Frequently Asked Questions – Harcourt Terrace

What are the main principles of Educate Together?

• Child-centered
Our school aims to create a learning environment that nurtures and encourages all children so that they may explore their full range of abilities and reach their highest potential. Children in our school have a right to have their voice and opinions heard and decisions in our school are always taken in the best interests of the children.

• Equality-based
The Educate Together school model is based on equality and human rights. Educate Together schools provide a learning environment that is safe and supportive of the identity of every child.

• Co-educational
The school is open to boys and girls on an equal basis. Every effort is made to avoid and challenge gender stereotyping both in attitude and teaching materials.

• Democratically run
The school is run by management committees that are democratically elected and run and the involvement of parents is sought and encouraged. Children will contribute to school management throughout their time in our school through a variety of platforms such as student council, greenschools, and playground committees.

Does the school have a Board of Management?

Yes, our school is governed by the Board of Management. This democratically elected committee has the responsibility to ensure that our school is run effectively, in keeping with the four main principles of Educate Together. The Board of Management is the decision-making body in the school. Each Board of Management serves a four- year term. Our current Board of eight individuals were elected in the Autumn of 2019 and will remain until Autumn 2023.

Is there a Parent/Guardian-Teacher Association?

The Parent/Guardian-Teacher Association (PGTA) meet each school term. All parents/guardians are welcome to attend. Please contact the office if you would be interested in working on the committee of the PGTA. The committee organises a number of events throughout the year for children and parents. It also supports the school by helping to create and review policies. We look forward to working together! For further information on how parents in schools can work together for the best possible education for their children visit the National Parents Council.

How can I contact the school?

It is really important for you, for your child and for the school that we keep in regular contact in regard to your child’s experiences here in Harcourt Terrace Educate Together NS. If you have any queries, worries or concerns, or, if you need to inform us of something important, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Whilst the school is still growing, we will only have part-time secretarial facilities, so we would respectfully ask you to contact us in one of the following ways:
• speak to your class teacher. You may need to make an appointment,
• send a note to your child’s teacher,
• telephone the school between 8am and 3pm on 086 776 8394. We will respond to you as soon as possible.

How does the school communicate with parents?

The school will communicate with parents and guardians through the school website as well as through social media (Facebook & Twitter). More detailed communications will be issued through email and from time to time we may communicate via text. Please ensure the school has your most up to date contact information. The school will issue newsletters during the year to keep parents informed of school activities, achievements and exciting news. These will be sent via email.

How to deal with child absence?

It is not necessary to ring the school if your child is absent, however, all absences must be explained in writing to the class teacher on the day your child returns to school. As a school, we abide by the Education and Welfare Act 2000. Under this act, we are obliged to report absences that exceed 20 days in one school year.

What do we ask your permission for?

We ask all parents to give general consent for:
• local trips
• photographs and videos for school use
• administration of basic first aid
• the calling of an ambulance in an emergency

Is there a healthy eating policy?

We encourage all children to bring healthy lunches to school each day. Parents and guardians are asked not to send in crisps, bars, cakes, sweets, fizzy drinks, biscuits or chocolate in lunchboxes during the week. Due to allergies, we ask that children do not bring any products containing nuts or sesame seeds. We also ask that you remind children not to share their food with others. On Friday, children are permitted to bring in one small treat. This helps the children the importance of a balanced healthy diet.

Children are welcome to drink water whenever they need it during the school day. However, other drinks (juice etc) are only permitted at break times.

Does the school recycle?

Yes, each classroom has a regular bin for general waste and a recycling bin for clean, dry, mixed recyclables. We teach each class about recycling and encourage children to bring home lunch waste in their lunchboxes where possible. Let’s teach the children the importance of recycling and please only give them reusable containers and bottles for lunch.

What is our behavior policy based on?

Our positive behaviour policy is based on the six Golden Rules. Children are encouraged to use the Golden Rules to help them make good choices about their behaviour. Children are rewarded for good behaviour in lots of ways including praise, encouragement, stickers, special prize, having their name put in the golden book, receiving extra golden time on a Friday.

What is the Child Protection Policy?

The school operates a Child Protection Policy under the Children First Guidelines. Anyone with concerns about the welfare of children should report directly to the Designated Liaison Person (DLP). The DLP for this school is Niamh Cullen.

Health and Safety Issues

As the school grows and our premises become more familiar, we will always endeavour to ensure a school is a safe place for all who attend, visit or work here. If you have any concerns in relation to Health and Safety, please report them to Niamh.

Harcourt Terrace Educate Together National School

Harcourt Terrace Educate Together National School opened on 3rd September 2018. We are currently located in temporary accommodation in Rathmines at 157 Lower Rathmines Road (beside Rathmines Library) while our beautiful permanent school is being built.

Educate Together

Educate Together National Schools are a specific type of state-funded primary school in Ireland. They are part of the National School system that was established in 1831 and which, together with the Special Schools, comprises all State-funded primary education in Ireland. Educate Together schools, are funded by the State on an equal basis. They operate the same National Curriculum, follow the same Rules for Boards of Management and are staffed by teachers who have the same level of professional qualifications and recognition

What is Learn Together Programme?

