Tips to Ease the Return to School

Posted on: 8th August, 2014

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Emma Healy, Occupational Therapist Cathy Coughlan, Speech Language Therapist Kerrie O’Grady, Speech Language Therapist

The beginning of school can often be a daunting time for parents, especially those who are new to the school environment. Parents may not feel well prepared or have doubts about where to begin! However remembering the simple things can often ensure a smooth transition from pre-school into primary school. The following points can be used as a guide or a general reminder:

What to do in August…

•Involve your child in the school preparations such as getting a uniform, getting a school bag, lunch box and other items needed; this allows your child to feel in control of the situation.

•Ask your child to help you to label books and other items. This is a good way to practice writing their name and also familiarise themselves with new school supplies.

•Usually children will have gone to their new school for a morning but it may be helpful to drive past the school. Make them aware of where they will be going in and where to come out, this may lessen any anxiety they may have.

•Model language appropriate for the school environment and begin to use words that are associated with school especially if speech and/or language have been an issue.

•Have story time during the day or before going to bed so your child is familiar with books

•Engage in activities that promote prewriting skills such as colouring, finger painting and drawing shapes.

•Help your child to practice taking off and putting back on their coat, and also familiarising them with their new uniform, buttons and zips.

•When doing table top activities, encourage your child to sit with their back supported against their chair and their feet flat on the ground to achieve proper posture, as this is what will be expected of them within the classroom.  It will also help them to focus and maintain attention.

•Plan on what types of food you will put in your child’s lunchbox and allow them to practice opening the packaging so they will be familiar with it once school starts.

•Start a regular routine of going to bed and getting up as you would when school begins.

•Check out any concerns about hearing, vision, language or motor issues that you may have – early intervention is key!

What to do in September

•Have a regular routine of homework time, organising for the following day and going to bed early.

•If a child is having difficulty with the routine try creating a visual schedule with pictures or on a white board so your child will understand what has to be completed.

•If homework has to be completed, ensure there are no distractions in the room such as TV, music or other siblings in the room who are not doing homework. Try to have one designated space for completing homework.

•To reduce stress, encourage your child to focus on one homework subject at a time and to finish the assignment out fully before moving onto a new subject.

•Limit TV time, computer games or play on tablets to 30min-60min a day at maximum.

•Encourage reading or story time before bed.

•For older children who may have increasing amounts of homework, follow the ‘20/20/20’ rule. Take a break every 20 minutes, stop for 20 seconds and look at least 20 meters from their homework or computer screen.

•Again check hearing and vision by asking the child if they can hear the teacher and see the board. Check with the teacher if you have any concerns!

Should you any concerns regarding your child’s speech, language or functional skills please feel free to contact us on 021-6019327 or check out our website for information on our services and clinic locations.


There will be a regular Q&A column in West Cork People regarding speech and language and occupational therapy from September. Anyone with questions relevant to this should email Kerrie O’Grady at

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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