Aistear & Siolta

Aistear is the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland.  It describes learning and development through four interconnected themes – well-being, identity & belonging, communicating and exploring & thinking.  Aistear’s curriculum focuses on different aspects of pedagogy and describes how the adult can support children’s learning and development across the four themes.
Siolta is the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education.  Siolta offers Principles, Standards, Components of Quality and Signposts for Reflection for childcare providers and aims to support engagement with this National Quality Framework.

Mo’s Montessori 2013
In 2013 we introduced the children to their own ‘Montessori Book’. Every few weeks we sit down with each child, and ask them about their Montessori work. We ask what is their favourite work, which area is it from: Maths, Sensorial, Language etc…  It is an informal chat about how they feel about their work and what they like doing in the school.  We just write down the children’s own words, and they get to draw a picture of the work they have just talked about.

Along with our own observations, this book is helpful for giving us an insight to where the children think they are in terms of their learning, and provides us with the information that can help us to take them forward or enhance what work/ activities they do. It also allows the child to express their opinions and give their input on their learning which helps to develop their language skills and build confidence.

This ‘Montessori Book’ was introduced as part of the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework: Aistear. This guide provides information to help plan for and provide enjoyable and appropriately challenging learning experiences that will allow all children grow and develop as competent and confident learners. Aistear is based on a number of principles of early learning and development, and this Montessori Book covers two key areas.

Active learning
Active learning involves children learning by doing things. They use their senses to explore and work with the objects and materials around them and they interact enthusiastically with the adults and other children that they meet. Through these experiences, children develop the dispositions, skills, knowledge, and understanding, attitudes, and values that will help them to grow as confident and competent learners.

Relevant and meaningful experiences 
Relevant and meaningful experiences make learning more enjoyable and positive for children. On-going assessment of what children do, say and make, and reflection on these experiences helps practitioners to plan more developmentally appropriate and meaningful learning experiences for children. This also enables them to improve their practice. Assessment is about building a picture of children’s individual, strengths, interests, abilities, and needs and using this to support and plan for their future learning and development.

The information we get from the children helps them to see themselves as capable and competent learners, and aids us in showing what is required to support their on-going learning and development