We use the ‘Emergent Play-Based’ Curriculum. Briefly, this means that we plan and, with a high level of staff input, facilitate age-appropriate learning activities which arise out of each child’s interests, actions or serendipitous events. Play-based is self-explanatory in that we provide a wide range of opportunities for the children to learn through play, i.e. exploratory, creative, pretend, fantasy, socio-dramatic, constructive, physical, communication / language and word play.
The children are supported in developing their potential at their own pace and our ‘Key Person system’ enables us to ensure our planned curriculum is constantly tailored to the needs of each individual child. Our curriculum then leads to nationally approved learning outcomes, preparing the children to progress with confidence, and to continue working towards early learning goals in national school.
Our curriculum helps children grow and develop as confident and competent learners through fun, interesting and challenging activities and experiences.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Within our nurturing environment, children are individually supported in developing their confidence, self-awareness and self-respect. They are encouraged to work and concentrate independently but also to take part in group sessions. This involves sharing, co-operating and forging positive relationships with other children and adults.
Through activities, conversation and practical examples they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others.
A Holistic Approach
The learning experience we offer is holistic and supports cognitive, language, social, emotional and physical (fine and gross motor skills) development. Our curriculum may appear simple but, in fact, there is a reason for every piece of equipment and every activity we present. For instance, some equipment and activities support numeracy and others literacy.
Numeracy is not simply being able to recite numbers in order. It lays the groundwork for mathematical concepts which children will build upon when they reach primary school.
A major part of literacy is understanding and appreciating stories and books. However, young children should not be underestimated as they recognise patterns and make associations. Reciting the alphabet is not literacy but a part of the process. Making connections between the patterns that words form and the objects and stories they represent lays the foundations for reading.
Well-Being and Independence
Research has proven that children learn better when they feel a sense of well-being and when they are genuinely interested in a topic. It is therefore extremely important to us that each child feels welcome, valued and that their interests are included in our curriculum.
We aim to build each child’s independence, sense of self-worth, confidence and love of learning. With these skills they have solid foundations for their future education.
Communication and Language
Children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary and fluency by listening and talking, and by hearing and responding to stories, songs and rhymes. They are given opportunities to follow instructions and motivated to answer “how” and “why” questions about their experiences.
We rotate a well-stocked book corner which gives every child the opportunity to become familiar with the proper use and care of books. Our children are helped to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purpose of writing and, when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves.
Expressive Arts and Design
Each child is encouraged to use a wide range of our resources in order to fully express their imagination and to communicate their own ideas and feelings. Art equipment, including paint, glue, chalks, crayons, pencils as well as natural resources, allows for the exploration of colour, shape and texture. Further, it promotes the development of skills in painting, drawing and the application of colour. Our children enjoy daily sessions of music, dance, puppetry, songs, poems and stories. There are opportunities for imaginative role play throughout the pre-school, both individually and as part of a group.
Through adult-supported, practical experience, our children become familiar with the sorting, matching, ordering, sequences and counting activities which form the basis for early mathematics. Using their developing mathematical understanding to solve practical problems, children are helped to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics to identify objects by shape, position, size, volume and number. Songs, games and picture books help children become aware of number sequences and simple mathematical operations.
The Irish early childhood curriculum framework is called ‘Aistear’. It is a guide for educators to plan exciting, engaging and fun learning experiences and activities for children from birth to six years
We provide a range of equipment and opportunities both indoors, and outdoors, allowing our children to develop confidence and enjoy actively using and developing their own bodily skills.
Outside play is an important part of our planned curriculum and a high level of adult supervision enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges. This increases their physical skills and control in moving, climbing and balancing.