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A night to celebrate the work of Early Years Educators


Tuesday 18 February 2020

Early Childhood Ireland National Awards celebrate and highlight the exceptional contributions that individuals, teams and settings make in early learning and care settings all over Ireland.  The impact these contributions have in improving the experiences of children and their families in early years settings across Ireland is immense.  This year we will be celebrating our 8th annual Early Childhood Ireland National Awards. The awards are the most prestigious event in Ireland’s early year’s calendar, and we are proud to host a night to celebrate, congratulate and acknowledge the work of early childhood professionals. This inspiring evening is taking place in Clontarf Castle on the 3 April 2020 and is an evening not to be missed. 

This year there are 8 awards within six categories for which you can apply!  


Category 1: Learning Story Awards

Award 1: Learning Story of the Year (Written to an individual child) (NEW) This involves writing a learning story to a specific child about their experiences and learning.

Award 2: Emergent Curriculum in Action Learning Story of the Year (Written about a group of children) (NEW) When a group of children is involved, this is the option to choose!

Award 3: Best Learning Story from ‘Newcomer’ setting (Written to an individual child or about a group of children). (NEW) Never entered previously…then this is for you!


Category 2: Inspired Practice Award 

If you have made changes to your practice, taken on a new challenge that you feel is inspirational, consider putting it forward for this award category.


Category 3: Partnership with Families Innovation Award 

Have you great relationships with parents, do you go above and beyond to support families? Have a look at this category!


Category 4: LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion 

Applications open to all settings  employing LINC graduates as INCO.

If you have an Inclusion Coordinator in your setting who is a LINC graduate, and the work of that person is making a big impact on the inclusiveness of your setting, you should apply for this award. 


Category 5: Pedagogical Leader Award (NEW) 

Leading for learning is such an important role in any setting. This is the person who supports educators to provide the ethos and environment where young children flourish and develop holistically. Do you know someone like this? Nominate them!


Category 6: First 5 Transitions for Children Award (NEW) 


Applications open to all settings.

Sponsored by First 5 and led by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the Government of Ireland.

A key indicator of quality is involvement. Too many transitions impact on how children can become deeply involved in play. Settling in and departure to ‘Big School’ are key transitions to manage well also. Have you a story to share about how you make transitions as smooth and child centred as possible? Tell us about it!

Here is an excerpt from their wonderful winning Learning Story.

teacher with children in preschool

Our Preschool Castle

Joshua said, “I want to build a castle with cardboard, we could put a roof on it”. Helen (the educator) asked, “why would you like to build a castle Joshua”? Joshua responded, “I like building things high up in the air and castles are big”! Peter said, “we can put a bed in it”, Jasmine said, “and a bridge”, Oisín said, “a chimney”, and Jack said, “to put a tunnel in it”, Tomás added, “build a wall first”

The children were very excited about this, so we asked them: How would we decorate it?

Darragh said, “we could paint on it, but you can’t build things high up in the sky, my Daddy said cos my new house is high up in the sky and there is planning permission for my house to be high up with windows.” Helen wondered, “what is planning permission”? 

Click here to read more


To ensure that the most-deserving Early Childhood Ireland members triumph in 2020, please apply.

Entry is completely free, and the extended closing date is 21 February 2019.  The entries are flooding in for all the awards from many counties.  Make sure your county is well represented and send in your application for one or more of the above awards.

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