In starting or returning to school it is very important to focus on the following:
Here’s how you can support your child’s journey to school:
Support your Child’s Independence Skills
Support your Child's Emotional Wellbeing
If your child has been directly affected by COVID-19 be very careful about having conversations with other adults in front of your child that might cause concern or upset. Parents should ask other members of the family not to talk about certain topics in front of children also.
Sharing Information with your Child’s Teacher
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has a special transition template that parents can complete and share with their child’s teacher. You can view the Mo Scéal (My Story) transition template here.
You may be sent a transitions pack by your early learning and childcare service that includes this template and a card for your child to draw a picture of themselves for their teacher. You might want to fill in the template and share it with the teacher when school starts. If you don’t get a pack you can ring your local City and County Childcare Committee and they will send you one. Their contact details are here.
Stuff about School
If this is the first time a child in your family will attend school, here are some handy tips.
Schools will communicate with families directly on the requirements for that school.
Uniforms (where applicable):
Scoil Mháthair Dé uniforms have two parts, a uniform that consists of a trousers/pinafore, shirt and jumper and a school track suit with a t-shirt.
Your child’s teacher will tell you which day children should wear their track suit when the children have PE and or games and sports.
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps those in financial need meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school.
For more information see here.
Each class book list is available to download from the school website and you can purchase the books online or in a local bookshop. The books can be covered and your child’s name added.
Scoil Mháthair Dé have a book rental scheme. This scheme loans textbooks to children and a rental fee is charged. The books are owned by the Board of Management of the school and are rented out each year to students.
The cost of renting the books from the school is much lower than buying the books in a bookshop.
School Bag and Pencil Case:
Each child will need a school bag, pencil case and lunch box and water bottle with their name on them. Children should be able to open their own lunch boxes and water bottles. Check the school bag every evening. Teachers may send notes home in children’s school bags. Some schools communicate may using an app or email.
Starting school presents the challenge and opportunity of making new friends for children and parents. Some adults and children find this easier than others. Parents can help by being open and friendly with other parents and children. As children settle in, you can encourage these friendships by organising playdates, when this becomes possible, with other parents. Parents with older children can be a great source of advice and information about the school. See if there could be a way for parents in the class to communicate for now such as a class WhatsApp group.
Building a Relationship with your Child’s Teacher
Before COVID-19, you would be meeting the teacher as you drop your child into their class. This won’t be possible for the moment and we in Scoil Mháthair Dé are thinking of new ways to communicate with families. It will be hard for teachers to have lengthy chats at this time but you can contact them and ask to make a time to talk to them if you have any worries and concerns. The relationship with primary school may seem more formal than pre-school and the group size is very likely to be larger. Be friendly and open to the teacher. Make a list of what you might need to say. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the school day and the content of the curriculum. Your child’s teacher will be only too happy to answer them.
The National Parents Council have a leaflet on how schools work and the different jobs in a school such as the role of the principal and the school Board of Management. You can view it here.
In this time of uncertainty, schools will be working very hard with guidance from the Department of Education and Skills to put the public health advice into practice. You can support your school by adhering to any instructions you may receive. If your child has particular health concerns or conditions you should discuss these with the school in advance of starting. The latest public health advice from the HSE is available here.