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Educational Methods in the ECCE Sector Ireland

  • Marie Grey
  1. Aistear the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.

Aistear is the national curriculum framework occur place throughout Ireland. It is for early on education from labor and birth-6yrs. There is not one specific programme or curriculum to check out. It was devote place to assist in universities, pre-schools, crèches, and within the home. By working carefully with parents, professors and professionals Aistear offers a safe and gratifying learning experience. Aistear is focused on learning through play. Its four topics are as follows:


This is approximately the overall well-being of the child. Such as literally, psychologically, spiritually, and psychologically. I have used this goal for example of what Well-being is. Aim 3: "Children will be creative and religious. "(Country wide Council for Curriculum and Evaluation (NCCA), 2009).

Identity and Belonging-

Is to learn themselves as a distinctive individual, to belong as part of a group and area of the world. Never to feel overlooked, to feel accepted and equivalent. I found this aim points out Identity and Owed very well. Aim1: "Children will have strong self-identities and can feel well known and affirmed as unique people with their own life experiences. "(NCCA, 2009)

Exploring and Thinking-

Feeling positive to explore, try new things, be interested, use imagination, have a brain of their own, own opinions, views and thoughts. Figure out how to solve problems utilizing their own initiative. This aim shows how this specific theme can be used. Aim 4: "Children will have positive behaviour towards learning and develop dispositions like attention, playfulness, perseverance, assurance, resourcefulness, and risk taking. " (NCCA, 2009)


Being in a position to communicate openly/readily. Language development, tuning in skills. To socialise as part of a group. By taking a glance at the aims you can see how they are being used. Aim 2: "Children will use words" (NCCA, 2009)


The HighScope curriculum originated for day-cares, play categories, nurseries and crèches. It requires a great deal of free play. Learning through play. It's not as set up as others. Children have their own options about the actions they would like to do, individuals have to be sure they follow through on the decisions. Through the use of recyclable materials and labelling racks and areas where everything moves, they figure out how to tidy up when they're finished and gain self-assurance by making their own decisions. Children find out about science, maths, technology, reasoning, terms and the world around them. HighScope offers support for parents and a lot of participation from them. Using methods like plan-do-review, HighScope supplies the children opportunities to plan their activity, carry on with it and get back to review and reveal with the adult. The kid can share what they have, how and just why, if they savored it, or if doing art they show the adult what they made and can feel pleased with their effort. "HighScope teachers organise and label classroom interest areas and stock diverse materials to give children a wide range of experience and help them begin to understand the way the world can be organised. " (Epstein, pg13, 2007)

  1. Aistear and HighScope Aims and Goals.

Aistear vs. HighScope


  • Aistear has four topics- HighScope has fifty eight Key Developmental Signals. (KDIs).
  • They both have learning goals. For example a learning goal from Aistear's Well-being- Purpose 1: Be assured and self-reliant. Example of HighScope's five elements of energetic participatory learning or learning goals- Choice: Children are free to use the materials however they choose when doing plan-do-review.
  • They both arrange for the same overall end result to support the child's holistic development and also the best interest of each child.
  • They both centre their curriculums on learning through play and the environment.


  • Aistear's four topics are: Well-being, Communication, Personality and Belonging, Discovering and Thinking. Here are some of HighScope's (KDIs): Effort, Social Relations, Creative Representation, Motion & Music, Language & Literacy, and Mathematics & Knowledge.
  • HighScope is a more organised curriculum than Aistear.
  • There is much more Goals and goals in HighScope than Aistear.
  • Aistear is an Irish founded curriculum HighScope is an American founded curriculum.

Aistear's themes can be very easily incorporated in to the HighScope curriculum. Through the use of the primary four styles and knowing the aims and learning goals the HighScope method can then be analyzed alongside Aistear. Because of this a fresh or kept up to date curriculum can be conducted. For example when using plan-do-review in HighScope, Aistear's theme of Thinking and Exploring can be used. How I'd do this within an Early Childhood Treatment and Education (ECCE). By enabling the kids go and plan their own activities and use their intuitive to explore the world around them. They would be then using both curriculums jointly. Any or all areas of Aistear's four topics can be used or included into HighScope's method of plan-do-review. Another example would be if the child prepared to do art work. This would cover Aistear's identification and belonging, Thinking and checking out and communication. Why I say communication, the child would be interacting their thoughts through their creativity and personality.

Here are a few of the training goals that Aistear and HighScope use:


  • Children will show good judgement when taking chances. Identity and Owed Children will appreciate the features that make a person special and unique (name, size, mane, side and footprint, gender, birthday)". (ncca. ie 2014). In my opinion both of these curriculums work very well jointly, and support the instructors and experts in their knowledge of why they need to provide these opportunities for children.

"Basic Principles and Goals of the High/Range Approach Communicating Children will establish counting skills, and a growing understanding of this is and use of amounts and mathematical terminology in an enjoyable and meaningful way. Discovering and Thinking Children will gather and use information from different resources utilizing their increasing cognitive, physical and sociable skills. Together with the adult, children will

  • demonstrate growing assurance in having the ability to do things for themselves
  • make decisions and take increasing responsibility for his or her own learning
  • Act on their curiosity, take risks and be open to new ideas and uncertainty". (ncca. ie 2014).

It is in my view very important to aid each individuals learning opportunities and experiences at this early stage in their lives.

"The High/Range program strives to develop in children a wide selection of skills, including the condition solving, interpersonal, and communication skills that are crucial for successful surviving in a speedily changing population. The curriculum induces student initiative by providing children with materials, equipment, and the perfect time to go after activities they choose. At exactly the same time, it provides teachers with a construction for guiding children's 3rd party activities toward sequenced learning goals". (Education. com High Opportunity: A Constructivist Procedure 2009).

3. Theorists views linking with HighScope and Aistear.

Margaret McMillan

Known for her ideas on free-play and outside, she links to the majority of the day to day outdoor activities children experience in an ECCE setting such as checking out the garden, finding different types of bugs and exploring the outdoor environment. Also participating in freely in nature. Which cover Aistear's designs communication, id and belonging, well-being, thinking and exploring. In addition, it covers most of HighScope learning goals of checking out the surroundings and world around them and also risk taking and problem fixing.

"McMillan assumed that children learn by exploring, first-hand experience and active learning. Also they learn through free-play, especially with build and water activities. " Early on learning (2014) she looked after children from 1. 5 years to 7yrs old.

"The very best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky". "Inspirational Posters" Early learning (2014)

Jean Piaget's Cognitive Theory of Play:

Play is within a comfortable environment where learning can occur easily.

Play is different then learning, cognitive development requires both assimilation and adaption, and play is assimilation without accommodation.

Piaget is mainly known because of this four level theory:

Sensory-Motor Stage delivery - 2yrs.

Pre-operational Stage 2yrs-7yrs.

Stage of Concrete Operations 7yrs -11yrs.

Stage of Formal Businesses 11yrs -16yrs.

Both curriculums support the development of this theory in HighScope children have the choice to choose their own learning. Thus giving them independence and free thinking at a age. Through the use of Jean Piaget's theory of Cognitive play each young one will have great benefits in their learning combined with the support and independence HighScope offers and the freedom and support of their individuality and well-being Aistear is providing. Overall the three used collectively would give great support and work well to help the kid holistically within their development. While also providing them with a better understanding of themselves and the entire world. Although Piaget implies in his theory play is not the same as learning I disagree, children learn through play.

Piaget suggests "Children have real understanding only of that which they invent themselves, and every time that we try to educate them something prematurely, we keep them from reinventing it themselves. " ('The Century's Greatest Intellects, ' Time, 1999) Jean Piaget Quotes

Piaget's other theories are: Play and Creativeness, Play and Reason, Piaget implies there are four types of play:

For example symbolic play and doing puzzles which stimulates thinking and checking out and communication that are two of Aistear's topics. For HighScope problem resolving is one of their learning goals so as you will notice in the quote below children use their imaginations to replay something they could have witnessed or experienced, maybe even seen on a T. V show through their play or role play. At this time they may be resolving the discord or situation in a way that they would have liked it to be fixed. Which again is using both curriculums and the ideas of Piaget.

Sensory- Motor or physical, play

  • When the kid repeats an action like swinging their hip and legs/arms just for the fun of it.
  • Symbolic Play
  • Imagination

"It really is primarily affective issues that appear in symbolic play. When there is a picture at lunch time, for example, you can be sure an hour or two afterward it will be recreated with dolls and will be brought to a more pleased solution. If the child has been frightened with a dog, in a symbolic game things will be organized so that pet dogs won't be mean or children can be brave". Jean Piaget quotes (2014)

4. Learning Opportunities and Holistic Development.

In my thoughts and opinions Aistear offers each young one the chance to fulfil their potential as a person studying themselves, where they belong of their family, community and the world. Why by this, by discovering their environment and having fun, safe and fulfilling learning experience in a great, child orientated with support from individuals however, not over powering or handled by people and an agreeable, stimulating environment. They'll learn how to socialise, make decisions, solve problems, and build strong bonds or romantic relationships.

