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Kilbehenny National School


Co Limerick


Tel:  025/84337

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Useful information for parents of new infants


We would like to welcome new Junior Infants and parents alike to Kilbehenny NS! September is an important month and your child is adjusting to their new routines and surroundings. We have put together some tips and information for you to ensure your child settles in as smoothly as possible.


Settling in to school

Healthy eating

Helping your child read

Helping your child speak

Helping your child with homework


Settling in to School


Daily Routine of coming to school 

· The children come straight to their classroom every morning at 9:15 when the school doors are opened.

· There are two breaks during the school day. A small manageable lunch made up of fruit, veg, sandwich etc. is advised. Only send lunch items that your child is confident opening. There is no need for a large lunch. One small snack for first break at 11:00, and something more substantial for second break at 12.30.

· School finishes for new Junior Infants at 12:00 for the first month of starting school and at 2:00pm thereafter. Parents will be informed via text-a-parent as to when the full day will be introduced.

Developing practical life skills 

· Encourage your child at home to do little tasks by themselves. Putting on and taking off their coats, opening and closing his/her bag, lunchbox etc. Opening bottles, boxes, pouring drinks, helping with the washing up.

· Toilets; encourage your child to use the toilet independently. He/She should be able to wipe, flush and wash their hands. Should your child have an accident we do have a change of clothes.


Healthy Eating 

· We have a healthy eating policy in our school. And we would appreciate if you as parents would keep strictly to this. It is unfair if your child has biscuits, sweets, chocolate etc. when other children don’t.

· Be food wise. Look at the sugar content of food. Try to keep sugar content to less than 5g per serving. Many smoothies, kids’ yoghurts and cereal bars are loaded with sugar. White bread is also high in sugar – one white bread sandwich has the equivalent of 5 spoons of sugar!!

· As part of our healthy eating policy we have a short fruit break during the day. Small portions are most important- generally what fits into the palm of your child’s hand is sufficient. Please do not give your child large whole apples/oranges.

· Encourage your child to eat sticks of carrot, celery, peppers, cucumber. Small portions of fruit; bananas, apples, pears, mandarins. Or chop up a mixture in a small tub. Raisins.

· Plenty to drink - encourage your child to drink water as an alternative to fruit juices.


Helping Your Child Read


Reading is a skill we learn at the beginning of our school days! We need it to help us in all other subject areas such as Maths, Science, History, Music etc. Furthermore, reading is a “lifelong skill” as we use it every day in our lives. For example to read menus in restaurants, to read the sports results in newspapers or on television, to read traffic signs and public notices.

We all agree we need to be able to read throughout our lives.

Our approach to reading is one which engages the children right from day 1! We use the Jolly Phonics programme and below is a quick step-by-step guide to learning to read.


Step 1: Recognise and say the sounds in English.

· We begin in September by introducing the sounds (or phonemes) of the English language. There are 44 sounds made up of the 26 alphabet letters and then additional two letter sounds such as “ee” in jeep, “ai” in rain etc.

We show the children the letters so that they can visualise the sounds. We teach them the sound so that they can hear it being said. We also teach them a sensory movement for each sound. For example for the sound s:

– we show them the letter s
– we say a hissing sound ssssss
– we weave our arm in a snake like movement.

By combining the visual, auditory and sensory movements the children will retain the sound s in their memories longer.


The practice songs and actions at home with your child visit the YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCjJYB07aSU. This will help you support your child as he/she learns the action and songs for each sound. Children will have their own sounds folder with the letter sound for that week please spend time encouraging your child to trace over the letter with their finger, do the action and say the sound every night. Try to get them to listen out for these sounds in everyday words they hear e.g. sun, see, sandwich etc.


Step 2: Learn to combine sounds to form words.

After children have learned the sounds, they progress to develop the skill of combining sounds together to form words. This is called “blending”. These will be added to their folders once enough letters have been covered to make words.

For example, in learning to read the word ‘pat’:

· Start by saying the individual sounds of “p”, “a” and then “t”.

· Repeat saying these sounds, pushing the sounds together.

· All the time encourage your child to listen for the word.

· Children then practise ‘blending’ these sounds together themselves. Only with plenty of practise will this skill of blending develop.


Step 3: Learn the Tricky Words!

Not all words can be sounded out (or blended) !

These are Tricky Words and we just have to learn to them. For example the word ‘he’ cannot be sounded out as ‘h’ and ‘e’.

