The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education

Infant Classes

Standard 7: Curriculum

Encouraging each child's holistic development and learning requires the implementation of a verifiable, broad-based, documented and flexible curriculum or programme.

Component 7.1 | Component 7.2 | Component 7.3 | Component 7.4 | Component 7.5 | Component 7.6

Component 7.1 - It is evident that the child's learning and development are holistic experiences and processes, that play is central to integrated learning and development and to curriculum/programme implementation.

Signposts for Reflection


What is understood by holistic learning and development in your infant classroom?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Links between developmental domains
  • Learning processes
  • Learning dispositions
  • Learning contexts
  • Integration
  • Relationships
  • Competent learners


In thinking of a child engaged in a particular activity, which aspects of learning and development are being integrated?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Language
  • Socialisation
  • Creativity
  • Visual discrimination
  • Gross/fine motor skills
  • Classification


When teaching one area/strand unit of the curriculum, what possibilities are there for integration of other aspects of learning and development?


What does the curriculum say about play? See 6.1 / 6.3 / 6.7


During the daily routine, what opportunities could you provide for the child to use skills and knowledge in different contexts?

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Component 7.2 - There is a well-referenced curriculum or programme in operation, based on established and verifiable principles of child development.

Component 7.3 - The curriculum/programme is reflected in and implemented through the child's daily routine, spontaneous learning opportunities, structured activities and activities initiated by the child.

Signposts for Reflection


How is the daily routine, including care routines, used to implement the curriculum/programme? See 5.3 See 6.1

Think about (e.g.)

  • Arrival in the morning
  • Settling-in time
  • Play time
  • Meal/snack times
  • Trips and outings
  • Toileting and hygiene routines
  • Transitions See 13.1


What aspects of the curriculum/programme lend themselves to responding to spontaneous learning opportunities which occur during the daily routine, and to the ever-changing nature of the child's activities? See 6.5 / 6.7 See 11.5


How can the curriculum/programme be adapted to support the learning and development of all children, thinking especially of children with special needs? See 14.2 / 14.3


How can spontaneous learning opportunities be used to implement an element of the curriculum/programme?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Curriculum/programme content
  • Themes and topics
  • Extending learning
  • Dimensions of development
  • Observation
  • Language
  • Child's interests
  • 'Meaning making'


Can you give an example of a planned, structured activity you have devised, and the aspects of child development and learning being addressed in this activity? See 1.1 / 1.2

Think about (e.g.)

  • Creative activities
  • Small/large groups
  • Tidy-up time
  • Table-top activities
  • Outdoor play/games


In child-initiated activity, what strategies do you use to incorporate your curriculum goals? See 5.4

Think about (e.g.)

  • Your comments
  • Descriptive/expressive language
  • Questions
  • Participating in play in character

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Component 7.4 - Curriculum/programme implementation is achieved through a variety of adult strategies, close and supportive relationships in the setting and a wide range of experiences which are made available to the child.

Signposts for Reflection


What strategies do you use in implementing the curriculum? See 5.4

Think about (e.g.)

  • Modelling
  • Facilitating
  • Language/body language
  • Enabling
  • Playing
  • Observing and listening
  • Structuring
  • Enabling interactions between children


What teaching approaches and methodologies do you use to implement the curriculum?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Active learning methodologies
  • Collaborative learning opportunities
  • Group and pair work
  • Use of ICT
  • Integrated learning opportunities


How are you pro-active in becoming involved in the child's learning and development through curriculum/programme implementation? See 6.6

Think about (e.g.)

  • Individual attention
  • Emotional presence
  • Interactions
  • Engagement
  • Sharing interests
  • Joint projects


What range of experiences are provided for the child in the course of the daily routine? See 2.5 / 2.6 / 2.7 See 6.3

Think about (e.g.)

  • Outdoor play
  • Activity areas
  • Rhyme, story and song
  • Care of pets
  • Physical activity
  • Creativity
  • Quiet time


What impact does the nature of your relationship with the child have on their learning and development? See 5.4 See 9.6

Think about (e.g.)

  • Caring
  • Responsive
  • Sensitive
  • Supportive


What is the range of relationships within the school which have an impact on the child's learning and development?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Management
  • Staff
  • Parents

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Component 7.5 -The curriculum or programme of activities being implemented is documented and the documentation is available and in use.

See 6.7

Signposts for Reflection


How often do you consult your curriculum documentation?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Plean Scoile
  • Classroom planning
  • Teacher Guidelines in the Primary School Curriculum (1999)
  • DES support documentation (e.g., Looking at our Schools, etc.)
  • Curriculum review processes (e.g., Cuntas Míosúil, etc.)


What kind of documentation do you produce yourself to support curriculum implementation? See 6.7


At what intervals do you document your curriculum planning?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Year plan
  • Season/term plan
  • Monthly/fortnightly/weekly/daily plan

Component 7.6 -Planning for curriculum or programme implementation is based on the child's individual profile, which is established through systematic observation and assessment for learning.

Signposts for Reflection


What are the different elements of your system of child observation and assessment?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Observation
  • Parents
  • Child's self-assessment
  • Participating in play
  • Interactions
  • Listening
  • Informal
  • Consultation with colleagues
  • Reflection
  • Ongoing cycles


How do you record the information gained from your observations and assessment?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Daily observation notebook
  • Observation templates
  • Child's portfolio
  • Photos/tapes/video, etc.
  • Process as opposed to outcome
  • Individual Education Plans (IEPs)


How do you acknowledge and validate cultural experiences and knowledge in the curriculum/programme? See 14.3

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