Presentation Primary School Waterford

A great tradition of education in Waterford since 1798

School of Sanctuary

February 2024

We are a School of Sanctuary! On  February 21st 2024, we became the first primary school in Waterford to be recognized as a School of Sanctuary! We are so proud of our wonderful school community.

A school of sanctuary is a place that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for all, but especially for those who are seeking refuge, or those that are most in need.

The day began with a school assembly where we celebrated our special school community, our own little world. Our SoS ambassadors chose some special gifts that they felt represented our school and shared the meaning behind them. We heard two beautiful songs from our wonderful Peace Proms choir & some gorgeous poems from our students. We finished the assembly with our school song ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’.

Our SoS ambassadors showed our visitors around the wonderful displays in our school hall & then took them on a tour around the school. We then brought our visitors to visit some of our classes, to hear what makes our school so special.

The visitors commented on the wonderful atmosphere in our school and how truly special the students were!

Take a minute to read our lovely report here:

School of Sanctuary – Report

Our School’s Journey:
We are delighted to be able to share with you, our school padlet, showing our school’s journey so far. We are incredibly proud of our journey!
Check out our padlet here Our School of Sanctuary Padlet
Thank you!
A massive thank you to Homayoon Shirzad, who came in and spoke with our 6th Class students and our School of Sanctuary Ambassadors recently. Homayoon is a wonderful friend to our school and his knowledge and experience is amazing to listen to. He spoke about his experience coming to Ireland and the practical things that can help students starting school here. He then invited the students to ask him questions and was really impressed by the insightful questions asked!

Poster & Poetry Competition: 

Well done to everyone who participated in our recent competition. Your hard work and amazing efforts were wonderful to see! The theme was ‘Our school, a place of sanctuary’. 
Check them out here Poetry Competition and Poster Competition . Congratulations to all of our winners.


Congratulations Lily!

Well done to Lily C in 1st Class who won a prize during Anti Racism month last year, which she was recently presented with. She won a lovely prize from the library for her drawings in the Senior Infant category. We are so proud of you!

Author’s Visit: 

We had a wonderful workshop with Kensika Monshengwo, author of Okani and the Crocodile Queendom, on Friday September 29th – he was absolutely amazing to listen to! 

We explored the concepts of diversity and inclusion with him and we learned lots of different languages too! Students in our school speak over 30 different languages – how amazing is that?

World Gratitude Day: 

On Thursday 21st September, the students in our school celebrated World Gratitude Day. Every class has a place in our ‘school garden’ to share our gratitude flowers, where students could share what they are grateful for! 

Senior classes had wonderful discussions about appreciating what we have and recognizing that people around the world might not always be as lucky as us. Students identified some wonderful things they are grateful for such as their safety, access to health care, supportive people around them to help them, the opportunities they have and many more. Be sure to stop by our gratitude garden!

Friendship Week!

Friendship has been one of the main themes on our School of Sanctuary journey so far. In our school we are inclusive, we treat others with kindness and respect and we celebrate each other!

Friendship week is always a very enjoyable week, where our students were busy exploring the theme of friendship through lots of lovely activities and also working with their buddy classes.  Our classes are busy working on our school song ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ – we can’t wait to sing it together at assembly!

This is our world!

A big thank you to Ms. McKeon who has been busy updating our beautiful world map, which shows all of the countries that students in our school have come from. Our students love sharing information about their home countries and pointing it out on the map! 

Flags of the world: 

Senior students have been really enjoying exploring the flags of the world! They loved pointing out countries that have significance to them, such as where they were born, where their family are from and they spent time exploring the similarities between flags! Guess the flag is very popular.. 

Why not test yourself and see how many you can name?

Guest Speaker – Funmi Young. 

We were delighted to welcome Funmi Young to our school for a talk with 3rd – 6th class during World Refugee Week.  Funmi is a wonderful ambassador for School of Sanctuary and she shared her wonderful story with us. She spoke about her decision to come to Ireland, the difficulties she and her children faced at first and her life now.  Funmi led a very engaging discussion on how we could support new students coming to our school and opened our eyes to the challenges some students face. 

We are so grateful to Funmi for coming in to us and sharing her story, she is truly inspirational!

Bake Sale: 

Well done to the students from 5th and 6th class for organising such a wonderful bake sale! Thank you to all of our students who supported this and helped raise over 1000 euro for two special charities – Barnardos and Pieta House. 

Barnardos work with families, communities, and our partners to transform the lives of vulnerable children who are affected by adverse childhood experiences.

Pieta offers a free professional one-to-one, in-person, phone or video therapeutic counselling and 24-hour phone and text crisis prevention services to those who are going through a very difficult time. 

We are so proud to be able to help these charities!

No Uniform Day:

Thank you to everyone who supported our no uniform day on Wednesday! We were delighted to be able to donate the money collected to support children who are impacted by war. 

Wear Red Day:

The boys and girls in the Presentation Primary School showed a red card to racism.

On March 31st, the students and staff in our school joined schools all across the country by supporting Wear Red Day. Classes had wonderful discussions on the importance of treating everybody with kindness and respect and also the importance of celebrating diversity and our differences.

Sixth class shared a lovely message on the intercom and we all took a kindness pledge, where we promised to be kind to ourselves and others. Students were very proud of the fact that our school is a kind, caring and welcoming place and that we work hard to make sure everybody is happy in our school.

Free To Be Me:

A massive thank you to Ms. Lyons for all her hard work in securing the ‘Free to be me’ books for our school library, in association with Childrens Books Ireland. Ms. Lyons put our school forward, sharing some of our journey to ensuring our school is a place where everyone is welcomed, supported and represented and we were awarded a wonderful set of books for our hard work!

The ‘Free to be me’ project is celebrates diversity, representation and inclusion in books for children and young people aged 0–18, to ensure equity and visibility in both school and public libraries, bookshops and shelves in the home.

We were chosen as one of fifty schools (out of more than 640 applications) to receive the Free to be Me Little Library from Children’s Books Ireland in November. We received a selection of more than 100 books. The schools chosen to receive these books demonstrated an awareness of a need for diverse books in their libraries, and work towards giving those for whom English isn’t their first language a welcoming community in which to learn. 

The books we received ensures that all students can see themselves and their situation represented. Our books explore stories based on having to flee war, living as a refugee, experiencing homelessness, living with disabilities, discrimination, celebrating differences and many more. Make sure and check our Free to be me section in the library!

Peace Proms!

Our 3rd class students have been taking part in the Peace Proms for many years and it is definitely a highlight of their year. Peace Proms celebrates culture and diversity and promotes peace, unity and tolerance through music. Peace Proms is for everyone and shares important messages through song. 

Well done to all of our students who performed so well in the SETU Arena! What a beautiful and inspirational day!

The Refugee Journey Webinar

Students from 4th, 5th and 6th class engaged with ‘The Refugee Journey’ on Friday, to Human Rights Day 2022. Our students learned all about people about seeking sanctuary here in Ireland, what it means and some of the barriers they face. They heard from five wonderful School of Sanctuary Ambassadors,  who told their stories about coming to Ireland in difficult circumstances and how they have built their new lives here in Ireland.

We heard from Olga Iamstun from Ukraine, Hashem Badran from Syria, Raneem Abubaker from Sudan, Obianuju Ekedozie from Nigeria and Fayaz Shirzad from Afghanistan, a student at Mount Sion CBS Waterford, who was interviewed by his teacher Jacinta O Rourke. The honesty, bravery and openness of each speaker was absolutely inspirational. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and were so grateful to all those who shared their stories!