To help your child with this step, tricky words will be added to the sound folder. These words will have a tricky word hat icon beside them so that children know they are tricky and can’t be sounded out.


Step 4: Read, read, read!!!!

Once your child has learned the individual sounds, has developed the skill of blending and learned to recognise some tricky words he/she is ready to read!!This usually begins around February, you will see a word box, reader and workbook  coming home in your child’s schoolbag. Review the new words in the word-box first, discuss the picture on that nights reading page with your child then let your child read the sentence ensuring they are placing their finger under each word as they read from left to right.


Some tips for reading other books at home:

· Make reading time a quiet time for you and your child.

· Let him choose a book from a range of age appropriate books. In our local librarythe children’s section is divided up according to age. Similarly book shops will categorise children’s books by age.

· Start by exploring the book cover. Discuss the front cover pictures, asking him/her to guess what the book might be about.

· Next, ask him/her to open the book and again discuss the pictures (or illustrations).

· Encourage him/her to look at the words.

· Ask him if he/she recognises any tricky words.

· Begin reading. Initially you should begin and then encourage him/her to read.

· If he/she hesitates on words, let him hear you sound them out. Encourage him to sound out / blend.

· Continue in this manner of discussing the illustrations, identifying tricky words, sounding out unfamiliar words, reading together.

· ***Above all, encourage and support your child as they read! Their self-confidence and reading ability will develop significantly with your support and encouragement. ***


Helping Your Child To Speak


Children learn to speak from their parents and siblings from a very young age. Language develops early and thrives during the pre-school and early infant age groups.

Below are recommended ‘Free Language Games’ to help your child to further develop his/her language skills.

Guess where I’m going
Think of a place and give three clues as to what you could do when you get there.
For example, if you are thinking of the Post Office, say:
‘I am going to a place and when I get there I will stand in the queue, buy a stamp and post a letter – where am I going?’

Here are some ideas of places that you might use in this game:
bank, supermarket, clothes shop, hairdresser/barber, dentist, doctor, garden centre, school, restaurant, cinema, zoo, bowling.

Let the children take turns giving three clues about places they are thinking of.

I packed my suitcase …

Pick what it is you are ‘going to pack’ in the suitcase, e.g. this time we are going to pack fruit.

One person starts the game by saying, ‘I packed my suitcase and I brought..’ and adds on an item at the end, e.g. ‘I packed my suitcase and I brought an apple.’.
The next player repeats the sentence and adds something else, e.g. ‘I packed my suitcase and I brought an apple and an orange’.

The next player repeats what the other two have said and adds on a third item. This keeps going until someone can’t remember the list.

First, Next, Last

· Talk about daily routines, e.g. getting ready to go to school, going shopping in the supermarket, doing the laundry, filling and emptying the dishwasher, getting ready to go to bed, etc. Talk about what you do must do first, what you should do next and what is the last thing you do in the routine.

· When stopped at traffic lights, talk about the colour of the car that is first in the line, the colour of the car that is next and the colour of the car that is last in the line.

· When passing a row of houses, talk about the colour of the first house, the next house and the last

· Before you leave to go to school, talk about what building you will pass first, what buildings you will pass nextand what is the last building that you will pass before you get to school.

Before / After
Pick a point in time and talk about what happens before and what happens after that point, e.g. what you do before and after you…
Get into bed
Go to school
Go out in the yard
Have dinner
Go shopping
Ask the children to tell you three things that they do 
before that point and three things they do after that point.


Put something into a room that should not be there.
For example, put the kettle in the bedroom, a pillow in the kitchen, a saucepan in the bathroom, soap in the sitting room, a plate in the hall etc.
See if anyone can spot the odd thing. Take turns at moving more things into odd places.


Blind man’s taste buds

Tie a scarf around each child’s head to make a blindfold. Have them taste a variety of foods and guess what they are. Examples; yogurt, custard, milk, apple, orange, banana, grapes, kiwi, tuna, tomato, peppers, cabbage, carrot, crackers, bread, rice, toast, ham, chicken.

Visit a Garden Centre
Have a look at the plants, flowers, trees, fish, birds, rabbits, snakes.
Find out the answers to these questions;
What do fish eat? What do rabbits eat? What do snakes eat?



Go out into the garden on a frosty day.
Find a spider’s web.
Count how many you can find. Where did you find them? How do they move?
Dig up the earth to find some worms.
Count how many you can find. Where did you find them? How do they move?


Dressing Up
Let the children dress up in Mammy and Daddy’s clothes.
Talk about these words; big/small
Let each child pretend to be Mammy or Daddy and give instructions to the others.


