AcademicJunior and Senior Infants

Pride from the beginning.


At Willow Park we believe in providing the best possible start for young boys as they begin their education. We place great importance on learning and development at Infant level and, by extension, providing our pupils with rich experiences during these crucial early years.  The Willow Infant Programme is delivered in a structured and progressive format, enriching the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework’ of ‘Well-being’, ‘Identity And Belonging’,’ Communicating’ and ‘Exploring And Thinking’.

By providing a purposeful learning environment that encourages play, exploration, discovery and interaction, we aim to enable all boys to become independent learners with a thirst for ‘finding out’. The combined skills of perseverance and experimentation are key components in equipping the boys for the academic demands of First Class and beyond, ensuring both a successful and enjoyable journey through Willow Park and on to Blackrock College.

Right from the first day at Willow Park, Junior Infant boys begin building their unique relationships with their teachers and peers and indeed the very fabric of the school itself.  This early pledge provides an unrivalled sense of belonging and pride, allowing the boys to be emotionally strong, self-assured and able to deal with challenges ahead. This creates an important foundation for their learning and development. 


Junior Infant boys learn how to read and write by following the internationally renowned ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme  This programme uses the synthetic phonics method of teaching the letter sounds in a way that is fun and multi-sensory, enabling children to become fluent readers.  By learning the 42 sounds in the English language, the boys are equipped with strong ‘word attack’ skills allowing them to independently read and write previously unseen words.

We teach the following five key skills for reading and writing:

  1. Learning the letter sounds
  2. Learning letter formation
  3. Blending
  4. Identifying sounds in words
  5. Spelling ‘tricky’ (irregular) words

At Senior Infant level, the 42 sounds are revised and reinforced prior to teaching the alternative spellings.  The 5 key skills continue to be taught alongside more formal learning of spellings and grammar.