Early Childhood Curriculum Analysis

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‘Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and

emotional well-being of children and youth’ (Ginsburg, 2013).

The Primary School Curriculum and Aistear which is the Early Childhood Curriculum

Framework both mention how important play is for the child’s learning and

development. Play is so important that it is mentioned and preserved in the United Nations

Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in Article 31 of the UNCRC. Children are

their happiest when they play. Elkind states that, ‘A playful childhood is the most basic right

of childhood.’ (Elkind, 2007) Play is the collective language of childhood. From play in the

infant classroom, children make sense of the world
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Many recent Irish studies of children’s experiences in ECCE show an insight into the child’s views in relation to where play is in their lives. Accounts were documented around the country and mentioned in The Power of Play (IPPA, The Early Childhood Organisation,
2004). Some of the important areas mentioned were : being creative when provided with a wide range of open-ended materials, construction play, re-enacting social, culturally valued activities through role play, active storytelling, transporting and having an adult close to them who can support them and who values play. In Ireland, we have established play as essential to the early childhood curriculum. ‘A way to ensure that education activities are developmentally appropriate and content rich is by developing a curriculum that builds on children's play.’ (Saracho, 2012). Aistear states that pupils in infant classes have a chance to learn through play for around an hour each day. From play, children can develop a sense of belonging and identity. This framework also says that taking part in play is important for the well-being and health of the child. Aistear mentions to us that thinking, exploring
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Play is crucial to every child in an infant classroom. It does not matter if they are a child with

behaviour problems or a child with impairments. A diversity and equity approach to ECCE is

based on the principles of inclusiveness and an appreciation of and respect for the origins of

all (van Keulen, 2004). Over time a child’s play develops. When a child is given the right

type of support by an adult it can help enrich them. Adult support may also be crucial if

children are regularly getting into arguments, if one is a child with physical or sensory

impairments, if the child has speech issues, if they are a child who does not speak English or

Irish as a first language. These are the type of pupils in an infant classroom who may need

extra support from the teacher.

Teachers are there as an extra resource. Help and guidance will be given when the child

needs it. The teacher will also use the playful environment to promote the child’s learning. If

one goes by a play area where infant pupils are learning through play, the children will be

seen playing with various resources such as books, blocks, paints, clothes etc. One can
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