Training / Continuous Professional Development

First 5 Continuous Professional Development

First 5 is a whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and get a great start in life.

To view First 5 Continuous Professional Development, click on the link below:


Síolta & Aistear

There are two national quality frameworks for early year childcare services. The Siolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education compiled by CECDE – Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (2006). This was followed by Aistear the Early Years Curriculum Framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland in 2009 (NCCA, 2009).

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 Pre-School Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme are required to “adhere to the principles of Síolta”.

Core Elements of Síolta

Síolta is comprised of three distinct but inter-related 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 are intended to support practitioners of early education settings to become aware of and to offer opportunities for reflective practice.

These core elements of Síolta are set out in detail in each of the Síolta user manuals. For more information click here

Core Elements of Aistear

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

Highlighting the fact that children learn many different things at the same time, the Framework uses four interconnected themes to describe the content of children’s learning and development:-

Aistear through the four themes, Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Exploring and Thinking and Communicating, seeks to create competent and confident learners.

Aistear highlights the critical role of play, relationships and language for young children’s learning. In doing this, it provides a guide to using play, interactions, and partnerships with parents and assessment to help children progress in their learning and development. The Framework has both implicit and explicit links with the Primary School Curriculum.

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

Aistear/Síolta Practice Guide

The purpose of the Practice Guide is to support Early Years practitioners in using Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009a) and Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (2006) together to develop the quality of their curriculum and in doing so, to better support children’s learning and development. The Aistear Síolta Practice Guide is an online resource, for more information click here: