Primary education is founded on the belief that high-quality education enables children to realise their potential as individuals and to live their lives to the fullest capacity appropriate to their particular stage of development. The general aims of primary education are:
- To enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her potential as a unique individual
- To enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute
- To the good of society to prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.
The primary curriculum is learner-centred. It emphasises the importance of literacy, numeracy, and language, while at the same time responding to changing needs in science and technology, social, personal and health education, and citizenship. The curriculum also reflects the educational, cultural, social and economic aspirations and concerns of Irish society.
The curriculum is presented as follows:
(Links are to full curriculum details from CurriculumOnline)
In addition to the subjects above, all students of primary school undertake Physical Education (PE) and Religious Education (RE).
There is no formal programme concerning careers education at Primary Level. Children are often thought to be too young and ‘unformed’ to be introduced to ideas and aspirations about future careers. The curriculum does however introduce many of the topics that might ‘hook’ them into general career areas.
The openness of children to all sorts of stereotypes about careers and personal development makes this time of their life highly influential in terms of the sort of careers they might consider in the future. The media (TV, YouTube, Magazines etc.) plays a big role in shaping the minds of students, and often in a detrimental way (e.g. gender stereotyping).
The importance of this phase in a persons life has been recognised by a number of organisations who want to demonstrate to receptive students the benefits of particular career or skills areas. Examples include