Aistear is the curriculum framework for children up to six years of age in Ireland. It is a discovery based model of learning that can help children grow and develop as confident and competent learners. Aistear is planned and delivered according to themes; Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating and Exploring and Thinking.

Since play is such an important aspect of children’s lives, much of the early years curriculum is based around play and in finding ways to extend and enrich children’s learning and development through play.

Children play for different reasons. Sometimes they are exploring
or learning new things. At other times they are consolidating existing learning or practising a skill.  (Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework) 

In the classroom, the adult provides children with the ‘support, props, time and space’ to develop their play. The adult observes play, talks to children about their play, participates in play yet knows when to stand back and allow children to make their own discoveries. Resources for play are provided for the children and are chosen carefully to reflect the diversity of Irish society including ability, gender, ethnic diversity and family diversity. Resources also meet any specific needs children may have and range in variety to reflect different preferences and learning styles. Play can take place inside or outside; it is flexible and can be adapted to meet the needs of particular children. 

The adult plans carefully for play and provides what is needed to help children gain the most benefit from their play. As part of the process the adult observes children at play, collects information and reflects on that information to assess children’s learning in order to plan for, support and enhance future learning. Throughout the entire process the adult is acknowledging the importance of play to children and facilitating the great potential for learning that play offers. 

Junior Infants have recently been enjoying Aistear in their classroom.