Getting Ready for Learning
- Our first year in school 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 language and expression.
- Sharpening their senses, especially seeing, hearing and touching.
- Developing physical co-ordination especially of hand and fingers.
- Extending their concentration span and getting them to listen attentively….
- Learning through play – is the most enjoyable and effective way.
- 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 and school to work well.
Preparation for School
Starting school can sometimes be a time of great anxiety for parents. Parents can do much to reduce such anxiety- both for themselves and their child.This preparation should begin some months before their child starts and be carried out gradually.
It is an enormous change for a child to now have to share a room with so many new children and adults. The following may help:
- An initial visit to the school is a good idea. Have the child meet the teacher and principal. Show the child the classroom, toilets, coat hangers, school building and playground.
- Talk to your child about your own school days. If you haven't got a funny memory, make one up.
- Emphasise the opportunities for making friends and getting involved in new activities.However, don't hype up school life. Approach this talk with a calm attitude and treat it as normal.
- Introduce the child to another junior infant if possible and have them play together during the summer. It is important for your child to see some familiar faces on the first day.
- Children should be able to put on and take off their coats and hang them up, use the toilet and flush it properly, wash their hands and tidy up their crayons and colouring books. Play pretend school with your child. Take turns being the teacher and pupil. Help to practice packing and unpacking the school bag, opening and closing the lunch box etc.
- Teach them to use a handkerchief or paper tissue, take turns and share toys.
- Label all your child's clothing and materials clearly and help them identify their own belongings. Chances are high that other children have the exact same coat/ pencil case etc.
- Your child should know his or her home address. You should also provide the school with the name and contact number of an emergency contact in case you are not at home. Explain this arrangement to your child.
- Allow your children to do things independently. If they have a high probability of being able to perform a task by themselves, don't do it for them. Give them the time to carry it out.
- Encourage confidence by having them dress themselves. Allow extra time for this every day.
- Don't criticise if things are not going exactly perfectly, such as buttons that are not closed fully or a tie that is slightly crooked.
- Praise their efforts at every opportunity.
- Remain contentedly for a few hours in the home of a relation, friend or neighbour. If children had this experience, then separation from parents when they start school will not cause any great anxiety.
- Wear ‘Velcro’ shoes, Junior Infants cannot always manage laces.
Content above taken from www.npc.ie (National Parents Council) and www.into.ie (Irish National Teachers Organisation)