Armagh school's kind goody-bag gift helps ease first day blues
A Craigavon school had a special surprise for parents as they dropped their children off for their first day in the school's nursery unit.
St Brendan's Primary School and Nursery welcomed 26 nervous but excited pupils on Monday morning as they start their journey through education.
While the momentous day is inevitably filled with an array of emotions for children, for many of the parents involved, watching them taking this landmark step can bring its own emotional challenge.
Recognising this, nursery teachers Christine Diamond and Christina McAlinden had the idea to surprise each of the parents with their own candy-striped goody-bag, including a chocolate bar and teabag as a relaxing treat, alongside a comforting poem.
With an emotional atmosphere throughout the school and tears of joy from many of the parents and relatives, it is fair to say the gifts went down a treat.
One mum, Adele McMahon, who dropped off her daughter Lily, said: "It was a big moment and there were happy tears when I read the lovely poem.
"I know that she will be well looked after in St Brendan's".
Carol Rafferty, grandmother to Senan, said: "It was a beautiful gesture from the school.
"Even though Senan is my third grandchild to come through St Brendan's, it was still reassuring to know that they are being so well looked after. It nearly made me cry".
Speaking about the thought behind the gifts, school principal Lisa French said: "Our school motto is: 'When we welcome a child, we welcome a family'.
"It is about welcoming the whole school community, not just the children.
"Considering how everyone feels on their first day of school it's just a small thing to help.
"It is about comforting everyone and making sure everyone is happy coming to school.
"I met a granny outside who was crying as well as the mum.
"It was an emotional day for everyone.
"We want to assure parents that we will, as a team, strive to ensure that their child's time in St Brendan's will be a happy one, where they will achieve their full potential.
"I am immensely proud of our school and all our pupils and look forward to another wonderful year ahead," the principal added.