Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

My Experience at Maynooth University


Monday 24 May 2021

As I am prompted to think about my experience at Maynooth University, we have reached the first anniversary of our country’s lockdown. Also, it is just over a year since the inspirational Dr Carmel Brennan visited the ELC setting where I work to carry out my final year practice visit. After spending time in the preschool room observing my practice with our wonderful group of creative and energetic three to five-year-olds, we spent time chatting about the experience. As I reflect on that chat I recall speaking professionally, with confidence and passion, about my role as an early years educator. Personally, this demonstrates one of the many positive outcomes of completing the BA in Early Teaching and Learning at Maynooth University.

Within the sector we often refer to our children’s learning as a journey; the concept of a learning journey accurately describes my three years studying for this honours degree. My journey started back in early January 2017, after much personal deliberation, deciding to apply for the course. I was excited by the prospect, but I had lots of niggling self-doubts, questioning if I would be able for the challenge of what might be ahead. However, in retrospect, I had no need to worry. From the first day I was surrounded by a group of people, students and lecturers, who had a shared enthusiasm for learning and discovery. Relationships have been central throughout this experience, and each evening or Saturday that we had lectures, and each of the block weeks where we were together every day was spent together in a safe place where experiences were shared, advice offered, and topics debated with passion, on many occasions agreeing to disagree. The emphasis was on the pursuit of more learning where students were encouraged to explore, investigate and question as a community of practice.  

Over the three years, the modules are strategically placed to build students body of knowledge through a range of research, early childhood philosophies and approaches while becoming familiar with great theorists, such as Bronfenbrenner, Malaguzzi and Vygotsky, to name just a few. The modules facilitate students to explore relative and meaningful topics, for example, play, relationships, transitions, environments and curriculum. It was inspiring as I consistently witnessed my academic learning in my practice as an early years educator, making the connection between theory and practice. The unique partnership between Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) and the Froebel department at Maynooth promotes this fundamental understanding of the relationship between theory and practice. Reflective practice and emphasises on practical work experience are central to this degree programme. Practice visits from expert early years professionals were opportunities to benefit from mentoring to become more competent in practice.

As I reflect on my time in Maynooth I recognise that this course was intense, challenging and thought-provoking while being enjoyable. It was delivered by a team of dedicated lecturers who were generous in sharing their knowledge, time and experience. As honours degree students we were encouraged and supported to be inter-independent, self-motivated learners, researchers and academic writers. Alongside my fellow students, we completed our degree in unprecedented times. This achievement is a testament to personal and professional development promoted and achieved throughout the three years, reinforcing those dispositions of resourcefulness, perseverance and resilience. As a graduate of Maynooth University, with a BA in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning, I am proud to be an advocate for this course; personally, and professionally it has been such a positive life experience.



My name is Carmel Haughton and I have worked as an early years educator for over twenty years. I am a room leader in an ECCE room within a community ELC setting. For the foreseeable future, I plan to continue in this role, taking my time to apply the new knowledge I have gained from my time at Maynooth University.

1 comments Comments

One Response

  1. Margaret Coogan says:

    Carmel what a great reflection on your aistear in Maynooth University. Congratulations on all your achievements. Mag

