AISTEAR fun in ‘Le Chéile’

The children in Le Chéile and 1st class have enjoyed many AISTEAR themes this year. Take at look a the pictures below to see the fun that was had by all.

THEME 1: The Supermarket

THEME 2: The Hair Salon

This was one of the children’s favourite themes of all. They enjoyed chatting with each other at the salon, choosing hairstyles and colours, making recommendations to their customers and being creative with hairstyles.

THEME 3: Santa’s Grotto

Children dressed up as Santa’s Little Helpers, they baked Christmas cookies, decorated the Christmas tree, posted their Santa letters and enjoyed Christmas dinner.

THEME 4: The Café

This theme was another class favourite. The children enjoyed getting into role as customers and waiters/waitresses. The customers looked at the menu, placed their orders and waited for their yummy food. The waiters/waitresses showed the customers to their seats, took the orders, cooked the food and served each table of customers.

THEME 5: The Doctor’s Surgery

Children got into role as receptionists, doctors, nurses and patients. They also made their own stethoscopes using pipe cleaners and put plasters on wounded teddies.

THEME 6: The Dental Surgery

After the Doctor Surgery theme, the Dentist theme seemed like the perfect follow on. The children used knowledge and experience gained from the previous theme to really make this theme an enjoyable and worthwhile learning experience. The children scrubbed marker from laminated pictures of teeth using tooth paste and toothbrushes. They also scrubbed lego blocks that we pretended were really large teeth. Snippets of conversations overheard included the following:

‘I have to take your tooth out. Don’t be scared!’

‘I will give you an injection. Close your eyes and count to 3.’

‘Next Please! What’s wrong? Do you have a pain?’

Junior Infants AISTEAR and School Tour

The Farm

The children in Junior Infants learned about the theme of the farm during the Month of March. They enjoyed learning about farm animals and their babies, animal homes and farm produce. They helped their teacher, Miss Corcoran, to set up mini farms around the classroom for AISTEAR role play.



Interviewing a local farmer

Local Farmer, Timmy McCarthy kindly visited the class to talk to the junior infants about his job. They asked him lot of interesting questions about farming and animals. He brought in some cattle feed, ear tags, pictures of his farm, silage and a milk bucket for calves. They really enjoyed his visit and we now have a lot of aspiring farmers in our class.


Making homemade butter

The infants were so excited when Miss Corcoran told them that they were going to make butter using methods from long ago. They sequenced the steps involved in making butter in small groups. Then they began the process. First they poured cream into a glass jar and added a dice to help speed up the process. They took turns to shake the cream in the jar until it turned into butter. They rinsed off the buttermilk and added salt for taste. The next method was the old-fashioned paddle churn. Cream was added to the paddle churn and children took turns to turn the handle until the cream turned to butter. This method was quicker and much easier. The buttermilk was rinsed off and salt was added again for taste. The children’s favourite part of the process was tasting their homemade butter on fresh bread. Many agreed that it was the best butter they had ever tasted!


The Vet

Juniors learned about the job of a vet and some vocabulary associated with the vet surgery such as stethoscope, thermometer, medicine, injection etc. A veterinary surgery was set up in our classroom. Children got into role as vets, veterinary nurses, receptionists and local people bringing their animals to the vet. They learned about making an appointment, waiting in the waiting room and buying medicine for their pet’s aftercare.


Interviewing a vet

We were very lucky to get a visit from local vet, Edward Myers and his gorgeous dog, Sandy. The children asked Ed questions about being a vet. He explained to the children how to care for a pet and showed them how he checks Sandy’s heart, ears and teeth. Some children got a turn to use the stethoscope on Sandy and others got to walk her around the room on her lead. All children had great fun petting Sandy and didn’t want her to leave.


The Home

Our final AISTEAR theme of the year was ‘The Home’. Children enjoyed getting into role as mammies, daddies and kids at the home role play area. They were looking after babies, cooking dinner, folding clothes and hoovering and sweeping the house. I hope they are as helpful with chores in their own homes. Children also built mini homes out of magnet shapes and NEXUS connector blocks. They were so proud of their creations.

The children decided that they needed a car for the family of the home to get from place to place. They were so excited to paint the pop up cardboard Volvo car that was donated to the school earlier in the year by the McCarthys.

It is so big now that it has been painted and assembled, that it won’t fit out the door! There goes teacher’s plan of raffling it off!  Children loved getting inside the car and pretending they were driving it during AISTEAR role play. Take a look at the photos to see the fun that was had!



School Tour

Junior Infants went on their school tour to Leahy’s Open Farm on Friday 9th June. They had a fun-filled day incorporating a variety of activities. They saw and fed many animals on the farm, had a spin on the mini-tractors, went down the super scary ‘Big Drop Slide’, climbed to the top of the climbing frame, set up camp in the enchanted forest, made a wish in the leprechaun tunnel and explored both indoor play areas.


