A Teachers’ Advice on Back to School!



So with Season 1 of The Kids Are All Right! podcast completed and Season 2 coming up very soon, we decided to put out a special Bonus Episode today where we speak with a primary school teacher who has some brilliant advice for kids on what they should do to get themselves ready for back to school!

We talk with primary school teacher Áine Murray from Ashbourne Educate Together school who has also written a book called ‘The Pain in the Chest’ which helps kids understand and manage their worries.

With a background in psychology, Áine understands that most kids will have some worries about going back to school; whether it’s about losing their summer freedom, getting back to daily homework and routines, or more severe separation anxiety about leaving the comfiness of the family home and loved ones to spend large amounts of their time in school.

Áine encourages any kid that has any kind of worries about going back to school….or in fact any kind of worries at all, to speak with a trusted adult about these. Her motto is ‘When we Talk, our Worries Walk!’ Taking our worries out of our heads and talking about them with a trusted adult, stops them growing and takes their power over us away.

The girl who features in her book has lots of worries as she grows up, but at the end of the book she decides to talk to her Mom about her anxiety that’s she been carrying along for years and then she feels so much better.

Áine also gives us her top tips as to what kids can do to help them prepare themselves for back to school. Buster and Buddy have never been so ready for the new school year!

Michelle and her team have a collective 50years experience working with kids as teachers, entertainers and parents!


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Thanks to Zapsplat, Audio Jingle and Alexander Korotkoff for the sound effects and music.


Áine Murray

Áine is a young Primary School Teacher and Children’s Book Author from Navan, Meath. She is currently teaching 4th class in Ashboune ETNS – and loves it!

As well as teaching, Áine has an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology. She is passionate about her teaching and has a particular interest in young mental health, which can be seen in her new picture book. It is called “The Pain the Chest” and it tackles the issue of anxiety through rhyme and beautiful illustrations. The book reaches all primary school ages from 4-12years, and is an excellent resource for teachers and parents to start the conversation about mental health with their young person.

It introduces the language of anxiety, allows for reflection on what anxiety might look like, and normalises talking about our feelings in a child friendly way. It is engaging, inclusive and most of all, important.

 Áine believes it is important to learn about your own Mental Health from a young age, and she really loved chatting to Buddy and Buster all about it!


The new edition of the book is currently in print with O’Brien Press. Once this is ready for the public, we’ll let you know!


Michelle Connolly 0:09

Hello and welcome to The Kids Are Alright! a weekly podcast specially for kids. That's all about health, happiness and wellness. I'm Michelle and here with me are my co pilots on this podcast Buster and Budy!

Buster 0:22

Hey, guys.

Buddy 0:24

Hey everyone, it's your pal, buddy.

Michelle Connolly 0:26

And we're on a mission to help you all feel great and live happy. So let's get this show on the road.

Buster 0:33

Yeah, let's do it. Yeah

Michelle Connolly 0:39

So Guys did you have a nice summer break?

Buster 0:42

Oh yeah Michelle, it was brilliant. I had so much fun. I went camping with my family and some of my cousins. We took our tent and my cousin's had a mobile home. That campsite was so cool. It had a mini farm and a lake to swim in, pitch and putt, tennis courts. We spent the whole two weeks outside the entire time. It was so much fun.

Michelle Connolly 1:04

Wow. That sounds like fun alright Buster. And what about you, buddy?

Buddy 1:08

Yeah, Michelle I had a great summer holiday too. We went on a road trip around Ireland. We packed up our car and then stopped off in lots of different towns and places around the west of Ireland and stayed in loads of different hotels and B& B's. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a holiday so much. We did loads. It was super fun.

Michelle Connolly 1:26

Oh cool, I'm so glad you enjoyed yourselves. You really deserve it after the craziness of Coronavirus and working so hard on this podcast.

Buster 1:33

Thanks Michelle. So what did you do?

Michelle Connolly 1:36

Yeah, I kind of did what Buddy did except I stayed in one place for a week we went to a lovely hotel beside the sea and spent the time the beach and just relaxing really. And eating way too much. Of course!! It was lovely. Now I have to start getting my head back into work again, and I won't lie, it's gonna be difficult.

Buddy 1:51

Yeah, it's hard to get back into the swing of things again after the break. My brain definitely hasn't woken up properly yet.

Buster 1:57

Yeah, mine too. Well, you don't feel like concentrating too hard on anything. Oh, oh, I can't believe we're going back to school again so soon. Oh, I wish the holidays could last just a little bit longer.

