What is Aistear?

Aistear is a curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. Aistear is the Irish word for “journey”as this is the beginning of your child’s journey into life-long learning. During Aistear the students implement what they have learned in literacy, maths and other areas and apply them to games, activities and role plays of real-life situations (e.g. the post office/ the restaurant). Aistear is a vital teaching methodology that we use in South Lee to implement and teach the NCCA primary curriculum in the Infant classrooms.

Aistear focuses on four main themes which are spread throughout all of the content. These themes are;

  • Well-being
  • Identity and belonging
  • Communicating
  • Exploring and Thinking

What are the benefits of doing Aistear?

Language – oral discussing in groups, planning their game / play and reflecting on their experience.

Reading and writing– students often choose to make signs, posters, lists, recipes, menus etc as part of the drama / game.

Social skills – they are working in mixed gender groups and they will become aware of different types of play and become more comfortable with their peers when they are playing with them. They cooperate and collaborate with others to extend their play.

Confidence – Performing for their small group leads to student wanting to perform for the whole class and then usually the whole school in assembly.

Love of learning – In Aistear we provide a safe and secure platform to explore the world around them. Students want to know more and explore more.

How we Implement Aistear

Aistear is the the most popular time in the day for the children in the infant classrooms. Each month, the teachers focus on a different theme and set up a number of stations each day that allow the children to explore this theme whilst also building on the skills and knowledge mentioned above. The stations we use include:

  1. The Role Play Area- using assigned roles, costumes, props and dramatic backgrounds the children gain insight into various worlds, professions and life experiences
  2. The Small World Area-with various small world figures, props and themed backgrounds
  3. Literacy Station- with various authentic writing tasks for example creating menus, writing shopping lists, packing lists etc.
  4. Numeracy Games-with various thematically linked games and activities
  5. The Creative Station- with various construction and drawing activities as well as playdough tasks
  6. The Construction Area- with various types of construction materials including lego, large wooden blocks, Duplo, Stickle Bricks and Magnetic tiles to create various constructions
  7. Sand Play- sensory play tool to explore different topics
  8. Water Play- sensory play tool to teach topics such as floating, sinking and capacity
  9. Table Top Activities- including themed jigsaws, puzzles and fine motor skills