Information for parents of Senior Infants, 2022-2023
Ailbhe McHugh- Class Teacher
Therese Coogan- Learning Support Teacher
Ann Maguire- Special Needs Assistant
I am delighted to say that we have all settled in nicely to Senior Infants and the year’s programme is up and running.
Below is a guide to the main areas of work and classroom routines for the year.
We’ll start with the curriculum and curricular areas pertaining to Senior Infants and then move on to the more practical day-to-day routines and activities.
Many of you will know that our curriculum is spiral and developmental in nature, meaning that the concepts introduced in the infant classes increase in complexity through the school as they move to older classes.
In Senior Infants the curriculum builds on and develops the skills introduced in Junior Infants. It’s also worth noting that many of the subjects overlap and are integrated eg we are revising letter formation and sounds at the moment so we say the sounds and practice writing them correctly, but we also learn rhymes, perform actions and sing songs to help learn and reinforce that letter sound and name, integrating literacy, music and lots of drama! This approach is multi-sensory in nature and can be very effective.
The children will be encouraged daily to be involved and active in their own learning, but at their own individual level and stage of development.
Aistear is a key part of the early childhood curriculum and is fundamental to oral language development in the classroom. Children build on their communication, social and emotional skills. Aistear runs each morning from 9.00am-9:40am.
The English curriculum includes reading, writing and oral language, which is integrated across all curricular areas. The emphasis in SI continues to be on oral language and communication.
Oral language involves both speaking and listening, skills which we practice every day. I would strongly encourage you to talk to your children as much as possible about his/her day and his/her interests and activities. Encourage them to become increasingly descriptive in their use of language and help them to add to their vocabulary.
Phonics will be further developed this year and we are busy revising initial sounds at the moment using The Jolly Phonics programme. We are also working on blending letters. We are benefiting from lots of revision both in school and for homework.
Blending means sounding out each letter in a word so that they can say a word, eg hat, pin etc.
We will be spending quite a bit of time learning to recognise at a glance the tricky words which will be in their homework packs. These are words which can’t be sounded out and so each child needs to learn to recognise the word because they will see them a lot in books and other reading material.
The children are being re-introduced to the Oxford Reading Tree books again and will progress through this at different rates. If I am concerned about your child’s reading I will let you know but equally let me know if you have any concerns about it.
Otherwise they should be allowed read words and sentences at their own pace and be encouraged to do so.
They do need to practice their reading with an adult every evening as part of homework and of course they will love to be read to as much as possible also. The more experience they have of engaging with books and reading the better they will be at it.
They will be involved in writing activities every day they are in school so it’s important that they get it right from the start.
The hand-writing system in our school is pre-cursive, lower-case script except for the usual capitals in the infant classes. They are encouraged to use the tripod grip and it’s really important that you reinforce this at home, no matter what writing tool they are using.
They often prefer to write in block capitals as the straight lines of the letters are easier to form but they should be discouraged doing this as the emphasis is on lower case script.
They also need to be encouraged to write their numbers correctly at this stage so keep a sharp eye on any written work done at home, with the emphasis being on doing it the “right way”.
At senior infant level they respond very well to the Irish language and we try to make it as fun as possible through the use of music, drama, games and interactive games. Irish is developed on a number of themes through all these activities and we make an effort to use it informally right throughout the school day.
We are using the Bua na Cainte scheme which is really interactive and full of songs, rhymes and games to help the children learn.
We learn new vocabulary and phrases to practice in class. Irish is also used informally throughout the day in school.
In Senior Infants we will be working on the curricular strands of number, shape and space, measures, time, capacity, money and data We will be using lots of oral Maths games and concrete materials to develop and build on skills in each of these strands.
The National literacy and numeracy strategy which was introduced a number of years ago places a big emphasis on problem solving and we make this part of our every day timetable too.
What’s hugely important is that there are many ways that you can support your child at home with maths activities. This can be anything from reciting simple counting rhymes with them to looking at numbers around us, on cars, buses, doors etc. Asking them to sort socks to find a matching pair is another example, telling the time, recognizing colours and their names etc.
If you go to the www.ncca.ie website (National council for curriculum and assessment ) there are really helpful practical tips there for parents.
P.E. and Art
We hoping to have a GAA coach coming in this year to develop their ball handling and other GAA skills. This will be with the whole class together.
On Thursdays we will have PE lessons. We have Art lessons on Thursdays and Fridays.
SESE curriculum subjects:
These subjects are Geography, History and Science and this part of the curriculum is concerned with the study of different surroundings or environments.
Skills development is an important part of SESE and they will be encouraged to work scientifically, question, observe, investigate and experiment as well as analyse and record information.
The Geography curriculum develops the children’s sense of place and space eg talking about our school, its surroundings, journeys to and from school etc.
They will also learn about human and natural environments and environmental care.
