Aistear & EYFS; Similarities and Differences

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Care and education have become a part of children’s daily lives in Ireland and England outside the home in childcare services. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory curriculum framework for children up to the age of five in England. It was first introduced in 2008 and on the 1st of September 2012 a new revised document was published. Aistear, published in 2009, is Ireland’s first early year’s curriculum framework for children from birth to six years of age. A curriculum framework is a scaffold or support for the development of a curriculum that can be used in childcare settings. A curriculum framework can also be used in partnership with parents when developing a curriculum. This paper will compare and contrast these two curriculum frameworks in relation to philosophy, content, pedagogical practices and expected/targeted outcomes for children. Due to the limits of this paper, it will only be possible to develop an overview of the similarities and differences. Aistear is the Irish word for journey and is Ireland’s Curriculum framework for early childhood. It received this name as childhood is seen as the beginning of a lifelong learning journey (NCCA, 2009). Aistear recognises that early childhood forms the basis for future success; but emphasises that early childhood is a time of being rather than becoming. This framework allows for an emergent curriculum to emerge that is both challenging and enjoyable so that children can be “competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others” (NCCA, 2009, p.6). The Aistear approach is based upon a set of twelve principles which are divided into the following three groups; “children and their lives in early childhood”, “children’s connections with others”... ... middle of paper ... ... April, 2014]. Robert-Holmes, G. (2011). It’s the bread and butter of our practice’: experiencing the Early Years Foundation Stage, International Journal, 20(1), pp. 30-42. Stynes, A. (2013). The implementation of Aistear in the infant cycle of formal schooling. (Master in Early Childhood Education and Care) thesis, [online], available: file:///C:/Users/Mark/Documents/psy/Audrey%20Stynes.pdf [accessed 15 March, 2014]. Suggate, S. (2009). School entry age and reading achievement in the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). International Journal of Educational Research, 48(3), pp. 151-161. Sylva, M., Kyriacou, M., Wild, M. and Glenny, G. (2009). (2009). Learning, Playing and Interacting Good practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage. [online], available: [accessed 5 March, 2014].

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