Our curriculum is based on the sound principles of Child Development and Early Education, and follows the guidelines set out by Síolta – The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear – The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.

Our Staff here at Ballymore Community Childcare Facility are qualified, certified Childcare Early Years Educators, and possess extensive knowledge of all aspects of Child Development and Early Education. This knowledge enables them to promote and enhance each child’s learning and development, through a range of materials, activities and interactions provided in our Facility.

Ballymore Community Childcare recognises that children learn best by exploration through play. We identify and expand on the children’s emergent interests and develop learning in a fun, interactive and imaginative way. This leads to an emergent curriculum which is a way of planning a curriculum that is based on the children’s interest and passion at a certain point in time.

The learning and development that takes place during play are viewed as the most valuable learning that we can offer the children. We immerse the children in an atmosphere full of possibilities and encourage them to lead us down paths that they are interested in. Children of all ages, with different needs, abilities, ideas and interests are encouraged to learn and explore in a positive, enriching, safe, inviting, inclusive, and stimulating environment with peers, on their own, or with staff. Both the indoor and outdoor environments offer open-ended materials that encourage problem-solving and critical thinking. While children explore, their key worker guides the learning through planned play experiences to help further ideas, skills and concepts.

Children thrive and learn best when their interests are captured. This type of planning is done through careful observation, constant open-ended questions, and the identification of the interests of the children. Emergent curriculum summons a lot of creativity and flexibility on the part of the key workers. There is no knowing where the learning will end up but this openness makes the curriculum more exciting for both staff and children. Once the “emerging” interest has been identified, the key workers brainstorm different ways for the children to study the topic in depth. Both spontaneous and planned play activities are an important part of our curriculum. Our learning Journals document all the children’s learning experiences, with observations and parental/child feedback included to encourage full participation by everyone. Each Key worker actively listens and works in partnership with parents/guardians and the local community in building caring warm trusting relationships with all the children in our care.

Active Learnings

Ballymore Community Childcare believe that in planning our curriculum we must take into
account the children, their individual needs, their parents, health and safety, anti-bias
curriculum and spontaneity and flexibility.

Individual Needs of Children

Children love to play and play is their work. It is through play that they experience life and learn to understand the world and their place in it. Play can be structured or non- structured and in both cases should be an enjoyable experience for the children.

Planned activities should enhance their learning and they should still have the freedom to have fun and enjoy their learning. We are aware that every child has individual needs and therefore we must plan all activities to ensure that all the children in our facility can have the opportunity to take part at whatever level suits them.

Some children may have additional needs and may need to have specific plans so that we can make sure that their particular needs are met.

Involving Children

Because much of the work we do with the children in our facility is in the form of activities, it is important for us to include them in deciding what activities are best.

When we design any areas of interest in the room we question the children about what they like and we also observed their play patterns. Staff knowledge of child development is crucial to helping plan activities, which will suit all the children.

The key here is for us to listen and observe the children and tune in to what appeals to them and suits their stage of development.

Involving Parents

We believe it is very important to actively encourage parents to be involved in our service. Parents have a lot to offer and can provide a lot of information to us about the individual needs of their child. Some parents may be able to volunteer their help, by providing interesting activities/stories for the children e.g. talk about different cultural backgrounds, customs, festivals and food.

Also we feel it is important for parents to be aware of the activities that the children are taking part in so that if they have any concerns they can speak to us. A good relationship with the parents will give the child more security and we feel this is important for both the parent and child as we find that children are much more likely to fulfil their true potential when there is a positive relationship between staff and parents.

Flexibility and Spontaneity

When planning activities it is very important that we allow for the children to use their own imagination. When an activity starts we cannot always predict what the outcome will be, so we have to be ready to respond to the children’s needs.

Not all children will go about the activity the same way or may not enjoy it as much as others do. Therefore our plan is not written in stone but acts as a guide to follow – for example if the children are enjoying a particular activity we allow extra time to extend it.

Health & Safety

While careful planning and preparation of activities are necessary, close supervision is essential at all times. It might sound obvious but children will never be left unattended at any time. A fully stocked first aid kit is easily accessible at all times. Age appropriate activities are important as younger children can put things in their mouths or even eat them.

Some children may have allergies so it is important that your child’s entry record is completed accurately and completely. All toys and materials are washed, rooms are kept tidy and cleaning supplies & equipment stored appropriately.

Anti Bais Curriculum

When planning the curriculum for our facility it is very important that we take time to evaluate the outcomes. The activities should be age appropriate and reflect our diverse society. All the children in our facility should have equal access to all the activities, regardless of language, fluency, racial origin, gender, culture, class or ability.

We need to plan activities by consulting with all the staff, parents, and the children themselves. We can extend the learning by talking about festivals, cultures and other countries. This in turn makes all the children aware that we are not all the same or indeed that we do not all have the same abilities. This will teach them a better understanding of the world we live in. In devising our curriculum here at Ballymore Community Childcare we consider many important factors when planning for the needs of each individual child. The four themes from Aistear –The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework, Well-Being, Communication, Identity & Belonging and Exploring & Thinking are the foundation of our curriculum.

Knowledge & Understanding of the world

Environmental Awareness
Co-operative Play
Interactive Play
Planning the Environment
Awareness of the needs of Animals & Nature


Problem Solving

Physical Development

Fine Motor Skills
Gross Motor Skills
Body Co-ordination
Hand/Eye Co-ordination
Attending to Personal Needs
Developing Strength & Stamina
Spatial Awareness

Language & Literacy

Verbal Negotiation
Verbal Interaction
Expressing Feelings & Thoughts
Irish Language
Awareness of other Languages
Emergent Writing
Emergent Reading
Listening to and Creating Stories
Playing with and Enjoying Words

Creative/Aesthetic Development

Imaginative Play
Co-operative Play
Developing Artistic Skills
Developing Creative Skills
Appreciation of Music, Sound & Rhythm
Developing an awareness of the Beauty of the World

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

Turn Taking
Making Friends
Development of Independence & Confidence
Awareness of the Needs of Others
Coping with Feelings
Having Fun

Attending to Personal Needs

Activities and experiences we provide to meet the learning goals under each theme include:

  • Sand
  • Water
  • Dough
  • Paint
  • Drawing/Colouring
  • Art/Junk Materials
  • Construction Blocks
  • Table Top Toys
  • Floor Toys
  • Books
  • Stories & Rhymes
  • Music & Movement
  • Investigation & Exploration
  • Nature/Interest Area
  • Imaginative Play/Home Corner/Role Play
  • Interaction with other Children/Adults
  • Physical Play – indoor & outdoor
  • Elementary Irish Language Skills
  • Parental/community involvement
  • School Trips