we’re sure you’ll still be having fun and learning!

Letter to Parents/Carers – 12th February 2021

We have had a very interesting week with the snow and cold temperatures. The delayed start time allowed the necessary snow clearing efforts to be completed. Many a snowman has been built this week.

There is an Online Safety talk happening live on Facebook on 24th February beginning at 7pm.

Here is the event page  – Online Safety Facebook Live | Facebook – it links through so that you can get it in your Facebook diary if you are interested and then join live from there.

Can I encourage you to send any questions you have about social media apps/ online safety to this email address so they can answer them on 24th Feb –  info@cybersafescotland.org

All staff working in school now have access to lateral flow testing. This will commence from Sunday 14th and will be carried out twice weekly. This is in line with all ACC schools.

We await confirmation from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tue 16th Feb that the phased return to schools will start from Mon 22nd Feb. We have our plans in place ready to implement when this is confirmed.

We have reached half term so next week we will have the Monday holiday and then the double inset days on Tue & Wed.

I see in the forecast that a thaw is on its way so the snow will soon be melting. Mixed feelings as I know it provides hours of fun form many members of our school community. 😊

I hope you all have a pleasant and safe half term break. I will share updates next week regarding phased return to schools as soon as they are available.

Take care.

Kind regards


Outdoor Education Activities

Given the current weather situation, here are a few snow and ice activities for you to try at home!

Ice Sun Catcher:

Snow Games:

This website has some great activities and games for you to enjoy playing in the snow

Active for Life – Games To Play In The Snow

Winter Scavenger Hunt:

Science Experiments:

CBeebies – Ice Cool Skates

BBC Bitesize – Ice Sculptures

BBC Bitesize – Snow, Ice and Water

Science Sparks – Ice Decorations

Snow Volcano Experiment

Ice Luminaries:


Mark Making:

Another great website which gives you different ideas on mark making activities in the snow.  

Mark Making


10 Sparkly Snowflakes written by Tiger Tales

Snow Penguin written by Tony Mitten

Snow Penguin written by Tony Mitten

Singing Hands: Winter Clothes