All of the 2012 Innovation Awards winners were put forward for the Overall Innovation Award, presented by Mary Doyle (Director General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs) at the 2012 Early Childhood Ireland Gala Awards evening. The winner of this overall award was Little Friends Playgroup.
The full list of Innovation Award winners is as follows:
(Please note that Innovation Award submissions are restricted for member-only access. If you are an Early Childhood Ireland Member and are unsure of how to login please follow the steps on the instruction page)
Joan Mc Cormack
Little Friends Playgroup won the Innovation in Community Involvement award for the innovative approach they took in establishing links with the wider community and making it meaningful for the children. Following some children’s interest in ice cream, delivery vans, postman pat, doctors, and dentists they carried out a variety of projects where these elements were explored. Within the setting they children made trips to the local store as they researched about ice cream, they posted letters to themselves to meet the local postman, they ordered fruit online from their local supermarket so they could check out the delivery van. The connections continue and each of the stories is documented by the children. This very simple, effective and innovative approach makes real connections for children to their local community.
Thamzen Byrne and Rachel Oglesby
Appleseed’s Pre-school & Afterschool have won an award for their innovative approach in Enterprise. Recognising the positive impact that all stakeholders can have on the child Appleseed tapped into this important resource at the planning stage of the setting. Parents, primary school teachers, diversity and inclusion agencies and activity providers were consulted and their views considered at the initial planning stage of the service. Innovate methods were also used to consult with children of a wide age group regarding curriculum and equipment for both the pre-school and afterschool settings. This ensured that children not only had an opportunity to contribute ideas about the setting but also that these ideas were acted upon supporting true participation.
Ulla Beag pre-school and Afterschool have won the award for Innovation in Environmental Awareness for introducing a green programme in their setting. Staff, parents and children all collaborated in recycling a wide variety of materials, some of which benefited their gardening and art activities. This was combined with composting and waste management programmes to reduce their total annual waste by 6,240 litres. Berries, vegetable and herbs, which the children planted and nurtured in the out-door space and by free-range eggs from their own hens, not only enhanced their diet but also promoted environmentally friendly skills for life.
Helen Enright and Julie Finucane
Wishing Tree Preschool has received the Innovation in Creative Expression award. Combining rhythm, music, movement and art the children were supported to explore and represent sounds through movements. Meeting musicians, handling and playing real instruments supported high levels of well-being and self –confidence. Using the grass area as their outdoor canvas the children unleashed their creative energy by freely representing a variety of sounds and tempos through movement and paint – a wonderful empowering experience.
Bright Horizons have won this award for their innovative approach to supporting and promoting literacy. They implement a “Growing Readers” initiative which takes a multi-faceted approach to promoting language and literacy. They produced a publication highlighting the importance of growing readers, followed up by a quarterly newsletter in which they identify and review new children’s publications. In their project “Growing Readers” they describe how they set up lending libraries and story sacks that services and families could share. Storytelling events were arranged, with some services setting up library rooms where parents and children could visit. They consulted with booksellers Hughes and Hughes to offer favourable discounts to their parents. Family book swaps were arranged in some services . The children engaged in projects based on their favourite stories and books.
Creative Days have won this award for the Innovative approach they took in developing their outdoor space to create more opportunities to support language and literacy outdoors. Both children and adults planned and worked together to create spaces such as a storytelling circle complete with storytelling throne and outdoor story prop boxes. Literacy was supported by providing additional opportunities for writing and mark making outdoors in sand, on blackboards, with sticks , and mobile clipboards. The children have the choice to play indoors or outdoors as the seamless provision ensures the curriculum is implemented both outdoors and indoors.
Luttrellstown Tots have won an award in Innovation in Curriculum and Documentation. They operate a play based emergent curriculum which follows and develops on the interests and ideas of the children. The children are supported to document their ideas through words, drawings and images. The adults capture the children’s words and with the children they document their ideas, activities and stories in their class Learning Journal. Each child also has their own individual journal in which they document their chosen story or activity. These journals have proved to be immensely popular with the children and their families as they really bring to life each child’s individual experiences in the setting.
Blossoms Pre-School have won the award for Innovation in Partnership. Parents were consulted and were active participants in the setting’s “Night of Tales and Stories”, where at a special night time event the children and families came to the pre-school in the dark to tell and read stories. In addition to reading, staff and parents also helped decorate the setting to transform it into a magical place. Props, including puppets were also used.
For weeks prior to the event parents and children read at home every night. Then, in the setting, the children were encouraged to discuss these experiences and represent them by drawings. Local businesses were informed of the project and some of them displayed the children’s drawings, helping to instil pride and also a sense of belonging to the local community.
Little Moo-Moos Playgroup and Montessori have won the award for Innovation in Practice and Provision. Their curriculum is based around the seasons, intertwining indoor and outdoor activities and experiences throughout the year. The changing seasons and the children’s imagination and interests provide a rich, stimulating curriculum that supports the children’s holistic development. Connecting children to nature, learning from and about it, is a feature of this practice and provision The practice of following children’s individual strengths, interests and preferences in both indoor and outdoor environments combined with the provision of a rich variety of animal and plant life, equipment, natural materials and time to explore their environment results in innovative outcomes.
2011 Innovation Award Winners
Please download the 2011 Innovation Award Winners’ Booklet which showcases some of the winners from the first year of awards.