The Junior Cycle encompasses the first 3 years at Clongowes, from Elements to Grammar.  There are a broad range of subjects studied during the Junior Cycle years – some are mandatory and some are elective.

Most subjects are mandatory and studied by all students but some choices are made around subjects such as which modern language to study and choices around the study of art, music, Latin, business and short courses.

Explore the Junior Cycle subjects in more detail below.

Art

With drawing as the core activity, this course aims to cultivate the student’s expressive, communicative, and functional modes of art, craft, and design within the art class.

Many of the skills students acquire while studying art, craft, and design can be useful outside of school and in students’ future career.  There are several career areas  available – photography, illustration, interior/industrial/fashion design, education, and architecture to name but a few.

Business

The aim of the Business Studies program is to pique students’ interest in the business world and explore themes around business.

Business fosters the development of skills, information, attitudes, and behaviours that enable students to make educated and responsible decisions with all of the tools at their disposal, ensuring students’ own and society’s well-being while also increasing students’ self-awareness as a learner.

There are several strands of focus in the Business course:

Personal Finance – Learning about budgeting, responsible consumer behaviour, and the importance of using resources ethically and effectively for the good of individuals and society.

Enterprise – Investigating what it means to be enterprising, organisational roles, and the market climates.

Economy – In this strand, students will learn about the demand and supply of goods and services, the government’s position in economic management, and economic issues such as trade, jobs, and Ireland’s European Union membership.

CSPE

Civic, Social, and Political Education (CSPE) helps develop the skills students need to make a positive contribution to a democratic society and promotes sustainable living. It gives students an understanding of local, national, and global social, economic, and political structures, as well as the opportunity to imagine and create ways to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Classics

Classical Studies focuses on the study of the life and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome and of their continuing influence on the world today.
Classics gives students the opportunity to engage with the culture, literature, languages, art and material culture of Ancient Greece and Rome in a variety of ways.

The course comprises two main areas of study:

Myth and Daily Life: Students investigate the key aspects of Greek and Roman culture through the exploration of mythical storytelling and examining the realities of daily life in the ancient world.

Latin: With an integrated approach to language learning in the context of the broader study of Classics, students focus on reading narratives as well as the analysis of language structures patterns, values and ideologies.

Coding

Students will learn about computer science and improve the ability to formulate problems logically in this short course. Through the development of programs, applications, games, animations, or websites, students design, write, and test code.

Every element of modern society is influenced by computer science. Software systems that work properly allow planes to travel from one city to another, dispense cash at ATMs, and diagnose blood glucose levels.

For students, understanding how computer hardware and software work and contribute to daily life is becoming increasingly relevant.

Students design and construct software projects using their own ideas and creativity in this course, honing their problem-solving and computational thinking skills.

English

Students have many opportunities to use their imaginations and learn about great writers in Junior Cycle English. They will also learn how to communicate with others more efficiently and express themselves in many ways.

The new English Course for Junior Cycle  aims to improve students’ language and literature knowledge, as well as consolidate and expand their literacy skills and increase their self-awareness as learners.

More precisely, it encourages all :

  • To be innovative through language and to benefit from English in all of its forms in terms of enjoyment and personal development.
  • Through the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading, and writing, to gain influence over English by using it and reacting to it with meaning and effect.
  • To interact directly with and critically evaluate a growing number of spoken, published, and multimodal texts.
  • Personal experiences with a variety of literary texts to establish an educated understanding of literature.
  • To discover, use, synthesise, analyse, and communicate knowledge using a variety of media using their literacy skills.
  • To acquire a working knowledge of English grammar and conventions, as well as how they can be used to facilitate direct and efficient communication.

French

French is one of the modern languages taught for Junior Cycle.  Beginning at Elements (1st Year) and requiring no previous experience of the language the course aims to bring together three strands:

Communicative Competence: Students focus on listening, reading, speaking, interacting and writing to develop the building blocks of competence in the language.

Language Awareness: Exploring how language works – how some languages are similar and others are very different in terms of rhythm, intonation, grammar and vocabulary.

Socio-Cultural and Intercultural Awareness: Learning about France and French culture, traditions, customs, key historical events and geography.

