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Aistear is the early childhood curriculum framework for all 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.

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Aistear Framework

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Aistear: The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Aisear (2009) is the curriculum framework for all children in Ireland from birth to six years. It describes the types of learning that are important for children at this stage in their lives.  Aistear is a guide for planning exciting, engaging and fun learning experiences and activities for children in daycare and sessional services, in infant classes in primary schools and in childminding settings. It also offers lots of practical ideas to parents for how they can help their children learn through everyday activities and routines. 


The framework describes children’s learning and development using four themes:

  • Well-being
  • Identity and Belonging
  • Communicating
  • Exploring and Thinking.



What is Síolta?

Síolta is a quality framework for all services working with children 0 – 6 years of age in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) sector in Ireland. Published by the CECDE in 2006, it provides a framework to guide the reflection and enhancement of quality in all ECCE services. It is designed specifically within an Irish context and for use within all ECCE services regardless of curriculum or approach (for example Childminding, Montessori or Play based approaches)

What is Síolta made up of?.

The 12 Principles of Síolta are identical in all 4 manuals as they guide the under pinning values of quality practice regardless of service type. 

Principles of Síolta

  • The Value of Early Childhood
  • Children First
  • Parents
  • Relationships
  • Equality
  • Diversity
  • Environments
  • Welfare
  • Role of the Adult
  • Teamwork
  • Pedagogy
  • Play

The 16 Standards, relate to various aspects of service delivery and are further broken into sub sections called “Components”. While the Standards are the same in all User Manuals, some of the components may vary slightly in order to suit each type of service.


Standards of Síolta

  • Rights of the Child
  • Environments
  • Parents and Families
  • Consultation
  • Interactions
  • Play
  • Curriculum
  • Planning and Evaluation
  • Health and Welfare
  • Organisation
  • Professional Practice
  • Communication
  • Transitions
  • Identity and Belonging
  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Community Involvement

For information on how to implement Síolta in your setting, see DCCC Quality Engagement Initiative



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