What is Aistear?

Aistear is a curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It describes the types of learning that are important for children in their early years.
As a curriculum framework, Aistear can work as a guide for primary schools and
teachers in planning practical learning programmes for children in infant classes. In this way, you can use Aistear together with the Infant Curriculum to plan fun and challenging experiences for the children in your classroom.

How can Aistear help infants learn?

There are lots of great examples, exciting ideas and practical suggestions in Aistear to help work with the Infant Curriculum. Many of these have come from infant teachers around the country.

One of the biggest differences between Aistear and the Infant Curriculum
is play. Aistear shows how important play is for young children’s early learning and development and offers lots of ideas for different types of play as well as giving examples of how play is used in the classroom.

Who else is Aistear for?

If your child goes to a crèche, a childminder, a playgroup, a pre-school, or a primary school the practitioner there may also be using Aistear. The Framework has lots of suggestions for how you along with the childminder, the practitioner or teacher might work together to help your child settle into the new surroundings and benefit from all the fun and exciting opportunities that are provided to support his/her learning and development.

What else is in Aistear?

Aistear has four elements:

  • ■  Principles and themes
  • ■  Guidelines for good practice
  • ■  User guide
  • ■  Key messages from the research papers.

    The Principles and themes and the Guidelines for good practice are the most important of these.


    Aistear uses four themes to describe what children learn during their early childhood. The themes are:

  • ■  Well-being
  • ■  Identity and Belonging
  • ■  Communicating
  • ■  Exploring and Thinking.

    Each theme has sample learning opportunities. These are ideas for activities you might like to try out at home to help your baby, toddler or young child learn in a fun way. Many of these ideas can be used outside as well as inside.