Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Getting to know you

By: MAIRE CORBETT

Tuesday 04 September 2018

Now that the initial new year busyness is easing, the ‘new’ children are settling in and parents are a bit less anxious about letting their little ones off to embark on a new journey.  We think about building a community in the preschool and we know that it takes more than a few weeks of settling in. Getting to know the children, what their interests are, what their temperaments are, what their dispositions are, takes longer. Of course, a good settling in policy helps, taking the time to get to know parents and to ensure that parents know that you want, indeed need, to find out as much as you can about their child, so you can provide the best possible experience for all the children.  In this blog, we will look at ways to develop this further, so we can enrich these experiences even more.

Many settings use ‘getting to know you’ or ‘Eolas faoi do paiste’ forms to find out more about children. These can be a great way to find out about a child’s interests and dispositions. It is important however, to ask relevant questions and to explain to parents the purpose of the form. Keep it simple and short and positive. You may need to translate the form for parents who do not read the language of your setting.

Learning journals/ individual portfolios are a key way of showing how we know children, how tuned in we are to them. Wendy Lee speaks about educators collecting information on what interests children have before joining the setting. For example, a parent identified their child’s interest in tractors. Wendy sees this on the form and says to the educator, “So, when I open this child’s journal, I will see something about tractors”. If the child’s interests are not featured, then we are not using information fully to meet children’s needs.

Using this information means we are really getting to know children and will prevent us making assumptions about children. I was recently talking to a little boy aged 5, both his parents are Lithuanian, but he was born in Ireland. I made a comment about Cork hurling and he didn’t know what I meant, from his response it was clear he identified more as Lithuanian, rather than Irish. I recently read about a child who spoke Spanish as his first language and the staff in his setting assumed he was from Spain…he was in fact from Argentina! If we do not ask questions we can make assumptions like this that can hamper the way we work with children and families.

A family wall is a great way of helping children bridge the transition between home and preschool. A family wall is created by displaying photos of children and their families. Laminating the photos before putting them on the wall makes them more durable. Use velcro tape so children can take photos down. It is important that the photos are displayed at the child’s level. The Equality and Diversity Guidelines (DCYA 2016) says “The family wall is an active tool as well as a form of identity support and comfort. It should be an ongoing feature of the curriculum and not just part of a theme. Children and parents should be able to add to it according as events unfold during the year.” If wall space is limited the same benefits can be achieved by sticking photos of parents, siblings, pets and other significant people on small cube shaped boxes and covering with clear ‘contact’. Alternatively, photo albums with these precious photos can be created. Explain the purpose of the family wall when parents are registering their child and encourage them to provide a selection of photos. It may be more convenient for parents to email them.

In some settings, educators ask children to draw their family early in the year and the educator writes the names of family members over each figure. This is a good way of knowing the family structure and any pets that are in the family (apart from the information on the registration forms). They ask the children to repeat this exercise at the end of the year and the progression in their ability to represent or draw is obvious.

The activities done in the early days in the setting can link to the end of year activities also. For example, using children’s handprints in their personal portfolio or learning journal. With activities like this it is, of course, important that children are active participants and that the children who don’t like messy activities are not forced to take part. Repeating the activity at the end of the year gives children a sense of how much they have grown.

In September one setting asked children to draw a picture of what they want to be when they grow up -they draw and the educators write a description of what they drew.  Typically, they want to be princesses and superheroes.  As the year goes on there is lots of discussion about jobs and careers, and visits from parents and other people in the community.  At the end of the year the children are again asked to draw what they would like to be when they grow up. Children now have a much broader concept of the different jobs and careers they can aspire to – doctors, scientists, architects, engineers etc.  

These kinds of documentation can be added at the beginning and end of the children’s individual journals, and are a nice way of linking the beginning of the year to the ending. They are also a great way to get children to reflect on their own learning.

Slowing down in our interactions with children really helps us tune in to hear and see what makes them tick. When we become caught up in the routine and our adult-led plans we can miss what children know, what engages them, and what they would like us to know.

If you have examples of how you tune in to children please contact us - we can share them on Facebook and on our website!

