Making Life Manageable for the Junior Infant
Children cannot be independent if they cannot manage the equipment you provide them with. Give some thought to the items your child needs to get through the day at school. For example:
- If your child cannot tie shoelaces, give him/ her Velcro fastening runners and shoes.
- Choose a lunch box which your child will be able to open and close easily.
- Choose screw topped drinks or sports cap that children can open and close.
Preparation for School
Starting School is a milestone in the life of a child and is often a time of stress and anxiety for the parent. However you can do much to reduce such anxieties by preparing you child to cope with separation and socialisation and by helping them to get over their initial fears:
- A visit to the school well in advance of her first day is a good idea. This normally takes place in June and gives the child an opportunity to meet the teacher and principal, to view the school building and to play in their classroom.
- Talk to your child about your own school days. Stress the opportunities for making new friends, getting involved in activities and learning to read. However try not to hype up school life too much.
- The child should be able to put on and take off their own coat and hang it up, to use the toilet and flush it properly, to wash his/her hands, to tidy up crayons etc and to take turns.
- Label your child’s coats, hats, scarves, jumpers, shirts and tracksuits and also their school bag and lunch box.
- Ensure the school is provided with up to date telephone numbers and notify us of any changes.
- Allow your child to do things independently. Encourage confidence. Praise their efforts at every opportunity.
The First Day
It is important that you establish a good routine early. Check that all items such as uniform, bag and lunch are all ready for the morning. Do not have your child over excited or anxious going to bed. Give plenty of time in the morning for dressing, washing and eating a good breakfast. A child could find it very intimidating to walk into a class already in progress, so do your best to have your child at school on time.
If you are upset, as a lot of us are on our child’s first day at school, do your best not to show it. This could upset your child. If your child is upset, trust your teacher to calm them down. Leave your child with teacher and explain to them you will be back at the appropriate time. The teacher will be experienced in how to comfort an anxious child. A small toy from home could also be taken to school for familiarity.
It is just as important that you are waiting for your child when the school day is over. A child can become very upset if they see other children been collected and feel they are being left behind. It takes time for a child to adapt to school life and routines. Don’t expect too much too soon. If you feel your child is worried or upset , please make an appointment to speak to the class teacher.
The School Day
All parents are aware that even the most closely supervised children will have accidents at some stage. If your child does have an accident at school the teachers and other staff will respond in a caring and professional manner. The school day can seem long and tiring for a Junior Infant. Most of the work at Junior Infant level is activity based and children are not conscious of learning. If you ask your child what she has learned at school today the likely response is “nothing”. If you ask “Did you draw any pictures?” or “Did you sing any songs?” you are most likely to get a positive answer.