The Science curriculum is concerned with the strands living things, energy and forces and materials. They will learn more and build upon topics they will have covered in Junior Infants
The History curriculum will lead them to explore their own personal history and how they have changed from birth to now. Stories and chronology in stories is also important and they will be encouraged to look at the sequence of events in stories. They will discuss change and continuity also, what has changed and why, but also what has stayed the same.
Core Curriculum and SPHE:
Core Curriculum is a unique aspect of the curriculum of multi-denominational schools, covering areas such as personal development and relationships, environmental studies, moral and social education and exploration of different belief systems and religions.
In Senior Infants both CC and SPHE are regularly integrated into the school day.
They will also be participating in the Stay Safe Programme in the new year which is a programme to help give them personal safety skills.
You will all be well aware that mindfulness is part of our day in RMDS and this involves a few quiet moments of reflection each day. It’s always a welcome pause in what can otherwise be quite a busy schedule! This is a practice which they started in JI and which they will continue up through the school.
Special Educational Needs:
In RMDS we are committed to all children in the school, including those with special needs, which may or may not include those with challenging behaviour. As you are aware there are different categories of special needs, emotional, social, behavioural, physical as well as speech and language needs.
The important thing to note is that each child is measured against him/herself and we deal with each child on an individual basis while catering for their needs in the classroom and in the yard.
RMDS has a homework policy and in SI the purpose of homework is to provide a link between home and school as well as to practice and reinforce skills and activities learned at school. Folders are given out on Mondays and the work given is from Monday – Thursday and should be handed up on Fridays.
With your guidance they should be able to understand all the tasks given as it is all based around what we are covering in class.
All written homework should be completed with a pencil and it’s important at this age level to keep a close eye on how they hold their pencil, how they write their numbers and letters etc.
Reading should be practiced each evening with plenty of sounds and word practice depending on where they are at. They will get lists of words called tricky words which focuses on high frequency words.
Some children may still be getting to grips with the initial letter sounds so your help with homework is vital. Therese Curran and I will hear their reading regularly.
This year will be slightly different regarding seating plans. I understand how important it is for children to mix and socialize with different children and so I will move the children around as regularly as possible. I plan for the class to change seats at the beginning of the new month (October). At times your child may be sitting beside someone who they get on really well with and other times they may find their seating arrangement more challenging! Please encourage them to be patient and to learn from both experiences.
The RMDS code of behaviour and the anti-bullying policy is available on the website and in hard copy in the office.
In Senior Infants the emphasis is on respecting everyone, practicing tolerance and sharing as it was in Junior infants. This is in line with a whole school approach to promote positive behaviour.
The children are very aware of the class rules which they helped to draw up with me - listening to others without interrupting, raising their hand quietly and waiting if necessary, keeping our hands and feet to ourselves, particularly when lining up.
When sanctions are necessary for unacceptable behaviour they are always explained to the child in question. Time outs are given where needed.
Just a reminder that we have a healthy eating policy in our school and crisps, fizzy drinks and sweets are not allowed. Eating time is limited so keep and eye on how much you are actually putting in for them each day.
We have a child in the school with a nut allergy which you will know from the school newsletter so this is just a reminder that of the “No nuts” policy also.
There are two breaks so ensure that there is enough for a snack at both of them as well as a drink.
There are no Birthday treats allowed in school and I would ask you to organise birthday invitations outside of school as doing so in the classroom in my experience can lead to a lot of unnecessary distraction.
Senior Infants play with just their own class at 10am in the yard. This is their small yard break. We then come in from yard, everyone washes their hands and we eat our lunch.
Senior Infants play with the JI class on rooftop yard at 11:45am for big break. This break lasts 25 minutes. The children wash their hands and eat after they go out to yard. All breaks are fully supervised by a teacher and SNAs .
Toys in School:
Children are not allowed to have toys in school on any day of the week as it can lead to a lot of distraction and upset if they cannot find their toy at the end of the day.
8.30 am is school opening time and the door is opened shortly before that so that everyone can be on time. Anyone who arrives after 8.40 am will be marked as late. If you do arrive once class has begun please just drop your child at the door to minimize class disruption.
Assessment happens on an ongoing basis whether it be through teacher observation of work or of participation in an activity or discussion . Ms Coogan and class teacher will administer the Mist test in the Spring term (Middle infant screening test) which helps identify early literacy difficulties and the Drumcondra Tests in Reading and Maths later in the summer term.
If your child is absent please let the school know that morning by email to office or myself. This also applies if they are going to be late because of an appointment elsewhere.
Also please let me know if your child is being collected by someone else after school, even if I know that person.
Forest school will start in the summer term also for senior infants giving the class a wonderful opportunity to learn in an outdoor setting. Have a look at the school website where there’s a short video clip and lots of information about its beginnings here in RMDS and about what it involves and what they may gain from it.
I am really enjoying working with and getting to know your children as well as yourselves and I’m hoping it will be a positive experience for us all this year.