 

Bio: 

Máire Corbett is an Early Childhood Specialist at Early Childhood Ireland. She trained in Montessori teaching and has completed an MA in Integrated Provision for Children and Families with the University of Leicester, at Pen Green.

Visiting member settings inspires me as I see the passion and energy educators put into providing great experiences for the children in their settings. I love seeing competent children at play! 

3 comments Comments

3 Responses

  1. Sinead Mc Glacken says:

    A very insightful blog Máire and timely. Educators who wish to know more about the Family Wall project can find it in chapter 9 of the wonderful book by Colette Murray and Mathias Urban (2012) Diversity and Equality in Early Childhood an Irish Perspective. Happy reading! 😊 🌟

  2. Sinead Mc Glacken says:

    … and I think the story so beautifully told of the little Spanish speaking child from Argentina may be found on p. 147 of the same book by Colette Murray and Mathias Urban (2012) Diversity and Equality in Early Childhood an Irish Perspective. Well worth a read! 😊 🌟

  3. Maire Corbett says:

    Thanks Sinead, I appreciate you reminding me where I heard that story! And I agree, Diversity and Equality in Early Childhood is a really useful book.

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

trust(4) Kilkenny(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Shapes(2) presentation skills(1) Vertical grouping(1) apps for children(1) emotions(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) DES Inspection(1) AIM(2) reading(6) babies(7) Sessional service(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) dining experiences(1) Magnavacchi(1) structure(1) responsive relationships(1) Identity and Belonging(4) gender stereotype(1) Mark Twain(1) child led(1) Trade Unions(1) Irish(1) Seanchaí(1) Skillnet(1) European Project(1) InspireMe.ie(1) emotional environment(2) Policy(2) Workplace Relations(3) ECEC(4) St. Patrick's Day(1) partnership(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) outdoor environment(1) Potential(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) pets(1) Family(1) Early Learning and Care(2) quarantine kids(1) dogs(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Imagination(3) Engineers Week(2) Bereavement(2) Environment(2) Mindfulness(3) Valerie Gaynor(1) Performance Management(1) play pod(1) Party(1) Horizon 2020(1) Building Resilience(1) story time(2) University(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Belonging(3) Síolta QAP(1) lockdown(1) Awards 2019(1) Buddy Bench(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Feeding(1) Time(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Italy(1) books(5) documentation(4) stories(3) Family wall(1) ERASMUS+(3) Playdough(1) HR(1) early years research(3) annual conference(1) Mayo(1) community(5) early year’s classrooms(1) Workplace well-being(1) role playing(1) child safeguarding(1) behavioural science(1) childcare services(1) Confidence(1) children’s learning(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Afghanistan(1) STEM(3) Arts(1) guardian(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Sociodramatic play(1) Maths Week(1) Buddies(1) children development(1) Care routines(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Sport(1) Recycling(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Exercise(1) Pedagogy(2) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Mo Scéal(1) Self-Esteem(1) Behaviour(3) Book Club(2) educarer(1) Mental Health(4) show and tell(1) The Jelly King(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Self Help Skills(1) Childhood Development Initiative(1) Croatia(1) primary education(1) Interests(1) Sequins(1) TUSLA(1) Mantra(1) ears(1) development(9) STEAM(1) Health(2) conference(1) Childcare(3) Staff Motivation(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Time Out(1) worries(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Culture(2) dolly parton library(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) maternity health(1) ECCE(7) Kids Own(1) dublin(2) Frustrations(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) National Awards 2018(2) Celebrate(1) Brain(1) learners(1) Running(1) Early Years Educators(3) animals(2) Primary School(3) Nuturing interactions(1) curiosity(3) Hand Hygiene(2) Prexit(1) food(1) COVID-19(18) built environments(1) Awards Night(1) Educators(2) Looking Forward(1) Whole Group(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Laugh(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Biting(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Visitors(1) listen(1) Graduate(1) Appreciation(1) supportive