Junior & Senior Infants
RSE Manual pg 145
The aim of this lesson is to help children become aware of human life, in relation to the care of a new-born baby. Their sense of awe and wonder at the simplest experience of new life is refreshing and may awaken in the adults around them an appreciation of new life and the world of nature.
Children have many experiences of new life – springtime; new growth in the garden; new pets at home or new animals on the farm; the arrival of a new baby brother or sister, cousin or neighbour.
Opportunities are provided in school for children to appreciate the care and attention which is needed so that the healthy growth of new life may be nurtured.
The following are suggested Home Activities for Parents/Guardians to undertake with their children on the theme Caring for New Life:
Talk about a new baby: How often do new babies need to be fed? What kind of food do you give a new baby? Where does the milk come from? Why do babies need ‘winding?’
Or Let’s look at new life in the world of nature: Are there any signs of new life in the garden – what are they? What are the baby animals you might see on a farm?
Or Look at books, at home or in the library, on new life
Or Draw a picture, on the back of this page, under the heading Caring for New Life
RSE Manual pg 156
The aim of this lesson is to help children learn about their bodies and in this context to learn correct names for all parts of the body.
Children are usually given “baby” words for their private parts, or they may have learned “slang” terms, but it is recommended that they are given the correct names, as naturally as possible and without undue emphasis or fuss. Opportunities arise, at home and in school, for parents/guardians and teachers to introduce names for body parts, in the context of hygiene practice, injury, swimming, etc.
Teachers are guided in this by the School RSE Policy, drawn up in consultation with parents, teachers and management.
The following are suggested Home Activities for Parents/Guardians to undertake with their children on the theme
My Body – Talk about Bath-Time – What is fun about having a bath? What do you like least about having a bath? Why? What parts of your body do you wash while you’re having a bath? What do you do when you get out of the bath?
Or Talk about Swimming – What do you like best about going swimming? What do you like least about going swimming? Why? Where do you change for swimming? How would you know the difference between a boy and a girl?
Or Look at books on Bed-time/Bath-time/the Seaside and talk about the pictures, using opportunities that may arise to introduce names for parts of the body, if appropriate.
Or Talk about A Visit to the Doctor – How does the doctor find out what is wrong when you are sick? Would you like to be a doctor? Why/why not? Would you mind if the doctor examined your …? Why/why not?
1st & 2nd Class
RSE Manual pg 65
The aim of this lesson is to provide children with opportunities to appreciate and celebrate the wonder of new life in the world of nature. Their sense of awe and wonder at the simplest experience of new life is refreshing and may awaken in the adults around them an appreciation of even a green shoot in Spring.
By teaching children to understand new life and how it comes about, parents and teachers are encouraging them not to take these daily miracles for granted and to respect, value and cherish new life.
The following are suggested Home Activities for parents/guardians to undertake at home with their children on the theme The Wonder of New Life:
If an opportunity arises to look at a baby animal (kitten, pup, baby rabbit, pet mouse), the occasion can be used to talk about new life, using questions such as: What baby animal did we see? How big was it? Where was the baby animal before it was born? (Inside its Mammy, in its Mammy’s womb). How does it’s owner care for it? What food does it eat? How is it like a human baby? How is it different?
Or Together, make a collage of baby animals, by cutting pictures from magazines and pasting them onto a page, under the heading New Life.
Or Look at, and talk about, children’s books on Baby Animals, from the home or school library.
RSE Manual pg 160
The aim of this lesson is to provide children with opportunities to appreciate and celebrate the wonder of new babies. By teaching children to understand new life and how it comes about, parents/guardians and teachers encourage them not to take these daily miracles for granted and to respect, cherish and value new life.
The following are suggested Home Activities which parents/guardians may wish to undertake with their children on the theme The Wonder of New Life:
Talk to your child about a new baby brother/sister/cousin/neighbour/friend: What is the baby’s name? Why was s/he called this name? What food/drink does s/he like? What special care is given to the baby? etc.
Or Discuss with your child his/her own early days as a baby, encouraging him/her to ask questions about: Birth – place, date, time, weight, length, doctor, nurse, etc. Growth – food, drink, sleep, exercise, crawling, walking, talking, etc.
Or Together, look at the photo album and look at the development of family members from the early years through childhood, etc.
RSE Manual pg 169
The aim of this lesson is to provide children with an opportunity to revise the names of the external parts of the male and female body, and some associated functions, in the context of the body’s occasional need for special care. There is a great deal of power in language and not being familiar with the biological terms for the body can put children at a disadvantage.
To give children the vocabulary, it is recommended that the teacher uses everyday situations to include words for the body, and bodily functions, naturally and without undue emphasis. This will be at the discretion of the teacher, in accordance with the school’s RSE Policy.
