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Early Years Quality


Quality care, learning and education in ELC and SAC provides a safe, healthy, exciting, fun environment.  It scaffolds the child’s learning and supports the holistic development of each individual child. The following websites provide further information to support ELC practitioners.

Síolta- The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education


Síolta is designed to define, assess and support the improvement of quality across all aspects of practice in early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings where children aged birth to six years are present. Click on the logo to go directly to the Síolta website.

Aistear- The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Aistear is the early childhood curriculum framework for all children from birth to 6 years in Ireland. The framework uses four interconnected themes to describe children’s learning and development: Wellbeing, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking. Click on the logo to go directly to the Aistear website.

Aistear - Early Childhood Ireland - Inspiring and enabling members to provide quality experiences for young children and their families

Aistear Siolta Practice Guide (ASPG)

The purpose of the Practice Guide is to support practitioners in using Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009) and Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (2006) together to develop the quality of their curriculum and in doing so, to better support children’s learning and development.

The  ASPG  includes a range of resources to help practitioners to critically reflect on their curriculum and to identify what works well. Additionally, the resources can help practitioners to identify priorities for development and to plan actions for positive change. In this way, the Practice Guide can be used for on-going review, development and improvement by individual practitioners, practitioners working together and by practitioners supported by a mentor. Click on the logo to go directly to the website.




The Aistear-Síolta Practice Guide defines a transition as ‘the process of moving from one situation to another and taking time to adjust’. The ASPG highlights that it is important to consider that transitions are a significant milestone in a child’s life and to consider that transitions are a significant milestone for children’s parents/carers also.

All transitions are significant for a child. Transitions can be big or small. They can occur throughout the day (e.g. transitioning from one activity to another, transitioning from indoors to outdoor , transitioning from activity to nap-time, etc) as well as larger transitions such as transitioning from home to ELC, transitioning between rooms, transitioning from pre-school to primary school.

Further information on supporting transitions can be found at Transitions

Transitioning from preschool to Primary school Hints and Tips on Supporting your Child’s transition from Pre school to Primary school



Better Start is a Quality Development initiative of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY)  collaborating with the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and works to establish a cohesive approach to quality across the Early Learning and Care (ELC) sector in Ireland . Better Start is hosted by POBAL on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Galway Childcare Committee Useful links
There are three strands of Better Start:

The Quality Development (Mentoring) Service to enhance quality of practice in early years settings

Further information can be found at https://betterstart.pobal.ie/Pages/Quality-Development-Service.aspx

 Supporting Access and Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in ECCE (AIM)

Further information on AIM can be found at  https://betterstart.pobal.ie/Pages/Access-and-Inclusion-Model.aspx



Coordination, cohesion and consistency of quality supports


TUSLA Early Years Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF) and the QRF E-Learning Programme

The Early Years Inspectorate has developed a Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF), to support registered Early Years Services to comply with the 2016 Regulations.  The QRF aims to support registered providers in achieving compliance with the regulations and enhance the safety and care of children who attend these services.
The QRF is child-centred, with a specific focus on the quality and safety of the care provided directly to children using the services.

Further information on the QRF can be found at https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/early-years-quality-and-regulatory-framework/

TUSLA have also developed a QRF eLearning programme to support compliance with the Childcare Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016.  The aim of this programme is to assist registered providers and staff of early years services to prepare for a TUSLA early years inspection.

Further information of the QRF eLearning programme and access to the modules can be found at https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/early-years-quality-and-regulatory-framework/quality-and-regulatory-framework-elearning-programme/

Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care Settings  

Universal Design is defined in this government publication as ‘the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability’ . These guidelines are an important step in making all Early Learning and Care services accessible to all children.  This publication offers guidance on the refurbishment, renovation and building of centres for Early Learning and Care in Ireland as well as a self- auditing tool for services.

Further information on the UDL for ELC  as well as the self-auditing tool can be found at   https://aim.gov.ie/universal-design-guidelines-for-elc-settings/