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

homeschool(1) linc(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Xbox(1) Maths(6) Motor neuron disease(1) Builders(1) Digital Devices(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Body Language(1) Return to Work Training(1) Feeding(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Celebrate(1) Elders(1) Time Out(1) Engagement(1) research(8) early years settings(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Treasure Chest(1) play pod(1) Leargas(1) College(1) Learning Story(1) supportive environments(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Learning Stories(9) Nonverbal(1) routine(2) Japan(1) CPD(1) Trade union(1) Siolta blog(8) purpose(1) books(5) Independence(1) Interaction(1) Youtube Series(1) learning hub(2) Budget 2018(1) Rich Documentation(1) Performance Management(1) Large Doll Play(1) Child Care(1) responsive relationships(1) Change(1) Women(1) EECERA(1) Weather(1) Jenga(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) learning environment(1) Wonder(1) UNICEF report(1) Photographs(1) Pedagogical leaders(2) behavioural science(1) BA in Early Childhood Teaching & Learning(1) Titles(1) grandchild(1) Seanchaí(1) Italy(1) quarantine kids(1) Administrative Burden(1) Twitter(1) blog(62) Thanks(1) Self Help Skills(1) Small World Play(1) children participation(1) budget(1) TOY Programme(1) emotional well-being(1) ECEC(4) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Meal time(1) child-centric(1) Maternity Leave(1) GDPR(1) Traditions(2) Drawing(2) outdoors(4) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Love(3) Identity(5) Aldo Fortunati(4) Bereavement(2) presentation skills(1) Early Childhood Education(2) Exit interview(1) partnership with families(1) Lundy(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) mandela(1) International Narratives(1) UK(1) relationships(18) scientific and artistic processes(1) Penguins(1) RTE Investigates(1) Wrapping paper(1) Unesco(1) Confident(1) Easter(1) Children(8) NCCA(4) Kindness(1) Maths Week(1) refugees(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Your place(1) Leadership(1) Exclusion(1) Covid pandemic(3) Engineers Week(2) Policy(2) Capable(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Affordability(1) Leprechauns(1) Brain(1) Qualifications(1) photography(1) Stress(2) baby room(1) Research Seminar(1) bonds(1) Ceremony(1) Our Little Seed(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Graduation(1) Exploratory Play(1) Mount Everest(1) Croatia(1) Scéalta Blog(109) pedagogical approaches(1) Budget 2020(1) Little Buddies(1) Home Corner(1) Universal Design(2) education(3) Kerry(1) aistear blog(4) keep in touch(1) Reggio(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Grief(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Communications(1) eating(1) reopening(1) timekeeping skills(1) Skillnet(1) communication(4) Santa(2) Sweets(1) Care-giving routines(1) Painting(1) Syria(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Glitter(2) Early Years(1) Behaviour(3) educarer(1) National Awards 2019(1) DES Inspection(1) gender bias(1) Impact(1) social media policy(1) conversations(1) Employee(1) Vietnam(1) early childhood(1) Spiders(1) Advocacy(1) family time(1) democracy(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Academic Skills(1) Facebook(1) Interactions(3) Thinking(1) early years learning(1) Early Years Educators(3) Children and families(2) reading(6) National Pyjama Day(1) preschool(4) early childhood educator(2) Creative(1) Anxiety(2) playleader(1) QRF(1) Playschool(1) Montessori(3) Supernanny(1) Engineering(3) awards 2020(1) multi-generational community(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Fee Play(1) World book day(1) friendships(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Interests(1) pets(1) Childcare(3) Staff Motivation(1) Covid response(2) homeless accommodation(1) Awards 2018(3) maternity health(1) value(1) Treasure(1) play pods(2) IGL(1) worries(1) racism(1) Prexit(1) Halloween(2) feisty(1) Regulation 23(1) Imagination(3) Trick or treat(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Snacks(1) Arlene Forster(1) Consent(1) Loving Relationships(2) Digital(1) guardian(1) child-centred approach(1) Infectious diseases(1) keezy(1) coronavirus(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Reggio Children Network(1) Art(6) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Inspiring Practice(1) upskilling(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Dolly Partons Imagination Library(1) STEM(3) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Early Childhood Ireland(11) Performing(1) under 3's(3) outdoor space(3) PIP(1) INTO(1) inspiring interactions(1) Opportunities(1) Story(2) annual awards(1) Norway(2) Care routines(1) Covid-19 lockdown(1) gender stereotype(1) Cork(1) mushrooms(1) Magnavacchi(1) Sculptures(1) Trade Unions(1) National Awards 2018(2) CCTV(1) peer group(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Snakes(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) Rituals(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Inter-generational(2) Relaxation(1) Biting(1) University(1) United Nations(1) Flowers(1) Time(1) World Health Organisation(1) Culture(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Support(1) child safeguarding(1) COVID-19(18) Creativity(7) Appreciation(1) Primary School(3) outdoor environment(1) pablo(1) imotion(1) SAC(1) an post(1) Inspections(1) Laugh(1) Maynooth University(3) built environments(1) Scents(1) ears(1) Exploring(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Graduate(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Communicating(1) Early Years Education(2) Reggio Emilia(2) Workplace well-being(1) Adoption(1) Decision Making(1) Wilenski(1) online training(1) Counting(1) experience(1) Social Skills(1) Touch(1) Party(1) EECERA 2016(1) GoToMeeting app(1) curriculum(7) Irish(1) Infection Control(1) Iraq(1) stories(3) ECCE(8) women in research(1) TRAP(1) Nordic model(1) Shoes(1) Exercise(1) Limerick(1) Quality(4) Budget 2019(2) The Jelly King(1) democratic citizens(1) Patterns(1) Health(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Mud kitchens(1) Book Club(2) social media(2) UD(1) ReCreate(2) Competent(1) Celebrations(4) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Blocks(1) preschools(1) risky play(2) natural environment(2) annual conference(1) ICBN(1) Self-regulation(1) nutritional learning(1) Visual Impairment(1) Learning