Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Documenting the Connections


Tuesday 29 August 2017

On Saturday, 9th of September, Early Childhood Ireland has the pleasure of welcoming one of the most influential people in the field of early years’ practice and I for one cannot wait to meet the inspirational Wendy Lee.

My relationship with documentation has changed dramatically in recent years and I know that the words of Wendy Lee have impacted substantially on the view I now have today. I have always had a passion for working in the early years, building relationships with children, hearing what they say, how they say it and watching as their play becomes extremely complex within just a few minutes. I often gazed with complete astonishment as the day to day tasks unfolded before my eyes. I saw the value of everything that happened but felt that time was too precious to be taken away from the here and now to give up to documentation. Then it dawned on me. Why am I keeping all of this to myself? Why do I not capture as much as I can to share with the child’s family, with the community and of course with the child him/herself. Documentation goes beyond the paper it’s written on – it has the ability to be a powerful communication tool that brings the family together, builds the child’s confidence in their identity and also makes the child visible in the community where they live and belong. Wendy Lee’s powerful words come to mind;

Hear how communities of practice are being nourished with ideas and reflections that build a commitment to each other and bring into view the power of listening deeply; being present; and creating opportunities to connect, communicate, and contribute.”


The best means for connecting, communicating, and contributing while working with children is by using documentation. Not purely with assessment forms or set out templates to fill in of observations but in finding the most natural and effective way of gathering ‘with the children’, as the day unfolds, what works for you. Each photograph you take has immense value and is a compelling piece of documentation. As is every anecdote, conversation or play story that you are fortunate enough to have captured. Having many types of observations can help lead to that ‘rich profile’ of a child that demonstrates that you care about knowing that child and you want to know that child. The system that worked for me was focused around gathering a ‘bank of words’ that I then used as much as I could for learnings stories, planning and documentation in general. I speak some more about this in the blog capturing the wonder of childhood which you can read here:


Learning stories are one of the most precious things that can be done that contributes to the rich profile that you are trying to piece together. The child may show an interest in something and when an educator not only recognises the interest but builds on it while all the time tuned in to how the child acts, what they say and where the story goes the educator is truly demonstrating that they believe in the childhoods unfolding before their eyes.

I am very fortunate to be part of the team in Early Childhood Ireland who receives and reviews the precious stories of our sector. We are time and time again blown away by the time, space and respect that is shown to the children in each of the learning stories we receive. On the 9th of September, we will be listening to Wendy Lee in admiration, but more importantly, we will be listening to her knowing that we have come across some of the most amazing and inspiring practice in the world through our learning stories in Early Childhood Ireland. Bookings can be made online.

“I think people enter early childhood to make a difference, and we can everyday make that difference, by being there in that moment for children” Wendy Lee, The Gathering, 2013.

Take a look at some of Early Childhood Ireland’s winning Learning Stories:

