Welcome to ‘Scoil Chaitríona Infants’ Co-educational Infant Catholic Primary School
History of the School
Scoil Chaitríona was opened in 1960 under the care of The Mercy Order. The sisters came to live in Coolock House in 1963 when it was reconstructed as a convent. The foundress of The Mercy Order, the venerable Catherine McAuley lived in the Georgian House that is now the convent as a young girl, from 1809-1829.
On behalf of the pupils, staff and Board of Management, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Scoil Chaitríona Infants. We hope our website will give you a flavour of our vibrant school life and that it will keep you up to date with all our hard work and activities.
Scoil Chaitríona Infants is a co-educational infant Catholic primary school. We have a dedicated staff who aim to provide a happy, safe and secure learning environment for all of our pupils so children can learn, reach their full potential and grow to be kind, responsible young people who can think for themselves. Scoil Chaitríona Infants is an inclusive school where all children are welcome and treated equally. We strive to support each individual child in achieving his/her potential and to foster their individual talents.
Our school is run by a hardworking and supportive Board of Management. It is a twelve classroom school with an office, 4 learning support rooms, a sensory room, a sand and water room and a spacious hall.
We recognise the vital role of parents and the importance of partnership. We encourage our parents to become involved in our school community and we are proud to have an active Parents’ Association supporting our school.
We hope you find all the information you need on our website. We are very proud of our incredible school community here in Scoil Chaitríona Infants and thank you for visiting our website.
Ms. Yvonne Whelan
Aistear is a thematic, playful approach to learning. We place a huge emphasis on learning through play and have dedicated slots for Aistear. Aistear is the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. It introduces structured play to meet curriculum objectives from all areas of the Primary Curriculum. Children in infant classes in our school engage in structured play each day. Imaginative play is at the heart of the Aistear time where children and teachers interact together using props and costumes to create an environment such as a doctor’s surgery, a toy shop, a restaurant, the farm or a vets. In addition, children participate in a variety of other structured play in the following categories: games with rules, small world (i.e. trains, dolls, cars, Playmobil), creative (i.e. painting, junk art, playdough) and construction (i.e. magna tiles, jigsaws, lego, blocks).
By allowing the children to learn through play we are affording them the opportunity to become competent and confident learners and make long lasting friendships.
Literacy is the foundation of all subjects in the primary school curriculum and so the development of children’s oral language, reading and writing is of the utmost importance in Scoil Chaitríona Infants. Much of the focus of the junior infant curriculum is on developing good oral language skills. This focus pervades the entire day as children interact with their teachers and peers to develop strong communication skills. A very important part of this development is Aistear time. Nursery rhymes, songs and poems also play a significant role in helping to develop oral language skills. A range of fine-motor activities are used to develop hand strength and pencil grip.
Children are exposed to a wide range of books, and they begin to practice comprehension strategies such as predicting, connecting to previous experiences and visualising as the teachers read a variety of texts aloud to the children. Early reading and writing development is supported through the use of the Jolly Phonics programme. From an early stage, letter sounds are explored in context enabling children to develop the skills necessary for blending and decoding words.
As the children’s emerging literacy skills strengthen, we use a variety of decodable readers to further develop and strengthen early reading skills.
Junior Infants, Senior Infants & First Class:
The Guided Reading approach is adopted in term 3 of Junior Infants as the children’s independent reading skills develop, continuing throughout senior infants and first class. Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviours and can read similar levels of texts. The text is easy enough for students to read with the support of teachers and parents; it offers challenges and opportunities for problem solving, but is easy enough for students to read with some fluency. Children focus on meaning but also use problem-solving strategies to figure out words they don’t know, deal with difficult sentence structure, and understand concepts or ideas they have never before encountered in print.
Senior Infants & First Class:
As the children’s independent writing skills develop they will begin to write simple, short texts in a variety of genres. Students are given opportunities to engage actively and collaboratively in analysing, interpreting and constructing a variety of genres. The skills and processes necessary for the genre are modelled, shared and guided by the teacher before they children begin to write independently. Through linking speaking, listening, reading and writing to the genre being covered; children will have an integrated and meaningful experience. The genres covered in senior infants and first class include procedural writing, persuasive writing, report writing, recount writing, narrative writing, explanation writing and writing to socialise.
The infant maths curriculum helps develop higher-order thinking skills through a variety of hands-on activities related to sorting, matching and pattern-building. In addition, numbers are introduced, using activities to practise counting, forming number bonds and writing numerals. Shape is explored, and concepts such as capacity, weight and money are introduced through hands-on practical exploration.
