Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework Principles and Themes

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Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework Principles and Themes

Overview of presentation

  • Purpose
  • To introduce Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework
  • To look in detail at the Framework’s
    • Principles
    • Themes

Aistear, a journey ....

For whom? Why?

  • Aistear
  • is for all children from birth to six years.
  • can be used in the range of settings:
      • childminding settings
      • sessional services
      • full and part-time daycare settings
      • infant classes in primary schools
      • children’s own homes.
  • helps children to grow and develop as confident and competent learners.
  • User Guide
  • Using Aistear alongside Síolta, the Infant Curriculum and the Child Care (Pre-School) Regulations
  • Key Messages from the Research Papers
  • Summarising key points from research which underpin Aistear
  • Principles and Themes – WHAT?
  • Guidelines for Good Practice – HOW?
  • Well-being
  • Identity and Belonging
  • Communicating
  • Exploring and Thinking
  • Partnerships
  • Interactions
  • Play
  • Assessment
  • Aistear - What’s in it?
  • Principles and
  • Themes

Aistear’s 12 principles

  • Early childhood
  • Connections with others
  • Learning and developing
  • Uniqueness
  • Equality and diversity
  • Citizenship
  • Holistic
  • Active
  • Play; hands-on experiences
  • Relevant and meaningful
  • Communication and language
  • Learning environment

Principle: Play and hands-on experiences

  • Much of children’s early learning and development takes place through play and hands-on experiences. Through these, children explore social, physical and imaginary worlds. These experiences help them to manage their feelings, develop as thinkers and language users, develop socially, be creative and imaginative, and lay the foundations for becoming effective communicators and learners.
  • Play is important to me, and it is important for my learning and development. … Watch how I play, and see how you can support me.
  • Give me time and space to play with other children. When I play with them I learn about co-operation, about how to deal with conflict, about how others think and feel, and what different actions and things mean. … You can help me to learn … when we play together.
  • Provide me with objects, toys and equipment that reflect my own and others’ cultures. … Let me experience the different types of play …
  • Involve me in lots of meaningful, hands-on experiences in order to learn, to develop, and to become independent. ...
  • Principle: From the child’s perspective

Aistear’s themes

  • Well-being
  • Identity and Belonging

Aistear’s themes

  • Exploring and Thinking
  • Communicating
  • Presenting children’s learning and development through themes: a) dispositions b) skills c) attitudes and values d) knowledge and understandings
  • Children will
  • be strong psychologically and socially
  • be as healthy and fit as can be
  • be creative and spiritual
  • develop positive outlooks on learning and on life
  • Theme: Well-being

Children will

  • Children will
  • develop strong self-identities and feel respected and affirmed as individuals
  • have a sense of group identity where links with their family and community are acknowledged and extended
  • express their rights and respect the identity, rights and views of others
  • see themselves as capable learners
  • Theme: Identity and Belonging

Children will

  • Children will
  • develop non-verbal communication skills
  • use language with growing confidence and competence
  • make sense of their experiences through language
  • express themselves creatively and imaginatively
  • Theme: Communicating

Children will

  • Children will
  • develop increasingly complex strategies for observing, thinking, exploring, understanding, and
  • problem-solving
  • use symbolic representation
  • learn about and make sense of the world
  • develop a positive image of themselves as learners, and come to see themselves as explorers and thinkers
  • Theme: Exploring and
  • Thinking

Sample learning opportunities

  • Each theme
  • has ideas and suggestions for experiences and activities
  • presents sample learning opportunities for 3 overlapping age groups
  • Babies:
  • birth to 18 months
  • Toddlers:
  • 12 months to 3 years
  • Young children:
  • 2½ to 6 years

Find out more

  • National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)
  • 24 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
  • W: and
  • E:

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