The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education

Síolta, is 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 support the improvement of quality across all ECCE settings where children aged birth to six years are present (Childminding, Play based services, Montessori approaches or
Infant classes in primary schools).

What is Síolta made up of?
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 and critical of their practice. These core elements of Síolta are set out in detail in each of the Síolta user manuals.

Principles of Síolta

1.      The Value of Early Childhood
2.      Children First
3.      Parents
4.      Relationships
5.      Equality
6.      Diversity
7.      Environments
8.      Welfare
9.      Role of the Adult
10.  Teamwork
11.  Pedagogy
12.  Play

Standards of Síolta

1.      Rights of the Child
2.      Environments
3.      Parents and Families
4.      Consultation
5.      Interactions
6.      Play
7.      Curriculum
8.      Planning and Evaluation
9.      Health and Welfare
10.  Organisation
11.  Professional Practice
12.  Communication
13.  Transitions
14.  Identity and Belonging
15.  Legislation and Regulation
16.  Community Involvement