Go into the Supermarket. Each child has to find 3 fruit and 3 vegetables, or same child has to find 3 new fruit/veg each time.
Look at the fruit and vegetables. Talk about the colour, shape, feel, size of them. Talk about what they would taste like.


Hide and Seek
Hide an object around the house.
Everyone takes turns to hide it and to find it. Talk about where you looked, where you found it. Use these words;
In, on, under, beside, behind, between, over, through, around.


Visit the playground.
Make a line. Each person takes turn at being the leader. Play follow the leader. Talk about where you are going/where you went.
Use these words; in, on, under, beside, behind, between, over, through, around.


Watch the world go by!
Sit at bridge beside river, or on a bench and watch the transport going by. What can you see on the road?

Bicycle ?
Car ?
Truck ?
Bus ?
Van ?
Fire engine ?
Ambulance ?

What was your favourite?

Help do the laundry at home.
Tick as each part done during the day.

Dirty clothes in basket
Sort clothes into colours
Put dirty clothes into machine
Take out clean wet clothes
Put clean wet clothes on the line/in dryer
Take clean dry clothes out of dryer/off line
Iron clothes
Put them away


Torch Game
Turn off all the lights.
Shine a torch around and guess what the objects are that are lit up.
Make shadow shapes with your fingers behind the torch.


When you get petrol in the car, let each of the children help you.
Talk about these words; pump, nozzle, tank, and cap.
Let them come into the shop with you and pay for it.


Talk about what the weather is like today. Make a date/day/weather/ news chart for the wall. Let each child take turns in changing it daily so that they will be prepared for questions in school. Talk about what clothes they should wear.


Alphabet Treasure Hunt
Go in search of objects around the house beginning with certain letters of the alphabet. (Example: 
bbed, bath, broom, brush, book, box, banana, belt, bun, bread).
Pick a different letter for each child.


Visit the library and join if you are not already members. Let each child borrow a book from the children’s section. Read the story with each child. Talk about the names of the characters, what they did, how they felt, what might happen next.

Every 2 weeks, go to the library to change the books.

Train Station
Go to the train station, look around the station just before the train arrives. Show the children where these things are: platform, guard, whistle, engine, carriage, tickets, and waiting room.


Christmas Cards
Write a Christmas card to someone that the child knows.
Have each child sign their name. Put the card into the envelope. Lick and stick it. Write the address on the envelope. Take it to the post office. Buy a stamp and let them stick it on and post the letter. Talk about the postman’s job. What happens to the card after they post it?

Let each child open a Christmas card as they arrive in the post. Talk about the envelope, address, stamp, postman, letter box. Let each child decide where to put the card in the house.


Helping Your Child With Homework


Homework is an important “bridge” from school to home, and vice versa. It gives your child the chance to ‘show off’ what they have learned at school to their family at home. It gives parents a chance to see what progress he/she is making each day.

Homework is given each evening Monday to Thursday inclusive. For infants, all homework is enclosed in the child’s plastic folder. This folder is a vital communication tool as it also will contain notices from school / form’s from the Health Board / school opening / closing times, etc. Also, if you wish to notify your child’s teacher please also use the folder to send in a message or return a form. Morning and afternoons are busy times at school and you may not get the chance to speak to the teacher – instead send a message in the folder.

The following are some tips which will help with homework.

· Better early than late:Try and start the homework early in the evening time before your child gets too tired.

· Quiet Please:Switch off the television / console game / radio and find a quiet space for you and your child during homework time.

· A special time:Make a big fuss over your child’s homework. Encourage him to talk about his day at school. Engage with him and show him that you are enthusiastic and interested in his school life.

· What is involved: For Junior Infants, homework begins with the sound book. Listen to him/her saying the sounds, doing the actions and perhaps to sing the song. A worksheet may be included and you should encourage him to “try his best” at tracing and colouring it in. Later on, the words will be introduced. You should listen to him/her as they sound out and blend the words in the book. Two Tricky words per week will also be introduced in the folder. These are ‘sight words’ so he/she cannot sound them out – he/she has to learn them.

· How long should it take: This very much depends on your child and you! It should take at least 15 minutes and really no longer than 30 minutes, as it becomes unproductive thereafter!!! You may choose to do colouring first and sounds later – parents, you know best in this regard. Your child will get the hang of it and you should see this by the end of September. Homework activity sheets/workbook activities must be signed by parents every night.