Social, personal and health education provides particular opportunities to foster the personal development, health and well-being of the child and to help him/her to create and maintain supportive relationships and become an active and responsible citizen in society. Through an SPHE programme children can develop a framework of values, attitudes, understanding and skills that will inform their actions and decisions in these areas of their lives both now and in the future

Rationale SPHE aims to foster self-worth and self-confidence and places a particular emphasis on developing a sense of personal responsibility for one’s own behaviour and actions. SPHE promotes self-awareness and understanding by helping children to name and manage their own feelings, to recognise and appreciate individual abilities, and to cope with change of various kinds. They can learn how to manage their own behaviour and to set and review personal goals within a safe and supportive environment. Such intrapersonal development will increase the child’s sense of self-efficacy and help him/her to be more in control of his/her own life.

SPHE in the curriculum

The curriculum is structured in such a way as to treat the social, personal and health dimensions of the child’s life in an integrated manner. It provides for the development of a broad range of values, attitudes, skills and understanding relevant to the child’s health wellbeing, to other people, and to the society in which he/she lives. This foundation will inform the child’s actions, behaviour and decisions in the many situations that he/she may encounter and have to deal with as part of everyday life and living.
The curriculum is delineated at four levels — infant classes, first and second classes, third and fourth classes, and fifth and sixth classes — and is divided into three strands: Myself, Myself and others, and Myself and the wider world. Each of these strands is further subdivided into a number of strand units or topic areas as follows:


  • Self-identity
  • Taking care of my body
  • Growing and changing
  • Safety and protection

Myself and others

  • Myself and my family
  • My friends and other people
  • Relating to others
  • Making decisions

Myself and the wider world

  • Developing citizenship
  • Media education