Junior Infants learn about the Fire Station

Throughout the month of February, children in Junior Infants learned all about the fire station as part of their ‘Aistear-learning through play’ theme.

During Aistear time, children learned about the fire station at 3 different stations: ‘Role Play Station’, ‘Small World Station’ and ‘Creative Station’. Children got into role as fire fighters and used vocabulary associated with the fire station when playing at the various stations.
They then visited Fermoy Fire Station where they got a guided tour of the station by local fire fighters. The children prepared questions to interview the firefighters about their job. They were shown uniforms and equipment in the station and got the chance to explore both fire trucks. Each child had a turn spraying the hose and got a fire safety pack to take home.
Take a look at some of our Aistear photographs below to see the great fun that the children had learning about the fire station.

Aistear in Junior Infants and Le Chéile

The Supermarket


Junior Infants and Le Chéile began ‘Aistear- learning through play’ in October with the theme of ‘The Supermarket’. This theme was very relevant to the children’s lives and so they could all make real life connections throughout their learning. The children learned a new range of vocabulary throughout the month to help them with Aistear, including; receipt, cheque, cash register, conveyor belt, aisle etc. The children took on the role of customers, shopkeepers, deli workers, butchers, bakers and shop floor assistants at the Role Play Station. They made fridges, freezers, store rooms, tills etc. at the ‘Junk Art’ and ‘Construction’ stations. They also developed their sorting skills by sorting various foods into their correct categories i.e. fruit, vegetables, poultry, grain and dairy.


The children got the chance at the end of this theme to put all that they had learned into practice when we went to the local supermarket. Each child brought €2 and got to choose and buy their own item, completely independently at the till. They absolutely loved this and were very proud of themselves for being so responsible.


You can see some of our AISTEAR photographs below.

The Post Office


Throughout the month of November, the children explored the theme of the ‘Post Office’. They learned about the job of a postal worker and began to understand more about how the postal system works. The children enjoyed writing letters to each other and ‘buying’ stamps for their letters at the Post Office in our role play area. This theme helped the children to develop their writing skills, sorting skills and conversational skills. Children enjoyed taking turns at being the postal worker and delivered letters to Mr. de Róiste and to our secretary, Carmel.

The children were very excited when the local postman popped in for a visit during AISTEAR one morning. They asked him many questions about his job and discovered that he sometimes delivers up to 400 letters a day! They also found out that he needs to get up very early in the morning to start his day and that his job can be very tiring at times. He prefers it in the summer months when the weather is sunny and bright.


Take a look at some of our AISTEAR photographs below to truly understand how much the children enjoyed this theme.

Santa’s Workshop


In December, the children’s excitement for Christmas was heightened when our AISTEAR theme was ‘Santa’s Workshop’. This followed nicely from our theme of ‘The Post Office’ as the children were writing letters to Santa and making lists. They used the class post box to ‘send’ their letters to Santa. During the Aistear stations, the children took on the role of Santa’s elves, making toys in Santa’s Workshop. They also visited Santa’s Grotto where they cooked meals with Mrs. Claus and got to tell Santa their Christmas lists. They helped Santa by sorting toys into the correct sacks for the boys and girls on the nice list.


As you can imagine, this theme really brought Christmas spirit alive in our classrooms.


The Arctic!


Back in January, Junior Infants and Le Chéile learned all about the Arctic during English, geography, science, drama and art lessons.  They also spent the month of January ‘learning through play’ at our AISTEAR stations which were based on the theme – ‘The Arctic Hotel’.


Children from Junior Infants and Le Chéile were very lucky to get a visit from Dona, a native Inuit woman, from Canada. Dona came to visit the children to speak about life as an Inuit long ago and life as an Inuit now. She also answered the children’s questions about the Arctic regions and about Inuit life.

The children impressed her with their questions and knowledge about food, clothing, animals, transport and schooling in the Arctic.

Dona brought in stone sculptures from her native country of a polar bear and an inukshuk and told the children some facts about each of them.

She read the children a modern fairytale inspired by Canadian Inuit legend called ‘Hide and Sneak’. The story touched on some traditional Inuit folklore and values about the Inukshuk and Ijiraqq . The book really engaged the children and captured their imagination.


The children loved learning about the Arctic and enjoyed interviewing Dona to find out even more information. Take a look at our photos below!

The Fire Station


Throughout the month of February, children in Junior Infants and Le Chéile learned all about the fire station as part of their ‘Aistear-learing through play’ theme.

During this  Aistear time, children learned about the fire station at  four different stations: ‘Role Play Station’, ‘Small World Station’, Sand and Water Station’ and ‘Creative Station’. Children got into role as fire fighters and used vocabulary associated with the fire station when playing at the various stations. They really enjoyed this theme, and it didn’t end there!

Junior Infants paid a visit to the Fermoy fire station where they were given a guided tour of the station by the local fire fighters. The children prepared questions in advance to interview the firefighters about their job.

They really enjoyed their trip.


Take a look at some of our Aistear photographs below to see the great fun that the children had learning about the fire station.

