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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 Englishand Irish and other languages. 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 as part of the redevelopment of the curriculum, incrementally building on children’s existing knowledge and awareness of languages and cultures 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.

Modern Foreign Languages in the redeveloped Primary School Curriculum

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.


Sign Language in the Mainstream Curriculum

This research report provides information on curriculum provision for sign language in six international jurisdictions. It examines information relating to all sectors - early childhood, primary and post-primary.

The report  examines:

  • the vision underpinning the inclusion of Sign Language in the mainstream curriculum
  • the place and organisation of Sign Language in the curriculum
  • stages of development in Sign Language learning
  • assessment and planning for progression
  • the key enablers and pedagogy supporting Sign Language learning. 

The information from this report will support Irish Sign Language curriculum development in Ireland. It is intended to provide an evidence base, not to put forward ‘best practice’ examples.