Aistear is the new curriculum framework for all children from birth to six years across the range of early childhood settings in Ireland. It provides information, ideas and suggestions to help you support children’s learning and development in these early years.

Aistear has four elements:

•Principles and Themes describes children’s learning and development
•Guidelines for Good Practice focuses on partnerships with parents, interactions, play and assessment
•User Guide gives practical information about using the Framework
•Key Messages summarises important points from research used in developing Aistear.


The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework celebrates early childhood as a time of being, and of enjoying and learning from experiences as they unfold. This early learning also lays important foundations for later learning. Because early childhood marks the beginning of children’s lifelong learning journeys, this framework is called Aistear, the Irish word for journey.

Aistear is a time of great opportunity for learning and development. In these early years children learn through loving, trusting and respectful relationships, and through discussion, exploration and play. They learn about languages and how and when to use them; they learn to think and to interact with others and the environment. They learn to be creative and adventurous, to develop working theories about their world, and to make decisions about themselves as learners.

Aistear is the curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It provides information for adults to help them plan for and provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences, so that all children can grow and develop as competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others. Aistear describes the types of learning (dispositions, values and attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding) that are important for children in their early years, and offers ideas and suggestions as to how this learning might be nurtured. The Framework also provides guidelines on supporting children’s learning through partnerships with parents, interactions, play, and assessment.

In supporting children’s early learning and development Aistear

– identifies what and how children should learn, and describes the types of experiences that can support this

– makes connections in children’s learning throughout the early childhood years and as they move from one setting to another

– supports parents as their children’s primary educators during early childhood, and promotes effective partnerships between parents and practitioners

– complements and extends existing curriculums and materials

– informs practice across a range of settings, disciplines and professions, and encourages interdisciplinary work.

Purpose of Aistear

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