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Sport(1) INTO(1) Titles(1) Settling in(2) Social Skills(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Interests(1) feisty(1) relationships(13) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) respect(5) food(1) Favouritism(1) Research Seminar(1) Party(1) budget(1) Touch(1) learning(15) transitions(10) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Investment(1) friendships(1) listening(1) Plants(1) risk assessment(1) Research Conference 2019(1) ERASMUS+(3) listen(1) Fabric(1) emotional environment(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Sweets(1) Mathematicians(1) Care routines(1) Awards 2018(3) science week(2) Funding(1) Childcare(2) Xbox(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) curriculum(5) Arithmetic(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Mindfulness(2) Afghanistan(1) TOY Programme(1) Craft(1) Brain(1) Family wall(1) science(3) interacting(2) European Project(1) United Nations(1) Autism(3) Engineering(2) Cognitive development(1) Dance(1) early childhood educator(1) Home Corner(1) Vertical grouping(1) dogs(1) Frustrations(1) blog(28) Cork Institute of Technology(1) First 5(1) Study Trip(1) supportive environments(1) Siolta blog(2) Appreciation(1) Smiles(1) Event Guide(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Adoption(1) Magic(1) Wendy Lee(2) RTE Investigates(1) bonds(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Shapes(1) National Awards 2018(2) under 3's(3) Scents(1) Games(1) College(1) Technology(2) Upcycling(1) Confident(1) dining(1) Identity and Belonging(3) communication(4) CPD(1) Certificate(1) Kilkenny(1) Jenga(1) Yoga(1) Self-Esteem(1) Self-regulation(1) Design(1) ReCreate(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) NCCA(2) Drawing(2) grandchild(1) Trade Unions(1) National Awards 2019(1) Exploring(1) Employee(1) Awards(2) planning(1) Rituals(1) Seas Suas(1) Book Club(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) San Minia(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) NAEYC(1) toddlers(3) Traffic Lights(1) play stories(1) Grief(1) Time(1) ears(1) Pobal(1) books(4) Universal Design(2) ECEC(1) Professionalisation(4) Primary School(2) Maths Week(1) development(8) UD(1) Obesity(1) Little Buddies(1) Environment(2) Annual Conference 2017(2) environments(1) trust(3) Children's Rights(1) ECCE(6) Line-ups(1) Breathing(2) story time(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Buddy Bench(1) animals(2) Síolta QAP(1) Policy(2) St. Patrick's Day(1) EECERA 2016(1) Syria(1) Traditions(2) Exit interview(1) Graduate(1) Culture(2) Map(1) Workplace Relations(3) Flowers(1) Snakes(1) early years research(1) Challenges(1) Body Language(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Confidence(1) Iceland(1) conversations(1) Mo Scéal(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Recycling(2) Children(1) Prexit(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Mount Everest(1) Children's Research Network(1) AIM(2) Academic Skills(1) Wilenski(1) pets(1) Engineering Ireland(1) IGL(1) Easter(1) Buddies(1) Wesco(1) Masterclass(2) Sustainable(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Valentine's Day(3) Performance Management(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Love(2) Treasure Chest(1) Learning journals(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Support(1) New Appointments(1) Mealtimes(1) Decisions(1) Arlene Forster(1) Loss(1) Wonder(1) Aistear(104) Well-Being(6) Sculptures(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) AsIAm(1) reading(4) dublin(2) Communicating(1) Kids Own(1) Graduation(1) STEM(2) Engineers Week(2) Inspirational(2) Celebrations(4) Recycle(1) Albert Einstein(1) Norway(2) dining experiences(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Consent(1) outdoor space(3) Learning Stories Award(3) worries(1) Laugh(1) The Jelly King(1) Nutrition(1) Nonverbal(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Budget 2019(2) ICBN(1) Affordability(1) Lego(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) Story(1) Visitors(1) Impact(1) Art(6) Early Learning and Care(1) San Miniato(4) Queues(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Dr. Emer Ring(1) National Holiday(1) Laughter(1) Winter(1) Health(1) Online(1) Feeding(1) Identity(4) research(6) First 5 strategy(1) christmas(8) Photographs(1) Playschool(1) refugees(1) Workplace well-being(1) Positivity(1) Interaction(1) scéalta(25) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Kerry(1) CIT(1) Giraffe(2) Running(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Learning Stories(7) Capable(1) Human Resources(1) Mark Twain(1) Administrative Burden(1) Death(1) Empathy(1) Playdough(1) Síolta(99) Montessori(2) Community involvement(1) eating(1) Role play(1) Glitter(2) Magnavacchi(1) documentation(2) Eritrea(1) Snack Time(1) Storytelling(2) Motor neuron disease(1) Decision Making(1) Mud kitchens(1) Training(2) Workforce(1) Maynooth(1) Time Out(1) Bereavement(1) Oireachtas(1) Patterns(1) Potential(1) Names(1) Thanks(1) Child mental health(1) Leargas(1) community(5) Gratitude(1) Communications(1) Light table(1) Biting(1) memories(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Reggio Children Network(1) outdoor play(6) play(29) Special Needs Assistants(1) Cork(1) Horizon 2020(1) Meet the Members(1) MECPI(1) EM Standing(1) TRAP(1) overhear(1) PIP(1) Twitter(1) DCYA(4) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) CCTV(1) Window(1) linc(1) UN(1) Trick or treat(1) Builders(1) Treasure(1) Belonging(3) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) maternity health(1) curiosity(3) Plastic(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Advocacy(1) Celebrate(1) Maths(4) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Shoes(1) Pen green(1) preschool(2) Inclusion(3) Sustainability(3) Through the looking glass(1) Maynooth University(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Inter-generational(1) RIE philosphy(1) outdoors(3) Interactions(1) Reggio(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Maternity Leave(1) Performing(1) babies(7) Ceremony(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Independence(1) Competent(1) journey(1) Mantra(1) Change(1) Leprechauns(1) GDPR(1) Early Years(1) Liz Kerrins(1) education(2) Malaguzzi(1) Irish(1) Trade union(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Family(1) meals(3) Thank you(1) Routines(1) Our Little Seed(1) SPICE Framework(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) child-centred approach(1) Visual Impairment(1) Trigonometry(1) Academics(1) Sequins(1) Imagination(3) Penguins(1) Creativity(4) risk(2) Budget 2018(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) role playing(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Meal time(1) risky play(2) Thinking(1) Facebook(1) Care-giving routines(1) Early Years Educators(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Orla Kenny(1) Socioemotional development(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Maria Montessori(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Weather(1) Gardening(1) Fantasy play(1) Learning Story(1) Relaxation(1) Snacks(1) experience(1) MA(1) emotions(2) Educators(1) Childhood(1) Painting(1) Arts(1) Wrapping paper(1) Iraq(1) Qualifications(1) Degree(1) Self Help Skills(1) routine(2) Exercise(1) Scéalta Blog(82) Vietnam(1) Italy(1) mushrooms(1) University(1) Behaviour(3) Limerick(1) Teamwork(1) parents(5) Exclusion(1) Music(3) Reggio Emilia(1) stories(2) Blocks(1) Mental Health(3) baby room(1) Diversity(1) UNCRC(1) Spiders(1) Mixed age groups(2) Creative(1) social media(1) Awards 2019(1) Quality(3) Supernanny(1) Halloween(2) educarer(1) educating(1) Margy Whalley(1) Mayo(1) Japan(1) Santa(2) Stress(2) Magda Gerber(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Anxiety(2) General Data Protection Regulation(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine