Kiltiernan National School Curriculum
The next section gives a brief outline of the content of each subject. We hope that it will inform you of the learning experiences your child will encounter and perhaps stimulate ideas on ways in which you can support us.
We welcome any support offered to us and we have forged relationships with many individuals who are experienced and expert in their field of work and study i.e. writers, artists, scientists and performers.
If you have a particular resource or talent you would like to share with us please let us know! We hope your child’s education will be a partnership in the fullest sense, between home and school.
There will be many occasions during your child’s time here, when you will be invited/encouraged to join us in organising events or celebrating your child’s achievements.
In the curriculum the child starting in Infants is referred to as an ‘emergent reader’. Oral language development is the foundation upon which the child’s reading development is established. Activities and skills developed in the child’s first years in primary school include listening skills, recalling, naming, categorising, describing, sequencing and reasoning. The children will have opportunities to work as part of a whole class, in pairs and independently. The teacher acts as facilitator, creating opportunities for new language structures to be used and practised, modelling good communication and using a variety of contexts through which new vocabulary/ structures can be taught i.e. through Talk & Discussion, Stories, Poetry & Rhyme, Drama and Language Games. A lot of this work is done thematically e.g. ‘Clothes’ or ‘Homes’ or ‘Food’. If you have any relevant material (photographs, posters, calendars, samples) on a theme through which your child is working please feel free to contribute it.
A structured reading scheme is not introduced until the children are deemed to be confident and competent enough in their language development. However, the children will engage with ‘real books’ in the class library from their first day at school. They will handle and play with books. They will experience a wide range of texts, by being read to in school from large format books and at home by you in a shared reading experience.
It is vital that the emergent reader is aware of the purpose and pleasure of print, that he or she becomes alert to the way books are used, the way that text and illustrations tell the story and that reading is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Parents play a vital role in communicating this message. We strongly recommend that a routine of reading with your child, four nights a week, for 10 to 15 minutes is established from your child’s first days at school. This may be the single biggest factor in developing your child’s interest, enthusiasm and confidence in reading. Buying books as presents and treats, setting time aside to share books and praising and facilitating your child in reading alone is very important. If you are not a member of a local library it is a wonderful way to introduce your child to books, to other readers his or her age and to participate in competitions and activities centered on reading. Gort and Oranmore have well-stocked public libraries and a busy programme of activities for younger readers. It makes an ideal trip for rainy Saturdays and membership is free.
The development of sight vocabulary is another key element in the emergent reading phase. High interest words (Mammy, Daddy, me…) and high frequency words (The, here, there, and, in…) are taught. About 40 of these words are introduced in the first year.
The teacher models good communication (speaking and listening skills), reading and writing at every level in the primary school. But at Infants this work is done very explicitly and deliberately for the child. The teacher will “think out loud” as he/ she writes or opens a book, allowing the child to participate in the activity at his/ her own pace, confidently. This approach can be replicated at home with your child when you are reading a book or newspaper or making a shopping list or using a telephone directory. Invite your child to observe you, including him or her in your thought processes and explain why you are taking each step.
Written work will focus on personal writing. The child’s name will be an important pathway for developing skills in letter recognition and formation. The child will be encouraged to write titles, captions and messages in their artwork for example. This is an important stage in the child’s understanding of the purpose of the printed word. Work will often be done on sheets and samples will be kept in a folder to track the child’s progress.
Evaluation & Assessment
The child will be assessed continuously through teacher observation. The class teacher will refine this observation through the use of recognised checklists to determine the progress of each child. Samples of your child’s writing and written observations on his/her reading and oral language skills are kept.
Each year a report is given orally in Parent -Teacher Meetings and in written form in a summer report which is sent home. A copy is kept in school so that each child’s progress is recorded and tracked. If a class teacher has any concerns about a child’s performance he/she will contact the parents and he/she will advise them on the situation and the kinds of supports and options available. If you have concerns make an appointment with your child’s teacher and these can be discussed.
Learning support is an option, which is offered to a minority of children who qualify for this extra support. Standardised tests (Drumcondra Primary Reading Test, given from 1st Class-6th Class) determine whether a child qualifies for this supplementary teaching provided by the Learning Support teacher. You, as a parent may have questions or concerns about your child’s performance from time to time. It is very important to communicate these concerns or queries to your child’s teacher. Together you can work to ensure that your child’s learning experience is a happy one. Any anxieties can be alleviated through discussion and by planning supportive strategies to ensure that your child feels confident and involved in their own learning.
Please Note: Senior Infants class has been identified as a focus for targeted early intervention in literacy by the Department of Education. Where numbers allow, schools are to provide whole class/group intervention. In Kiltiernan, our learning support teacher will provide this service, usually in the area of phonics as a support to the class teacher. Where necessary, further support may be provided to individual pupils on a more formal basis from first class onwards.
If you require further information, please contact the class teacher or the learning support teacher.
It is the policy of the school to assign homework on a regular basis. Parents are strongly advised to take an active interest in their child’s homework and to sign their Homework Journal each night (ensuring that it is done). A homework policy for each class is distributed by the class teacher to each parent at the beginning of the school year.