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Aistear & Eyfs; Similarities And Differences

2552 words - 10 pages

Care and education have become a part of children’s daily lives in Ireland and England outside the home in childcare services. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory curriculum framework for children up to the age of five in England. It was first introduced in 2008 and on the 1st of September 2012 a new revised document was published. Aistear, published in 2009, is Ireland’s first early year’s curriculum framework for children from birth to six years of age. A curriculum framework is a scaffold or support for the development of a curriculum that can be used in childcare settings. A curriculum framework can also be used in partnership with parents when developing a curriculum. This paper will compare and contrast these two curriculum frameworks in relation to philosophy, content, pedagogical practices and expected/targeted outcomes for children. Due to the limits of this paper, it will only be possible to develop an overview of the similarities and differences.
Aistear is the Irish word for journey and is Ireland’s Curriculum framework for early childhood. It received this name as childhood is seen as the beginning of a lifelong learning journey (NCCA, 2009). Aistear recognises that early childhood forms the basis for future success; but emphasises that early childhood is a time of being rather than becoming. This framework allows for an emergent curriculum to emerge that is both challenging and enjoyable so that children can be “competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others” (NCCA, 2009, p.6). The Aistear approach is based upon a set of twelve principles which are divided into the following three groups; “children and their lives in early childhood”, “children’s connections with others” and “how children learn and develop” (NCCA, 2009, p. 7). At the heart of Aistear’s philosophy is that it sees all children as being unique, citizens from diverse backgrounds, and who are capable of learning in many ways through reciprocal relationships and the physical environment.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum framework aims to provide children with the best possible start in life that allows them to reach their full potential (Department for Education, 2012). The EYFS sees childhood as a time of rapid development and this can be supported through good parenting and high quality learning facilities. The EYFS acknowledges childhood as being important, but unlike Aistear, it sees early childhood education as ensuring children’s “school readiness” (Department for Education. 2012, p.2). In other words, childhood may be seen as a time of becoming rather than being. The EYFS approach is based upon the following four overarching principles/themes; “unique child”, “positive relationships”, “enabling environments” and “children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates” (Department for Education, 2012, p. 3). These principles reflect Aistears principle’s in that the EYFS recognises the...

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