Why is preschool education important?
The majority of parents with children under three are often faced with the dilemma of whether or not to enroll their children in preschool. It is often difficult for both the child and parent to let go. Is it the appropriate place for the child? In Ireland preschool is not compulsory. There are a number of advantages to preschool education in Ireland that every parent should know.
Aistear is the Irish curriculum framework for children from birth to six years. An early childhood service that follows the Aistear curriculum will ensure that your child is exposed to meaningful and appropriate learning experiences and opportunities.
Aistear will help your child to grow and develop as a competent and confident learner through relationships, communication, exploration and play. Learning opportunities are planned and organised under the following four themes:
Identity and Belonging
Exploring and Thinking
The theme of Well-being is about providing play and learning experiences that enable your child to be confident, happy and healthy. The theme of Identity and Belonging promotes your child’s sense of who they are so that they feel valued and respected as a unique individual. The Communicating theme involves your child learning to communicate and share his/her experiences, thoughts and ideas with others in a variety of ways. The theme of Exploring and Thinking enables your child to make sense of what he/she sees, feels and experiences in the world by thinking, questioning, experimenting, discussing and through practical hands-on experiences.
By experiencing learning opportunities organised under Aistear’s four learning themes, your child will learn and develop:
Why are Dispositions important?
Through the use of Aistear, the early childhood service will nurture your child’s learning dispositions so that they are ready, willing and able to learn. Positive dispositions such as confidence, curiosity, imagination, concentration, responsibility and independence will be nurtured, developed and strengthened through caring and responsive relationships with adults in the setting. Positive dispositions enable your child to deal with challenges, take risks, set realistic expectations, develop positive relationships with others and can have an impact on their lifelong learning.
Through playing games and interactions with others, your child will develop skills such as turn-taking, sharing, listening, language and communication, problem-solving and negotiating. These are important for building relationships and social skills. Play will also enable your child to practice and refine physical skills, for example, hopping, balancing and manipulating objects and materials.
Early childhood education will enable your child to experience success and develop a positive attitude towards learning and to life by trying out something new, being responsible for themselves, caring for their environment and coping with frustrations and challenges. Developing positive attitudes will help your child to understand, respect and appreciate the similarities and differences between themselves and others.
Play is your child’s way of exploring ideas and investigating how the world works. An engaging play environment both, indoors and outdoors, will provide your child with developmentally appropriate opportunities and resources to extend his/her sense of wonder, discovery and imagination. Your child will learn to express his/her feelings and thoughts through story-telling, music, drama and art. Your child will use books for enjoyment, as a source of information and to develop early reading skills (e.g. predicting the story from the pictures, turning pages, reading from left to right and from top to bottom). Your child will develop an awareness and understanding of numbers, size, shape, pattern and colour through matching, sequencing and sorting activities.