New Junior Infants – August 2021
As the new school year draws closer, your child will likely begin to feel a mix of excitement and nerves as they begin to look forward to this new chapter of their lives.
Starting school is a big step for both parents and children and so to help with that transition we have provided some tips, hints and fun activities to hopefully help with transition preparations. In previous years we have held an Information Evening in May for parents of new Junior Infants and an Open Session in June for the pupils. Due to the continued Covid-19 restrictions, we are unable to plan either of these events, so we have created this information page for parents of children joining the school. We will continue to add to this page over the coming weeks.
We have two Junior Infant classes (known as JIA and JIB). You will be advised nearer the start date which class your child has been allocated and the name of their class teacher.
We intend to invite half the class in to school on the first day of term (Monday 30th August) and the other half in on the second day (Tuesday 31st August) then the whole class will be in from Wednesday 1st September. This will enable the class teachers to get to know your children and it will hopefully be less daunting for them to be in a smaller group on their first day. You will see from the school calendar that for the first week of term Junior infants will finish at 12 midday, after which they will finish at 1.40pm.
If you have not already done so, please download the Komeer App as this is the platform we use for communicating with parents, and please consider joining our school Facebook page. For more information see our website page on Communicating With Parents.
We look forward to getting to know you and your child and to working with you.
School Documents for Junior Infant Parents:
BEFORE YOUR CHILD STARTS SCHOOL
It would help greatly if your child is able to:
- Button and unbutton a coat and hang it up.
- Use the toilet without help and manage pants and buttons.
- Know how to flush the toilet and wash hands, without having to be told.
- Use a tissue when necessary.
- Share toys and playthings with others and ‘take turns’.
- Tidy up and put away playthings.
- Remain contentedly for a few hours in the home of a relation, friend or neighbour. If children have had this experience, then separation from parents when they start school will not cause any great anxiety.
- Manage their own shoes. Velcro is the best option for this.
- Open and close his/her own lunchbox.
- Undress and change themselves in the unlikely event of a toileting accident.
Please ensure that all items of school uniform, lunch boxes and bottles are labelled. The children will need a schoolbag big enough to fit an A4 folder, lunch box and drinks bottle. The children will be provided with pencils and crayons in school, they do not need a pencil case.
Social skills are very important. Our goal is to foster the development of good interpersonal and mixing skills. We place a high value on good manners and expect all children to be able to know when to use “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, “Hello”, “Good morning”, “Goodbye” etc.
GETTING READY FOR LEARNING
Oral Language Development
It is important that a child’s ability to talk is as advanced as possible.
It is through speech that children communicate their thoughts and
feelings, needs and desires, curiosity and wonder.
How You Can Help
- Talk to your child naturally and casually about things of interest that you may be doing at home, in the shop, in the car, etc. Remember that all the time children are absorbing the language they hear around them. It takes them a while to make it their own and use it to express their needs.
- Try to make time to listen when your child wants to tell you something that is important to him/her.
- Introduce a child gently to Why? How? When? Where? If? etc. Asking questions demands more advanced language structures.
FIRST STEPS IN READING
Ability to read is the foundation for all future learning. However, learning to read is a gradual process and much preparatory work must be completed before a child is introduced to a first reader. We very deliberately do not rush or push children into reading. We get them ready for it over an extended period. Reading is meant to be enjoyable. It should never start as a chore for the small child.
How You Can Help
- Have attractive colourful books in the home.
- Join Dundalk Library, we are very lucky to have such an excellent library in our locality.
- Read a variety of stories from time to time. Children will begin to associate these wonderful tales with books and reading.
- Children have their own particular favourite stories that they never tire of hearing. Repeat them over and over again and gradually get your child to tell you the story.
- You must gradually convey that books are precious things. They should be minded, handled carefully and put away safely.
- Look at the pictures and talk about what they say.
- Read nursery rhymes.
- Sing the alphabet song with your child, so that he/ she has at least heard of the letters. If he /she knows what each one looks like, all the better.
- Focus on your child’s progress, not other children’s progress. Don’t compare.
- Above all, don’t push with early reading. You may turn your child against it for evermore.
First, a Word of Warning:
Maths for the small child has nothing to do with “sums”, figures, tables or adding and subtracting. These will all come much later. Maths is really part of the language a child uses in understanding and talking about certain things in his/her daily experience e.g.
- Colours – black, white, red, green, etc.
- Prepositions (telling position), over/under, before/after, inside/outside etc.
- Matching/Sorting–objects of the same size/colour/texture/shape etc.
- Odd One Out – difference in size/colour etc.
How You Can Help
- In the course of your ordinary daily routine in the home, in the shop, in the neighbourhood you could try to use suitable opportunities to casually introduce the maths vocabulary referred to above, e.g. How many cakes? The glass is full/empty. We turn left at the lights, etc.
- Children associate certain numbers with particular things – two hands, four wheels, five fingers etc.
- Counting – one, two, three, four, etc.
- Setting the table
- Drawing attention to shapes in the home and the environment.
- The child’s understanding of Maths is best developed by handling, investigating and using real objects. This has been his/her natural method of learning since babyhood.
GETTING READY FOR WRITING
Making letters on paper is not easy for small children. They must learn to hold the pencil properly and make regular shapes. Their hand and finger muscles are only gradually developing at this stage. They must develop the ability to get hand and eye working together (hand-eye coordination). This is very important.
How You Can Help
Encourage your child to manipulate toys like:
- Jigsaws, Lego, beads to thread etc.
- Plasticine (Marla) to make his/her own shapes.
- A colouring book and thick crayons. (In school, we use chubby crayons for most of the first year)
- Sheets of paper that he/she can cut up with a safe scissors.
When your child begins to use a pencil make sure that he/she holds it correctly from the beginning. It is difficult to change bad habits. Special pencils are available for early users. Pencils are provided in school for school use. Children may be making block capital letters at home even before coming to school. This is fine. But when they start making lower case letters at school, please try to encourage them to discontinue the use of capitals and practise the new system. Children who begin to show left hand dominance should be allowed to hold the crayon / pencil in the left hand.
HEALTH & SAFETY
We are awaiting guidance from the Department of Education and skills regarding health & safety measures we need to put in place for the new school year with regard to Covid-19. As soon as we have any updates we shall advise you. We already have placed hand sanitizer units throughout the school building and at the door of each classroom and we will work with all pupils to raise hand and respiratory hygiene awareness.
How You Can Help
We would appreciate if you could support us in this by discussing good hand and respiratory hygiene with your child at home.
Please see the hse-handwashing-advice
You might also want to play them the following video:
Here are some links you might find helpful:
- Information from The Department of Education and Skills Gov.ie – Ready For School
- Early Childhood Ireland Leaflet: Going To Primary School
- NCCA leaflet for parents: Mo Scéal: Moving from Preschool to Primary
- Transitioning to Primary School:Occupational Therapy Tips and Strategies
- NCSE: Preparing Young Children For Primary School
- NCCA Report Transitioning from PreSchool to Primary School