Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, was developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. It was published in 2006, following a three-year developmental process, which involved consultation with more than 50 diverse organisations, representing childcare workers, teachers, parents, policy makers, researchers and other interested parties.
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. These setting include:
- Full and Part-time Daycare
- Sessional Services
- Infant classes in primary schools
Since December 2008, the Early Years Education Policy Unit, in the Department of Education and Skills, has been responsible for the implementation of Siolta. Early Childhood Care and Education services participating in the Free Pre-school Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme are required to “adhere to the principles of Síolta”.
Core Elements of Síolta
Síolta is comprised of three distinct but interrelated elements: Principles, Standards and Components of Quality. The 12 Principles provide the overall vision of the Framework, while the 16 Standards and 75 Components allow for the practical application of this vision across all aspects of ECCE practice. The Components of Quality are further explained by a set of Signposts for Reflection and ‘Think-abouts’ which are intended to support practitioners in early education settings to become aware of the critical of their practice. These core elements of Síolta are set out in detail in each of the Síolta user manuals.
For more information go to www.síolta.ie