Geography

In geography classes, students learn about places, people, and how the world is created. Students will discover how the world affects people and how people affect the environment. Students will practice drawing and interpreting maps, graphs, and diagrams, as well as analysing photos and gathering data outside of the classroom through fieldwork.

Exploring the Physical World: This strand aims to help  better understand how the physical world is shaped and altered.  Students learn knowledge and skills that allow them to comprehend and explain the physical world.  participate in and connect with physical geography subjects, exploring their interrelationships and any impact these topics can have on their lives. They use their expertise and skills to explain the formation of phenomena in the physical world, such as spatial characteristics.

Exploring How We Communicate with the Physical World: This strand aims to help  better understand how people interact with the physical world and the consequences that this will have for their lives.  investigate how we depend on, respond to, and change the natural environment.  Students use their experience and expertise to explain how we deal with our physical world in terms of economics, as well as how we cope with natural disasters.

Exploring People, Location, and Change: Will examine people, place, and change in this strand. Globalisation, growth, population, and interdependence are all topics that students are interested in.  Students engage with themes as they investigate interrelationships and the consequences of such topics for their lives. They use their experience to clarify settlement patterns, urbanization, demographics, and human growth.

German

German is one of the modern languages taught for Junior Cycle. Beginning at Elements (1st Year) and requiring no previous experience of the language the course aims to bring together three strands:

Communicative Competence: Students focus on listening, reading, speaking, interacting and writing to develop the building blocks of competence in the language.

Language Awareness: Exploring how language works – how some languages are similar and others are very different in terms of rhythm, intonation, grammar and vocabulary.

Socio-Cultural and Intercultural Awareness: Learning about Germany and German culture, traditions, customs, key historical events and geography.

History

The study of history is about exploring human experience over time and how that experience has shaped the world we live in today

The course focuses on following strands:

The Nature of History: Students will be encouraged to concentrate on three main activities: building historical consciousness, working with facts, and gaining a “big picture” perspective.

The Context: Helping students relate to historical events in terms of personalities, events  and issues.  Looking at Irish and broader world history students are encouraged to recognise the key changes that took place, examine the cultural context and view through the lens of historical thinking.

Irish

Junior Certificate Irish is intended to help students  develop their ability to communicate in Irish. Study concentrates on four areas to improve their language skills: spoken language by speaking; listening skills through listening to others, CDs, and tapes; written skills through writing in Irish; and reading skills through reading passages, poems, and stories written in Irish.

The new course is divided into three sections:

Communicative Competence:  students are encouraged to expand and enrich their competence and language skills through this strand. Their efficacy as communicators and language users is greatly improved as their language and cultural knowledge increases, as well as their self-awareness in relation to this as learners.

Language and Cultural Awareness: This strand focuses on students’ comprehension and reflection on how Irish acts as a communication language.  Students’ interest in the language’s system and style is piqued as a result of this knowledge, which promotes accurate and precise language acquisition.

Learner’s Self-Awareness: Students’ self-awareness as language learners is referred to as learner’s self-awareness. Each language learner is unique, and by emphasizing self-awareness when learning a language,  will focus on their own unique learning style and characteristics as language learners.

Mandarin Chinese

This Chinese Language and Culture course is designed for non-native speakers. It introduces students to the Chinese language and culture. The course focuses on language for about 70% of the time and culture for the other 30%.

It gives students a foundation in Mandarin Chinese that they can expand on in the future. Students will also read about China and its history, as well as appreciate and experience many facets of the country.

Mathematics

In Junior Cycle Maths,  will develop students’ problem-solving abilities as well as students’ ability to present logical arguments in Mathematics. Students will be able to apply what they have learned in Maths to real-life scenarios in students’ daily lives and in the years to come at university/work. 

Via the Unifying Strand and the four contextual strands: Number, Geometry and Trigonometry, Algebra and Functions, and Statistics and Probability, the Junior Cycle Mathematics specification focuses on improving students’ ability to think logically, strategically, objectively, and creatively. 

The Unifying Strand lays the foundations for the contextual strands to be discussed. Building blocks, representation, relations, problem-solving, generalization and proof, and communication are the six main elements.

The Number Strand discusses various aspects of numbers, preparing  for the transition from arithmetic to algebra. 

The Geometry and Trigonometry Strand explores the features and properties of geometric forms in two and three dimensions.

