Cloonloo National School
Call Us: 071 966 3684

Information for Parents of New Infants

Fáilte romhat agus roimh do pháiste chuig Scoil Ronán Naofa.

Starting school is a very important event and a big change in your child’s life. It is hoped the following information will make the transition between home and school life as smooth and as enjoyable as possible.  If your child’s first experience of school is a happy one,  this lays a very good foundation for many more fruitful years of school ahead.

Children are natural learners and they soak up knowledge.  They are curious and eager to learn about themselves, others and the world around them.   When the subject matter is appropriate and the children are  engaged and interested, they learn quickly but it is also important in the early years not to put too much pressure on children.  All children are different and therefore the rate of progress of children can vary greatly from one child to the next.  Teachers try to gear work to the ability and needs of each child as much as possible.

Overall the emphasis in the early years of school is on

  • Independence – settling in and getting used to the school environment and routine, performing tasks by themselves
  • Social skills –  relating to other children, other adults (teachers), making friends and feeling happy and confident, working  and co-operating with children and adults, listening to others
  • Learning – in a hands on and active way, using sensory experiences and play,  developing co-ordination,   concentration and oral language.

Below, there are many tips and advice on how you can help you child in this stage of his/her life and some websites with more information.

National Parents Council Primary Website:

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment:



Before Starting School

Try to ensure your child is as independent as possible, physically, emotionally and socially.   They should be able to:

  • Use the bathroom without help (i.e. flush toilet, wash and dry hands)
  • Put on and take off coats (zips, buttons)
  • Tie laces/fasten shoes (Velcro shoes are best for Infants)
  • Open lunchboxes, bottles, wrappers etc
  • Dry and dress themselves (Children will require these skills  when they go for swimming lessons usually in the last school term)
  • Use a tissue when necessary
  • Share toys and take turns
  • Tidy up  and put away toys
  • Remain contentedly for a few hours in the home of a friend, relation, neighbour (If children have experienced separation from parents before starting school, they will be more confident and less anxious in the school environment)
  • Use good manners e.g. please, thank you etc



Oral Language in the Early Years

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:

Talking to your child and encouraging him/her to talk too. Listen to what your child has to say.  It is important that your child develops both listening and speaking skills.

Encouraging your child to ask questions (Who? Where? When? What? Why? How? )and trying to  answer these questions  adequately and with patience. Nurture your child’s sense of wonder and curiosity.

Telling or reading your child stories.  Invite your child to retell them or join in with the repetitive parts.



Reading in the Early Years

Because much of the curriculum work in school is based on reading, it is an essential skill to master as early as possible.  There are many components in the foundations of reading which must be introduced gradually  to ensure the greatest success such as phonics, sight words etc.  Reading is something which should be enjoyed so it is important that the earliest experiences young children have of reading are pleasurable ones.  Help and prepare your child by:

Letting them see you enjoying reading books, magazines, newspapers etc

Creating a print-rich environment at home e.g. magnetic letters/words on fridge, posters, books etc

Reading a wide variety of stories to your child often

Having attractive colourful interesting books at home

Showing children how to treat books properly e.g. turning pages, storing books etc

Looking at and taking about pictures in books e.g. who was your favourite character?  What part of the story did you like best?

Joining a local library

Saying nursery rhymes with your child

Not pushing you child into reading before they are ready.



Suggested Stories and Rhymes

The store of oral language a child has coming to school is very important.  With this in mind, parents are encouraged to read the following stories/nursery rhymes to their child before starting school.


Nursery Rhymes

Hey Diddle Diddle

Humpty Dumpty

Mary had a Little Lamb

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Hickory Dickory Dock

Little Bo Peep

Jack and Jill

Incy Wincy Spider

Little Miss Muffet

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Three Blind Mice



Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Little Red Riding Hood

The Three Little Pigs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Jack and the Beanstalk


The Princess and the Pea

The Three Billly Goats Gruff

The Little Red Hen

The Ugly Duckling

Puss in Boots

The Gingerbread Man

Sleeping Beauty





Maths in The Early Years

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



Writing in the Early Years

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.

