What is the ECCE scheme?

From September 2018 every child is eligible to free preschool education from the age of two years, 8 months until they begin in primary school.

As the age of eligibility has lowered from 3 years, there will be only one entry point (September).

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age.

Children are entitled to 3 hours per day, 5 days a week of free preschool education for 38 weeks per year.

All children are entitled to 2 full academic years on the ECCE scheme.

Check your child’s ECCE eligibility on the ECCE calculator here

Curriculum and Activities


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Learning

We have 3 fully equipped Montessori classrooms and can accomodate 66 children from 2.5 - 5.5 years old and lots of fun, creative toys and activities to explore.

We link what we do to Aistear and Siolta and we will document everything that your child learns. Each child their own Learning Journal which details their own learning experience and is available for the parents to view.

Our dedicated teachers deliver the DES (Department of Education & Skills) programme in a fun and playful way while supporting your child’s development. We also incorporate the Montessori principles using sensory-based learning tools to teach problem solving and practical live skills to promote independence in the children. The children are encouraged, both as individuals and in groups, t choose what they would like to learn about.


What is Aistear?

The word ‘Aistear’ is the Irish word for journey, and was chosen because early childhood marks the beginning of children’s lifelong learning journeys.

It is the curriculum framework in Ireland for children from birth to six years that was published in 2009.

Aistear uses four themes to outline what children learn during their early childhood. The themes are:

  • Well-being

  • Identity and Belonging

  • Communicating

  • Exploring and Thinking

The Themes describe what children learn. Each Theme has 4 Aims and each Aim has 6 Learning Goals.

You can find out more about the preschool framework by clicking the link below.

https://www.ncca.ie/en/early-childhood/aistear


Principles of Síolta

The principles of Síolta are the core values that guide the way we work in early childhood care and education services. They guide how we organise our services, how we relate to children and families, to each other, the content of what we teach and the way in which it is taught and ensure we delivery a quality early childhood education.

Síolta has 12 principles which have been agreed in consultation with the early childhood sector.

You can also find the full list, with a description of each on the Siolta website, click here


Montessori Program

Montessori education is an approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.

At Ballybrack Killiney Montessori Preschool we are guided by these principles and as such we have mixed age classrooms, generally our students will be between 2.5 and 5.5 years old. During Montessori time, the children have free access to a range of Montessori educational materials and are encouraged to discover these with their own individual approach. 

Under the Montessori method, a range of curriculum areas are covered these are:

Practical Life

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Animal matching, Weaving, whisking & Pairing

Practical Life (everyday living skills) activities are important to teach children to function in their own environment and find their place in their world and culture. This element paves the foundation for all Montessori teaching.

Sensorial

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Arts & Crafts, Colour wheel, Sandy play

The Montessori sensorial curriculum promotes the development and refinement of the five senses. Children learn through their senses and all materials in a Montessori environment provide learning through touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing or hands-on manipulation.

Language

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Circle Time & Stories

The Montessori preschool language program is a complete literacy program for children ages two and half to six years of age. The program begins with story-telling, sound games with objects, and eventually children are introduced to spelling and grammar.

Mathematics

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Counting & Sorting

The Montessori preschool mathematics curriculum is a powerful learning tool for developing a strong foundation in maths. Maria Montessori realized that all children have a "mathematical mind" and that when they are given the opportunity to explore maths in a concrete way, through hands-on materials, abstract maths concepts become easier to comprehend. 

Culture

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Homing pidgeons, Coast guard visit, Posting letters, Fire Brigade & The Gardai

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Visiting our elderly friends for chats and play time

The Montessori culture curriculum is focused mostly on Science, Geography, Music, and Art. The culture curriculum provides a wide array of activities including learning about the continents of the world and their uniquity such as their animals and habitats.

Each year we like to learn about such things as the life cycle of the frog starting with frog-spawn in the classroom and also watch as our class caterpillars metamorphosis into butterflies.

Montessori culture activities include pictures of the places and people of the continents, books and flags of the world. Children learn the names of the continents, oceans and countries of the world. They learn through hands-on materials such as puzzle maps of the world.

This year we stepped outside the classroom to visit people in our Community. We made weekly visits to a local Nursing Home and a trip to the Post Office. We also had visits from people in our Community like the Gardai, the Dublin Fire Brigade and the Coast Guard. We like to include families and have introduced ‘Parent for a Day’ so the Mums and Dads can see what we do each day. One parent brought his homing pidgeons in to visit and another parent (dental hygienist) gave the children lessons on how to look after their teeth well.

Similar  to maths, science can be a challenging subject for children but when introduced during the “absorbent mind” period of learning, children become familiar with concepts of observation, science, hypothesis etc.

Montessori culture activities help to inspire a love of learning and offer children a new perspective of the world.

Play-based

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Milking a cow, Messy play, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, My world, Medical School and Sport’s Day

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Puppet Show, Italian Restaurant, Playing Shop, Fishing with Spiderman, Cars & Construction

Play is a very important part of children’s learning. It allows the child to use their imagination, creativity, social skills and problem solving skills.

Activities that the children can choose include:

  • Roleplay such as home corner, doctors, shop, etc. and dressing up.

  • Small world play such as dolls house, animals, etc

  • Tabletop activities such as pegboards, beads, board games, etc

  • Construction such as blocks, lego, trains, cars, etc

  • Messy play such as paint, playdough, etc

  • Arts & Crafts

Activities that will be included during the week will include:

  • Circle-time with themes led by the children’s interests

  • Music, dancing, drama

  • Story time

  • Meditation

  • P.E., Yoga

 


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