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Information for Parents of Infants Starting School

St. Columba’s National School is a Catholic primary school which seeks to ensure that all its pupils are educated and nurtured in an environment that is caring, considerate and tolerant. The staff of St. Columba’s N.S. aim to help children to develop skills, attitudes and values which will bring the greatest happiness and fulfilment to their lives. We prioritise the safety, security and well being of all pupils as a prerequisite to their growth and development. As a staff, we seek to help children develop morally, socially, physically and cognitively to the best of their ability. The achievement of this aim informs all of the planning processes and activities which occur in this school.

Parents and teachers are partners in the children’s education, with co-operation and communication between home and school being vital ingredients in the educational process. We each share the same aim – the well being of the children in our care. This information booklet for parents of Junior Infant pupils has been prepared with the express purpose of sharing information with you concerning our school rules and routines.

We know from experience that parents are anxious to help in any way possible and so we have put together some ideas as a general guide for you. It deals briefly with the period before your child comes to school and the introductory stage in Junior Infants.

Getting Ready for Learning

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 - when they are ready and when their interest is aroused.

The first year in school is mainly about settling in, relating to others, making friends, co-operating within a group and gradually getting used to the routines of school.

On the learning side the emphasis is on getting children ready for learning by –

  • Developing their oral language and expression.
  • Sharpening their senses, especially the sense of sight, hearing and touch.
  • Developing physical co-ordination especially of the hands and fingers.
  • Extending their concentration span and getting them to listen attentively.
  • Learning through play.
  • Co-operating with the teacher and other children.
  • Performing tasks by themselves.
  • Working with others and sharing with them.
  • Getting each child to accept the general order, which is necessary for the class to work well.

Before Your Child Starts

Before your child starts school you should ensure that she is as independent as possible – physically, emotionally and socially. If she can look after herself in these areas she will feel secure and confident and settle in more readily.

It would help if your child was able to –

  • Button and unbutton, zip or unzip the jacket or coat and hang it up properly.
  • Use the toilet without help
  • To flush the toilet and wash hands without having to be reminded. Please encourage personal hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Use a hanky when necessary.
  • Share toys and games with others and "take turns".
  • Tidy up and put away playthings and activities when asked to do so.
  • Remain contentedly for a few hours in the home of a relation, friend or neighbour. If your child has had this experience, then separation from you when starting school will not cause any great anxiety.

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Preparing for September

We invite children in for about an hour or so in early June to see an Infant classroom. On this visit they have an opportunity to see and play with the Infant equipment, draw a picture and talk with a teacher.

  • Talk to your child casually about school during the summer - as a happy place where she will meet new friends.
  • Don’t use school or teacher as a threat. "Wait until the teacher sorts you out" - even if said light-heartedly can make some children very anxious.
  • It helps to have the uniform and schoolbag ready for the first day. Please remember to have a name label on your child’s cardigan and tracksuit top. September can be a warm month and these items of clothing are often taken off early on in the day. All clothing items which are likely to be removed should be clearly labelled with your child’s name.
  • Unclaimed items are placed in the lost property basket (located at the bottom of the back stairs in the main building). If they remain unclaimed they are sent to local charity shops at the end of the year.
  • Please have your child’s name also inside the schoolbag as many of these bags are very similar. The only items your child will need in the schoolbag at the beginning of Junior Infants are lunch and a drink. Paper, crayons and later on, reading books, workbooks and pencils will all be supplied at the appropriate time by the school.
  • Discuss lunches with your child. Make sure she can open the lunch box easily as many of the newer containers can be quite stiff. It would help also if your child can peel a banana or a mandarin without too much effort.

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September – The Big Day

The new Junior Infants arrive at about 9.30 a.m. and stay until 10.30 a.m. Some children, however, arrive at the regular starting time of 9 a.m. as they travel with older sisters.

For the first two weeks the Junior Infant classes will be going home at 12 noon. This is to help ease them into the school routines. While they are at school, they will have a Fruit Break so you will need to pack a small piece of fruit for this.

Coming in ……

When you arrive at the classroom, be as casual as you can. Your child will meet the teacher, will be shown to a table and chair and given an activity to do. Assure your child that you will be back shortly, say goodbye and leave without delay.

The food breaks are important times for school-going children. In this school, our first short break at 10.50 a.m. is a Fruit Break. We encourage you to send in a small apple, pear, banana, mandarin or some grapes or raisins. While fruit yoghurts are very healthy, they tend to be messy so we would prefer if you kept them for home.

Lunch Break is at 12 noon. We ask you to encourage a healthy lunch right from the start. Surveys have shown that children’s lunches are often quite unhealthy and inadequate nutritionally because they tend to be low in fibre and high in sugar. Please do not give your child sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks or crisps for lunch. Lunch should provide one third of your child’s food requirements for the day. We would ask you to provide a sandwich/roll with meat or cheese and milk/fruit juice.