The following are suggested Home Activities which parents/guardians may wish to undertake with their children on the theme When My Body Needs Special Care:
Discuss with your child an occasion when s/he had to visit the doctor: Do you remember when you had to go to Dr. …? What did the Dr. do? Did you mind being examined? Why/why not? etc.
Or Talk about the wonderful work of the body: Heart – pumps blood Lungs – take in and let out air Stomach – digests food and separates good from waste, etc.
Or Use everyday situations to give correct names for all parts of the body.
3rd & 4th Class
The aim of this lesson is to provide children with opportunities to recognise and learn to sequence the stages of development of the human baby from conception to birth. By teaching children to understand how new life develops, parents and teachers are encouraging them not to take the miracle of life for granted and to respect, value and cherish new life.
This home-school links page suggests that children are told the story of the growth of the baby in the womb before being born. You may wish to personalise it, telling your child the story of his/her own development, whether you are Daddy, Mammy or Guardian. It is advisable to read it for yourself first and to present it in your own words, as naturally as possible. Your child will probably have many questions to ask you about himself/herself after hearing this story.
Have you ever seen a bird’s nest up close? What is it made of? (Grasses, twigs etc.) How does the mother bird make it comfortable for her little ones when they hatch? (She lines it with grass, leaves and moss).
Before you were born you spent about nine months cradled in your mother’s (my) womb. The womb prepared a soft lining to keep you comfortable. It did this by becoming softer and thicker. This lining kept you safe and snug. You needed nine months to grow completely and to be strong enough to live outside the womb.
Nine months is the usual length of time a baby spends in the womb. During that time the womb was your home. Everything you needed for life and comfort was provided in the womb. You were joined to your mother by a tube called the umbilical cord. Through the cord you got the food you needed to grow. What you didn’t need returned to your mother (me).
At eight weeks you were the size of a grown up’s thumb nail, the size of a 20p piece. Your hands and feet had already started to grow and you began to move about. You kicked gently. But because you were so small your mother (I) didn’t feel you moving around. Now you were beginning to look like a baby. Though your eyes were closed, you moved your arms and legs around, stretching and kicking, curling your toes, making fists, frowning and making faces. You were doing your exercises and this helped your muscles to grow strong.
As the day of your birth drew near you had grown so much you had less room to move around. Now you practised breathing. There was no air in the womb, only liquid. Sometimes you swallowed the liquid and this gave you hiccups. Mammy may have felt you burping and wondered what was going on!
After nine months you were ready to be born. As you were welcomed into the world you were ready to begin another wonderful adventure.
5th & 6th Class
RSE Manual pg 92
In class we will help the children to understand better how their bodies grow and change,
especially the natural changes that happen during puberty that prepare them for being adults.
We want each child to be happy that s/he will grow and change in his/her own good time and
that this is different for each child. We want to help your child realise that these changes cannot
You could talk about:
▲ How your child has changed since s/he was born
▲ Some of the changes that happen to boys and girls when they reach puberty
(You may have talked to your child about this before but as this topic is now being covered in school it is a good time to have another chat about it. Take your lead from your
child about how much s/he wants to talk about.)
This could lead on to a discussion about:
▲ Mood changes that might take place during puberty
▲ Changes that may happen in friendships between some boys and some girls
▲ Some ways you might like to celebrate the changes from childhood to
RSE Manual pg 101
In class we will help your child remember what s/he has learned about body changes, especially
during puberty. We will also help your child learn about how new life begins. Even if you have
talked to your child about this already s/he may like the chance to talk about it again.
You could talk about:
▲ How boys grow into men?
▲ How girls grow into women?
▲ Does s/he know what parts of the body change most?
You might like to read this story with your child and talk about what you remember of
the nine months before s/he was born.
Michael’s Birth Day
Hi, my name is Michael. They say that today is my birth day and I am only a few hours old,
but believe me I have been around a lot longer than that.
You would think that resting in my Mam’s womb for the last nine months would have prepared me
for my journey into the real world, but being born is an exhausting and frightening experience.
Let me tell you my story so far, it began 9 months ago when sperm from my Dad met with an
egg from my Mam and suddenly there was me! You were created just like me.
During my first six weeks, my Mam or Dad were not aware that I was there. It wasn’t until
Mam missed her first period and had a pregnancy test that she realised she was carrying me.
They were so delighted to see me today I can only imagine how excited they felt when the
pregnancy was confirmed. Then, who wouldn’t be excited about me! Even though I was no
bigger than the tiniest small finger nail, by the end of these six weeks, I had the beginnings
of arms, legs, nose and eyes. My heart was beating and my backbone was partly formed.
By the end of my third month my fingers and toes, knees and elbows had grown and my good looks
were in place. My vocal cords had formed but I didn’t speak yet. The umbilical cord that attached
me to my Mam did a great job giving me food, though I didn’t like spicy food as it gave me hiccups!
