Louisburgh Childcare works under guidance from both Síolta (the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education) and Aistear (the National Early Childhood Curriculum Framework).
The importance of the early years
It is important for parents and others who work and live with children to keep in mind the broad range of kinds of learning that are important in the early years. Children’s experiences during these formative years shape them as learners.
Supporting and nurturing children’s early learning is critical if they are to avail of the tremendous opportunities early childhood can offer in realising their individual potential as learners. Because children are very motivated to engage with others and to communicate, those who care for them can make a difference that will last a lifetime.
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Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, was developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. It was published in 2006, following a three-year developmental process, which involved consultation with more than 50 diverse organisations, representing childcare workers, teachers, parents, policy makers, researchers and other interested parties.
Síolta is designed to define, assess and support the improvement of quality across all aspects of practice in early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings where children aged birth to six years are present.
Síolta is designed to allow early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings to evaluate their level of quality provision and to determine the quality of the service they are providing. Síolta does this by recognising elements of practice that are successful within the setting, as well as identifying aspects in need of attention and improvement. In this way, it acts as a tool to promote continuous quality improvement and planning.
Aistear is the National Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for children from birth to six years. The word Aistear is the Irish word for journey and was chosen because early childhood marks the beginning of children's lifelong learning journeys.
At Louisburgh Childcare we work under Aistear to guide us in planning practical, age-appropriate learning programmes through play for children in our setting.
Aistear's themes describe what children need to learn from birth onwards and outlines learning in four interconnected aspects:
● Skills - including communicating, mark-making, cutting, climbing and problem solving
● Attitudes and values - including respect for themselves and others; care for the environment; and positive attitudes to learning and to life
● Knowledge and understanding - including classifying objects using colour and size and learning that symbols such as letters or numbers have meaning
At Louisburgh Childcare we link our work to Aistear describing children's learning and development using four themes:
1. Well-being - children are confident, happy and healthy
2. Identity and belonging - children are content with who they are, and feel loved and valued in their family and community
3. Communicating - children share their ideas, experiences and feelings in many different ways
4. Exploring and thinking - children make sense of things, places and people around them and build their own ideas about why things are the way they are
Every day the children will experience a consistent routine. This helps children feel secure as they know what is going to happen next. During the daily routine the children use a wide variety of equipment and materials such as sand, water, play dough, art and home corner play. They will play alone, with another child and in small and large groups. To ensure that your children gain maximum benefit from everything that is on offer it is very important for them to arrive at the start of the session. This concept of the Daily Routine is taken from the High Scope Curriculum, in which the Childcare Leaders at Louisburgh Childcare have also been trained. Read more about the Daily Routine at Louisburgh Childcare.
Staff monitor the children’s progress and development by observing them at play and recording their observations. These observations are used as a basis for planning activities for the children. Parents are welcome to speak with staff at any time about their child’s interests, activities and progress. Parents can also look at the written observations about their child at any time.