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Language learning enables children to understand the world around them and to communicate effectively with others. Communication takes many forms and is often multimodal. Exposure to a wide variety of texts fosters children’s appreciation for and enjoyment of literature from different cultures.

Language enables children to engage emotionally, socially, cognitively, imaginatively, and aesthetically in relationships and cultural experiences. Providing children with opportunities to be creative through language fosters a sense of enjoyment in their language learning.

The curriculum acknowledges the language learning journeys that all children are on in English and Irish. It also acknowledges and harnesses the diversity of languages, including Irish Sign Language, used in Irish primary and special schools. It supports the introduction of modern foreign languages in stages 3 and 4, incrementally building on children’s existing knowledge and awareness of language and progressing from a language awareness model to a competency model in stage 4.

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Primary Language Development Group

NCCA advises the Minister for Education on curriculum and assessment for early childhood education, for primary and post-primary schools. As part of the broader developments in primary, it is envisaged that a new specification for Language education will be finalised in early 2025.

The Primary Language Development Group will have a key role in this work. The Development Group consists of the nominees from a range of education stakeholders including teacher and management bodies and the Department of Education.

For more information on the development processes of NCCA and members of the development groups, visit Boards and Development Groups.

Meeting notes from the Primary Language Development Group can be accessed below.

As part of Languages Connect: Ireland's Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026 (DES, 2017), the NCCA commissioned a background paper on the possible integration of modern foreign languages in the redeveloped primary curriculum. Read the background paper here.