The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education

About the Manual

The Síolta user manual has been designed to be as user friendly as possible and is prefaced by clear instructions for use (p.4). The content of the manual includes:

Principles of Quality
The twelve Principles and their accompanying Explanatory Notes are the ultimate benchmark for all quality practice and service provision in early education.

Standards of Quality
The sixteen national Standards cover the areas of practice to be addressed and translate the vision of quality contained in the Principles into the reality of practice.

Components of Quality
These provide quality indicators for all practitioners in implementing Síolta. These Components relate directly to the Standards and act to break them down into more focused and specific parts.

Signposts for Reflection
These act as self-reflection guidelines for practitioners to think about current practice and to identify elements that are positive as well as those in need of attention. They can be used by individual practitioners or by groups/teams that are planning for an entire setting. Where applicable, the Signposts for Reflections have been grouped across three age ranges, namely birth - 18 months, 12 - 36 months and 2í - 6 years. Please note that these Signposts for Reflection and accompanying 'Think about' lists are only provided as examples or prompts. They are not in any way exhaustive and it is expected that each person engaging with Síolta will add their own based on their practice, and in effect, personalise them to their own particular context.

Note on cross-referencing
  • The Standards and Components individually contribute to the achievement of quality. However, it is important to remember that they have been designed to work collectively towards the achievement of quality in all aspects of practice in ECCE settings. As you read through the materials, you will notice symbols that will identify opportunities to consult or cross-reference to another Component, which also has relevance to the Component you are reading.
  • For example, you might be focusing on a Component that relates to Play and because of the importance of interactions in the provision of quality play experiences, you will be prompted to cross reference to a Component on Interactions for additional support and information.
  • The ultimate objective of these materials is to promote a holistic approach to quality provision and practice. Therefore we encourage you to recognise their interrelated nature and make use of this unique feature to conduct a comprehensive review of your practice.

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