This article will discuss what to expect from the release of the Primary Language Curriculum for Infants – 6th Class due in September 2019, and will provide some guidance in how to use and plan with it.

I am currently teaching First Class and have used the 2015 Primary Language Curriculum (PLC) for teaching and planning for the past two years. It seemed very daunting at first, but once I got my head around the terminology in the new curriculum, it became no more challenging than using for the 1999 curriculum.

For those who haven’t used the PLC before, below is a very simple explanation of the terminology that I used to help me transition from the 1999 curriculum in my planning and teaching:

  • Elements are listed instead of Strand Units.
  • Learning Outcomes are listed instead of the Content Objectives of the 1999 curriculum.
  • Progression milestones (which is where you think the children are now) and progression steps (which describe what children’s learning looks like) are included as a tool to help in achieving the learning outcomes.
  • In your planning you will have sections for strands, content & learning experiences, methodologies, assessment, linkage & integration, and differentiation, as was the case with the 1999 curriculum.

The Infants – Second Class part of 2015 Primary Language Curriculum was scheduled for full implementation in schools since the 2017/2018 school year. According to a letter that the DES sent to schools in May 2019, the PLC/CTB for Infants – Sixth Class will be launched in September 2019. The curriculum will be available online and teachers will also be sent a hard copy.

Along with seeing the portion of the curriculum for 3rd – 6th class for the first time, many teachers who have been teaching in Infants – 2nd class, and who have been implementing the curriculum for the past few years, will be surprised to see changes to the Infants – 2nd class part of the curriculum also. Some of the changes that are speculated for the 2019 version of the curriculum are summarised below:

  • The progression continua (the colorful, fold out accordion style part of the curriculum book) will be extended for 3rd – 6th class with the addition of additional progression steps i, j, k. The “early a” step will be amalgamated into the steps. However, the progression continua will no longer part of the actual curriculum, but will become a part of the online support material instead. This will certainly simplify planning for the PLC and give clarity to teachers that it is the learning outcomes, and not the progression continua that are the core part of the curriculum.
  • There will be multiple changes to the learning outcome numbers, labels and descriptions. Some additional ones will be created, and others will be deleted. There are too many changes to list here, and to spot them all you would need to go through the 2015 and 2019 versions line by line and compare them. All of the plans for the PLC on my Mash store have updated to reflect these changes!
  • There will be more of a focus on developing skills in “other languages” alongside developing the skills in the target language of the curriculum and the phrase “other languages” will be added to a few of the learning outcomes. This will represent an acknowledgement of the diversity in Irish classrooms and the importance of the mother tongue of children who speak languages other than English and Irish at home.
  • The aims of the PLC will remain unchanged, save for the addition of one more aim under the “Children’s language learning and development” section. This new aim will state that the PLC aims to support teachers to “enable children to use language imaginatively and creatively and to appreciate its aesthetic aspects”.
  • Finally, the 2015 version of the PLC specified that children would “Write using cursive script” from First Class. In the 2019 version, Cursive script will no longer be obligatory for any class level as children may write “in a chosen script”. Furthermore, “presentation” of texts will now be incorporated into this learning outcome.

All of the Primary Language Curriculum plans on my Mash.ie store have been fully updated to reflect the above changes. I spent many weeks creating these plans which have been purchased and given 5-star reviews by hundreds of teachers so far.

If you are interested in  purchasing these plans, click on the links to take you to my short term planning templates for the PLC suitable for all classes, or my long term plans for the PLC below:

Infants

First and Second Class

Third and Fourth Class

Fifth and Sixth Class

I also sell these plans as a bundle with plans for all of the other subjects at a discounted price for the class levels below. Check out the links below:

Plans for Junior Infants here

Plans for Senior Infants here

Plans for First Class here

Plans for Second Class here

Plans for Third Class here

Plans for Fourth Class here

I hope that the above has been helpful in getting to grips with the changes to PLC. I put a huge amount of research, time and thought into the plans that I have done, and I am confident that you will be satisfied if you purchase one.

Best of luck with the return to school!

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    2 Comments

  1. Hi Simon

    So am I to assume that you no longer need to include progression continua in your short term plans? I recently purchased your long and short term package and find them really easy to follow {thanks a million!!) we recently received a hard copy of the New Curr and I noticed there were no PC included. Everyone on staff was just as confused as I was!

  2. Hello Teaching Arena,

    The NCCA hasn’t produced any updated guidance regarding planning since the 2019 version of the PLC was released, but my understanding of it is that the Progression Continua are now a support material as opposed to a core part of the curriculum and therefore do not need to be included in planning. Personally I have stopped using the PC in my short term planning and write my own learning objectives based on the PLC Learning Outcomes. If I need any more guidance on what a Learning Outcome encompasses, I look at the PC online.
    I hope that helps.

    Kind regards,
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