Aistear is the crucial time for children from birth to 6 years when they start to make sense of their surroundings. It is the time children start to develop as individuals and improve their physical skills and absorb new information.
How does Montessori link to Aistear? The Montessori method and the Aistear curriculum work well together. Each Montessori learning activity supports most if not all of the aims and goals of Aistear. With the Aistear curriculum framework and the Montessori method combined, children get the best learning experience possible.
Aistear is a curriculum framework for early childhood education from birth to 6 years old. It uses four interconnected themes -, identity and belonging, well-being, exploring and thinking, and communication.
It guides educators to support young children’s needs to prepare them for higher education. Aistear is an Irish word that means “journey.”
Aistear is considered one of the most important foundations of early childhood education that prepares them for primary school. Let us discuss the four main concepts of Aistear and how it links to the Montessori method.
Aistear focuses on developing each child as a unique individual. It focuses on two important elements:
- Psychological Well-Being – this is about children being happy, confident, satisfied, having less or no stress, and mentally sound individuals.
- Physical Well-Being – this is about children being healthy, comfortable, and safe within the learning environment.
Montessori education puts the child’s overall well-being first. It ensures that children are happy, content, confident, and constantly learning in a safe environment.
Montessori offers physical activities daily and teaches children the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Hands-on independent learning experiences boost their confidence to continue learning and do things on their own. Montessori supports the child’s mental, physical, emotional, social, and cognitive developmental needs.
Aistear is about giving young children opportunities to express themselves and share their feelings, experiences, thoughts, and ideas with others. It allows them to develop their communication skills with confidence and competence in a variety of ways for different purposes.
In Montessori, young children are encouraged to speak, express themselves, and follow their interests without the fear of being judged.
Every learning material in the Montessori classroom is picked and designed to support language development including speech, reading writing, comprehension, and foreign language.
Children from birth to 6 years start to make sense of their surroundings. They are curious about how things work and move, place, and people. They start to interact with others, play, investigate, question, formulate, test, and refine ideas.
The Montessori method provides an enabling environment that allows children to explore the Montessori surroundings so they can develop their critical thinking skills.
The Montessori environment lets children explore and think without the pressure of getting high marks. They are having fun while learning and developing.
Aistear is about helping children develop a positive self-image where they feel valued and respected as part of their families and their communities.
Montessori follows the child’s interests and individuality while developing good values and practical life skills. This will help them realize their value and who they are as a person.
The three-year period of Montessori gives young children a sense of belongingness and community. They develop appropriate behaviors and characters that help them make positive connections and relationships. This makes them feel self-assured and confident in their roles in the classroom, family, and community.
Young children are constantly adjusting to new things. Children in Aistear and Montessori need support from their parents. Montessori training and Aistear do not end at school. Positive reinforcement is needed at home and in family life.
Young children do not have full control of their emotions. They are often overwhelmed by their feelings and their surroundings. Talk to them through their emotions especially when they feel angry or scared. Helping them process their emotions will help them express themselves better and develop better relationships with others.
Provide them with a space where they can learn and grow that is safe physically and emotionally. Remove distractions and harmful objects. Let children express themselves freely but respectfully. Provide rules and boundaries where they can discover, explore, and learn.
Make sure your children get the right nutrition and nourishment. Provide healthy meals and snacks, let them hydrate regularly, exercise daily through fun physical activities, and have enough downtime and sleep. Young children’s brains and bodies are developing and growing. Provide all the essentials so you can support their growth.
When you talk to your child, do not raise your voice or talk down to them. Use a gentle tone so they feel safe to express themselves. Speak clearly. If you need to be stern, do so without shouting. Children process information better when they feel safe, not threatened.
For learning activities, games, and play, focus on what they have learned. For example, if you are teaching your kids how to bake cookies, focus on the process, what they learned about the process, and safety, and not on the cookies. This will help them feel proud of learning something new not the reward of the cookies.
Is Aistear beneficial? Yes, it is because it supports key areas of learning for young children. Both Aistear and Montessori look at the child as a unique person and focus on their overall development.
Is Aistear the same as Montessori? No, Aistear is a curriculum framework or a guideline for teaching young children. Montessori on the other hand is a teaching method or approach that uses a child-centered policy. Aistear and Montessori can work hand in hand to develop a more effective teaching program for young children.
The Montessori method and the Aistear curriculum work well together. Each Montessori learning activity supports most if not all of the aims and goals of Aistear. With the Aistear curriculum framework and the Montessori method combined, children get the best learning experience possible.