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:

TRAP(1) Window(1) Culture(2) Affordability(1) educarer(1) Maynooth University(2) Routines(2) primary education(1) Map(1) Shoes(1) learners(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Lego(2) Reggio(1) UNCRC(2) friendships(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) conversations(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Light table(1) IGL(1) Creative(1) reopening ireland(1) Norway(2) Playdough(1) Training(2) Giraffe(2) Budget 2019(2) Nuturing interactions(1) Fantasy play(1) maternity health(1) Leprechauns(1) Oireachtas(1) early life(1) documentation(4) Nonverbal(1) Adoption(1) Craft(1) journey(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Visitors(1) Independence(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Performing(1) HR(1) Covid pandemic(1) Awards 2018(3) Reggio Emilia(1) Identity and Belonging(4) GoToMeeting app(1) ECCE(7) Traditions(2) risky play(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Irish(1) respect(5) Trade union(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Policy(2) Inter-generational(2) linc(1) Aistear(122) purpose(1) animals(2) Graduate(1) imotion(1) play stories(2) Meal time(1) Your place(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Xbox(1) NCCA(3) Builders(1) Equality(1) Advocacy(1) Touch(1) Learning Stories(9) christmas(9) Liz Kerrins(1) trust(4) play therapy(1) Awards 2019(1) early years research(2) SAC(1) Infection Control(1) Sequins(1) education(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) bonds(1) Educators(2) learning bias(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Orla Kenny(1) keep in touch(1) Creativity(4) Effect of Lockdown(1) Body Language(1) Fabric(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Death(2) Our Little Seed(1) Child mental health(1) Engineering Ireland(1) code of ethics(1) listen(1) Empathy(1) Care routines(1) play(34) Gardening(1) june29(1) Eritrea(1) Winter(1) Document Learning(1) Children and families(1) Health(2) Competent(1) Childcare(3) Certificate(1) Mud kitchens(1) ECEC(2) STEM(3) Feeding(1) Academics(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Learning Journal(2) emotional environment(2) Trick or treat(1) gender bias(1) Wrapping paper(1) Visual Impairment(1) books(4) preschool settings(1) Graduation(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) conference(1) Smiles(1) Gratitude(1) emotions(2) Pen green(1) Scéalta Blog(99) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) life long learning(1) Afghanistan(1) ears(1) Employee(1) Leargas(1) Hand Hygiene(2) budget(1) Building Resilience(1) interacting(2) Facebook(1) dogs(1) staying connected(1) Children(4) Mayo(1) RTE Investigates(1) outdoor space(3) Iceland(1) Interactions(2) gender stereotype(1) GDPR(1) learning(19) Spiders(1) dublin(2) Support(1) Capable(1) Magnavacchi(1) Cork(1) Summer(1) Japan(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Communicating(1) ICBN(1) awards 2020(1) Performance Management(1) risk(2) scéalta(38) Confident(1) transitions(10) Decision Making(1) show and tell(1) Rich Documentation(1) Early Childhood Ireland(3) Buddy Bench(1) Mental Health(3) Pedagogy(1) Thank you(1) Supernanny(1) iOS(1) Workplace Relations(3) stories(3) DCYA(4) research(6) supportive environments(2) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Vertical grouping(1) Communications(1) continual professional development(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Iraq(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) play pod(1) Academic Skills(1) Exercise(1) Wonder(1) childcare services(1) Sustainability(3) Mark Twain(1) Inclusion(3) Children's Research Network(1) Behaviour(3) Challenges(1) mushrooms(1) Frustrations(1) feisty(1) curiosity(3) Trade Unions(1) social science(1) routine(2) Síolta QAP(1) Family(1) Titles(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Budget 2020(1) Inspections(1) NAEYC(1) Staff Motivation(1) Sculptures(1) food(1) Plastic(1) Socioemotional development(1) Party(1) Budget 2018(1) DES Inspection(1) eating(1) early childhood educator(2) Recycle(1) Learning Story Awards(2) science(3) Brain(1) Arithmetic(1) Arts(1) E.coli(1) Degree(1) Whole Group(1) blog(35) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Leaders in Practice(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) EECERA 2016(1) value(1) Bereavement(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) refugees(1) Albert Einstein(1) The Jelly King(1) story time(2) COVID-19 Reopening(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Pobal sector profile(1) behavioural science(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Breathing(2) Research Seminar(1) Child Care(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Quality(4) Wilenski(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Funding(1) family time(1) COVID-19(5) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Event Guide(1) Upcycling(1) babies(7) Elders(1) under 3's(3) New Appointments(1) social media(1) Easter(1) Engagement(1) Workforce(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) child-centric(1) Settling in(4) Time Out(1) Role play(1) National Awards 2019(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) planning(1) Well-Being(9) School Age