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This week, junior and senior infants celebrated Science Week 2018. We made paper helicopters, a tornado in a bottle and rain clouds. Just like scientists we predicted, analysed and recorded the results. During our free time we also enjoyed reading science themed books.
Last week we made castles. They are proudly displayed outside our classroom.
For the past two weeks we have been focusing on the theme of ‘My Body’.
In history, we have talked about how our bodies grow and change. Our interests and our abilities change also. We made toy timelines to represent the toys we played with as babies, as toddlers and as pre-schoolers. We have great fun looking at the toy catalogues and reminiscing about the toys we played with as babies.
We continued with this theme in Aistear.
- At the doctors’ surgery we have been working at the busy reception desk, updating patient records, treating patients and writing prescriptions.
- At the writing table, we are making first aid bags and filled them with all the essential items.
- At the construction table, students are building people using the Archimates.
- At the small world table, students have been building hospitals, ambulance and doctors surgeries using blocks. They role played many different scenarios.
Next week, we are celebrating Science Week in the infant classroom. We have lots of fun science experiment planned.
I have put together a brief overview of the phonics programme in junior infants. If you have any questions please let me know.
In September we focused heavily on developing phonemic awareness. This is a skill we will continue to develop throughout the infant years. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, move, or change sounds, called phonemes, in spoken words. Phonemic awareness is an important basic skill that gets students ready to develop into readers. For example, we have been:
- Clapping and count syllables in a 1 to 5 syllable word (ant, jump-per, sun-flow-er, hel-i-cop-ter, wa-ter-mel-on).
- Blending syllables into a word (cup–cake “cupcake”).
- Identifying whether words rhyme (cat, mat, hat; pop, top, mop).
- Finding words that rhymes with another (“tell me a word that rhymes with ‘sun’”).
- Finding the first sound in a word (“what is the beginning sound in “mop”?).
Parents can help to develop this skill by playing rhyming games at home, reciting rhymes, reading rhyming books and clapping the syllables in the family member’s names or objects around the house (ket-tle, lap-top, ta-ble etc.)
We use Jolly Phonics at Stratford NS to teach letter sounds in the infant room. We will cover 26 sounds in junior infants. For the first term, we will be covering s, a, t, i, p, n, c, k, e, r and d. Each sound is taught with an action, a song and a story. Students learn the name of the letter and the sound it makes. Druing these lessons we will identify words that begin with each sound, we sill sort the sounds using images, draw pictures and play games on the interactive whiteboard.
As the children learn their sounds we will be blending. Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word. For example, sounding out c-a-t and making cat. We will begin this process in December when we will sound words like pat, sit, net, pen, tip etc.
If you do want more information on the Jolly Phonics programme, this Youtube video introduces the programme and it also highlights the sounds and actions each sound makes.
Writing in Infants
In conjunction with teaching letter sounds, students also learn to write the letters. This process will involve tracing the letters in the air, writing it with chalk on a mini chalkboard, writing it on a mini whiteboard, tracing it in sand etc. It is important for students to form the letters correctly. We use rhymes to help them remember how to form the letters (You will find them in the homework pack). This enables them to develop a speedy, fluid and legible handwriting style.
It is also very important to continue to develop the children’s fine motor skills. Every day we spend time threading, playing with links and pegboards, cutting etc. to build up the strength in their fingers. You can support this at home with activities such as Lego, playdoh, colouring and cutting, painting and any activity that involves using their fingers.
I’m happy to announce Aistear is back up and running in the infant room! Aistear is the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for children from birth to six years old in Ireland. It was introduced into early childhood settings and Infant classrooms in January 2012 and, as a result, is being implemented along with the Irish Primary School Curriculum.
The link below will bring you to a page containing some key information about the Aistear framework. For Junior and Senior Infant parents, the tip sheets for supporting young children’s play, mathematics, reading and writing should be most useful.
Our theme for the next two weeks is autumn. We will have four stations and students will rotate around the stations each day.
Role play Station – Student will buy and sell items at the autumn market. We have a soup and hot chocolate stall, a seasonal fruit and veg stall and a clothes stall with items to help keep us warm.
Junk Art Station – at the junk art station students will design and construct a hibernation nest for an animal of their choice. Students will use boxes, leaves, twigs and other recyclable materials. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to use their imagination and have creative control.
Construction Station– students will work together to build a woodland scene with blocks for the animals as they prepare for the winter months.
Playdoh station – students will make some autumn leaves, hedgehog, acorn etc. with playdoh.
At the end of each play session, we look at photographs I have taken on the whiteboard. The children share their creations and ideas with the class and we discuss how we could develop and extend our play for the next day. I will upload more photos over the next week to show you what we are getting up to.