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Aspects of Early Learning

Developing Oral Language

It is through speech that we communicate thoughts and feelings, needs and desires, curiosity and wonder. If a child cannot express these in words the child may remain silent and could withdraw from learning activities in the class. This is why much attention is given to language development in the first years of school.

You can help…

  • Talk to your child naturally about things of interest that you or your son/daughter may be doing – at home, in the shop, in the car, etc. Remember that all the time young children are absorbing the language they hear around them. It takes time to become sufficiently fluent and confident to use it in all contexts.
  • Try to make time to listen when your child wants to tell you something that is important to him/her. Always nurture the sense of curiosity and wonder.
  • Introduce him gently to the ideas of Why? How? When? Where? If etc. These demand more advanced language structures.
  • Your child will have particular favourite stories. Repeat them and gradually get the child to tell them to you.

First Steps in Reading

Learning to read is a gradual process and a lot of preparatory work must be done before a child is introduced to his/her first reader. We do not rush or push children into reading but get them ready for it over an extended period. The teacher will guide the reading progress at the appropriate level for the child.

You can help…

  • Have attractive, colourful books in the home.
  • Read a variety of stories to your child.
  • Look at the pictures in books and talk about them.
  • Read nursery rhymes repeatedly for your child. This practice allows your son/daughter to become familiar with rhythm and rhyme which are the basis of spelling patterns.

Understanding Maths

Maths for the small child has nothing to do with ’sums’ or figures or tables or adding and subtracting. All of these will come much later.

Maths is really part of the language your child uses in understanding and talking about certain things as part of daily experiences – for example:

  • associating certain numbers with particular things – two hands, four wheels, five fingers etc.
  • counting – one, two, three, four,…..
  • colours – red, green, yellow, blue, black, white ……..
  • prepositions (telling position) and their opposites – over/under, before/after, inside/outside ………..
  • matching/sorting – objects of the same size/colour/texture/shape etc
  • odd one out – difference in size/colour
  • measures – heavy/light, long/short etc…

And you can help…

In the course of your ordinary daily routine in the home, in the shop, in the neighbourhood you can use suitable opportunities to informally introduce the maths vocabulary referred to above by:

  • asking ‘how many?’
  • pointing out direction – we are turning ‘left’ at the lights
  • using opposites – your glass is full/empty.


All children enjoy learning another language. It fascinates them as another code of communication. The emphasis in the Irish Curriculum is on developing oral language and its use as a means of communication. Irish readers are not introduced until 2nd Class.
When children learn new words in school encourage their use at home. Use short Irish phrases or words now and again. Children are delighted to find out that their parents are into their new code as well.


Getting ready…
Making letters on paper is not easy for small children. Hand and finger muscles are only gradually developing at this stage. They must learn to hold the pencil properly and make regular shapes as well as developing the ability to get the hand and eye working together.
We give children access to a wide variety of books and encourage them to share the reading experience with you, their parents, as the year progresses.
In particular, we emphasise the pleasure of reading. Reading is something to be enjoyed. It should never start as a chore for the small child.

You can help…
Make available to your child some or all of the following:

  • jigsaws, lego, beads to thread etc,
  • playdough to make their own shapes,
  • a colouring book and thick crayons,
  • sheets of paper and a safe scissors for cutting activities.

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

This is the area in the Curriculum which, through discrete teaching and the creation of a positive school climate and atmosphere, enables children to learn about their own rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of others. Religious education gives the Christian dimension to this.
From their earliest days in school:

  • children will be encouraged to see themselves as unique individuals with differing abilities and limitations who are loved and cared for;
  • they will learn to share, co-operate and resolve conflict;
  • they learn that bullying is always wrong and they will be taught that there are certain steps to take if they are bullied or if they see someone else being bullied.

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE), for which a school policy has been drawn up by parents, teachers and Board of Management, is a part of SPHE. This is taught to all classes in a two year cycle with the 4th Class and 6th Class receiving their RSE information on an annual basis. The school Code of Behaviour and Anti Bullying Policy accompanies this booklet.

Pupils with Learning Difficulties

Pupils’ progress is constantly being monitored and support will be given in Literacy and Numeracy to any pupils whose teacher, in consultation and with the agreement of parents, considers this to be appropriate.