Michelle Connolly 2:08

Hey guys, you're not the only ones, even us adults would love our holidays to be longer. But you know, once you get back into it, you'll enjoy it again. Remember, how much you missed school and your friends when you weren't able to go during Coronavirus?

Buddy 2:20

Yeah, you're right, Michelle. I did miss school when I couldn't go. It is definitely nice to have holidays. But we did find out that if we have a break from school that is far too long, it soon gets boring and lonely.

Buster 2:31

Ah yeah, you know my friends always say 'Oh I wish I didn't have to go to school at all!'. But well, we actually got a chance to try what it's like Not going to school. And it wasn't very nice. So yeah, I think once I get back into the routine of school again, it'll be fine again

Michelle Connolly 2:46

Exactly, I think there are loads of kids out there feeling like you guys; excited to go back but also not looking forward to going back looking forward to meeting their new teacher, but maybe a little worried about having to start doing lessons and homework again, or looking forward to seeing their friends but kind of thinking they'll miss home and their family too. These are all perfectly normal feelings. And most kids feel some or maybe even all of these emotions.

Buddy 3:06

Yeah, you're right. It was like when we had to go back to school after Coronavirus. And we hadn't been in school for months, it was a bit hard to get used to the routine again. But after a few days, we were back in the routine and it was fun again.

Michelle Connolly 3:18

Yeah. So that's why I thought it'd be a great idea to maybe chat with a teacher to get their advice about what kids can do to get ready for back to school. And actually, you guys know our guest today we spoke to her in one of last season's shows.

Buster 3:30

Oh, oh, who? Who is it? Michelle? Oh, last season seems like ages ago. Oh, I can't remember.

Buddy 3:37

Oh I think I know Michelle wasn't the teacher we spoke to, the nice lady who wrote that book. What was it called again? Eh, My chest..,. my Pains....

Buster 3:46

Oh, yeah. The Pain in my Chest!

Oh, yeah Aine Murray that was her name!

Michelle Connolly 3:50

Yeah, that's it. We're delighted that Áine has agreed to come back on to chat with us again, about what she thinks as a teacher that kids can do to get ready for back to school. Áine, thanks, a million for coming back to chat to us.

Áine Murray 4:01

Thanks so much for having me. Thank you.

Buddy 4:03

Hey Áine!

Áine Murray 4:07

Hi, guys. Great to see you again.

Michelle Connolly 4:10

So listen, back to school time, you know, it's a time of mixed emotions, isn't it? I mean, there's all the excitement for the kids to see their friends and teachers. But then there's also those worries about leaving their family too

Áine Murray 4:22

Yeah, absolutely. Some kids are going to be delighted to back to the school routine and seeing their friends and seeing their teachers. And then others are going to struggle with being away from their parents and all that loss of freedom that you get over summer. And getting back into an academic routine in a actual physical school is going to be hard for some people.

Michelle Connolly 4:40

Yeah, exactly. And it really is so normal to be feeling different things go back to school as you know, like you say during the summer, there's been so many freedoms, like freedom from going to bed early. There's freedom from routines from homework, it's, it can be hard to get back into the structure of school again. And you know, sure even us adults we feel this way about going back to work after the summer ourselves.

Áine Murray 4:58

Look, Yeah, there's so much going on in school apart from just the learning, when you're in school with the classroom for the kids, you're learning all sorts of things that you don't even realise you're learning like things like how to work as a team, or how to take turns, winning, losing, understanding your emotions, making friends telling people what you need. And like you said, summertime was complete freedom. So it's totally normal to have mixed emotions again, coming back to school. And you know, even teachers can feel that way about getting back to school as well

Michelle Connolly 5:28

of course, yeah, I mean, it's back to school for the teachers as well.

Áine Murray 5:32


Buddy 5:33

Yeah I am, I'm looking forward to going back. But I do get nerves and little pains in my tummy the night before going back to school. And you told us before that this is why you wrote your book, The Pain in the Chest, which is about how a lot of kids may get a pain in their chest, or in their head or their tummy when they feel anxious or worried.

Áine Murray 5:53

Yeah, a lot of kids and adults experience anxiety as something very, very, very physical. So that could be a pain in your tummy or a headache, or maybe not feeling like eating or like the girl in the book like you might have a pain in your chest. So it actually is important to have a think about where you feel your worry in your body. And if you do that, it can help you work out the kinds of situations or things that make you feel anxious or worried, you know, you might think that you just get a sick tummy or a sick head, and that's just how it is. But then you might start to realise that, you know, I'm actually getting a sick tummy every Sunday night or Monday morning, or you know, I'm feeling a pain in my chest, every time I go to play on yard or when you go out and have to work as a group in a classroom, maybe that's when you feel sick. And then when you start to see a pattern like that, you realise that you're not just sick, and that your body is actually reacting to a trigger or like something that's worrying you. And once you know what the trigger is, then you can start to make a plan about how to fix it to make it feel better.

Buster 7:01

So Áine as a teacher, you will see lots of kids getting anxious in school then

Áine Murray 7:05

Yeah, in schools, teachers do have a lot to do. And we're not just teaching, you know, your math and your English and your Irish because we're also teaching, you know, your physical education and PE and your social education and your emotions and pay to be creative and all different things. And because everyone has different abilities, there's going to be different lots of different triggers for kids in school. You know, while one kid might find it really easy to do their maths, and they don't mind at all doing their math test, they might find it really difficult then go out and run around during PE. Whereas another child might, you know, hate doing their math test and find it really difficult and get really worried but then love going out to do their PE. And or like Another example could be, you know, some children love working as a group and they find it really easy to make with their friends, but another child just would much prefer being maybe they feel like they work better on their own. And then that they will be too worried to work in a group because it might stress them out. They can't keep up or they're not as clever or something like that.

Michelle Connolly 8:07

So Áine I think it'll be great to hear your advice as a teacher about what the kids can do to help themselves settle back into school, because you're the one who sees all your pupils on their first days and the first weeks back after a long holiday. So you will have a really great idea about what might help them. So tell us what's the first thing you'd suggest?

Áine Murray 8:25

Well I definitely say go to bed early the night before. It's going to be really strange getting up early again after a long time. So you could even maybe start the week before going back, go to bed early. Then getting back into a routine of waking up at your school time and going to bed what you would usually do during the school year going to bed at that time. And you could even eat your lunch at your school lunch times.

Buster 8:50

Áine that sounds great.

Áine Murray 8:52

Yeah, yeah. help get your body clock back into school time routine.

Buster 8:56

Oh yeah Cuz during the summer Áine with the evenings being bright and warm, tIL late. It's so easy to stay up past my normal bedtime. It definitely takes me ages to get back into going to bed on time and getting up on time. That's one of the hardest things going back to school.

Áine Murray 9:14

Absolutely. And as part of your routine as well. Don't forget to have your clothes and your bag ready the night before. This will just mean less stress in the morning. And one less thing to think about.

Unknown Speaker 9:23

Well, yeah, I'm excited for I know I'll just be so tired for the first few weeks as I started to get my brain I'm like body back into the routine again.

Áine Murray 9:32

Absolutely I think we're all going to be tired, but it would really help to bring a good, healthy energy packed brain food lunch. And September is always hectic and it's always tiring and it's very important to keep your body fuelled. So make sure you have that lunch and that's packed and it's ready for the morning.

Michelle Connolly 9:49

What kind of lunches Do you see the kids bringing in that you go Yes, that's the best kind of lunch for the first couple of weeks with loads of energy packed in. Oh yeah.

Áine Murray 9:58

So a little bit of everything. Make sure you Have a little bit of fruit, if you could have a little bit of veg like some carrots, and then also make sure you're having your grains and your sandwich and maybe with a little bit of cheese or something. So something that has all of the food groups.

Michelle Connolly:


Áine Murray:

And so also, it would be really helpful to make sure you've gone through your book list as well, to make sure you have all your books, and that you have your pencils and your pencil case in your bag as well.


Oh, yeah, I can't wait to get my new pens. Okay.

Michelle Connolly:

That's the best part.


But being organised helps. Yeah, I really do like to feel ready and prepared as it stops me worrying that I forgotten something. And oh, I know what I'm doing. Yeah, like, I know what's going to happen.

Áine Murray:

And some kids as well will get really nervous about who their new teachers going to be. And if they know them, and some people don't know what's gonna be like, and if they like them and things like that. So I would give a little tip and say, maybe have a look on the school website, there might be something about your new teacher there. Maybe there could be a picture of them, or something that they did their class last year, something like that.

Michelle Connolly:

Yeah,, I know, you're right because I think knowing who your teacher is, it's such a big part of getting yourself ready for the new year and the new class, it's, it's who you're gonna be spending most your time with for the next year, you know, so that's actually a great idea. Because, you know, sometimes the big worries can be just the unknowns. So even putting a face to your new teacher could be a great help for, you know, helping you feel relaxed and prepared and knowing what's coming.

Unknown Speaker:

Absolutely. And do remember as well, that every new year is a brand new fresh start with a new teacher and a new classroom. So do remember to just try your best and do your good listening and be kind to the people in your class and just start off the year on the right foot.

Unknown Speaker:

Well, yeah, that sounds great. I'm so excited for my new teacher cuz it was Buddy's teacher last year right, I'm so excited to meet him!


Yeah, he's the best Buster, you're gonna love him!

Michelle Connolly:

And Aine maybe if a kid has been particularly nervous and you know, doesn't know the teacher and maybe can't find anything on the website. You know, maybe they could arrange to meet up with a friend from their class for a playdate the week before going back to school or something.

Unknown Speaker:

I think that's a really good idea. And even together with your friends, you could think of a question to ask your new teacher, and something you'd like to know about them. If there was something that you were particularly worried about do talk to someone at home about it And then you could let your teacher know about that on the first day. Or if you're really nervous to tell your teacher, you could even ask your mom and dad to write a little note for you. Because your teacher does want to know as much as they can about you. And it is really important to talk to them and tell them.


Yeah, that's what I've been doing for Buster. He's asked me loads of questions about his new teacher so he is fully ready.


Yeah, I can't wait because his teacher is a big sports fan. And I love sports.

Michelle Connolly:

So you guys sound like you're sorted don't you! But you know Aine that's a really important message you've just said there about talking to a trusted adult, if you are feeling particularly worried. And that's something we spoke to you before about about your book. You know, the importance of talking to somebody about your worries, it actually takes the power away from your worries.

Unknown Speaker:

Oh, yeah. Like you said before, when we talk at worries walk!

Unknown Speaker:

Yeah exactly. Yeah. When we talk about our worries and our anxiety, we can find the help and the anxiety loses its power. And what's really important is that at the end of the story, we can see the furry creature that represented our anxiety. It passes by, and it leaves once the girl talks to her mom about her feelings. And when she talks about all the anxiety she's been carrying around alone for so many years. Because you know, if we leave it inside our heads, it's going to grow. But when we take it outside of our heads, and we talk to someone about it, then their worries can't grow, they can't hide anymore, and they're out in the open and they do not like that.

Michelle Connolly:

Absolutely. Absolutely.


I am so excited to get back to school and see my friends. I definitely feel more ready now that I've got loads of ideas from you Áine about what I can do at the end of the summer to get ready.... to get set.....and


Go Back To School!!.

Michelle Connolly:

Definitely, listen, thanks so much for talking to us again. It's great to get advice straight from a teacher who will actually have that classroom full of excited and nervous kid sitting in front of her and so you really know how they're feeling and what can help. So I think this will be a great help for kids and parents listening in. And we've put all the links and the information on Aine's book 'The Pain in the Chest' on our website,



Michelle Connolly:

Aine thanks so much again.


Yeah, it's been brilliant chatting to you a gain, I hope you have a great new school term Aine!

Áine Murray:

Thanks guys!


I can't wait to get back to school. Thanks for all your advice as usual.

Áine Murray:

Thanks so much. I hope you guys enjoy going back to school, I cannot wait. Bye.!

ickle Your Funny Bone! Jokes:

Hey guys, it's that time again. It's time to Ticke Your Funny Bone!

Kids Jokes:

Hi, I'm Ben, and I'm 10 This is my joke. A horse walked into a bar, t he bartender says Why the long face!!?

Hi, I'm Lauren. I'm six years old and this is my joke. Why did the cow cross the road? Because he wanted to get to Disneyland to see the Princess Mulan!!

Hi, I'm Kate. And I'm 12 and this is my joke. What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef!

Hi, I'm Amelia. I'm 8 and this is my joke. A man walks into the into the bar...Ouch!!


Oh those jokes were brilliant!


Yeah they were so funny!!

Michelle Connolly:

Okay so that's almost it from us. We hope you enjoyed today's special back to school episode and are listening back on all our other shows in season one. Stay tuned because season two will be coming to your ears very soon.


You'll find all the details on our website www.thekidsareallright.ie as well as loads of info and everything we talk about in our shows.


Oh and follow us on social media for loads of fun stuff and competitions. That's where me and Buddy take over Yeah, just look for The Kids Are All Right podcast.


Oh, and don't forget that All as in


A L L!


Nice one Buster!

Michelle Connolly:

And remember guys, try to be healthy,


be well


and be happy.

Michelle Connolly:

See you next time on The Kids Are All Right podcast.


Hey kids it's time Are you ready?


It's time to Air Guitar in the Car....


Or wherever you are! Let's Rock!!

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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