Station teaching where each class engages with practical maths activities and games happens in every class in our school on a weekly basis with it being an integral part of Junior Infants maths. The classroom teacher with the assistance of learning support and resource teachers, work with small groups providing opportunities for the development and acquisition of mathematical skills.
During math stations, students rotate around pre-planned math activities which incorporates the integration of concrete materials and ICT. Maths stations help to facilitate active and engaging learning experiences for every child. A variety of learning experiences enhances the understanding of mathematical skills and concepts and allows for differing abilities and learning styles.
Múintear an Ghaeilge gach aon lá agus tá an teanga lárnach sa scoil seo. Leantear an scéim Bua na Cainte chun an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh. Imríonn na páistí cluichí teanga go rialta agus canann siad amhráin Gaeilge go minic. Foghlaimíonn na páistí agus baineann siad úsáid as frasaí cabhracha tríd an lae scoile. Labhraíonn na páistí agus na múinteoirí an Ghaeilge mar ghnáth-theanga chumarsáideach i rith an lae.
Irish is taught each day and the language is central in the school. The scheme Bua na Cainte is followed to teach Irish. Children play language games and sing many songs in Irish. Children learn and use many helpful phrases throughout the day. Children and teachers speak Irish naturally during the school day outside of the formal Irish lessons.
The themes include myself, food, school, clothes, hobbies, weather, homes, television, shopping and special occasions. Our aim is to foster a love of the language from an early age. We place emphasis on listening comprehension and oral expression.
The creative arts are integrated throughout the curriculum and often tied to the themes the classes are currently exploring. The emphasis is on the process rather than the product in all cases. A variety of media are used to develop visual art techniques. Singing is an essential part of the music curriculum. We also use instruments of all kinds to explore rhythm and compose. In addition, listening to a variety of music is a regular activity. Drama is closely linked with oral language and literacy development, it is intertwined throughout the day. It is a regular feature of Aistear through imaginative play. Each year, the teachers work together to prepare the children to take part in a concert which is staged just before Christmas.
These subjects are explored using a thematic approach. Some of the themes explored include food, weather, seasons, clothes and toys. The focus is on the child’s experience and developing links between these experiences and the world around them. Language development is linked to every theme. Over the past few years, the school has developed and created a beautiful outdoor space and garden for the children to enjoy. Regular visits to the garden allow teachers to teach key concepts about natural habitats and the outdoors. The children are afforded the opportunity to be part of the Green Schools Team. The Green Schools Team allows the children to learn about taking care of and respecting themselves, their surroundings, other people, the environment and animals.
Lessons in this area work to establish healthy habits regarding eating, exercise and hygiene. In addition, children learn about themselves and each other, exploring their interests, families and relationships with their classmates and friends. These themes are integrated throughout the day as well as addressed in discrete lessons. It is taught by means of programmes such as Relationships and Sexuality Education, Stay Safe and Walk Tall.
In accordance with directives from the Department of Education and Science, the school has introduced a Relationship and Sexuality Programme. Our policy regarding this area of the curriculum was formulated by a committee which consisted of representatives of teachers, parents and Board of Management. The content of the programme is related to the age of the children and therefore, at this level the emphasis is on relationships and issues related to sexuality are not dealt with. The emphasis of the programme in our school is on relationships with friends and family, together with issues such as self-esteem.
The Stay Safe Programme is mandatory in school and consists of a series of lessons which are used to teach children personal safety skills. The children are taught to protect themselves from bullying and all forms of abuse.
Walk Tall is a programme for primary schools which is aimed at the prevention of substance misuse. It is widely recognised that successful prevention strategies need to start at an early age and so the programme begins with children in Junior Infants.
Each class is timetabled to use the Hall for one session per week for P.E. Tracksuits are worn on the day on which the class uses the Hall.
G.A.A: Children avail of G.A.A lessons fortnightly with coaches from Parnell’s G.A.A. Club.
For safety reasons runners must be worn for P.E. and G.A.A.
Children with special needs are integrated into mainstream classes. The allocation of Special Needs Assistant support is at the discretion of the Special Needs Organiser for the area who is employed by the National council for Special Education. Children who experience difficulties with either literacy or numeracy also receive extra help from our Support Teachers in the form of in-class support. On occasion small groups of children may also be withdrawn from class to work in small groups.
I.T is incorporated into the curriculum for every pupil in our school. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard with internet access which is used to enhance teaching and learning across a number of subject areas. IPads with appropriate apps are also in use throughout the school.
With the help of a grant from the Dept. of Education and Skills and as result of the support of parents for our Book Fair, we have very well stocked classroom libraries.