environments(2) Proceedings Journal(1) routine(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Exploring(1) Playschool(1) under 3's(3) collaboration(1) play stories(2) Care-giving routines(1) purpose(1) DCYA(6) Awards(2) Cork(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Decision Making(1) NAEYC(1) Plants(1) Inspirational(2) Learning Story Awards(2) education(2) SPICE Framework(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) Routines(2) Social Skills(1) Opportunities(1) Celebrations(4) Pedagogical leaders(1) Professionalisation(5) Return to Work(1) Online Research Symposium(3) Effect of Lockdown(1) Thanks(1) Covid response(2) MECPI(1) Child Care(1) Self-regulation(1) Early Years(1) bloom app(1) Halloween(2) Dolly Partons Imagination Library(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) refugees(1) Youtube Series(1) Mud kitchens(1) phone apps(1) Graduation(1) Nonverbal(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) women in research(1) Reopening Childcare(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) reopening ireland(1) Fabric(1) keezy(1) Communications(1) Treasure Chest(1) Iceland(2) Motor neuron disease(1) Learning Stories(9) Children's Book Club(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) First 5 strategy(1) Children(8) Kerry(1) Scéalta Blog(106) Engineering(3) homeschool(1) Malaguzzi(1) environments(2) Laughter(1) play(37) Communicating(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Fee Play(1) experience(1) Names(1) Leprechauns(1) Looking Back(1) iOS(1) Trick or treat(1) budget(1) World book day(1) christmas(9) research submissions(1) Maynooth(1) Leargas(1) journey(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Creativity(7) research(8) Confident(1) Reggio(1) Administrative Burden(1) worldbookday(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) Settling in(4) early childhood(1) National Awards 2019(1) preschool(4) social media(2) Sculptures(1) Aistear(132) Pretend Play(1) Touch(1) UK Government(1) timekeeping skills(1) ECIAwards20(1) School Age Childcare(2) Wesco(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Nutrition(1) Winter(1) code of ethics(1) meals(3) baby room(1) Siolta blog(8) Budget 2020(1) listening(1) Craft(1) UK(1) Trigonometry(1) Snack Time(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Kindness(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Visual Impairment(1) Inclusion(3) Fantasy play(1) Obesity(1) early life(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) risk(2) Performing(1) peer group(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Xbox(1) Valentine's Day(3) Academics(1) Book Review(1) toddlers(3) National Childcare Scheme(1) Syria(1) natural environment(2) EECERA(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Summer(2) UD(1) Learning journals(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) friendships(1) early years settings(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) Intention(1) Easter(1) democratic citizens(1) Learning Journal(2) preschools(1) Mount Everest(1) Reading Time(2) risk assessment(1) Albert Einstein(1) Sweets(1) scéalta(59) Covid-19 lockdown(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Weather(1) youdoodle(1) Training(3) blog(58) Pen green(1) Document Learning(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Change(1) learning bias(1) INTO(1) Budget 2018(1) Plastic(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Twitter(1) Lego(2) Montessori(3) Children's Rights(3) Employee(1) Maria Montessori(1) Workforce(1) democracy(1) Orla Kenny(1) UNCRC(2) relationships(18) parents(7) NCCA(4) Snakes(1) Certificate(1) partnership with families(1) Story(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Design(1) Anxiety(2) Counting(1) Trade union(1) june29(1) Irish guidelines(1) child-centred approach(1) COVID(3) Norway(2) Grief(1) learning(19) doodle families(1) Light table(1) transitions(10) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Cognitive development(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) National Holiday(1) PIP(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) gender bias(1) Research Seminar(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Advocacy(1) New Appointments(1) Shoes(1) Engagement(1) Glitter(2) UNICEF report(1) Treasure(1) Infection Control(1) Participation(2) MA(1) multi-generational community(1) memories(1) Event Guide(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) outdoors(4) Wilenski(1) Quality(4) Community involvement(1) Exit interview(1) QRF(1) Gardening(1) Storytelling(8) science week(2) Childhood(2) awards 