The Algebra and Functions Strand is concerned with describing and analysing numerical patterns and relationships.

The Statistics and Probability Strand is concerned with evaluating the probability of random events as well as producing and analysing data.

Music

Everyone’s life revolves around music in some way. Students sing and learn to play an instrument as part of  Junior Cycle Music.  Students will listen to a variety of songs, including pop, classical, and traditional Irish music. Students will also begin their journey of writing music.

There are three strands of focus in the course: 

Procedural Knowledge:  Improving music literacy and skills in a variety of ways in order to fully explore their creative imagination, creativity, and ability.  Students grow knowledge by participating in, reflecting on, and analysing musical experiences.

Innovate and Ideate:  Using personal experiences and insights to create, refine, showcase, and obtain input on their musical ideas in this strand. Students gain an understanding of various sounds as well as sound’s ability for resourcing and generating ideas as well as expressing feelings.

Culture and Context: Our ability to produce, perform, and appraise music is shaped by our perception of it in context and its cultural positioning.  Students explore how the meaning and cultural atmosphere influence the intention and aim of music in this strand.

Performance

This short course in artistic performance seeks to involve collaborative and individual creative initiatives leading to a group performance by presenting a framework that can be used to promote collaborative and individual imaginative and creative initiatives.

Physical Education

Physical Education (PE) is a subject in which students can engage in physical activities and learn a range of sport and exercise. Students learn the importance of staying fit for their body and mind’s wellbeing. Some activities require students to work alone, while others require collaborate as part of a group.

Religious Education

Students will learn about what people believe, why they believe it, and how their beliefs affect their own lives, the lives of others, and the world around us in Religious Education (RE). Students will learn about how a variety of religions, especially Christian religions, have influenced modern Ireland.

Science

Science can be found in both living and non-living things in the world around us. Science helps students understand the role of science in our lives and in the world.  Students will be able to understand how scientists work and how scientific theories evolve over time by the end of the Junior Cycle.

The Nature of Science: This is the overarching theme that focuses on how science works, conducting experiments, communicating with science, and gaining an understanding of the function of science and its contribution to society.

The Chemical World: This strand is concerned with the study of matter and its transformations. Students gain an understanding of matter’s structure and properties, as well as the changes it undergoes and the energy involved, as they research this strand. They learn to express their understandings through the use of representations, symbols, and chemistry conventions.

Earth and Space: This strand focuses on students’ understanding of the structure of the universe as well as certain astronomical organizing concepts.  Students investigate the connections between various astronomical phenomena and evidence for the universe’s history.

Physical World: This includes studying physical phenomena, typically in relation to motion, energy, and electricity. Via effective experiments,  students gain an understanding of fundamental concepts such as length, time, mass, and temperature. This helps them to establish a sense of scale and proportional reasoning at the same time, as well as recognize the need for common units.

Biological World: This strand teaches students about living beings and how they communicate with one another and with their surroundings. This strand also introduces  to the cell as the basic unit of life and how characteristics are passed on from generation to generation.  learn about the diversity of life, life processes, and how life has changed over time.

SPHE

Early adolescence is a period of profound physical, mental, and social change for young people.

Social, Personal, and Health Education (SPHE) short course will assist students in developing a positive self-image and a dedication to caring for himself and others.

Students will have the dedicated space and time to learn about self-care and how to make informed health and wellness decisions in this rapidly changing world.

The syllabus is divided into four sections:

Who Am I?: Focuses on increasing self-awareness and self-esteem.

Minding Myself and Others: Giving students the opportunity to think about how they can best care for themselves and others.

Team-Up: Focuses on developing relationship skills and learning about important relationships.

Spanish

Spanish is one of the modern languages taught for Junior Cycle. Beginning at Elements (1st Year) and requiring no previous experience of the language the course aims to bring together three strands:

Communicative Competence: Students focus on listening, reading, speaking, interacting and writing to develop the building blocks of competence in the language.

Language Awareness : Exploring how language works – how some languages are similar and others are very different in terms of rhythm, intonation, grammar and vocabulary.

Socio-Cultural and Intercultural Awareness: Learning about countries where Spanish is spoken – the people who live there, their traditions, customs, key historical events in the countries and basic geography.

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