Published 30.04.2015
by Kids’ Own

Starting School: Feeling Good about Primary School by 4 and 5 Year Old Children – NEW book launches 6 May

Starting School is a new book supporting young children in the transition to primary school. An initiative by Kilkenny Ed­ucation Centre and Kilkenny County Childcare Committee, the book is the first of its kind in Ireland to share the stories of children as they settle into primary education.

Starting School was developed through a series of creative workshops led by Kids’ Own artist Orla Kenny and writer Mary Branley with children in junior infants from four Kilkenny primary schools. The book will be launched by Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, on Wednesday 6th May 2015 in Kilkenny Education Centre at 3pm. Starting School is now available to buy through the Kids’ Own online bookshop: 

Starting School_Book_Cover

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Starting School explores areas of anxiety and concern as well as excitement and wonder that children aged 4 or 5 experience when transitioning into junior infants. The publication shares their observations and reflections on what they like about school, how they felt on their first day, the new rules they encountered and how they made friends.  The children’s voices, writing and artwork inform the book throughout.









The publication can be used by parents, pre-school practitioners and teachers with young children to open and support discussion about starting primary school. As the child’s voice is the central feature of the book, children will relate to the language and ideas and will have a better understanding of an area of transition that is common to all children.

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Too often in the past, children have moved from one area of edu­cation to another without any connection between the various sectors. This publication aims to improve the connectivity between the childcare practitioners, the primary school and in particular, the infant teachers. Most especially it will help children understand the world of the primary school and help alleviate any fears they may have, and emphasise the hopes and positives that exist in the primary school setting.’ – Paul Fields, Director, Kilkenny Education Centre

Who better to offer advice on beginning primary school … than 4-and 5-year old children for whom it is a recent and very real experience! From children’s great sense of wonder and surprise (“my brain works well”) to the importance of relationships and a positive outlook (“I was scared of all the friends that I didn’t know”), the wisdom of children’s words remained with me long after I closed the book.’ – Dr. Sarah Fitzpatrick, Deputy CEO, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

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Starting School book - inside cover image










A book of such simplicity can be used very effectively with different groups. Drawing on the simple statements and pictures it is possible to access children’s opinions, expectations, fears and freedoms … Such material can guide parents and early years professionals on how best to approach the subject of Big School and the book itself can act as a colourful prop in discussing how the experience will be new and exciting. It can also provide a very powerful source of guidance for teachers as they prepare annually for new groups of children.’ – Professor Noirin Hayes, Visiting professor at School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

Starting School has been produced in partnership with Kilkenny Education Centre, Kilkenny County Childcare Committee and Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership. Junior infants children from St Canice’s NS, Presentation NS, Castlecomer GNS, Wandesforde NS, and St. John of God, GNS in Kilkenny created the content for the book.