Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Capturing the Wonder of Childhood


Tuesday 21 February 2017

A day in the life of an early year’s educator can be fun, interesting and full of playfulness. It is commonly heard from educators that they love working with children because no two days are ever the same. Children are spontaneous, unpredictable and full of curiosity. We, as adults, need to find our place in this - focusing on the importance of this ‘childhood’ and documenting it in a meaningful way for us, the children’s families and community but most importantly for the children themselves.

Learning stories can be at the heart of your work and when the process of putting them together becomes a familiar task it can, in fact, lighten your load. In this blog I look at snippets from some of Early Childhood Irelands winning stories showing it really does just take a little bit of refocusing, alongside a passion for wanting to truly know the children in your care to get into this space of documentation.


I can’t emphasise enough the power of tuning in to children’s words. Capturing their words and actions throughout the day can become routine and will mean that the body of all your documentation is done! A pen and small notebook in one pocket and a camera in the other means you are always ready… A colleague once told me that it’s the moments when one of the educators return to the room and you say ‘you missed it’ and you continue to tell them what happened - these are the moments that offer us an insight into who the child really is. These are the stories that tell us a lot more than a tick the box observation ever will and it showcases Aistear and Síolta in a way that’s true to each individual child.

For the story ‘Rosie Cheeks and Alex go to the eye Doctor’ we see that Alex comes to preschool with his new eye patch on. His shyness at wearing an eye patch was noticed by the educators who recognised Alex’s body language when he first came in.


This was followed by Rosie Cheeks, the class teddy suddenly having a sore eye, which meant she too had to go to the opticians and get an eye patch – just like Alex. The connection created between Alex and Rosie Cheeks meant that Alex became more confident and comfortable with his own perceived difference. Following this Alex says, “it was fun when I went to the eye Doctor and I wasn’t scared at all”. This story is a real example of inclusive practice. We also see educators who are in tune with children, recognising their challenges, documenting what happened and going with the children’s experiences. A teddy getting his eyes tested - Capturing the Wonder of ChildhoodTake a look at Darcie from the story ‘Independent lady’- we might wonder how to meaningfully document the learning of an 18 month old, whose language is still developing. Although children’s words are powerful, it doesn’t mean that stories without words are not possible.

As the educator writes “you took a large piece of play dough and you pulled it apart you, noticed it got bigger as it stretched out in front of you. This was not what you had intended, you looked puzzled for a number of seconds. This led to you solving your own problem…”

The educator in this case is completely in tune with Darcie. She reads her body language, understands how Darcie is problem solving in all that she is doing and she respectfully trusts her in her task. This style of writing ‘to’ the child or children in learning stories is especially useful and personal.


As early years’ educators, in the midst of the busyness try to take a step back. ‘Be with’ the children, get to know them and celebrate them. This is what documentation should be and what tells us a lot about the children’s interests and competencies. Click here to take a look at all our wonderful learning stories

So, keep that pen, paper and camera to hand to capture rich portraits from children’s words, photos and experiences. See how this impacts on how you feel and connect with your daily practice.

We would love to hear from you about how you make learning visible and it would be great if you could share some examples!

