The New Primary Language Curriculum

The Primary Language Curriculum


The NCCA (National Council for Curriculum & Assessment) has a wide range of resources and support material available for parents on their website


The curriculum used in primary schools is changing. The new Primary Language Curriculum for English and Irish is the first part of this.

The new curriculum for English and Irish is for all children from junior infants to sixth class in all schools - English-medium schools, Gaeltacht schools, Gaelscoileanna and special schools.


Why is there a new curriculum?

The curriculum is changing so that it is up-to-date with the times we live in, with developments in language learning and the introduction of the Free Preschool Years. Since the last curriculum (1999), society and communities have changed greatly, as has your child’s learning environment.

Thanks to research, we now know more about how children learn to speak, read and write and how to help them make progress in ways that are well suited to their learning needs.


How is the new Language Curriculum different from the one introduced in 1999?

The new curriculum is structured to make it easier for teachers to support children learning both English and Irish. As a parent, the biggest difference you’ll see is in how your child will learn the two languages in school. Over the coming years, your child will have lots of opportunities to talk in class, give their opinion and express their thoughts and ideas. Children will also be given the opportunity to explore and offer their opinions on poems, stories and messages written by others. The curriculum highlights the importance of children developing their oral language skills as well as learning to read and write. Your child will be supported in making progress in oral language, reading and writing at a level and pace suited to them.

 The new Language Curriculum supports children with different learning strengths and needs. Your child’s language learning in the infant classes will happen through play and playful interactions with their friends and teacher in the classroom. This will help them to build on their language learning in the preschool years based on Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.


Aims of the curriculum

  • Your child will learn to think about and question what they read and to consider authors’ different perspectives. This will help them to express their own preferences and opinions.
  • Your child will see links between English and Irish and come to understand that what they learn in one helps when learning the other language.
  • Your child may be exposed to languages other than English and Irish as the new Language Curriculum highlights the importance and value of acknowledging and promoting all children’s home languages.
  • Your child will have opportunities to engage with technology in creative and imaginative ways, supporting a positive and responsible attitude towards its use.


Overall, the new Language Curriculum supports teachers in providing language learning experiences that will help each child reach their full potential in English and Irish.

As a parent or guardian, you can encourage your child to talk about things that interest them and to have fun with reading and writing. You can also encourage your child to read different genres, such as stories and poems and to give their thoughts and opinions on them. You might also give them opportunities to take part in different types of writing, for example, creating a shopping list, sending an email to a relative, writing a story or report as part of a library project.


Additional information for parents can be found at primary/resources-for-parents.



Resources for Parents


The NCCA has compiled the following resources to support your children's learning and development in primary school from junior infants to sixth class.


Infant Classes


Helping your child in Junior & Senior Infants:


Primary School Overview:


Helping your young child to read and write:


Support your child to become bilingual:


Learning through development and play:


Helping your young child with maths:


Junior Infants maths tip sheet:


Senior Infants maths tip sheet:


1st & 2nd Class


Helping your child in first and second class:


3rd & 4th Class


Helping your child in third and fourth class:


Your child’s learning document:



5th & 6th Class


Helping your child in fifth and sixth class:


Learning Irish at Home for All Ages:


In school, your child is learning Irish as part of the Primary Language Curriculum/Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile. The four tip sheets below have been developed to help parents support their children as they learn Irish. Each tip sheet describes a range of activities which parents can do with children at home ‘as Gaeilge’. These materials are designed to be fun and engaging for both parents and children. 


Irish All Around Me:


Praise, Praise, Praise!


Speaking & Reading in Irish:


Fun at Home!



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