They will also gain holistically in their development by doing fun and age group appropriate, challenging and motivating activities that will support them in their physical, intellectual, dialect, emotional and sociable development. (P. I. L. E. S). Aistear's procedure is the one which allows the child to lead their own activities with support of individuals only when the kid needs or demands it. The parents are typically there to ensure the materials provided are appropriate to aid each child's needs.

Also to provide a warm, safe, hygienic, stimulating and challenging environment for each child to attain their potential and their own natural learning speed. Nothing is forced or a child does not have to have the ability to do a certain thing, they learn at their own tempo. Declaring that the adult is there to observe and ensure the kid is achieving or getting their developmental milestones. When a delay is determined the adult will observe further and suggest but not the child to do different activities to match their learning needs.

HighScope on the other hand give children the opportunity to learn symbols or characters as everything is labelled, children commence to recognise letters or markings and understand these icons are the names of the materials or items. As the HighScope method offers more opportunities for children to learn with natural or natural materials such as within the home area real kettles or pots and items are provided for learning. This offers the children the training opportunity of life skills. Which I feel is beneficial for children especially this day and age as many parents are always working children should try to learn skills such as pouring themselves a drink.

This can be utilized at home as well children may use mathematic skills in the shopping centre with parents or at home packaging the shopping away or the washing keeping track of stockings or pegs. HighScope also recommends parental involvement and although Aistear will require observations HighScope is stricter on observations and record keeping as daily observations are required in some instances. I really do however feel both curriculums offer several different learning aspects, goals and opportunities. Both collectively can work extremely well and cover the child's holistic environment and also support them in other factors of their environment such as culture and social also family and community.

In my view either Aistear or HighScope would gain a child's alternative development if used properly, correctly also to its full potential. Using them mixed would in my own judgment offer more learning opportunities for every child and offer a lot more flexibility and exploration learning opportunities for the children. As Aistear will support HighScope in the areas of the children's overall well-being. HighScope will support Aistear offering the children with more choice and self-reliance which will also support the child's thinking and exploring and their identification and belonging, alongside their all natural development by doing activities and exploration.

As both curriculums connect to each other and are similar in lots of ways most of the learning goals are the same Aistear does indeed however encourage substantially more involvement from parents. HighScope offers tons of opportunities for independence, growth for assurance, self-esteem and decision making. Utilizing the KDI's as rules for learning opportunities as Aistear uses its four styles, aims and learning goals or outcomes. "Both units of KDIs are arranged to correspond to the National Goals for Education in the USA. They equally relate to Aistear, the early childhood curriculum construction in Ireland". 'The High Scope Method of Early Learning'. Geraldine People from france. (2012) (arrow. DIT. ie)

References and Bibliography

National Council for Curriculum and Examination (NCCA). (2009). 'Principles and Topics'. NCCA:

Epstein, Ann S. (2007). 'Basics of Dynamic Learning in Preschool - Getting to know the HighScope Curriculum'. HighScope Press: Michigan, USA.

National Council for Curriculum and Evaluation (NCCA). (2009). 'Ideas and Themes'. NCCA:

Epstein, Ann S. (2007). 'Essentials of Active Learning in Preschool - Getting to know the HighScope Curriculum'. HighScope Press: Michigan, USA.

'Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Platform' cited on:

http://www. ncca. ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Early_Childhood_and_Primary_Education/Early_Childhood_Education/Aistear_Toolkit/Activity_Exploring_Aistear's_learning_goals_. pdf Accessed online [7th of June 2014]

'High Scope: A Constructivist Procedure' Excerpt from Early Childhood Education Today, by G. S. Morrison, 2009 release, p. 149-155. Cited on:

http://www. education. com/reference/article/high-scope-constructivist-approach/

Accessed online [7th of June 2014]

Melanie Klein project (2014) "Play Remedy" [Online], available at:

https://sites. yahoo. com/site/melaniekleinproject/work/play-therapy reached online [17th January 2014]

Early learning HQ (2014) "Inspirational Quotation Poster" [Online], offered by:

http://www. earlylearninghq. org. uk/latest-resources/inspirational-quotation-poster-margaret-mcmillan/ reached [17th January 2014]

About psychology (2014) "Jean Piaget Rates" [Online], available at: http://psychology. about. com/od/early-child-development/a/jean-piaget-quotes. htm accessed [20th January 2014]

'The High Range Method of Early Learning'

Geraldine French (2012)

http://arrow. dit. ie/cgi/viewcontent. cgi?article=1010&context=aaschsslbk

Accessed online [7th of June 2014]

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