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.
· 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.
· 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
· Plenty to drink - encourage your child to drink water as an alternative to fruit
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
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
· 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.
Misfits 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 Long/short/tall Sleeve/collar/cuff Let each child pretend to be Mammy
or Daddy and give instructions to the others.
Supermarket 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
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.
Playground 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 ? Taxi Fire engine ? Ambulance ?
What was your favourite?
Laundry 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.
Petrol 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.
Weather 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.
Library 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.