Alexei is starting school at the end of August! As I am not used to the primary level of education in Ireland (I only came here when I was 15 years old) I did not know what to expect. Alexei is starting junior infants and he and his class will be sharing the classroom and teacher with senior infants. For me, it seems a bit strange, but according to my husband, this is absolutely normal here.
We had a bit of preparation to do in order to get Alexei ready. First of all, in June parents went to meet the teachers and principles, and to get the lists of books. We got the rules of the school and reassurance that we can approach them for anything, however small.
A couple of days after that Alexei had a trial run of school. It was only an hour and a half but they got to meet their teacher, they also saw who is going to be there and that there is nothing to be afraid of. I was really surprised and appreciated this as it can be very scary for a 4-year-old to go into the classroom for the first time and not know anyone. Alexei didn’t have any problem and is really looking forward to going there now.
The first things to get ready were the books and the stationary that was required. Here are the books that we got:
After looking through them, I noticed that all of them involve a lot of colouring. My favourite books were the Religion book – Grow in Love and the Science book – Small World. You can see when you open the science book, there are a lot of examples of life cycles in Nature and so on, that they start learning from this age. This will give them more of an understanding of what is going on around them.
Next, we had to get some stationary:
The first thing was triangular pencils, we weren’t sure which size to get so got two different ones. The three-sided pencil apparently is going to teach them how to hold the pen properly.
Next was that sharpener for pencils, it had to have bigger and smaller sized sharper openings and an eraser. We also had to get twistable Crayola pencils and I got a pencil case with 2 openings to store the colour pencils and normal pencils in different compartments. I am not sure if they have to have the colour pencils with them all the time and as Alexei also asked for a minions pencil case, he can bring that if colour pencils are not required or have it as a spare.
The backpack was a Christmas present from my parents to Alexei and he kept it for school, so we do not need to purchase any other ones.
Next were the clothes. Nearly all schools in Ireland adhere to strict dressing code. Each school has their own unique uniform and so we had to get exactly what was on the list. I am not going to show all of the items for obvious reasons. We were lucky, as the school that Alexei is going to requires us to purchase only specific tie and tracksuit for PE. The rest of the uniform can be purchased in any general clothes store, such as Dunnes Stores, Tesco, M&S or Debenhams.
So for the colder days, they have to wear grey trousers, blue shirt, a specific tie, navy jumper and grey socks:
We got four shirts, two pairs of trousers, two jumpers two sets of grey socks (lighter and heavier material) and new vests to go under the shirts.
Next was the summer uniform, which consists of a red polo t-shirt and grey or navy shorts. We bought four t-shirts, Alexei already has navy shorts and I am going to get a grey pair as well. I just haven’t been able to find good quality ones.
As I mentioned the tracksuit had to be specifically bought and has a logo on it. It seems to be quite well made and looks like it will last. But I also heard that the bottoms do go out of action by the end of the year and that the school is ok if the child wears just normal blue tracksuit bottoms.
And finally, we also had to get two pairs of shoes and I might end up buying another spare pair just in case. Solid black shoes for every day use and slip-on shoes to have in school when it’s raining outside, or just to be comfy in. We were told not to get the ones with laces, as at this age it takes them a long time to tie their laces if they know how to do it at all 😉 These are the ones that I bought.
All of the items have to have the child’s name on them as if they get lost as they are identical it would be difficult to find which item belongs to whom. So I ordered online iron on stickers for clothes and normal items. All of the books and other stationary are now labelled, however, I still have to iron-on his name on his clothes.
This is all that was necessary for us to get. No notebooks are required as all of the exercises are done in books and any papers will be provided by the school.
The only other preparation that we have done was with Alexei himself. Whenever we have a spare hour, I am doing a little one on one exercises from pre-school education books. He is really enjoying those and is even starting to be quite good at adding numbers.
Hope you are having a great summer everyone:)