Aistear is the curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland.

It describes learning and development through the four interconnected themes of Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking.

Four sets of guidelines, focusing on different aspects of pedagogy, describe how the adult can support children’s learning and development across these themes.

The guidelines focus on

  • building partnerships between parents and practitioners
  • learning and developing through interactions
  • learning and developing through play
  • supporting learning and development through assessment.


The guidelines describe good practice and use a number of learning experiences to show what this practice might look like.

While these learning experiences usually focus on a particular age group of children and a particular type of setting, many of them can be adapted to suit other age groups and other settings. Thinking about my practice questions help the adult reflect on what he/she does and says to support children’s learning and development.

There are many connections across the four sets of guidelines.

For example, many of the learning experiences in an individual set can support practice in the other guidelines.