How can I help my child in primary school?


Some children find it hard to speak English. Some are shy. Some don’t want to make mistakes. You can help your child feel more confident by creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere at home.

You can help your child at home by:

1) Speaking and listening: listen to and talk to your child and encourage them to talk about things which interest them. Many children are more motivated to learn English if they like English-speaking music, films, cartoons or books. Your child might have a toy version of a favourite English-speaking cartoon character. Tell your child that this toy only understands English. Have a conversation with the toy yourself to encourage your child to do the same in private.

Keep adding new words/vocabulary to your conversations and encourage your child to ask you if they don’t understand the word. When you are out and about ask your child to name the things they see and use this time as an opportunity to develop their vocabulary. See how well your child listens to, remembers and passes on information. Ask them to pass on a message or remind someone about something later. Allow your child the opportunity to use language correctly in social situations- in shops, restaurants etc. Ask your child to tell you some new words or sentences they have learned in Irish in school. Watch cartoons and children’s programmes on TG4 with your child which will get them used to hearing Irish being spoken naturally.

How should I correct mistakes?

If you want to correct your child, don’t correct every mistake, and never interrupt your child to correct. Wait until they finish speaking, then say the word or the sentence correctly and encourage them to repeat. Don’t say ‘Not like that’ or ‘It's wrong’. Instead choose ‘Listen …’ or ‘Let's try again

2) Read with your child every day. This can take the form of: reading to your child; taking turns where you read a few lines and then your child has a turn; or your child reading for you. It is important to discuss the events of the story, predict what might happen next, retell the story when you are finished reading it. This can tell you a lot about your child’s listening and understanding skills.

The following suggestions have been beneficial to many parents:

  • Provide a good role model — read yourself and read often to your child.

  • Provide varied reading material — some for reading enjoyment and some with information about hobbies and interests.

  • Encourage activities that require reading — for example, cooking (reading a recipe), constructing a kite (reading directions), or identifying an interesting bird's nest or a shell collected at the beach (using a reference book).

  • Establish a reading time, even if it is only ten minutes a day.

  • Write notes to your school-age child; encourage written responses.

  • Ask your child to bring a library book home to read to a younger sibling.

  • Establish one evening a week for reading (instead of television viewing).

  • Encourage your child in all reading efforts.

3) Encourage your child to write. Draw a picture with your child and then write a story about it; encourage them to write a postcard, a letter or a card to someone they know; let them write in a diary; write a recipe out so that they can give it to someone; create a poster for an event they are going to; or find out information about something which interests your child and do a small project. Another idea is to write a story together. You write the first line, your child writes the second, and so on.


Your child is building their understanding in 5 different areas in Maths:

Number (including counting, comparing and ordering, learning about place value (tens and units) adding and subtracting numbers, and working with fractions); Algebra (including exploring and using number patterns, for example odd and even numbers or counting in twos, fives, tens) ;Measurement (including working with length, weight, capacity, time and money) ; Shape and space (including working with 3-d and 2-d shapes and right angles); Data (including understanding, interpreting and making charts and graphs)

There are lots of ways which you can help your child develop their understanding of Mathematics.

  • Encourage your child to estimate and then count numbers of objects. Ask them to compare sets of items and solve some problems (how many red cars? How many blue sweets? Which has more? How many more? How many less/fewer? What is the difference in the number of sweets? If I three sweets left how many would be left? Ask your child to explain how they solved the problem. Children tend to mix up the language maths such as fewer, more, or less than. This will come with practice.

Strategies for Parents

  • Encourage a positive attitude to Maths

  • Don't give your child the correct answer straight away, help them with small prompts

  • Encourage your child to make up problems for you to solve.

  • Spend time with your child on simple board games, puzzles or activities that encourage Maths

  • Practise counting in twos, threes, fives and tens.

  • Help them to learn their times tables

  • Ask your child to use a ruler to measure the kitchen table, a book, an iPad. You will learn a good deal about your child’s measurement skills.

  • Telling time is an important skill. Occasionally ask your child, “Can you see what time it is?” Your child should be able to give you the time in o’clock, half past and they will also be working on quarter to and quarter past the hour. While you are getting ready for a walk, ask your child, “How long will it take us to walk to the shop? From the slide back to the car?” Questions like these arise in many different circumstances. The answers will show you how your child understands time.

  • Allow your child opportunities to count your change to develop their skills counting coins. Helping them to pay for items in a shop is also a good way to develop their understanding of money and getting change.

  • Encourage them to work Maths out on a different paper


In SESE (history, geography and science) your child continues to learn about their immediate environment. Children are encouraged to use investigative skills including questioning, observing, predicting, investigating and experimenting, estimating and measuring.

-You can help by encouraging your child to observe and investigate at home, for example, grow seeds or bulbs, or investigate whether materials are magnetic/ waterproof or not.

-Encourage your child to talk about what they are working on in school. Children will remember better if they have a chance to explain their learning to another person.

Arts (Visual Arts, Music and Drama)

In Arts Education your child continues to have opportunities to develop their imagination through art activities, music and drama. This curriculum area encourages your child to listen to, look at and respond to music, artwork and drama. You can help your child by:

  • listening to different types of music and asking your child whether they like the music or not and why. Allow them opportunities to decide what music they would like to listen to.

  • encourage your child to use a range of tools, such as crayons, paints, playdough, pens, pencils, glue, old fabric and so on to create artworks.


Your child participates in different physical activities in school such as:

athletics (running, jumping and throwing); dance; gymnastics; games; and outdoor and adventure activities.

-You can help your child by encouraging them to be active at home- walking, running, skipping, playing games.

– You can also help your child by encouraging them to make up and play games with other children and discuss the need for rules and deciding on team strategies.


Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) deals with your child’s personal development, health and wellbeing. SPHE helps your child to learn and develop a sense of responsibility for their actions. They also learn how to respect and relate to others. You can help your child by:

-talking to your child about different issues which affect them, such as relationships with family and friends. Discuss ways of dealing with problems which might arise.

– allow your child some opportunities to be independent and make decisions such as what to do with pocket money and what to play.

– Encourage healthy eating habits through providing a healthy lunch. Breakfast is a very important meal as it starts your child on a healthy day.