There are three Progression Continua in the Primary Language Curriculum, one for each strand: oral language, reading and writing. The Progression Continua describe, in broad terms, a child’s journey in his/her language learning and development. Each child’s journey, from junior infants to second class, can be located in one of the eight Progression Milestones—important points of achievement which are further described in Progression Steps. Examples of children’s language learning and development in the Primary Language Toolkit show teachers what these Progression Milestones look like.
The Progression Continua reflect the reality that children come to school with different language experiences, are at different places in their language-learning journey, and develop at different rates, especially children with special educational needs and children in the early years of primary school. For the majority of children, their language will have been further developed through their experiences in the Free Pre-school Year. Some children beginning junior infants and having experienced pre-school education guided by Aistear, may be at Progression Milestone d in oral language while other children with a similar experience may be at Milestone b. In addition, children may be working at one Progression Milestone in oral language and at an earlier Progression Milestone in writing or reading at the same time. They will also be working at different Progression Milestones in their L1 and L2. In the case of each language and using the Progression Continua, teachers can identify the Progression Milestone for the majority of children in the class, and for children at an earlier or later point in their learning and development. The Progression Continua support teachers in using their own judgement and experience to identify where children are in their language-learning journey in L1 and in L2 and to plan appropriate learning experiences which support all children to progress in both languages.