Programmes Run in the School
“Literacy Lift-Off”, also known as or “Guided Reading”, is an intensive programme of reading and writing, which gives the pupils lots of opportunities to read books at their own level of competency. It gradually lifts the complexity of what they can do in both reading and writing by equipping them with the necessary problem-solving skills. Pupils on the programme would typically be expected to progress at the rate of one level per week. The aim of Literacy Lift-Off is to make pupils constructive learners. It teaches them ‘how’ to problem-solve independently.
It is implemented in blocks of 6/8weeks in the junior infants, senior infants, first and second classes in Scoil Chlochair Mhuire. Diverse activities are essential for extending literacy processing power. Hence, the pupils work in ‘stations’ to carry out a number of activities in reading and writing, under the guidance of teachers. The programme uses specially graded “PM+” readers. Pupils are assessed and grouped according to their reading ability prior to the commencement of the programme.
Building Bridges of Understanding
Building Bridges of Understanding is a whole school approach to the teaching of comprehension devised by Dr. Ann Courtney of the University of Hartford, Connecticut, Dr. Martin Gleeson, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and nine schools in the Munster area. Drawing on current research regarding effective comprehension instruction its primary focus is the teaching of comprehension, with the ultimate aim of enabling children to become self-regulated strategic readers.
To this end eight key comprehension strategies are identified, namely, prediction, visualisation, making connections, questioning, clarifying, determining importance, inferring and synthesising. Each strategy is explicitly modelled through a think aloud process using high quality fiction and non-fiction picture books. Children’s understanding of each individual strategy is supported by Comprehension Process Motions which are hand movements that help to concretise abstract unseen cognitive processes thus reinforcing the learning through a kinaesthetic pathway.
Children’s understanding is further consolidated by the development of Anchor Charts in child friendly language as an aide memoire to the application of each individual strategy. Teacher support is gradually withdrawn as children learn to apply the strategies in supportive collaborative mixed ability groups. Such groups provide support for children in word identification, vocabulary and comprehension in a mutually supportive setting.
Mata sa Rang
Mata sa Rang is a unique approach to extending children’s number knowledge, understanding and strategies. The programme offers an extremely detailed profiles-based assessment of pupils in respect of these areas and provides a framework for individual, group or class-based instruction which is suitable not only for pupils who are experiencing difficulties but also for average and more able children.
Friends for Life
The ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme is a school-based positive mental health programme. The World Health Organisation cites ‘FRIENDS for Life’ as the only evidence-based programme effective at all levels of intervention for anxiety in children (WHO 2004). The programme helps students to develop effective strategies to deal with worry, stress and change and teaches the skills required to reduce anxiety and promote resilience. It is beneficial for all students, irrespective of their anxiety level. Friends fo Life runs in fourth class in Scoil Chlochair Mhuire.