Cork Early Years Network, an alliance of Early Years Organisations working together and facilitated by Cork City Partnership, held a one day conference on Saturday, 28th September, 2013 at the Gresham Metropole Hotel. The title of the Conference was ‘Aistear into Practice’. The target group was Early Years Practitioners.
The Key note speaker, Arlene Forster, Director of Curriculum and Assessment, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), spoke to a packed house about the development of Aistear, the Early Years Curriculum Framework for children 0-6 years and the subsequent implementation of the framework around the country through the ‘Aistear in Action’ initiative. The title of the talk was .Aistear: Footsteps, voyages and stories.’
Arlene was followed on by Dr. Geraldine French, author of the Barnardos Publication, ‘Early Speech and Language Matters – Enriching the Communication Environment and Language Development in Early Childhood. Geraldine’s presentation focussed on the links between Aistear and Early Speech and Language, Literacy and Numeracy. She ably put across the idea that implementing Aistear and developing speech and language,literacy and numeracy are
inter-related, work together and do not constitute ‘separate pieces of work and also demonstrated the way in which speech and language, literacy and numeracy in the early years are supported through play activities and throughout the early years curriculum. The interrelatedness of emotional well being, social competence and emerging cognitive abilities and language development was also highlighted by Geraldine.
These informative presentations, assisted by visual aids, were then supported further through the provision of three practical workshops:-
- Children as active, capable and competent learners: Supporting Aistear in Action – facilitated by Arlene Forster and Mary Daly (NCCA)
- The indoor and outdoor environment: Supporting Aistear in Action – facilitated by Lucy Connolly, Early Childhood Ireland.
- Documentation: Supporting Aistear in Action – facilitated by Máire Corbett, Early Childhood Ireland.
100 participants took part in the Conference and there was a waiting list of 63 plus, which clearly showed the thirst for further supports and information around Aistear, the Early Years Curriculum Framework.
Feedback from participants was very positive with requests to organise further workshops on the subject.