To help your child settle into their new school, you should ensure that they are as independent as possible.
- Children should be able to put on and take off coats and hang them up, use the toilet and flush it properly, wash their hands and tidy up their own belongings.
- To help your child feel more independent play ‘pretend school’ with them. Help to practice putting things in and out of the school bag and to open and close their lunch box.
- Teach them to share toys and to take turns.
- It is of great benefit to your child in school if they feel physically, emotionally and socially independent. Allow/encourage your child to do things independently.
- Encourage confidence by having them dress themselves. You will probably have to allow extra time for this in the mornings.
It would help greatly if your child is able to:
- Stay happily in the home of a friend or relative without you. If children have had this experience, then the separation from parents when they start school will not cause any great anxiety.
Preparing for “The first day of school”
A child’s first day at school is a day to remember for the rest of his/her life. These are some tips so you can help to make it a really happy one.
- Talk to your child about school in the summer months, talk about it as a happy place where there will be a big welcome and where they will meet new friends.
- Your child’s books will be taken up on the first day of school and the teacher will hold on to them until such time as they are needed – this reduces the risk of books getting lost. This also means that their schoolbags are not heavy.
- All books/copies must be marked with your child’s name.
- Also, please encourage personal hygiene and cleanliness. Your child should know how to flush the toilet and wash hands, without having to be told.
The First Day
- It is important that you establish a good routine early. The night before, check that all items needed for school are ready for the morning.
- Keep your child calm to prevent upset or anxiety. Give plenty of time in the morning to get washed dressed and to eat a good breakfast.
- Be on time, be casual and chat to other parents and the teacher. Say goodbye to your child and remind him/her that you will be back to collect them at the end of the school day and leave your child in the capable hands of his/her teacher.
- If you are upset do not show it, hopefully your child will be so absorbed in his/her new surroundings that they will not notice.
- Junior Infants will be walked to the school gate by their teacher. Please wait outside the gate for them and collect them as they are released to you.
- Be sure to collect your child on time. Children can become very upset if they feel they are forgotten.
- If at any time the collection routine has to be changed please ensure you tell your child and the class teacher. We understand that emergencies can also arise so a phone call to the school office will ease anxiety.
Handling the upset child
- In spite of the best effort of both teacher and parents a small number of children will still become upset. If your child happens to be one of them don’t panic. Patience and perseverance can work wonders.
A Word of Advice …
- Trust the teacher.He/She is experienced and resourceful and is used to coping with all kinds of difficulties and starting-off problems.
- Try not to show any outward signs of your own distress.Sometimes the parents are more upset than the child and are the main cause of anxiety in the child.
- When you have reassured your child, leave as fast as possible. The teacher can distract and humour him/her more easily when you are not around.
- If you would like to ring the office in a short while, you will invariably find that calm has been restored.
This is a big day in the life of your child, your family and for the school, so we would encourage you to take as many photos and videos as you like.
It takes time for children to adapt to school life and routine. Don’t expect too much too soon. Talk to them about what happened and allow them to respond in their own way. If you ask ‘What did you learn today?’ you are likely to be told ‘Nothing’. Most of the work at infant level is activity based and children do not understand “learning” in the same way as adults do. If you were to ask, ‘What happened in school today?’ ‘Did you sing?’ ‘What did you do in school today?’ ‘Did you draw?’ you might have more success.
Children are natural learners. They have an inbuilt curiosity and an eagerness to know more about everything – about themselves, about others and about the world around them. They learn fast – but only when they are ready and their interest is aroused.
Because they come to us so young we must guard against putting pressure on them to learn what they are not yet ready for. Demanding too much too soon can switch a child off. At the same time we must cultivate readiness so that they can get moving as soon as possible.
The rates of progress of children can vary greatly. We try to give each child an opportunity to move ahead at their own pace or as near to it as possible. Our first year in school therefore, is mainly about settling in, relating to others, making friends, feeling happy and gradually getting used to the routine of the school.
On the learning side the emphasis is on getting children ready for learning by-
- Developing their oral languageand expression.
- Developing their social skills.
- Sharpening their senses, especially seeing, hearing and touching.
- Developing physical co-ordinationespecially of hand and fingers.
- Extending their concentration spanand getting them to listen attentively….
- Learning through play– is the most enjoyable and effective way.
- Co-operatingwith the teacher and other children.
- Performing tasks by themselves..
- Working with othersand sharing with them.
Getting each child to accept the general order, which is necessary for the class and whole school to work well.