Information for Parents of Infants Starting School
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Before your Child Starts.
You should ensure that he/she is as independent as possible – physically, emotionally and socially. If he/she can look after themselves in these areas they will feel secure and confident and settle in readily.
It would help greatly if he/she is able to:
1. Button and unbutton his/her coat and hang it up.
2. Use the toilet without help and manage pants buttons.
3. Use his/her hanky when necessary.
4. Share toys and playthings with others and take turns.
5. Tidy up and put away his/her playthings.
6. Remain contentedly for a few hours in the company of a relation, friend or neighbour. If he/she had this experience, then separation from his/her parents when he starts school will not cause any great anxiety.
Also encourage personal hygiene and cleanliness.Your child should know to flush the toilet and wash his hands, without having to be told.
Preparing for the ‘Big Day’.
1. Tell them about school beforehand, casually, and talk about it as a happy place where there will be a big welcome for them and they will meet new friends.
2. Don’t use school or the teacher as a threat. “If you behave like that for teacher she’ll murder you”. Though said light-heartedly, it can make some children very apprehensive.
3. If you feel it would help, take them for a stroll to the play area on an afternoon during June when the other children have gone home. She/he can browse around and become familiar with their new environment.
4. All belongings must be marked with your child’s name.
1. Be sure to collect them on time. Children can become very upset if they feel they are forgotten.
2. Keep out of view until the children are released.
3. If at any time the collecting routine has to be changed ensure you tell the child and the teacher.
Handling the Upset Child.
A Word of Advice:
1. Trust the teacher,
2. Try not to show any outward signs of your own distress.
3. When you have reassured him, leave as fast as possible. The teacher can distract and humour them more easily when you are not around.
4. Check back discreetly in a short while. You will invariably find that calm has been restored.
5. You must be firm from the start.
As Time Goes on:
1. School begins at 9.20a.m. to ease the child into the school routine we have a policy where Junior Infants go home for the first two weeks at 12.30p.m. After that they go home at 2.00p.m. Please make sure that your child is collected at 2.00p.m. Get them into the habit of being on time for school from the beginning.
2. Children need plenty of rest after the effort and excitement of a day at school. You should ensure that he/she gets to bed early and has good nights sleep.
3. Children often “forget” or relay messages incorrectly, so please, check your child’s bag each night for notes.
4. You have received a book list outlining the books and other bits and pieces your child will need for the year. We would appreciate if the money for Art and Crafts and the money for photocopying were paid before end of September.
Lunch is provided in our school. However if you choose to send your own the following guide is designed to help you provide quick, appetising, and nutritious lunches for you children and is inline with our healthy eating Policy. You will need to send a snack for little break.
Bread & Alternatives:
Bread or rolls, preferably whole meal.
Rice – wholegrain.
Pasta – wholegrain.
Whole meal Scones.
Tinned Fish e.g. tuna/sardines,
Cheese, including Edam, blarney,
Fruit & Vegetables:
Apples, banana, peach, plum, pineapple cubes, mandarins, orange segments, grapes, fruit salad, dried fruit, tomato, cucumber, sweet corn, coleslaw, celery.
Milk, including low fat.
High juice Squashes, i.e. low sugar content.
All children in the school receive a roll, piece of fruit and a drink at big break, Your child will need a snack for little break.
One treat is permitted on “Treat day” which is Friday.
Crisps, chewing gum or fizzy drinks are never allowed – school policy.
Some Important Areas of Early Learning.
It is important that the child’s ability to talk is as advanced as possible.
You Can Help:
1. Talk to your child naturally and casually about things of interest that you or he/she may be doing-at-home, in the shop, in the car, etc. Remember that all the time he/she is absorbing the language they hear about them. It takes them a while to make it their own and to use it for his/her own needs.
2. Try to make time to listen when he/she wants to tell you something that is important to them. But don’t always make them the centre of attention.
3. Answer their genuine questions with patience and in an adequate way. Always nurture their sense of curiosity and wonder.
4. Introduce them gently to the ideas of Why? How? When? Where? If? etc. These demand more advanced language structures.
5. Children will have their own particular favourite stores that they never tires of hearing. Repeat them over and over again and gradually get them to tell them to you.
First Steps in Reading.
Ability to read is the foundation for all future progress in our school system. However, leaning to read is a gradual process and lot of preparatory work must be done before a child is introduced to his/her first reader.
You can Help:
Have attractive colourful books in the home.
Read them a variety of stories from time to time. They will get to associate these wonderful tales with books and reading.
1. You must convey to them gradually that books are precious things. They must be minded and handled carefully and put away safely.
2. Look at the pictures with them and talk to them about what they say.
3. Read nursery rhymes. Children will learn them off their own bat. Don’t try to push them.
4. Above all, don’t push them with their early reading. You may turn them against it for evermore.
5. Remember that the teacher is the best judge of what rate of progress is best suited to each child.
6. Sing the alphabet song with your child, so that they have at least heard of the letters. If he/she knows what each one looks like, all the better.
First a Word of Warning
Maths for the small child has nothing to do with “sums” or figures or tables or adding and subtracting. These will all come much later. Maths is really part of the language they uses in understanding and talking about certain things in the daily experience e.g.
1. He/she associates certain numbers with particular things – two hands, four wheels, five fingers etc.
2. Counting – one, two, three,four,etc.
3. Colours – black, white, red, green, etc.
4. Prepositions (telling position) and their opposites: over/under, before/after, inside/outside etc.
5. Matching/Sorting – objects of the same size/colour/texture/shape etc.
6. Odd One Out – difference in size/colour etc.
Understanding of these concepts comes very quickly for some children. For others it takes a long time. Be patient. You cannot force Maths understanding on a child.
But you Can Help…
In the course of you ordinary daily routine in the home, in the shop, in the neighbourhood you should 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.
Getting Ready For Writing
Making letters on paper is not easy for the small child. They must learn to hold the pencil properly and make regular shapes. His/her hand and finger muscles are only gradually developing at this stage.
You Can Help..
1. They must develop the ability to get the hand and eye working together. This is very important. Get them manipulating toys like:
(a) Jigsaws, Lego, beads to thread etc
(b) Plasticene (Marla) to make their own shapes
(c) A colouring book and thick crayons
(d) Sheets of paper that they can cut up with a safe scissors.
2. When he/she begins to use a pencil make sure that they hold it correctly at the start. It will be difficult to change them later.
They may be making block letters at home even before they come to school. This is fine. But when they start making lower case letters at school you should try to get them to discontinue the blocks and practice their new system whenever they feel like it.
3. Don’t discourage left-handedness. If that is his/her definite natural inclination, don’t attempt to change it.
Social skills are very important. We encourage good manners at all times, please/thank you, addressing teachers properly, being courteous to fellow students and teachers. It is important to ask your child who they play with at school and to ensure they are not alone, also encourage mixing rather than being dependent on one friend only.
Rough behavior is totally discouraged in the playground.
Teacher and Parent
At the early stages some parents meet the teacher almost daily and this is a very desirable thing. However, if there is something in particular that you would like to discuss you can arrange to meet her at a time when you both can have a little peace and quiet.
Easy Does It
There are lots of ideas and suggestion in this little book as to how you can help you child. We are not advocating that you do ALL of these with him/her in a systematic way. But if you find from time to time that he/she enjoys a fun approach to certain aspects of learning then we would say – give it a go – but remember don’t overdo it.
We are offering this Guide to Parents as a little practical help in dealing with the education for their children at the very early stages. We will be very happy if you dip into it from time to time and find something in it of value to you and your child.