In English-medium schools, the curriculum is designed to enable children to develop communicative competently in an enjoyable way. It also enhances the cultural identity of the child through cultural awareness activities. The emphasis is on a communicative task-based approach, where children have opportunities to use Irish in a range of contexts and for different purposes. Themes and topics are based on children’s interests and needs.
In the Gaeilge curriculum, the four strands of éisteacht, labhairt, léitheoireacht and scríbhneoireacht (listening speaking, reading and writing) are integrated. These strands are further sub-divided into strand-units such as Ag cothú speise (Fostering interest), Ag tuiscint teanga (Understanding language) and Ag úsaid teanga (Using language may be further sub-divided into Cumas agus muinín (Competence and confidence) and Samhlaíocht agus mothúcháin, (Imagination and emotion). The curriculum promotes both language and cultural awareness.
In all classes, the emphasis is on the child being active in using Gaeilge, and in developing the four language skills. The curriculum is child-centred as opposed to language-centred. A number of strategies are used to develop the child’s communicative competence. These include role-play, language games, tasks and problems, drills, drama, video, story and poetry. In the teaching of reading, an emergent literacy approach is promoted, which emphasises the development of the child’s general language ability as a basis for success in reading and writing.