Information for Parents of First Class Pupils - September 2017

The First Class Curriculum

  • Based on a spiral curriculum and builds on Senior Infants
  • Fostering independence is the main focus: take down their homework on their own, organise their books and copies and keep their work area tidy.
  • Differences: Longer day & increased workload


  • Children will record all homework in their homework journals after the month of September
  • It is essential that these journals are present everyday and that they are signed by parents or guardians every evening.
  • Please reinforce the importance of taking down homework correctly at home.
  • Main focus of the homework is English reading/writing and Maths.
  • The Oxford Reading Tree readers: 2-3 books each week. The Reading folders are returned to me on Friday and remain in school over the weekend. I will listen to reading incidentally & on Wednesday in small groups
  • Any issues with the homework: please do not hesitate to contact me.

English: Reading, writing and oral language

Reading: a very important element in English this year & children progress in their reading at different levels

  • Aim: build on the children’s sight vocabulary, Phonics, and high frequency or Dolch list words, and also provide ample opportunity for the children to access the class library

Phonics and Spelling

The programme for first class involves:

  1. The Revision of all letter sounds.
  2. My spelling workbook in use throughout the year
  • Blending letters eg. Chalk ‘ch’ sound ship ‘sh’ip. Magie e and vowels
  • Children will learn spelling using the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check method


  • Large increase in the amount of written work required. This can often be very challenging for children at this age. They will get faster.
  • When your child attempts to write creatively, it is important that spelling, and grammar are not the focus: beginning, middle and end, is much more important for your children to grasp at this stage- They can edit it later!


Children respond very positively to the Irish language at this level. Irish songs and rhymes are used a lot at this stage. Emphasis on ag labhairt  gaeilge (speaking), taught through a number of themes , eadai, siopadoireacht, aimsir etc.


Strands: number, shape and space, measures, time, capacity, money and data.

  • Mental Maths through questioning and discussion, are very effective in reinforcing any concepts learnt in school. Fun problem solving activities and games in classroom help reinforce concepts

The most important new maths concept in First Class is place value. (tens and units)

  • We will be using oral maths games, concrete materials, worksheets and textbooks to develop skills.

The children should be encouraged to use concrete materials at home to reinforce this concept. Lolli-pop sticks and elastic bands are ideal. Children should count out 10 lollipop sticks (10 units) and put an elastic band around them to show that this is now 1 group of 10. This can then be done with different number combinations up to 20.

Core Curriculum:

Core Curriculum is a unique aspect of the curriculum of Multi-Denominational schools and integrates heavily with SPHE.

  • It covers subject areas such as personal and moral development, environmental studies and information about different belief systems and religions- Hinduism with a focus on Diwali and the Chinese New Year is part of 1st class scheme.
  • The Stay Safe Programme will be covered later in the second term. Topics covered are friendship, safe feelings, touches, bullying and strangers.


Mindfulness is now part of our day in RMDS. It involves a few minutes reflection time after each break.


  • Children have G.A.A. training every Thursday and P.E. Tuesday
  • Please ensure that they are suitably dressed in comfortable clothes and trainers. There is also a 10 minute “bizzy break” daily.
  • Drama- Mondays & Visual Arts- Tuesdays, and again suitable clothing is required.
  • Ceol programme is in use in the school it’s a thoroughly enjoyable, engaging and active way for the children to learn music. We will also be learning the Ocarina starting this week.

Special Educational Needs:

  • The ethos in RMDS is all-inclusive. There are many different categories of special needs including academic, social, speech and language, and emotional and behavioural. We deal with each child on an individual basis and cater for their needs in the classroom and on yard. Mary Reynolds is our Resource teacher for the first term. Paul Fairbrother will also be working with our class.


  • There is a whole school approach to promote positive behaviour. Positive reinforcement incentive systems are in place to encourage good behaviour.
  • There is a huge emphasis on manners and respect in the classroom. Therefore children must listen to one another, raise their hand if they want to speak and not disturb others when they are working.
  • In these instances I am always fair, but on occasion repeated disruption of the class or a lack of positive behaviour may result in a loss of privileges. For example “Golden Time” on a Friday could be reduced.
  • The Homework diary may also be used to send a note home if the behaviour is serious and ongoing.
  • Individual records of all serious issues are kept by the school
  • The Code of Behaviour and the anti- bullying policy is available on the website and in hard copy from the office.


  • Assessment of your children is an ongoing process.
  • Observation of your children’s social skills e.g. How they work in a group/ with a partner/ Involve themselves in discussions.
  • Individual conferencing with your child about subject areas.
  • Correction of homework/ Workbooks/ Written Tasks.
  • Questioning & Spelling tests.
  • Standardized tests in English and Maths are mandatory for Rang a hAon in May
  • These tests provide teachers and parents with crucial information about how the children’s literacy and numeracy levels compare with those of children nationally.


The school opens at 8:30 am and formal teaching commences at 8:50 am.

Please have your child in school by this time otherwise they will miss lessons and it may also be distressing for them to arrive late. If you arrive after 8:50 am please drop your child at the door to minimise class disruption.

Parents/Teacher Meetings:

Formal parent/teacher meetings will take place in November. If you wish to have a meeting with me at any other time, please feel free to make an afternoon appointment.


R.M.D.S encourages a healthy eating policy as part of Core Curriculum. Please ensure there is enough food for both breaks and there are no nuts in lunch boxes (this includes nut butters)

Textbooks and Stationary:

Your child’s textbooks and copies are kept in class and are available for you to look at any time. Please ensure children come to school every day with at least two pencils,

Policy of Child Protection

DLP- Designated Liaison Person: Rosemarie Stynes

Deputy DLP- Paul Fairbrother

I look forward to working with your child this year and if you have any queries or questions about the above or any other school related matter please do not hesitate to ask.

Yours sincerely,

Rose Halpin Duffy

Some tips on how to help your child to read:

Reading at home should involve:

  • Looking at the cover and discussing what the story might be about.
  • Looking through the book and talking about the pictures.
  • Reading the text.
  • Getting the children to predict what is going to happen next.
  • Helping children to understand how one event influences the other – therefore if one event was changed how might this affect the rest of the story.
  • Getting children to recount the sequence of events and to retell the story.
  • Helping them to empathize with the characters in the story.
  • Talk about their favourite part/favourite character.
  • Have they ever read or heard a story like this one before – does this story reminds him/her of something that happened in their own life.

Reading with your child should NOT mean:

  • Turning reading into a test to see how much the child cannot read.
  • Making the child read words in isolation, or reading without looking at the illustrations.
  • Making reading a race from one book to another, or from one stage to another.

At this stage of their reading

  • The children will use the pictures as clues – so don’t cover them up.
  • They may guess the sentence – don’t try to stop this.
  • They may learn a sentence/story off by heart – don’t worry if this happens.

These are all very important steps in the reading process!

When reading with your child, try to find a quiet place and time to share the story with them. Your role is to share the story with your child and to try and make this process as much fun as possible. I hope all the above tips will make the reading experience for you and your child an enjoyable one. Good luck!

Rose Halpin Duffy

Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School,
Ranelagh Road,
Dublin 6.
T: +353 1 496 1722