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Chewing gum is not allowed in this school.

 

Parking

Please do not double-park outside the school. There is a very real danger for children alighting from a car which is double-parked or running towards such a car. It is possible to park safely at a good distance from the gate without causing obstruction. Please show consideration for other parents and children at all times and remember the example we show in regard to road safety is seen by our children.

 

The traffic warden or "lollipop person " assists pupils in crossing between Iona Road and Crawford Avenue at school opening and closing times. Please encourage your child to follow her/his directions if you pass her/him on your way to or from school

Going Home

    • Be sure to collect your child on time. Children can become very upset if they feel they are forgotten.
    • Please wait in the front yard. The teacher will lead the class from the classroom out into the front yard. We encourage the children to say goodbye or "Slan" to the teacher before leaving the line. This gives the teacher a chance to glance in your direction and check that your child is in the care of an adult.
    • Children need plenty of rest after the effort and excitement of a day at school. You should ensure that she gets to bed early and has a good night’s sleep.
    • Once we’re into the third week of Sept. the home time is 1.40 p.m. Please make sure to collect your child on time as the teacher needs the next hour (and more) to clear up after the day, to set out materials and activities for the following morning and to have planning meetings with the other Infant teachers.
    • If at any time the collecting routine has to be changed, please tell your child and the teacher.
    • If you are delayed in traffic, or because of an emergency, please phone the

school so that we can inform your child that you are on your way.

 

Other Points to Note –

For the first ten days or so in Sept. you are welcome to bring your child directly to the classroom yourself. After that. we would like the Junior Infant children to line up in the back yard along with the other classes. The teacher will collect the class at 9 a.m. and bring the children into the new building .. Please say "goodbye" to your child at the line in the yard.

In the event of your child being absent for illness or any other reason, the class teacher should be informed by note on return to school. These notes are retained on file for inspection by the Education Welfare Board if required.

When it is necessary for your child to leave school early, a note must be sent to the class teacher. Please do not collect her early unless it is absolutely necessary. Parents/guardians must call to the school office personally to collect a pink card which must then be given to the class teacher when you are collecting the child. This is in the interest of the safety and security of your child.

Early in Sept. we will ask you to sign a form indicating who will be collecting your child. If it should ever happen that you need another person (who is not on

this list) to collect your child, please contact the school office to authorise this.

We generally issue a School Newsletter about once a month. Occasionally, as the need arises, shorter notices regarding school matters may be issued. Please encourage your child to deliver such notes immediately or check the schoolbag or book bag yourself each evening.

The school calendar will also be issued in mid-Sept. and we would encourage you to keep it in a safe place for reference during the year.

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Uniform

The school uniform and school tracksuit are available from:

Lynch's Drapery,130 Philipsburgh Avenue,Marino.

Tel No:8375225

On days when gymnastics or other physical education classes are taking place, the school tracksuit should be worn with a white polo shirt and runners.

On all other days, the school uniform should be worn with black (or dark) shoes.

The uniform consists of:

    • Wine gymfrock, cream blouse, wine and cream striped tie, wine cardigan with the school crest, black (or very dark) shoes, black or wine tights in winter, white knee-length socks in autumn and white ankle socks in summer. Hairbands or scrunchies should be wine, black or white.

 

In the interest of safety, jewellery should not be worn in school, especially bracelets, chains, looped earrings, nose, lip or eyebrow rings. Coloured nail polish and the wearing of transfers are not permitted.

Hair should be tied back from the face and eyes or plaited.

If you discover headlice in your child’s hair, please treat it immediately and inform the school office. We will then send out a note to parents of children in the class so that the problem can be successfully eliminated. Getting headlice is not a reflection on the standard of cleanliness in your home. Headlice are picked up through close head-to-head contact. They do not survive on clothing or furniture but are attracted to clean hair. If untreated, headlice can multiply very rapidly and infect others.

If you do receive a note about headlice, you will need to

    • check and treat your child’s hair that evening,
    • check the hair every couple of days to ensure that re-infection has not occurred.

 

Starting school will be a big change in the life of your child, stepping from the safe and secure world of the home and family and facing into the wider world of the classroom and school. Most children manage this transition without any fuss or stress. As a staff we aim to make this transition as smooth as possible for you so that your child’s first experience of "big" school is one of happy involvement laying a solid foundation for fruitful school years ahead.

Thank you for reading this. We hope that it will help you as you prepare with your child for "big" school. If we can help you in any further way, please feel free to phone us at the school office.

 

Eileen Whelan

Principal,

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