Childcare(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) UD(1) Administrative Burden(1) Meet the Members(1) Maria Montessori(1) Early Years Educators(3) CCTV(1) Family wall(1) SPICE Framework(1) Identity(5) Seas Suas(1) MECPI(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Exit interview(1) Shapes(1) Digital Devices(1) Vietnam(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Little Buddies(1) Kilkenny(1) Sleep(1) RIE philosphy(1) annual conference(1) Reflective Practice(1) MA(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Mindfulness(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Mount Everest(1) National Holiday(1) Celebrations(4) Montessori(3) Yoga(1) CIT(1) Love(2) educating(1) United Nations(1) Self-Esteem(1) Consent(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Teamwork(1) parents(6) Maternity Leave(1) Photographs(1) ReCreate(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) play pods(1) Cognitive development(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Online(1) preschool(4) Confidence(1) Motor neuron disease(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Interaction(1) AsIAm(2) Grief(1) Awards(2) Malaguzzi(1) Nutrition(1) Stress(2) collaboration(1) College(1) developing motor skills(1) baby room(1) Pre-School Services(1) Maths Week(1) Potential(1) Anxiety(2) Educator of the Year Award(3) Names(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) CPD(1) Obesity(1) Biting(1) meals(3) Environment(2) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Book Club(2) EM Standing(1) Treasure(1) Technology(3) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Exploring(1) child-centred approach(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Italy(1) Sessional service(1) memories(1) Flowers(1) structure(1) movement behaviours(1) Maynooth(1) Siolta blog(8) Exclusion(1) Mealtimes(1) Fee Play(1) Favouritism(1) Thanks(1) worries(1) Mathematicians(1) relationships(17) Mo Scéal(1) bloom app(1) Design(1) National Awards 2018(2) Art(6) Childhood(1) Decisions(1) Impact(1) dining experiences(1) Diversity(1) youdoodle(1) Infectious diseases(1) Mantra(1) Syria(1) development(8) grandchild(1) apps for children(1) toddlers(3) Interests(1) Celebrate(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Scents(1) Change(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Queues(1) Síolta(118) UN(1) Human Resources(1) Investment(2) ECEC Setting(2) Snakes(1) Youtube Series(1) Traffic Lights(1) Wendy Lee(3) Intention(1) keezy(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Digital(1) European Project(1) Dance(1) Kerry(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Blocks(1) Halloween(2) Trigonometry(1) aistear blog(3) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Kids Own(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Through the looking glass(1) Patterns(1) Games(1) Learning Story(1) Leadership(1) art of the relationship(1) Masterclass(2) Community involvement(1) Mixed age groups(2) science week(2) Children's Voice(1) First 5 strategy(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Social Skills(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Sport(1) healthy eating policies(1) Imagination(3) Maths(5) pets(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Relaxation(1) early years learning(1) Glitter(2) Aldo Fortunati(4) Penguins(1) Children's Rights(3) reading(5) Horizon 2020(1) Care-giving routines(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) children development(1) Early Years(1) pablo(1) Storytelling(6) listening(1) Weather(1) Workplace well-being(1) Awards Night(1) ERASMUS+(3) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) community(5) Appreciation(1) Sweets(1) Recycling(2) Department of Education and Skills(1) racism(1) Learning journals(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Limerick(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Thinking(1) ELC(1) Pobal(1) curriculum(5) Primary School(2) Autism(4) Study Trip(1) Ceremony(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Prexit(1) Plants(1) Book Review(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Inspirational(2) TOY Programme(1) code of professional responsibility(1) PIP(1) Loss(1) Wesco(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Universal Design(2) Arlene Forster(1) Buddies(1) Running(1) Sustainable(1) Painting(1) Home Corner(1) Music(3) Laughter(1) Valentine's Day(3) experience(1) role playing(1) dining(1) risk assessment(1) Magic(1) Self Help Skills(1) Jenga(1) Santa(2) Margy Whalley(1) outdoor play(6) Time(1) man up(1) communication(4) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Magda Gerber(1) University(1) environments(1) Laugh(1) Story(1) research submissions(1) Drawing(2) Treasure Chest(1) Line-ups(1) Qualifications(1) Opportunities(1) INTO(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Positivity(1) Twitter(1) San Miniato(4) AIM(2) Participation(2) Rituals(1) First 5(1) Engineers Week(2) Belonging(3) phone apps(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) overhear(1) Engineering(3) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Snacks(1) Reopening Childcare(1) lockdown(1) outdoors(3) Professionalisation(5) Reading Time(1) Playschool(1) Snack Time(1) Self-regulation(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine