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St Marnock's National School, Portmarnock, Co. Dublin

Useful Document for Parents

Readiness for School Checklist

Self Help Skills

  • Can use the bathroom independently and complete accompanying hygiene tasks 
  • Able to dress self (puts on coat, fastens snaps, buttons and zippers
  • States full name and age
  • Can blow nose without help and sneeze/cough into elbow.

Social/Emotional Skills

  • Separates from caregivers without excessive upset
  • Plays/shares with other children
  • Waits his turn
  • Attends to an adult-directed task for at least 5 minutes
  • Recognizes and responds to other people’s feelings

Language Skills (Expressive and Receptive)

  • Expresses needs and wants verbally
  • Speaks in complete sentences (5 to 6 words)
  • Is generally understood by adults
  • Uses words, not physical action, to express emotions such as anger or disappointment
  • Understands and follows two-step directions
  • Understands positional vocabulary (i.e. on top of, below, next to)

Fine Motor Skills

  • Able to control scissors to complete an intentional task
  • Traces lines and basic shapes
  • Copies basic figures such as a circle, square and a straight line

Gross Motor Skills

  • Runs and skips
  • Jumps with feet together and hops while balancing on one foot.
  • Climbs stairs with alternating feet
  • Walks backwards
  • Bounces a kickball
  • Attempts a two-handed catch of a kickball

Math Skills

  • Counts from 1 to 10
  • Recognizes/points to/identifies basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle)
  • Beginning to count with one-to-one correspondence
  • Can sort items by one or more attributes
  • Identifies, either verbally or by pointing to colours.

Literacy/Phonemic Awareness Skills

  • Enjoys being read to/listening to stories
  • Recognizes environmental print (familiar logos, signs and words)
  • Knows how to handle a book (i.e. holds book right side up, knows where it starts and ends)
  • Recognizes own name in print
  • Tries to write own name or other ideas by using symbols or letters
  • Can draw a picture to express an idea

St. Marnock's N.S Tips for Parents

Before Starting School

Encourage independence as much as possible.

Encourage your child to:

  • Put on / take off their own coat/shoes (Clothing with Velcro may be easier for children rather than buttons to manage)
  • Use the toilet by themselves (opening and closing school trousers)
  • Flush the toilet and wash their hands after using the bathroom
  • Use a hand towel for drying their hands
  • Become familiar with a hand sanitizer
  • Be able to blow their own nose
  • Share their toys and crayons/markers with others
  • Tidy up and put away toys /games

Before starting:

  • Talk to your child frequently about starting school during the summer. Make sure to talk about school in a positive way
  • Buy a bag which will fit an A4 folder for their homework
  • If you have chosen for the school to order the books, the teacher will have all the materials in their classroom on the first day of school. The teacher will label these books.

The First Day of School

  • Make sure and be on time for the first day of school
  • Make sure you bring your child up to greet the teacher
  • Once your child is happily playing with some toys, casually say goodbye and make your exit. A prolonged goodbye can make the child feel anxious

Other General Tips

  • Keep an eye out for notes in their bags, homework folders & DOJO (If the teacher is using it)
  • Ensure all items which belong to your child are labelled (schoolbag, lunchbox, pencil, jumper, tie)
  • Try to be on time for school as playtime develops your child’s social skills
  • Your child will bring home all uneaten food and any rubbish from their lunch
  • Remind your child to tell the teacher on the yard if there’s a problem
  • Safe play is encouraged – no wrestling, fighting etc – sanctions will be put in place if this occurs.

Now that I am in Junior Infants....

  • I can turn my sleeves out of my coat.
  • I can take off/put on my coat.
  • I can zip up/do the buttons up on my coat.
  • I can hang up my coat.
  • I wear Velcro runners until I can tie laces.
  • I can open and close my schoolbag.
  • I can open and close my lunchbox and any lunch items (fruit, straws, yogurt etc).
  • I can tidy up after myself.
  • I try tasks independently so I will be able to walk into school in line with my class and teacher in September.
  • I can blow my nose properly and sneeze/cough into elbow.
  • I can put things into my schoolbag.
  • I can wait my turn.
  • I can share with my friends
  • I can sit on my chair properly.
  • I can recognise and write my own name (See attached page for practice).
  • I can cut using a children’s scissors – thumb at the top scissors hole (see attached page for practice)
  • I can colour pictures using correct colours and appropriate pencil grip (see below for diagram).
  • I can look after my own belongings which my mum and dad have labelled.
  • I can look after myself in the bathroom.
  • I can wash my hands properly after using the bathroom.

Useful Links for Parents

National Council for
Curriculum and