Aistear is a curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It describes the types of learning that are important for babies, toddlers and young children. In St. Tiarnach’s, Aistear is implemented in Junior and Senior Infants. Children participate in Aistear daily within the classroom and thoroughly enjoy this time of structured play. Highlights include the small world area, construction site, junk art and role play areas.
Aistear uses four themes to describe what children learn during their early childhood. The themes include, well-being, identity and belonging, communicating as well as exploring and thinking. Each theme has many learning opportunities that are developed and explored within the infant classroom.
During Aistear, children are given the opportunity to play and work alongside their peers and together as a group when completing some tasks and activities. Children particularly enjoy being given roles within their groups and organising themselves within the different play areas. Oral Language is constantly being developed during Aistear as there are so many opportunities for conversation, debate and role play.
Within the classroom, Aistear stations are set up and developed under the current theme being taught, e.g: ‘Transport & Travel’ or ‘Food’. Teacher’s plan and prepare areas relevant to the theme and choose activities suitable to the children within their own specific classroom. Children are given many opportunities to explore these themes through play. Children may pretend to be at the restaurant or driving a bus within the role play area, play ‘Transport Bingo’ together at another station or create an example of their favourite meal using play dough or art materials.
It is clear that Aistear is extremely popular within the classroom. Children often look forward to and ask when it is time to participate in Aistear! Aistear brings enjoyment, develops confidence and allows the children in our classrooms to learn through play in a bright, colourful, welcoming learning environment.