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Holy Family School, Cootehill, Co. Cavan

Primary Curriculum

This school follows the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Guidelines for Pupils with General Learning Disabilities. These guidelines have educational aims for all pupils:

  • To nurture each child in all dimensions of his/her life
  • To enable each child to live a full life and to realise their full potential through access to a broad and balanced curriculum
  • To ensure that all pupils' needs and abilities can be addressed, the curriculum guidelines specify three levels of attainment:
  • Attending – pupils who are learning to attend, listen and watch
  • Responding – pupils who are learning to respond and react to things they feel, hear, see etc.
  • Initiating – pupils who are learning to do things on their own

The subject areas laid out in the curriculum are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Mathematics/ Thinking skills
  • Social, Environmental and Science Education (SESE)
  • Music/ Visual Arts/Drama
  • Physical Education
  • Social, Personal and Health Education

Below is a brief outline of the main aims of each subject area of the curriculum

Communication and Language

  • to learn to use the senses to become more aware of people, objects and activities in the environment
  • to learn to indicate needs and desires
  • to learn to communicate with intention
  • to make everyday choices
  • to learn to use a functional or augmentative system of communication e.g. Lámh signs, objects of reference, picture-symbols etc

Mathematics/ Thinking Skills

  • to learn to act purposefully on the environment
  • to understand the idea of cause and effect e.g. “I made that happen”
  • to develop an awareness of sequence in activities, the daily or weekly routine
  • the beginning of awareness of numbers and patterns
  • early problem-solving

SESE (Social, Environmental and Science Education)

  • History:
  • sense of passage of time throughout the day, week, year
  • sense of own personal history
  • learning to recall special personal events through stories, photos and video
  • Geography:
  • Activities to help find way around familiar environment
  • to learn to associate different places with different activities
  • to develop an awareness of weather and seasonal changes
  • Science:
  • to develop an awareness of plants and animals in the environment
  • to develop an awareness of elements such as hot and cold, bright and dark, heavy and light

Visual Arts

  • to have fun and explore a variety of attractive materials and equipment
  • to use the senses to explore and appreciate the beauty of the natural environment


  • to listen to and appreciate sounds in the environment
  • to enjoy making sounds and performing


  • to participate, take a turn and cooperate in group activities
  • to improve sensory awareness through experiencing a wide range of costumes, props, stories and poetry

Physical Education

  • to control and coordinate body movement
  • to learn to use new fine and gross motor skills
  • activities include physiotherapy, cycling, walking, standing, stretching, holding, reaching, dancing, swimming etc.

SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education)

  • Myself – how I look and what I can do
  • Myself and Others – my family and my friends
  • Myself and the Wider World – my school, my local community