By the sixth month my eyes had opened. I couldn’t see very much as it was very dark in
there. I really enjoyed moving about, twisting and turning, though my Mam wished that all
this activity hadn’t happened when she was trying to get some sleep! I now had a light
covering of hair on my head. I could hear loud music and sometimes people singing along. I
think it must have been my Dad because that was one of the voices I heard earlier today.
Don’t tell him I said so, but he could use some singing lessons!
By the end of the ninth month I was much bigger and had put on a lot of weight which made
it difficult for me to move around as much. All of my vital organs had formed.
As I said earlier, today was my birth day. I was very surprised and a little bit frightened when
I felt my Mam’s tummy start to tighten and I felt myself being pushed downwards. I tried to
hold back but I was being propelled along. I passed through a very narrow tunnel and it
seemed to take a long time. Suddenly, I saw bright lights and heard lots of noise, it felt very
cold and strange and I started to cry. Then I heard familiar voices saying, “Oh look! it’s our
beautiful baby boy Michael, welcome to the world”. It was my Mam and Dad.
RSE Manual pg 112
In class we will help children to think about the care a baby needs before and after birth. Children need
to think about the way a new baby changes people’s lives. We will already have talked about new life
and the care a baby needs while growing in the womb. We will be reading the following story in class.
You might like to read it with your child.
Michael’s First Year
Hi, my name is Michael. I am one year old. I’d like to tell you about the first and only year of my life so
far. I was born on the 15th of April at 2:28am. I weighed 4 kilos. It was a big shock to my system to leave
the lovely comfort of my mother’s womb but I didn’t have a choice in the matter! When I was born my
eyes were blue, they still are. My hair was brown, but it has got fairer now. I came home from hospital
on the 20th of April with my Mam and Dad. It took me a while to get used to my new surroundings but I
didn’t mind too much as long as I was fed and changed.
In the beginning I put on loads of weight, as much as two pounds a week. I grew out of all the first size
clothes and I began to sleep and eat more. I first smiled on the 6th of June, I was looking at my Mam who
was smiling at me. I first laughed on the 19th of July, because my Dad was blowing noises on my tummy! I
answered to my name ‘Michael’ on the 3rd of September. I know immediately that my Mam and Dad are talking
to me when ‘Michael’ comes first. I first learned to sit up on the 12th of October, I can see so much more
when I’m sitting up. I can see what’s on top of the table, the pictures of a cat and a dog on my bedroom wall.
I first waved goodbye on the 9th of November, everyone said it was cute. I do try! I got my first tooth on
the 2nd of December, that was sore. I wanted to chew everything in sight including my Dad’s shoulder! I
first crawled on the 15th of February and my Mam said: ‘Here comes trouble!’ Crawling is great freedom.
If I want something I can go get it. Before now I had to try to get my Mam’s attention and even then
she didn’t always know what I wanted.
My first word was Dada, a good move I was told. My Mam breast fed me until recently. This was a special
time for both of us. She would look into my eyes and talk or sing to me. It was lovely and cozy cuddling up
beside her. My first meal besides milk was potato which I loved. My favourite foods are toast, liga and milk. I
hate baby rice, yeuk! I spit it out no matter how my Mam tries to disguise it. I love my baths, I splash and
splash until my Mam is soaked. I share my bath with a duck, three fish and a boat. I spot my bath sponge
and think I’ll get to it to suck it but my Mam always gets to it first. She ‘Tut, tuts’ and asks me: ‘Why must
you put everything in your mouth?’ Has no one told her that is how I learn about shape and size?
My first toy was a soft rabbit which is still on the side of my cot. My favourite game is ‘Peekaboo’, you
just never know where my Dad will pop out next! My favourite song is ‘Clap handies’, because I can join
in too. I had my first birthday where I blew out one candle. I’m learning to walk now but I’m taking it
slowly, which is a good thing my Mam says!
You might like to talk about:
▲ The care a pregnant mother needs – food, exercise and rest
▲ How this helps the baby before and after birth
▲ The care your child received before and after birth
▲ The people who helped
▲ How your child’s eating habits and needs have changed.
This could lead on to a chat about:
The importance for your child of a balanced diet, regular exercise and rest as his/her
body grows and changes.
RSE Manual pg 149
In class we will help children to look at different kinds of love and friendships. Friendships are
very important to our children. We will help them to understand friendships and realise that
they may change over time.
You could talk about:
▲ Changes in friends when your son or daughter moves school or house
▲ Different kinds of love your child enjoys – inside the family and elsewhere
▲ What makes a good friend – accepting and respecting difference in each other.
Other things you might like to do:
▲ Look at photos that mean a lot to you or your child
▲ Look at photos of birthdays, holidays or other important times and talk how special
you or your child felt
▲ Talk about presents your child gave you or pictures s/he drew for you and how happy
and loved you felt getting them
▲ Talk about how your child’s feelings about pop stars are different from the love s/he
has for family members
▲ Make a list of what makes a good friend.