Parents of Junior Infant Pupils

Information for Starting School


We would like to welcome new Junior Infants and parents alike to Banogue NS! September is an important month and your child is adjusting to their new routines and surroundings. We have put together some tips and information for you to ensure your child settles in as smoothly as possible.

The First Day at School

The First Day
Start with a good breakfast. Come to the school on time. The school will be open from 8.50am. Teaching will commence at 9am.

Give a hug, say goodbye and reassure your child that you will collect them at the proper time. Then leave! 

​Almost all children are busy and happy within minutes of their parents leaving, even if there are initially some tears. 

Label Everything!

Young children frequently misplace their belongings. To help us ensure these belongings are returned to their rightful owners please write your child’s name on everything they own. ​


Help your child to be independent by training him/her:

  1. To use and flush the toilet, wash and dry hands without help.

  2. To put on and take off his/her coat and do and undo buttons and zips.

  3. To open and close schoolbags, lunch boxes and drink containers. It's advised that infants use a non-spill drink bottle.

  4. To use a tissue/handkerchief when needed.

  5. To recognise his/her own belongings. 

HelpING your child to grow

  • Give your child time, spend time together.

  • Talk to your child and encourage him/her.

  • Listen attentively to your child.

  • Read and enjoy stories together. Talk about the story.

  • Repeat Nursery Rhymes.

  • Identify colours and shapes.

  • Provide paper, crayons and paints for colouring and scribbling.

  • Provide jigsaws, lego, play dough etc. 

  • Help him/her to cut out using safe scissors.

  • Allow sand and water play.

  • Have fun together.

  • Praise his/her efforts at every opportunity.

  • Avoid criticism

Helping your child to Speak

It is important that your child’s vocabulary and his/her ability to talk and to listen is as advanced as possible when starting school.  In the first years of school, it is primarily through speech that your child will communicate their needs, wants, feelings , thoughts and questions.  This is why much emphasis is placed on oral language development during the first years of school.   Help and prepare your child by using the following tips: 

  • Listen to what your child is saying/ trying to say and respond to contributions

  • Make and maintain eye contact while talking with your child

  • Explain the meaning of words

  • Talk through activities

  • Talk through everyday experiences

  • Involve your child in discussions/ plans

  • Ask/ answer questions

  • Teach your child nursery rhymes/ songs/ poems/ raps

  • Develop your child’s receptive language by asking him/her to follow simple instructions

  • Play language games with them

  • Assist your child to express ideas in an orderly fluent way

  • Read to your child each night

Helping Your Child to Read

Reading is a skill we learn at the beginning of our school days! We need it to help us in all other subject areas such as Maths, Science, History, Music etc. Furthermore, reading is a “lifelong skill” as we use it every day in our lives. For example to read menus in restaurants, to read the sports results in newspapers or on television, to read traffic signs and public notices.

We all agree we need to be able to read throughout our lives.

Our approach to reading is one which engages the children right from day 1! We use the Jolly Phonics programme and below is a quick step-by-step guide to learning to read.

Step 1: Recognise and say the sounds in English.

· We begin in September by introducing the sounds (or phonemes) of the English language. There are 44 sounds made up of the 26 alphabet letters and then additional two letter sounds such as “ee” in jeep, “ai” in rain etc.

We show the children the letters so that they can visualise the sounds. We teach them the sound so that they can hear it being said. We also teach them a sensory movement for each sound. For example for the sound s:

– we show them the letter s
– we say a hissing sound ssssss
– we weave our arm in a snake like movement.

By combining the visual, auditory and sensory movements the children will retain the sound s in their memories longer.

The practice songs and actions at home with your child visit the YouTube channel: This will help you support your child as he/she learns the action and songs for each sound. Children will have their own sounds folder with the letter sound for that week please spend time encouraging your child to trace over the letter with their finger, do the action and say the sound every night. Try to get them to listen out for these sounds in everyday words they hear e.g. sun, see, sandwich etc.