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Plants(1) San Minia(1) Quality(4) Online(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Seas Suas(1) overhear(1) Workforce(1) Creative(1) Laugh(1) Time(1) Traditions(2) Settling in(4) Glitter(2) outdoor play(6) Facebook(1) Maynooth(1) Mindfulness(2) Through the looking glass(1) Gratitude(1) Queues(1) dining experiences(1) Playschool(1) Challenges(1) Jenga(1) Celebrations(4) Síolta QAP(1) Administrative Burden(1) Community involvement(1) Self Help Skills(1) Budget 2019(2) Visual Impairment(1) Santa(2) Mayo(1) Training(2) Awards 2018(3) Self-regulation(1) Research Seminar(1) Spiders(1) Snack Time(1) value(1) Family wall(1) Culture(2) HR(1) Staff Motivation(1) Wrapping paper(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) DCYA(4) Routines(1) curriculum(5) Art(6) Leaders in Practice(1) Yoga(1) UD(1) Mathematicians(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Laughter(1) Wendy Lee(2) christmas(8) Children's Research Network(1) SPICE Framework(1) babies(7) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Decision Making(1) budget(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) early childhood educator(1) Shapes(1) under 3's(3) Advocacy(1) Builders(1) Teamwork(1) Performance Management(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Meal time(1) Afghanistan(1) refugees(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Inter-generational(2) Line-ups(1) Buddy Bench(1) Exclusion(1) meals(3) Winter(1) Ceremony(1) CCTV(1) First 5 strategy(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) supportive environments(2) Nutrition(1) Intention(1) Qualifications(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Childhood(1) eating(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Mealtimes(1) Names(1) Communicating(1) Health(2) Educators(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Thinking(1) Mental Health(3) Research Conference 2019(1) Awards(2) E.coli(1) Care-giving routines(1) Technology(2) Affordability(1) Biting(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) The Jelly King(1) Environment(2) Academic Skills(1) Music(3) Maths Week Ireland(1) dogs(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) STEM(2) child-centred approach(1) United Nations(1) Employee(1) reading(5) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) risk(2) respect(5) Academics(1) Relaxation(1) Recycle(1) Christmas Creativity(2) development(8) Malaguzzi(1) Maths(4) UN(1) Meet the Members(1) Sustainability(3) Learning Story Awards(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Workplace Relations(3) Limerick(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Iceland(1) ears(1) Love(2) Thank you(1) journey(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Orla Kenny(1) Graduate(1) Home Corner(1) community(5) life long learning(1) risky play(2) Valentine's Day(3) worries(1) Mud kitchens(1) Infection Control(1) blog(28) Empathy(1) RTE Investigates(1) social media(1) The Lullaby Book(1) planning(1) College(1) EM Standing(1) Engineers Week(2) Decisions(1) Children's Rights(2) Sweets(1) parents(5) Story(1) Support(1) Mixed age groups(2) outdoor space(3) Treasure Chest(1) maternity health(1) Leargas(1) Consent(1) Capable(1) Bereavement(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Policy(2) RIE philosphy(1) Vertical grouping(1) Party(1) Snacks(1) Diversity(1) trust(3) Role play(1) Scéalta Blog(89) Potential(1) Autism(3) Growing up Outdoors(1) Lego(2) curiosity(3) Emergent Curriculum(1) pets(1) Interests(1) Adoption(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Well-Being(9) Elders(1) Masterclass(2) early years research(1) Horizon 2020(1) Mark Twain(1) Painting(1) Exercise(1) Twitter(1) Syria(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Wonder(1) emotional environment(1) baby room(1) Flowers(1) Sleep(1) Maynooth University(1) ERASMUS+(3) Learning Stories(8) routine(2) Arlene Forster(1) Sport(1) Self-Esteem(1) Primary School(2) Smiles(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) risk assessment(1) research(6) EECERA 2016(1) Cognitive development(1) Loss(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Social Skills(1) Margy Whalley(1) purpose(1) NCCA(3) Inspirational(2) AsIAm(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) emotions(2) Pobal sector profile(1) National Awards 2018(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Maria Montessori(1) ICBN(1) dublin(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Engineering(2) Trade union(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) conversations(1) Universal Design(2) Dance(1) Learning journals(1) experience(1) New Appointments(1) Certificate(1) Kilkenny(1) science week(2) Inclusion(3) Síolta(105) food(1) Independence(1) Magnavacchi(1) Patterns(1) interacting(2) Identity(5) Fabric(1) Design(1) toddlers(3) Time Out(1) Grief(1) listening(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Motor neuron disease(1) science(3) Learning Story(1) Feeding(1) Children's Voice(1) INTO(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) ECEC(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Light table(1) role playing(1) AIM(2) Montessori(3) memories(1) Japan(1) Summer(1) Exit interview(1) Budget 2020(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Kids Own(1) Funding(1) TRAP(1) Photographs(1) Rituals(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Study Trip(1) Games(1) Vietnam(1) Running(1) play stories(1) National Holiday(1) Book Club(2) Breathing(2) Favouritism(1) Storytelling(2) Investment(2) Workplace well-being(1) educarer(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Siolta blog(2) First 5(1) Playdough(1) Our Little Seed(1) Hand Hygiene(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Liz Kerrins(1) Children(1) Shoes(1) Iraq(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Degree(1) Sustainable(1) friendships(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Reflective Practice(1) Anxiety(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Map(1) Graduation(1) CPD(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Gardening(1) Interaction(1) Aistear(110) Kerry(1) European Project(1) Participation(1) dining(1) MA(1) Titles(1) Mantra(1) Halloween(2) Touch(1) ECCE(6) Death(2) Obesity(1) educating(1) Ariana Pucci(1) grandchild(1) Craft(1) Imagination(3) Giraffe(2) Confident(1) bonds(1) Scents(1) linc(1) stories(2) listen(1) preschool(2) Behaviour(3) Snakes(1) Celebrate(1) CIT(1) Body Language(1) Reggio(1) GDPR(1) Early Years(1) San Miniato(4) ReCreate(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) documentation(2) mushrooms(1) Window(1) Maternity Leave(1) Frustrations(1) NAEYC(1) Family(1) books(4) University(1) Belonging(3) Thanks(1) Wilenski(1) Infectious diseases(1) Norway(2) Communications(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Stress(2) feisty(1) Whole Group(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Trigonometry(1) Mo Scéal(1) Albert Einstein(1) National Awards 2019(1) collaboration(1) MECPI(1) Performing(1) Plastic(1) Magda Gerber(1) Wesco(1) Supernanny(1) Creativity(4) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Fantasy play(1) Arts(1) Irish(1) Event Guide(1) Nonverbal(1) Trade Unions(1) Eritrea(1) Professionalisation(4) Reggio Emilia(1) Little Buddies(1) play(31) scéalta(29) Engagement(1) Italy(1) Easter(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) environments(1) Positivity(1) Impact(1) Arithmetic(1) education(2) Drawing(2) Oireachtas(1) Children and families(1) Awards 2019(1) Budget 2018(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Treasure(1) relationships(17) Visitors(1) Early Years Educators(2) IGL(1) Penguins(1) learning(16) transitions(10) Inspired Practice Award(5) Trick or treat(1) Sequins(1) Exploring(1) Brain(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Leprechauns(1) Upcycling(1) Interactions(2) TOY Programme(1) Cork(1) Confidence(1) Human Resources(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) story time(1) Sculptures(1) Weather(1) School Age Childcare(1) Pen green(1) Magic(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Mount Everest(1) Pobal(1) Leadership(1) communication(4) Buddies(1) Recycling(2) Appreciation(1) Competent(1) PIP(1) UNCRC(1) Change(1) outdoors(3) Socioemotional development(1) Prexit(1) animals(2) Childcare(2) Care routines(1) Xbox(1) Maths Week(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Child mental health(1) Traffic Lights(1) Blocks(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine