Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

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					Aistear: the Early Childhood
  Curriculum Framework
Similarities and differences with the
          Infant Level in the
     Primary School Curriculum
                  Overview of session
Purpose
•   To identify priorities for children’s learning at the infant level in primary
    school
•   To compare these priorities with those in Aistear
•   To highlight the key similarities and differences between Aistear and the
    Infant Curriculum




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     Activity: Priorities at infant level
Priorities in the Infant Curriculum

1. Discuss as a small group what you consider to be the priorities for
   children’s learning at the infant level in primary school:
    ‒   What should children be able to do and know at the end of senior infants?

2. Agree 5 priorities across the curriculum.
3. Share these priorities with the larger group.
4. Agree on one set of priorities across the larger group.




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           Activity: Aistear’s themes
Aistear’s themes – priorities for children’s learning

1. The table sets out the four aims from each of Aistear’s themes. As a group,
    assign each aim to what you consider is the relevant theme.
    (Well-being = WB; Identity and Belonging = IB; Communicating = C;
    Exploring and Thinking = ET)

2. Share the outcomes with the larger group.
3. Comment on how Aistear’s priorities compare with those of the Infant
    Curriculum.




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    A framework and a curriculum …
•   A curriculum framework is … a scaffold or support
    which helps adults to develop a curriculum for the
    children in their setting.



•   A curriculum is … [the set of] all the experiences, formal
    and informal, planned and unplanned in the indoor and
    outdoor environment, which contribute to children’s
    learning and development.
    (Principles and themes, 2009, p.54)



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Theme: Well-being

Children will
 be strong psychologically and
  socially
 be as healthy and fit as can be
 be creative and spiritual
 develop positive outlooks on
  learning and on life




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Theme: Identity and Belonging

Children will
• develop strong self-identities and feel
  respected and affirmed as individuals
• have a sense of group identity where
  links with their family and community
  are acknowledged and extended
• express their rights and respect the
  identity, rights and views of others
• see themselves as capable learners




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Theme: Communicating
Children will
• develop non-verbal communication
  skills
• use language with growing confidence
  and competence
• make sense of their experiences
  through language
• express themselves creatively and
  imaginatively



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Theme: Exploring and Thinking
Children will
• develop increasingly complex strategies
  for observing, thinking, exploring,
  understanding, and
 problem-solving
• use symbolic representation
• learn about and make sense of the world
• develop a positive image of themselves as
  learners, and come to see themselves as
  explorers and thinkers




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Similarities
and differences
      Aistear and the Infant Curriculum
Synergy between the two ...

• Aistear builds on, extends and enriches the Infant Curriculum
• Share many principles of learning and development
• Prioritise the child’s uniqueness

Similarities alongside differences ...

   HOW children are viewed as learners, and HOW learning happens and can be
                        supported in early childhood ...

• Principles concerning citizenship, play, adult’s role


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                 The main differences
Aistear
• presents learning and development through connected themes
• highlights the ‘equal’ importance of the four themes
• nurtures dispositions – how children approach learning
• describes a learning and development ‘destination’ for children - focuses on
   outcomes
• espouses ‘play’ as a teaching and learning methodology
• has no suggested timetable – highlights the integrated nature of children’s
   learning
• promotes a sharing of ‘power’ between children and the adult
• highlights professional autonomy for practitioners

(See Audit of Aistear and the Primary School Curriculum, NCCA, 2008)

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         And so, the big questions ...

1. To what extent does/can the Infant Curriculum support junior and senior
infant children in developing the dispositions, skills, values and attitudes,
and building the knowledge and understanding that Aistear highlights as
being critical in the twenty-first century?

2. What are the implications of Aistear for review and revision of the Infant
Curriculum as part of the Primary School Curriculum?




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   Some starting points for teachers
• Support for teachers in
     using different types of play to support children’s learning across the
      curriculum
     broadening the range of strategies for interacting with children to
      extend their learning
     building a bank of assessment methods, and using assessment to
      progress learning (AfL)
     involving parents to a greater extent in their children’s learning




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   Medium to long-term implications
A. Responding to the challenge of a lack of time (2005, 2008)
 Review of literature on curriculum overload
 Work with schools to represent the curriculum
 Committee discussions and curriculum
  conversations
 Mapping work to curriculum
  developments at Junior Cycle

B. Reviewing the Infant Curriculum
  Working with teachers and children
    in infant classrooms
  Finding out what Aistear means for the
    Infant Curriculum
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               Find out more
National Council for Curriculum and
Assessment (NCCA)
24 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

W: www.ncca.ie/earlylearning and
www.ncca.ie/aisteartoolkit

				
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posted:2/12/2012
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