Step 2: Learn to combine sounds to form words.

After children have learned the sounds, they progress to develop the skill of combining sounds together to form words. This is called “blending”. These will be added to their folders once enough letters have been covered to make words.

For example, in learning to read the word ‘pat’:

· Start by saying the individual sounds of “p”, “a” and then “t”.

· Repeat saying these sounds, pushing the sounds together.

· All the time encourage your child to listen for the word.

· Children then practise ‘blending’ these sounds together themselves. Only with plenty of practise will this skill of blending develop.

Step 3: Learn the Tricky Words!

Not all words can be sounded out (or blended) !

These are Tricky Words and we just have to learn to them. For example the word ‘he’ cannot be sounded out as ‘h’ and ‘e’.

To help your child with this step, tricky words will be added to the sound folder. These words will have a tricky word hat icon beside them so that children know they are tricky and can’t be sounded out.

Step 4: Read, read, read!!!!

Once your child has learned the individual sounds, has developed the skill of blending and learned to recognise some tricky words he/she is ready to read!!This usually begins around December or January, you will see a word box and reader coming home in your child’s schoolbag. Review the new words in the word-box. When reading the book, discuss the pictures with your child then let your child read the sentence ensuring they are placing their finger under each word as they read from left to right.

Helping your child to Write

Writing involves using finger muscles,  fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. Help and prepare your child by:

  • Encouraging him/her to colour in, draw and paint.  (make sure your child grips pencils, colours, paintbrushes properly)

  • Encouraging him/her to cut with scissors (make sure your child holds scissors properly)

  • Encouraging him/her to play with toys such as jigsaws, lego, blocks, play-doh, sand, beads etc

The introduction to writing letters, words and names is best left to the teacher to ensure the correct formation, starting and ending points of letters and pencil grip.  Once letters and words have been introduced by the teacher, parents should encourage the practice of these at home.

Helping your child with Maths

Maths in the first years of school is very basic and does not involve “sums” such as adding or subtracting.  It is very hands on with concrete activities designed to get your child investigating and problem solving mathematically .   It involves using the environment to learn e.g. colours, counting, spatial language (over, under, on), matching, sorting, finding the odd one out etc .  For some children mathematical concept come quickly, while it can take time for other children so be patient. 

Help and prepare your child by:

  • Getting  him/her to help you match things at home e.g. socks, knives and forks when setting the table etc

  • Getting him/her to help you sort things at home e.g. clothes by colour, toys into boxes at tidy up time etc

  • Counting to 10.

  • Counting objects e.g. toys, cups etc

  • Number watching out and about e.g. house numbers, in shops

  • Talking about and using money when shopping

  • Talking about time e.g. what do you do first when you get up in the morning…and then…. and next…

  • Finding colours and talking about them

  • Looking for shapes and talking about them

  • Holding heavy/light things.

  • Filling/emptying containers in the bath

Learning Gaeilge

Parents are often surprised at how quickly children pick up Irish but young children enjoy learning other languages and have none of the hang-ups that  some adults have about Irish.

Encourage your child in his/her exploration of Irish.  Young children  love knowing something their parents don’t so encourage your child to “teach” you the vocabulary and phrases they learn daily.  Use these words and phrases at home e.g. Slán, Dia Duit, cupán, cóta etc

More Information

You will find more information about Banogue National School under the About section and the School Life  section on our website. We also have more information for Parents. You can find out what the Parents Association are up to here and on their Facebook page. 

 If you have any other questions or concerns about your child beginning school, please contact us. 

TIPS FOR Parents

The INTO has published an article that gives parents an understanding of the modern primary school and how it works. Its full of useful tips from how to make life more manageable for the junior infant, school life, healthy eating, help with uniforms and books, bullying, homework etc.

It can be viewed here.



Banogue National School, Banogue , Croom, Co. Limerick, Ireland

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