Journal(2) Craft(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Annual Conference 2017(2) DCYA(6) Document Learning(1) UK Government(1) European Project(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Dance(1) Mealtimes(1) Magda Gerber(1) Afghanistan(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Maria Montessori(1) Line-ups(1) Diversity(2) Valentine's Day(3) Fire Safety(1) Magic(1) Reflective Practice(1) Pre-School Services(1) listening(1) Margy Whalley(1) child centred rights(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Whole Group(1) Learning journals(1) Arithmetic(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Building Resilience(1) ECIAwards20(1) developing motor skills(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Frustrations(1) food(1) Lego(2) outdoor play(7) lockdown(1) movement behaviours(1) Pobal(1) partnership(1) Vertical grouping(1) Meet the Members(1) COVID(3) risk assessment(1) research submissions(1) doodle den(1) respect(5) toys(1) animals(2) Challenges(1) Thank you(1) Positivity(1) Irish guidelines(1) development(9) reopening ireland(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Fantasy play(1) interacting(2) Online(1) AIM(2) Family wall(1) conference(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) science week(2) First 5(1) National Holiday(1) Arts(1) Design(1) Settling in(4) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) play therapy(1) Kids Own(1) structure(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Obesity(1) School Age Childcare(2) First 5 transitions for children award(1) social science(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Visitors(1) Queues(1) Orla Kenny(1) Traffic Lights(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Iceland(2) Plastic(1) Early Learning and Care(2) Mental Health(4) children development(2) youdoodle(1) Looking Back(1) Upcycling(1) Mantra(1) Buddies(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Belonging(3) subject knowledge(1) Potential(1) Recycling(2) learning(19) Participation(2) primary education(1) Buddy Bench(1) Event Guide(1) Names(1) code of ethics(1) Gratitude(1) apps for children(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Equality(1) Workplace Relations(3) Plants(1) Self-Esteem(1) listen(1) RIE philosphy(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Funding(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) june29(1) Sequins(1) Human Resources(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Autism(4) AsIAm(2) doodle families(1) collaboration(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) dogs(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) community(5) Fabric(1) Well-Being(10) Childhood Development Initiative(1) Loss(1) Role play(1) Smiles(1) Trigonometry(1) dolly parton library(1) MA(1) Investment(2) Favouritism(1) Degree(1) Homeless Children(1) documentation(4) COVID-19 crisis(1) child led(2) Awards Night(1) Death(2) Yoga(1) worldbookday(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Child mental health(1) Eritrea(1) journey(1) Sessional service(1) Sustainability(3) UN(1) Light table(1) Wesco(1) Inspirational(2) story time(2) Storytelling(8) Teamwork(1) Shapes(2) Workforce(1) risk(2) Maynooth(1) SPICE Framework(1) Mathematicians(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) Professionalisation(5) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) early year’s classrooms(1) curiosity(3) transitions(10) Pobal sector profile(1) Socioemotional development(1) preschool settings(1) life long learning(1) children’s learning(1) Mixed age groups(4) play stories(2) peter gray(1) MECPI(1) dining experiences(1) Proceedings Journal(1) educating(1) Awards(2) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) Community involvement(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Summer(2) Reopening Childcare(1) Certificate(1) Educators(2) New Appointments(1) scéalta(62) TUSLA(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Games(2) First 5 strategy(1) E.coli(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Albert Einstein(1) Children's Rights(3) ERASMUS+(3) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Sport(1) Masterclass(2) Awards 2019(1) Covid19 crisis(1) San Miniato(4) overhear(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Lundy model(1) Return to Work(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Music(3) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Children's Voice(1) STEAM(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Mark Twain(1) continual professional development(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) education system(1) Environment(2) Europe(1) Wendy Lee(4) Anthony Semann(1) early years research(3) early life(1) buddy system(1) Sustainable(1) childcare services(1) Mindfulness(3) Learning through Storytelling(2) babies(7) Research Conference 2019(1) meals(3) Through the looking glass(1) Pretend Play(1) bloom app(1) Seas Suas(1) The Lullaby Book(1) show and tell(1) dublin(2) creche(1) EM Standing(1) Breathing(2) Decisions(1) healthy eating policies(1) CIT(1) iOS(1) NAEYC(1) trust(4) Department of Education and Skills(1) emotions(2) UNCRC(2) Winter(1) parents(7) Snack Time(1) play(38) Window(1) Sociodramatic play(1) art of the relationship(1) planning(1) Mo Scéal(1) Online Research Symposium(3) Map(1) memories(1) Gardening(1) Confidence(1) mental health problems(1) HR(1) Routines(2) early childhood ireland research(1) Kilkenny(1) Children's Research Network(2) Pen green(1) Childhood(2) Giraffe(2) Recycle(1) Academics(1) learning bias(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Inter-generational learning(2) Laughter(1) toddlers(3) phone apps(1) adult child interactions(1) child development(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Oireachtas(1) Family(1) Kindness Challenge(1) Running(1) Book Review(1) ELC(1) science(3) Playdough(1) Children's Book Club(1) Pedagogy(2) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Aistear(132) Practice(1) christmas(9) quarantine(2) man up(1) Reading Time(2) staying connected(1) ECEC Setting(2) Síolta QAP(1) Horizon 2020(1) Malaguzzi(1) Síolta(141) learners(1) Mayo(1) Empathy(1) dining(1) role playing(1) Looking Forward(1) Early Pedagogy(1) Cognitive development(1) Intention(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) environments(2) Nutrition(1) Technology(3) Inclusion(4) emotional environment(2) Study Trip(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) LINC Programme(1) Training(3) Sleep(1) Valerie Gaynor(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine