The processes of life

The processes of life - humans 

In the infant classes and in junior classes children will observe and measure their physical growth and development. Through their study of Materials and aspects of the social, personal and health education (SPHE) programme they will begin to recognise that human beings must have certain types of food for growth and energy.

In the middle classes children will be helped to develop their ideas about the human body, growth, movement and breathing. Activities are presented in which children investigate their breathing rate and relate this to body processes. They can observe their own movements and come to an understanding of the different muscle systems, bones and joints in the human body. The development of children’s ideas about body changes and reproduction should be in accordance with the school’s policy on SPHE.

By the end of sixth class children should have developed a simple understanding of the basic life processes of growth, feeding, breathing, excretion, reproduction, movement, and sensitivity to the environment. They will recognise that in the human body each main life process is linked to a system of body organs.

It is not intended that children in the senior classes will understand cell structure or study the digestive, excretory or respiratory systems in detail. Excessive information should be avoided. There is no requirement for pupils to name the muscles or to be familiar with the scientific names for bones, all of which is more appropriate for work at post-primary level.