Gone are the days where left-handedness is discouraged.  If that is your child’s natural inclination, don’t  force him/her to change it.



Gaeilge in the Early Years

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



First Day at School

This is a day Mammies, Daddies and children remember for the rest of their lives and here is how to make it a happy memory:


Year Before School: Prepare your child beforehand by telling them about the school, visiting the school on open days/evenings,  showing your child pictures of the school, going to play at the houses of other children starting school


Weeks Before School: getting the  school uniform, getting a new schoolbag/pencil case etc Ensure all your child’s belonging are labelled with his/her name or initials.


Morning of First Day – Be positive – “You are going to making lots of new friends”. “You will see all your new books at school” Allow your child to bring an extra comfort from home if they seem anxious e.g.  a favourite teddy. Bring a camera to take some photos.


At School – Be calm and relaxed.   Meet the class teacher and other children. Seat your child at the table with his/her name on it. Hopefully your child will be so absorbed in their new surroundings, they will not mind when you tell them you will collect them later, say goodbye and then leave without fuss.   However despite all the best laid plans some children still become upset .  If you child becomes upset don’t panic. Children often mirror parents own worries and concerns so check that it is not you who is more anxious.   Trust the teacher as they have experience dealing with  upset children. Reassure your child firmly and leave as quickly as possible.  The teacher can distract and humour your child  more easily when you are not around. Wait in the staff room for a short while until  the teacher is sure your child has settled.


At Home Time – Infants finish school at 2pm and are to be collected at the main school gate.   Be on time as children can become upset if the other children leave and their mammy or daddy is not there yet.


At Home – Talk to your child about their first day and their experiences, new friends etc.



School for Junior Infants

School Day 

School starts at 9.20 and ends at 2.00 for Junior Infants.  Children in Junior and Senior Infants must be collected at 2pm from the school gate.



School Subjects

Children in Junior Infants are taught 12 subjects – English, Gaeilge, Maths,History, Geography, Science, Drama, Physical Education, Visual Arts, Music, SPHE (Social, Personal & Health Education) and Religion. Children also learn basic IT skills.

There is no formal assessments in Junior Infants.





Children in Junior Infants will receive homework from mid September.  Homework is given Monday to Thursday and should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete.   Homework is recorded in your child’s Homework Diary which should be checked every night.  Please check your child’s homework but do not do it for them. Homework will usually consist of some of the following:

  • Oral practice of a Nursery Rhyme
  • Listening to a story being read by a parent
  • Book Report – Drawing a picture based on a story
  • Tracing patterns
  • Matching/Sorting activities
  • Drawing activities
  • Colouring activities
  • Practice letters…..e.g. a says ah for apple etc
  • Trace/write letters/words/sentences
  • Words – reading sight words, using sounds to sound out words
  • Reading



Healthy Eating Lunch Policy

There is a Healthy Eating Policy in the School.  Sweets, chocolate, crisps etc are only allowed as a special treat on Friday.  On Monday to Thursday healthy lunches must be provided.  Fizzy drinks and chewing gum are forbidden.

In May 2015, we  introduced a free lunch scheme. Every child availing of the scheme  receives a free daily lunch consisting of a sandwich, bottle of water and a snack.  Parents are provided with a menu to choose  from and this can be edited as needed.

As we have a child in the school with a serious peanut allergy, peanuts are banned from lunches.




You will find more information about St. Ronan’s National School under the section  General Information for Parents. If you have any other questions or concerns about your child beginning school, please contact us.

Why choose Cloonloo National School?

  • Low pupil-teacher ratio – 1:1 teaching
  • DEIS School – This means extra grant to the school to subsidise school activities, outing and cost of books etc
  • Heavily subsidised books – total book cost is €25 which includes all books, copies, pencils, colours etc
  • Heavily subsidised school outings, tours
  • Free packed school lunches
  • Heavily subsidised swimming classes for all children
  • Teachers very accessible and available to talk to
  • Uniform – Very practical. White or blue t-shirt, navy or black trousers/tracksuit bottoms