The First Day of School
This can be a very exciting day, but also a nerve wracking day for both child and parent.
Whatever feelings you may have about it, it is a major milestone in your child’s life and that makes it very special.
Here are a few tips to help you get through this momentous occasion:
- Give your child lots of attention on the day – take a photo of them in their new school uniform, with their schoolbag.
- Encourage them to speak out and tell the teacher if they need something.
- Let your child see that you are friendly with the teacher.
- Don’t stay too long on the first morning – the longer you stay, the harder it will be for your child. They will also be more inclined to mix with other children when you are gone. The Parents’ Room is open for you to stay on and have a cup of tea, if you are very concerned. Usually children are fine, as the first few days are short ones.
- Make sure to be on time when collecting your child.
Children can be anxious about starting school. Try some of these ideas to help them:
- Talk about school.
- Build up the idea of school in your child’s mind, as a happy and interesting place.
- Encourage your child to talk and ask questions about what school might be like.
- Talk about positive things such as:
- The new friends they will make.
- The school uniform/tracksuit and school bag.
- What they will be doing – drawing, listening to stories, singing songs, telling their ‘news’ etc..
- Talk to them in a positive way about their teacher. Do not threaten them with the teacher if they misbehave.
Getting used to a group …
Your child will be part of a class, which will be a group of approximately 20 children. You can help your child to be prepared for this by trying some of the ideas below:
- Let your child get used to spending short periods of time away from you e.g. with grandparents, or in a crèche or any form of playgroup, (this is particularly important for the children who have not attended Early Start).
- Bring your child on a visit to the school. Talk about what you saw on the visit – what the classroom was like, what the teacher is like etc.
- Play ‘school’ at home with your child. He/she will be sitting a lot in school, more then they will be used to. So encourage your child to sit down for short spells, maybe when eating or listening to a story.
- Encourage your child to play gently, and to get used to taking turns and sharing with others.
- Small children need a sense of order – it makes them feel safe and secure. Encourage your child to put things back in the right place when they are finished with them.
Things to teach your child….
- Encourage them to put on/take off their own coat, and to try hanging it up themselves.
- Teach them to say their own name, and later, their address.
- Teach them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
- Give your child little jobs to do – this gives them a sense of responsibility and also a sense of achievement.
How can you help to support your child’s learning at home?
Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. Your child needs you to help them now that they are in school.
In their first year, children will learn skills that prepare them for Reading, Writing and Maths. You can help them by asking about what they did in school that day, or even better, ask them to show you. A good idea is to say to them: ‘Tell me what you did today’ instead of ‘What did you do in school today?’. They are more likely to be forthcoming with the information if you phrase it like this.
Listening and Talking
We cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to speak as much as you can with your child. Set aside some time in the day, if you can, to have a one-to-one chat with your child. Ask them questions; get them to ask you questions. Show them that you are listening to their answers, and always encourage them to speak in full sentences.
Lack of oral language is an ongoing problem that can hinder children as they get older. Simple chats, songs and reading can really help your child.
Playing and Doing
Encourage your child to play with playdough and chubby crayons as this really helps to develop their hand muscles and this will help them with their writing later on.
- Using a child friendly scissors is also a wonderful exercise for their hands.
- Give your child simple toys that they can handle, e.g. blocks, jigsaws, stacking cups etc.
- Children learn a lot about Maths from playing with toys, as well developing their language and hand-to-eye co-ordination.
- Ask the teacher for some ideas for activities that you could do – she will be delighted to help out.
However, learning should be fun, so there is no pressure or hurry on your child. Every child is unique and will progress at their own pace.
Teachers and Parents
- Your child’s teacher will become very important to your child. They like to know that their teacher and parents get along well, and can communicate.
- Let your child see you on friendly terms with the teacher. We will have meetings for the parents of each class and a meeting with the class teacher in the month of September. Also there will be individual Parent/Teacher meetings later on in the year.
- Do not criticise the teacher in front of your child. If you have an issue that you wish to raise with the teacher, try and do so without involving your child.
- Never criticise your child to the teacher, especially if the child is present – this could damage their self-confidence.
- All uniforms for the school year are available from the school, Junior Infants to First Class wear a grey shirt, grey skirt or grey trousers, a tie and a grey jumper with the school crest.
- Second to Sixth classes wear a royal blue jumper with the school crest.
- School tracksuits with a white polo shirt and runners are to be worn on P.E. days.
- Velcro runners are better than laces for younger children – they are easier to manage.
- Put your child’s name clearly on their clothing.
School starts at 8.50 a.m. and finishes at 1.30 p.m. Times will be different for the month of September, however please check at Reception.
Books and Schoolbag
There is a fee for school books and supplies. This fee must be paid in full before your child starts school. Please check your child’s bag every day for notes or letters from the school.
Food and Lunches
- Children need a good breakfast to start the day, and plenty of time to eat it. Hunger can make them sleepy, and also makes it difficult for them to concentrate and learn at school.
- Lunches are provided in the school – sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt drinks and crackers are included in this, as well as water and milk. There is no need to send a lunch in for your child, unless you deem the school lunches to be unsuitable.
- If you do send a lunch for your child, please ensure that it is healthy, as we have a Healthy Eating Policy in our school.
- We are a Green Flag school and so are trying to decrease the amount of rubbish that we produce. For that reason, we ask you to send in an empty lunchbox in your child’s schoolbag, so that they can bring home their leftovers.