Junior Infants are one of the most fun classes to teach. The children are just starting on their learning journey. They gobble up every bit of information you give them. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds. Having said that, keeping their attention is an exercise in itself and classes or lessons need to be kept short. One of the most commonly used strategies by teachers is to thematically plan. This gives everyone a focus for the lessons ahead and when all subjects tie into them well, great learning can happen.
Prim-Ed have released 4 sets of books called Early Learning Themes. Each book is based on a particular theme and aimed at 3-5 year olds. These themes are Places, People, Animals and Science. Each set contains a teacher’s book with lesson plans, templates and other photocopiables. It also contains a set of posters and a set of stickers.
Each book has 5 themes with 20 pages of activities. These include:
- A title / cover page for use as a stimulus
- Lesson plans for each subject covered
- Background information for the teacher
- Concepts being developed (again for the teacher)
- Photocopiable worksheets (for the kids)
- Display ideas
- Some poems, stories and other literature resources
- A notes section that teachers can add to if they find extra information
So what’s good about this?
Without a doubt, this book does all the hard work for the teacher. Almost every subject is covered in a clever and relevant way. Although the subjects are based on the UK curriculum, generally they map perfectly well especially in Literacy, Numeracy and Science. The photocopiables are to Prim-Ed’s usual high standard and are plentiful. The recipes are a fun addition with many of the them not requiring any cooking so they can be done in the classroom. I was also impressed with the display ideas as there were several of them, ensuring that the teacher does not get bored! Finally the literature resources are well chosen in most cases and, again, there is lots of choice.
Essentially, this is all your planning done for infants in four books!
The accompanying posters are colourful, bright and useful. The stickers are also a nice touch.
The only criticism I can give these books is their lack of technology integration. It would have been a really nice touch if the posters could have been made into interactive flipcharts. However, I think I can forgive this omission as the scheme is so good and I’m sure teachers will be able to find some decent web sites for the themes on Mash.ie (our sister web site) to accompany the books.
The books themselves are worth the €24.95 investment in my opinion. The posters cost the same per set, which is a little on the expensive side and stickers cost €5.95, which is also a little bit on the expensive side. It’s rare that we give Top of the Class awards when we’re reviewing products but this scheme thoroughly deserves it. This is probably one of the most complete Prim-Ed publications I have seen in a very long time.
Last Update: August 22, 2017