As an equality-based school, we do not teach the doctrine of any faith. Knowledge of, appreciation of and respect for all belief systems, all religions and none, are fostered. This does not in any way conflict with denominational Religious Instruction but complements it. Denominational Instruction is organised by groups of parents for after-school hours if they so wish.

Our moral and ethical education is delivered through the Learn Together Programme. This programme was written and published by Edu- cate Together and is taught in all Educate Together Schools.
The programme is divided into four strands;
• Moral and Spiritual Development
• Justice and Equality
• Ethics and the Environment
• Belief Systems

How can I prepare my child for their first day at school?

The child’s first day at school is a day to remember for the rest of his/her life. You can help to make it a really happy one! Tell your child about school beforehand, casually, and talk about it as a happy place where there will be a big welcome for him/her and he/she will meet new friends.
Don’t use school or the teacher as a threat. “If you behave like that for the teacher she’ll be cross with you!” though said light-heartedly can make some children very apprehensive. Your child’s books will be taken from him/her on the first day of school and the teacher will store them in the classroom until they are needed. Please tell your child this, some children become concerned that they might not see the books again!

When you arrive at the classroom, be as casual as you can. Your child will meet the teacher and the other children and will be shown where to sit.

Hopefully, he/she will be absorbed in his new surroundings. So, having assured him you will be back to collect him, wish him goodbye and make your getaway without delay.

What are the 6 Positive Behavior golden rules ?

Our Positive Behaviour policy is delivered through the Golden Rules with the emphasis on do rather than don’t:
• Do Be Gentle (don’t hurt anyone)
• Do Be Kind and Helpful (don’t hurt people’s feelings)
• Do Listen (don’t interrupt)
• Do Work Hard (don’t waste yours or other’s time)
• Do Be Honest (don’t cover up the truth)
• Do Look After Property (don’t waste or damage things)

How can I help my child get ready for learning?

Children are natural learners. They have an inbuilt curiosity and an eagerness to know more about
everything, about themselves, about others and about the world around them. And they learn fast – but only
when they are ready, and their interest is aroused.

Because they come to us so young, we must guard against putting pressure on them to learn what they are
not yet ready for. At the same time, we must cultivate readiness so that they can get moving as soon as possible. The rates of progress of children can vary greatly. We try to give them an opportunity to move ahead at their own pace or as near to it as possible.

Our first year in school, therefore, is mainly about settling in, relating to others, making friends, feeling
happy and gradually getting used to the routine of the school. On the learning side, the emphasis is on getting children ready for learning by:
• Developing their oral language and expression.
• Sharpening their senses, especially seeing, hearing and touching.
• Developing physical co-ordination especially of hand and fingers.
• Extending their concentration span and getting them to listen attentively.
• Learning through play – the most enjoyable and effective way.
• Co-operating with the teacher and other children. Performing tasks by themselves.
• Working with others and sharing with them. Getting each child to accept the general order, which is necessary for the class to work well.

How can I help my child to get ready for writing?

Making letters on paper is not easy for the small child. He/she must learn to hold the pencil properly and make
regular shapes. His/her hand and finger muscles are only gradually developing at this stage.

You Can Help…
He/she must develop the ability to get the hand and eye working together. This is very important. Encourage him/her to manipulate toys like:
• Jigsaws, Lego, beads to thread etc.
• Play dough to make his/her own shapes
• Using a colouring book and thick crayons
• Sheets of paper that she can cut up with safe scissors

When he/she begins to use a pencil make sure that he/she holds it correctly at the start. It will be difficult to
change this later. He/she may be making block letters at home even before he/she comes to school. This is fine. But when he/she starts making lower case letters at school you should try to encourage him/her to discontinue the blocks and practice his/her new system instead.

Don’t discourage left-handedness. If that is his/her definite natural inclination, don’t attempt to change him/her.

How can I encourage my child to learn other languages?

All children enjoy learning another language besides their own language. They have no difficulty in picking it up because it fascinates them as another code of communication.

They are free of any hang-ups about Irish unless they become aware that the home attitude towards it is not good. So please be careful that anything you say does not give a negative attitude to your child.

We would want their parents to give every encouragement and help to the small ones in their efforts to acquire Irish. If they learn new words in school encourage them to use them at home. Use little Irish phrases or words now and again. Children are delighted to find out that their parents are into their new code as well. If they must learn Irish, let them enjoy it and master it to the best of their ability.

How can I be sure that my child is ready to start school?

You should ensure that he/she is as independent as possible- physically, emotionally and socially. If he/she can look after him/herself in these areas he/she will feel secure and confident and settle in readily.

It would help greatly if he/she is able to:
• button and unbutton his/her coat and hang it up
• use the toilet without help and manage pants buttons/zippers
• open and close lunch bag/school bag

Also, encourage personal hygiene and cleanliness. Your the child should know to:
• flush the toilet and wash his/her hands, without having to be told
• use a hanky when necessary
• share toys and playthings with others and take turns
• tidy up and put away his/her playthings

Information for Parents

Please find some information to help your children transition smoothly into primary school. Parents will play a very important role ensuring their children are prepared and informed about starting school.

How parents can get involved

If you would like to get involved and contribute to school policy you can nominate yourself for the Parents/Guardians-Teacher Association. There will also be plenty of opportunities to contribute in other ways throughout the year in either fundraising or additional classroom-based activities.