Síolta & Aistear

  1. Síolta Information for Parents

Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, was developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

It was published in 2006, following a three-year developmental process, which involved consultation with more than 50 diverse organisations, representing childcare workers, teachers, parents,policy makers, researchers and other interested parties. Síolta is designed to define, assess and support the improvement of quality across all aspects of practice in early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings where children aged birth to six years are present.

These settings include:

• Full and Part-time Daycare

• Childminding

• Sessional services

• Infant classes in primary schools

Since December 2008, the Early Years Education Policy Unit, in the Department of Education and Skills, has been responsible for the implementation of Síolta. Early Childhood Care and Education services participating in the Free Preschool Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme are required to “adhere to the principles of Síolta”.


  1. Core Elements of Síolta

Síolta is comprised of three distinct but interrelated elements: Principles, Standards and Components of Quality. The 12 Principles provide the overall vision of the Framework, while the 16 Standards and 75 Components allow for the practical application of this vision across all aspects of ECCE practice. The Components of Quality are further explained by a set of Signposts for Reflection and ‘Think-abouts’ which are intended to support practitioners in early education settings to become aware of and critical of their practice. These core elements of Síolta are set out in detail in each of the Síolta user manuals.

For more information go to www.síolta.ie



  1. Aistear Information for Parents

Parents play a key role in their children’s education. Effective early childhood settings and schools take account of the influence of the home on children’s learning and they build on the experience children bring to the setting or school. Establishing strong links with parents helps make children's education as successful as possible.

The NCCA developed Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009) in partnership with the early childhood sector. Parents played a key role in this.

Aistear states that:

"Parents are the most important people in children's lives. The care and education that children receive from their parents and family, especially during their early months and years, greatly influence their overall development. Extended family and community also have important roles to play". (Principles and themes, p.9)


For more information and lots of useful resources go to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Aistear Toolkit at www.ncca.ie