2020(1) Giraffe(2) Yoga(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Teamwork(1) racism(1) code of professional responsibility(1) CPD(1) Learning Story(1) interacting(2) Reflective Practice(1) Early Years Education(1) Children's Research Network(2) science(3) risky play(2) Rich Documentation(1) Gratitude(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Our Little Seed(1) Digital Devices(1) eating(1) man up(1) International Narratives(1) Equality(1) Through the looking glass(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) nutritional learning(1) Positivity(1) Leadership(1) Death(2) Challenges(1) CCTV(1) Nordic model(1) United Nations(1) EM Standing(1) play pods(2) Art(6) keep in touch(1) ELC(1) TOY Programme(1) Jenga(1) Academic Skills(1) Child mental health(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Painting(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) First 5(1) Covid pandemic(3) communication(4) Meet the Members(1) Penguins(1) Elders(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Ceremony(1) Upcycling(1) healthy eating policies(1) Facebook(1) coronavirus(1) Santa(2) Autism(4) Photographs(1) Well-Being(10) Inter-generational learning(2) San Miniato(4) Fire Safety(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Sleep(1) Affordability(1) ReCreate(2) early childhood educator(2) Seas Suas(1) Patterns(1) mushrooms(1) GDPR(1) Vietnam(1) upskilling(1) Inter-generational(2) dining(1) Digital(1) Independence(1) Limerick(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) online training(1) Magda Gerber(1) Identity(5) Awards 2018(3) Flowers(1) doodle den(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Maynooth University(2) IGL(1) SAC(1) Window(1) Pobal(1) E.coli(1) Tuscan Approach(2) movement behaviours(1) respect(5) Recycle(1) Diversity(1) Degree(1) annual awards(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) Mathematicians(1) Snacks(1) Competent(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Maternity Leave(1) Relaxation(1) Human Resources(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) RTE Investigates(1) Funding(1) social science(1) Magic(1) social media policy(1) Wendy Lee(4) Dance(1) Study Trip(1) Síolta(139) Pobal sector profile(1) Maths(6) Investment(2) family time(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Europe(1) Support(1) College(1) Small World Play(1) Favouritism(1) Spiders(1) Technology(3) Large Doll Play(1) Reggio Children Network(1) mental health problems(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Smiles(1) Iraq(1) Arithmetic(1) Sustainable(1) playleader(1) Wonder(1) Pre-School Services(1) Blocks(1) Titles(1) Mixed age groups(3) Rituals(1) Sustainability(3) Margy Whalley(1) Anthony Semann(1) quarantine(2) Qualifications(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) education system(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) conversations(1) Empathy(1) Return to Work Training(1) Role play(1) CIT(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Eritrea(1) early years learning(1) Children's Voice(1) learning hub(2) staying connected(1) play therapy(1) National Pyjama Day(1) continual professional development(1) Home Corner(1) Oireachtas(1) Children and families(2) pablo(1) Stress(2) aistear blog(4) bonds(1) Capable(1) Regulation 23(1) Adoption(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Love(3) Wrapping paper(1) Supernanny(1) Traditions(2) Unesco(1) feisty(1) Little Buddies(1) overhear(1) curriculum(7) Your place(1) Budget 2019(2) Arlene Forster(1) outdoor play(7) child-centric(1) reopening(1) Japan(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Creative(1) EECERA 2016(1) Games(2) linc(1) Exploratory Play(1) Body Language(1) Drawing(2) World Health Organisation(1) Interactions(3) Thank you(1) Line-ups(1) preschool settings(1) Socioemotional development(1) Builders(1) Music(3) Map(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Thinking(1) educating(1) value(1) UN(1) Masterclass(2) Loss(1) ICBN(1) ECEC Setting(2) Meal time(1) developing motor skills(1) AsIAm(2) Infectious diseases(1) an post(1) emotional well-being(1) imotion(1) planning(1) TRAP(1) RIE philosphy(1) outdoor space(3) Traffic Lights(1) Breathing(2) Decisions(1) Interaction(1) creche(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Impact(1) Online(1) art of the relationship(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Exclusion(1) Mealtimes(1) Women(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Inspections(1) inspiring interactions(1) Queues(1) grandchild(1) Universal Design(2) Scents(1) Kindness Challenge(1) Loving Relationships(2) Consent(1) life long learning(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine