Aistear is a curriculum framework for children from birth to 6 years.


What is Aistear?

Following consultation with the early childhood sector, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has produced Aistear, a curriculum framework for children from birth to 6 years. This national curriculum framework establishes principles and themes or goals that all early childhood services in Ireland work towards.  

Who is Aistear for?

Aistear is designed to support parents, early childhood practitioners and teachers in planning for and providing enriching, challenging and enjoyable learning opportunities for children. It can be used in different types of settings including children’s homes, childminding, day care, preschool and school settings.


Aistear in Action

Early Childhood Ireland developed an Aistear in Action programme to support practitioners to guide, develop and enrich their curriculum using Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. This programme is now completed. 

The aim of Aistear

The aim of Aistear is to help every child to grow and develop as a competent and confident learner. Ultimately, according to Aistear, early childhood care and education must support a child’s sense of:  

  • Well-being
  • Identity and Belonging
  • Exploring and Thnking
  • Communicating

  These are the 4 main goals of Aistear and it proposes that they are achieved through the contexts of play and supported by caring, learning relationships with adults and peers. In this way it makes very strong links between care and education in the early years and firmly establishes the child’s right to a safe, stimulating, nurturing and play-based environment. The NCCA have published a guide to Aistear on their website.


The Education Journey

Aistear is the Irish word for journey. As the name implies, education is a lifelong journey that can take many different routes. Therefore, the framework does not prescribe any one type of curriculum. Rather it establishes the shared principles and themes which must underpin whatever curriculum practitioners and teachers choose to use.

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