Aims, values and vision underpinning primary curriculum

Delegates from Belgium (Flanders), Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Ireland attended an expert meeting on 21st and 22nd June 2018 in the offices of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), Dublin, Ireland. Hosted by the NCCA, the thematic focus of the meeting was curriculum change, with emphasis on the aims, values and vision underpinning a primary curriculum.

Day 1 began with an overview of the context for the Expert Meeting. This was followed by presentations from the delegates in which each jurisdiction described its current curriculum change process with reference to the vision for education, the impetus for change, and how the vision is articulated in curriculum or policy documentation. The second session on day 1 looked at the current context for redevelopment of the primary curriculum in Ireland. In a session led by Dr Thomas Walsh, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, day 1 closed with a closer examination of the historical contexts for the current developments in Ireland through the lens of a critical engagement with the Introduction to the Primary School Curriculum (1999).

The opening session on day 2 viewed curriculum through three lenses: a theoretical lens, a political lens, and a values-led lens. In the second session on day 2 delegates engaged in a philosophy circle which afforded them opportunities to look critically (albeit light-heartedly!) at a range of provocative values-related statements about curriculum. In this closing session delegates agreed that engagement with their CIDREE colleagues offered valuable opportunities to clarify issues for their own countries. Especially important in this context was the recognition of the avenues that exist for ongoing contact and support across this European partnership.

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