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Early Learning

At Kilbarrack Foxfield Community Preschool and Afterschool, children are at the centre of everything we do and every decision we make. If it is not in the best interests of the child, we won’t do it!

PLAY is the essence of our daily routine. Children learn best through play. Interactions, conversations, learning extensions and new discoveries open up worlds of new learning, confidence building and skills development for the children.

We are guided by Aistear, The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework in Ireland. Aistear comprises of 4 main themes. The following are brief descriptions of some key elements under each of the four themes. For more details information, tips, videos and more, visit and select ‘Early Childhood’.

Identity and Belonging:

This is about children developing a positive sense of who they are, and feeling that they are valued and respected as part of a family and community.

• Children are included in the decision making of the classroom environments, the program, the activities and other matters that affect them
• Secure and trusting relationships are built which is the foundation of developing a sense of identity and belonging. This is achieved by interacting with the children in a respectful and equal manner. We do not encourage ‘teacher/child’ dynamics. We are all equal, we all have a say and we all work together
• Giving children messages of respect, love, approval, and encouragement enables them to develop a positive sense of who they are
• Our conversations, program, stories, environments, etc., will be designed without bias so as to promote comfort and confidence in a child’s own background, heritage, gender, opinions and tendencies


This theme encompasses children’s happiness, health and confidence. It has two main elements: psychological wellbeing and physical wellbeing

• Teachers encourage positivity, while also always acknowledging children’s feelings and emotions. Children will learn to recognise, understand and express their emotions in the context of their environment and circumstance.
• Children’s resilience is supported by encouraging children to problem solve, to be resourceful and to face challenges. Teachers will not fix every problem a child encounters, and will not do everything that a child cannot do. Instead, the children will be guided through the process, learning that issues can be overcome and that there is not always only one way to reach a goal.
• Children will also learn to negotiate their environment safely, learn physiologically, and engaging in safe risk, such as using real tools or jumping from trees!


This involves learning how to communicate in variety of ways and for a variety of purposes with confidence. This involves talking, thinking, listening, understanding and eventually reading and writing

• Children will be communicated with in a way that supports their sense of identity, whether it is through spoken word, gestures, facial expressions, words, sentences, visual images or any other that enables the child to communicate comfortably
• Communication is also expressed through art, music, drama, stories, dancing, singing, craft, poetry and games
• Teachers use open ended communication, which supports the children’s thinking and expression. Rather than asking the children questions that are closed (can only be answered with yes/no or other one word answers), the children are encouraged to have two-way conversations, engage in reasoning, debate and questioning
• Children are supported in telling their own stories, making sense of experiences and helping each other with expression.
• By capturing children’s interest and curiosity and challenging them to explore and to share their adventures and discoveries with others, this environment can fuel their thinking, imagination and creativity, thereby enriching communication.

Exploring and Thinking:

This broadly encompasses children interacting with everything in their environment, developing new skills, exploring their world, making sense of everything and developing learning dispositions

• Teachers use children’s interests and the environment design to encourage children’s exploration and discovery of different elements, refining of skills and developing of knowledge
• Children will not be taught through number or letter flashcards, or through rote learning of any kind. Instead, children will have experiences rich in scientific discovery, literacy, numeracy and creativity.
• Children will come to understand concepts such as matching, comparing, ordering, sorting, size, weight, height, length, capacity, and money in an enjoyable and meaningful way
• Children will develop higher order thinking skills, abstract thought, problem solving, resilience, patience, analysing, predicting and negotiating

Important Points About Our Teaching:

• Children may take as little or as much time as they wish with anything, in order to finish a task to their satisfaction. This covers everything from doing up a button to completing an art project
• There will be no colouring in or worksheets. Our artwork is completely child-led. A teacher will not interfere with, change or correct any piece of art, but will help and guide children through skills, if and when required.
• Children may not stay clean. We use messy play, sensory play, mud play, art and craft, water play and lots of others. Clothes and children may get dirty! But each stain shows new learning or a new experience.
• Children will never be forced to take part in anything that they don’t want to take part in. If they only wish to take part in construction, we will use this interest to help the children to reach their learning goals. While the children will be exposed to everything and invited to join in everything, the choice is always theirs.

NB: The Manager would be happy to share further detail or information with you at any time. Feel free to fill in our enquiry form, give us a call, or pop in to see us!