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The children in Junior and Senior infants have been having great fun engaging and learning through Aistear since September. Aistear is a curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It is a play based learning programme that delivers curriculum content in a fun and child centred way based on certain themes. It promotes learning and the development of languages and social skills as well as promoting positive values such as turn taking, respect for others and for property.

Each daily session lasts approximately 30 minutes and the children work in different designated areas (Socio dramatic, Construction, Small world, Sand/Water, Junk art/ Art, Writing and Computers). Each area is planned and set up in advance by the class teacher. The teacher aims to incorporate activities within these areas that connect with the theme whilst also meeting curriculum needs. Children work alongside peers in designated groups working together or as individuals exploring and using the resources available to them at that station. They experience each area once per week.

We have been changing theme very fortnight to link with the themes being explored in English. To date we have covered the themes of ‘Dinner Time’, ‘ The School Office’, ‘The Witches Den’, ‘The Hospital’ and ‘The Café’.  Examples of areas and activities include;

Construction eg Building a hospital/ building tables and chairs for the café

Sensory eg water play, sand tables, playdough

Socio dramatic/ Role Play- an area is set up under each theme for role play eg. The examination room in the hospital. The children take on different roles, acting and communicating using new language learned based on that theme.

Small World-  eg using small toys, mats, doll houses etc to re-enact scenes from a familiar story

Writing- eg writing getting well soon cards

Computers for phonics games eg starfall/phonics bloom

At the end of the fortnight we review each station, chatting about what the children’s liked/did not like and they get to choose a station of choice to play in.

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