The Farm

Our theme for the month of April was ‘The Farm’. Children learned about the job of a farmer during history, geography and science lessons. They also developed their understanding about the farm during our AISTEAR lessons and oral language lessons that took place throughout the month. At the art station, children created farm animal masks. During the small world and role play areas, children got into role as farmers and animals at the farm. Children also began to problem solve to fix things in the farm that were broken and began to build new stables and barns to house new calves etc. that were ‘born’ during the role play session. The children developed a keen interest in this theme and are now very much looking forward to our upcoming school tour where we will be visiting ‘Leahy’s Open Farm’.

Take a look at some of our ‘Farm’ pictures below to see what the children got up to during Aistear.

IMG_3391 IMG_2144 IMG_3065 IMG_3335 IMG_3348 IMG_3357 IMG_3372 IMG_3380 IMG_3383 IMG_3391


The Vet

Our AISTEAR theme for the month of May is ‘The Vet’. This theme followed nicely from last month’s ‘The Farm’ as the children were greatly interested in the animals and looking after them. During AISTEAR the children learned about the role of the Vet and the importance of a Vet for animals. They learned all about the equipment that a Vet uses and loved learning the names for some of these, i.e. Stethoscope, thermometer, syringe etc. The children took on the role of the Vet, the receptionist, the assistant Vet and the clients who brought their pets to the ‘Pet Surgery’. They further developed their vocabulary and sorting skills during ‘small world station’ and ‘sensory station’.

On 11th May 2016, the children received a visit from a local Vet and parent of one of the children, Edward Myers. The children prepared questions in advance of the visit and were excited to find out more about the Vet. Ed very kindly brought his golden retriever ‘Sandy’ with him, which was a great hit with the children. They adored petting Sandy and really enjoyed watching his eyes, ears and heart being checked by the Vet. They developed their knowledge of the Vet by asking their questions and they were given some tips on how to look after their own pets.

See our pictures below to understand why many of the children called this day ‘The Best Day Ever’.


Keep an eye out for our next theme which will begin in June!

Green Fingers in Senior Infants

Our Aistear theme for this month is ‘The Garden Centre’. We have been learning about different plants, naming the various parts of a flower & examining how best to look after them. We also demonstrated that a stem is like a straw by putting daffodils into water & food colouring – this resulted in lovely green, pink & red petals! While our own garden centre in our classroom will not open until later this week, we have been very busy tending to our flowerbed, planting cress & sunflower seeds indoors & we even managed a visit to the garden centre here in Castlelyons. Joe very warmly welcomed our class last Friday. We learned so much about seeds & plants from Eileen & she also gave us a few pointers on how to get started on our plot here in school. Afterwards we were  treated to a great surprise set up by Noreen – cakes, biscuits & 7-up! Yummy!! It was a wonderful visit that we shall remember for a long time to come. Joe very kindly sponsored us seeds & plants for our school garden. Everyone was so obliging & generous we really can’t thank them enough. Míle Buíochas. Now it’s time for us to set up our own garden centre role-play area. Fun times in Senior Infants 🙂


Senior Infants – Space

Since the beginning of January, Senior Infants have been on an adventure through space as part of our ‘Aistear – Learning through Play’ theme. During our assigned Aistear times we have being playing in five different play areas which are all related to this topic. Outside of this time we have also been learning about space, singing space themed songs, writing about space related themes, painting our Solar System, playing lots of language games based on space, designing & constructing rockets & much more. We have really enjoyed this topic, however, as this month comes to a end so too must our adventure in space. Our spaceship will be packed away as next month we will begin to explore a brand new topic – which our teacher has yet to disclose to us!


Introduction to Aistear

image1 (14)

Castlelyons National School has introduced Aistear to the Junior and Senior Infant classes. A post featuring Aistear in action will be published in the next few days, but untill then, here is some information on Aistear.

“Aistear is the curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It provides information for adults to help them plan for and provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences, so that all children can grow and develop as competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others. Aistear describes the types of learning (dispositions, values and attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding) that are important for children in their early years, and offers ideas and suggestions as to how this learning might be nurtured. The Framework also provides guidelines on supporting children’s learning through partnerships with parents, interactions, play, and assessment. In supporting children’s early learning and development” (NCCA, 2009)

Aistear  identifies what and how children should learn, and describes the types of experiences that can support this. There are 12 Principles and 4 themes of Aistear.

The 12 Principles are

Early Childhood: – Uniqueness

-Equality and diversity


Connections with others: – Relationships

– The role of the adult

– Parents and Families

Learning and Developing: – Holistic


– Play, hand-on experience

-Relevant and meaningful

– Communication and language

– Learning environment

Below are charts that breakdown the 4 themes of Aistear. These give a simple explanation for the different themes and the aims of each theme.

image5 image1 (7)  Click to enlarge imageimage4image2 (1)image3 (5)

If you would like to read more about Aistear in more detail then click this link to read a copy of the official Aistear handbook.