Learn what is Aistear and how it promotes early childhood development
Aistear refers to an early childhood curriculum framework for all Irish children from birth to 6 years of age. The curriculum framework applies four interconnected themes that illustrate children’s learning and development. The themes involved are communicating, well-being, identity and belonging, and exploring and thinking.
The curriculum offers critical information for adults to help them in planning and gain enjoyable plus challenging experiences. The main objective of Aistear is to promote children to grow and develop them as confident and competent learners.
In the childhood curriculum framework, Aistear celebrates early childhood as a time of learning from experiences. The framework is underpinned by interconnecting principles presented in different groups.
Each group comprises aims as well as diverse learning goals for all children. The aims and goals highlighted reflect the values, skills, attitudes, understanding, and knowledge essential for children learning and development.
Purpose of early childhood curriculum framework, Aistear
Aistear describes the different types of learning including values, dispositions, skills, attitudes, and knowledge crucial for children in the early stages of life. The framework also offers crucial guidelines to support children’s learning through partnerships with assessment, interactions play, and parents. It helps in:
- Identifying how and what children should learn, and illustrating the types of experiences supporting children’s development
- Makes suitable connections in the learning of children throughout the initial years of childhood and as they progress from one development stage to another
- Extends as well as complements the existing materials and early childhood curriculums
- Acknowledges parents as the primary educators of their children during the early childhood stage, and encourages efficient partnerships between parents and learners
- Updates practice across a diverse range of settings, professions, and regulations, and promotes interdisciplinary work
Principles included in Aistear
Aistear is based on the 12 principles of early childhood learning and development that correspond to three groups:
- Group 1: It focuses on the children as well as their lives in early childhood. Moreover, it concerns the uniqueness of children, equality along with diversity, and considers children as citizens.
- Group 2: It focuses on the connection between children with others. This group concerns the parents, relationships, family, community, and the role of adults.
- Group 3: The third group mainly concerns how children develop and learn different skills. It focuses on active learning, holistic development, relevant and meaningful experiences, communication and language, and hands-on experiences.
Different themes of Aistear
The theme of well-being focuses on the development of a child as a person. It includes two main components namely; psychological well-being and physical well-being. The relationships between children and the interactions they form with their families help in contributing to the sense of well-being. Children need to feel respected and valued in society. Physical well-being enables children to investigate, explore, and develop their knowledge in the social environment.
- Identity and belonging:
From the early stage of life, the child starts developing a sense of who they are. Relationships with family members, adults, and community members play a significant role in building their identities. When a child feels a sense of who they are and get pride in families and community, he/she becomes emotionally strong. Children become capable to deal with difficulties and certain challenges that create a robust foundation for their learning and development.
The theme of communicating mainly concerns how children share their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and views with others. It helps in growing confidence and competence in numerous ways. The child can communicate in several ways including body movements, gestures, listening, thinking, facial expressions, and many more.
- Exploring and Thinking:
Children use their minds and senses to gather information and develop innovative skills. They can learn various ideas and theories from the environment and can interact with adults to gain more information. It helps in enhancing the physical as well as cognitive development of the child.
Is there a variety of games?
There are numerous sorts of play, and children can participate in more than one at any given time. When building a castle or a road, for example, youngsters frequently pretend to be builders (pretend play) (constructive play). Similarly, while studying a piece of fabric, babies might commence peek-a-boo (games with rules) (exploratory play). While children may favor one sort of play over another, they must have a diverse range of experiences to support their learning and development across the four themes of well-being, identity, and belonging, communicating, and exploring and thinking.
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