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Early childhood is a time of great opportunity for learning and development. In these early years children learn through loving, trusting and respectful relationships, and through discussion, exploration and play. They learn about languages and how and when to use them; they learn to think and to interact with others and the environment. They learn to be creative and adventurous, to develop working theories about their waistearorld, and to make decisions about themselves as learners.

Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework celebrates early childhood as a time of being, and of enjoying and learning from experiences as they unfold. This early learning also lays important foundations for later learning. Because early childhood marks the beginning of children’s lifelong learning journeys, this framework is called Aistear, the Irish word for journey.

Purpose of Aistear:

Aistear is the curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It provides information for adults to help them plan for and provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences, so that all children can grow and develop as competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others. Aistear describes the types of learning (dispositions, values and attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding) that are important for children in their early years, and offers ideas and suggestions at as to how this learning might be nurtured. The Framework also provides guidelines on supporting children’s learning through partnerships with parents, interactions, play, and assessment.
In supporting children’s early learning and development Aistear:

  • identifies what and how children should learn, and describes the types of experiences that can support this
  • makes connections in children’s learning throughout the early childhood years and as they move from one setting to another
  • supports parents as their children’s primary educators during early childhood, and promotes effective partnerships between parents and practitioners
  • complements and extends existing curriculums and materials
  • informs practice across a range of settings, disciplines and professions, and encourages interdisciplinary work

For more information visit the NCCA website: