Siolta & Aistear

siolta and aistear

To view the Aistear Siolta practice guide please  Click Here


Who is Aistear for?

Aistear is for all children from birth to six years. This means it can be used in a range of settings such as children’s own homes, childminding settings, crèches, nurseries, playgroups, pre-schools, naíonraí, Early Start Units and in infant classes in primary schools.

What is Aistear made up of?

The 2 main parts of Aistear are The Prinicples and Themes and Guidelines for Good Practice. Other elements to Aistear include The User Guide and Key Messages from the Research Papers

The Principles and Themes:

Aistear is based on 12 principles presented in 3 groups which are crucial to and underpin early learning and development. They are:

1: Children and their Lives in Early Childhood   Aistear pic

  • The Child’s Uniqueness
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Children as Citizens

2. Children’s Connections with Others

  • Relationships
  • Parents, family and community
  • The adult’s role

3. How Children Learn and Develop

  • Holistic Learning and Development
  • Active Learning
  • Play and Hands-on experiences
  • Relevant and Meaningful Experiences
  • Communication and Language
  • The Learning Environment

 Download Section:

Aistear Principles and Themes

Guidelines for Good Practice

Aistear User Guide

Aistear Key Messages

For more information on Aistear please click on this link:


 What is Síolta?

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    siolta pic

  • Childminding
  • Sessional services
  • Infant classes in primary schools

Since December 2008, the Early Years PolicyUnit, in the Department of Education and Skills, has been responsible for the implementation of Síolta.

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.

Downloads Section

Full and Part Time User Manuals

Sessional Services User

ManualsChildminding User Manual

Childminding User Manual

For more information on síolta click on this link: