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Reaping the Rewards


Tuesday 26 February 2019

In April 2019, we will be celebrating our seventh annual Early Childhood Ireland National Awards. This inspiring event will take place in The Alex Hotel in Dublin 2 and the evening is not to be missed! Guests will come together to enjoy a luxurious gala dinner, during which Early Childhood Ireland will present awards to our members. This gala evening is an excellent excuse to get glammed up, celebrate with your team, and meet like-minded colleagues over dinner. The MC for the evening is Keelin Shanley of RTÉ.

The Early Childhood Ireland National Awards celebrate and highlight the exceptional contributions that individuals, teams, and organisations make to improving the experiences of children and their families in early years settings across Ireland.  The awards are judged by a panel of Irish experts representing the early years sector.


There are five award categories:

1. Early Childhood Ireland Learning Stories Awards

2018 winner: 'A Letter to Kelly', The Purple Penguin, Co. Kildare

This is a simple story that celebrates the wonder of Kelly. At just over 2 years of age, Kelly shows eagerness, curiosity, determination, willingness, and above all friendship as she helps and includes her friends in her play. She watches her educator as he cleans paint from the floor and works out a way of helping him. What a lovely way of capturing children’s dispositions in the early years.


2. Early Childhood Ireland Inspired Practice Awards

2018 winner: 'A Creative Touch', Beverton Preschool, Co. Dublin

Vikki, a young local woman, approaches Beverton with her support person to enquire about the possibility of her reading to the children using Braille. Embracing this opportunity, no one could have imagined the joy and learning this experience was to offer. As children are wont to do, they asked direct questions as they grappled with the concept and realities of visual impairment. Supported to converse and reflect about their thoughts and emotions, some of the children are saddened by Vikki’s inability to see the pictures in their books. They see this as a problem to be solved.  This leads to a lot of creative thinking and, with help from a willing and skilful parent, a beautiful sensory creation. The children truly experience the joy of giving in some magic moments of connection.


3. Early Childhood Ireland Educator – Leader in Practice Award

2018 winner: Mag Coogan, The ABC Club Playschool, Navan Road, Dunboyne, Co. Meath

Mag was nominated by Laura Whittaker, a parent of a child who attends the ABC Club Playschool. Here is a small excerpt of what she said about Mag in her nomination form: ‘Mag’s playschool is child-led, child-based, positive, and fun. Children are encouraged to be independent and to problem solve for themselves or as part of a team. She encourages a lot of outdoor learning. Mag goes back to basics and promotes outdoor fun (hail, rain, snow, or sun). She encourages the children (and parents) using the natural world around to develop their imaginations. Mag plays a very active role in our local community and is known to the majority around. Mag has also brought a lot of families closer together, children and parents encouraging a positive and supportive environment.  Mag constantly campaigns for children on behalf of children with special needs. She is a true advocate for all kids’.

New categories:

4. Early Childhood Ireland Partnership with Families Innovation Award

5. Early Childhood Ireland LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion


If you're not in, you can't win! To ensure the most deserving Early Childhood Ireland members triumph, send us your nominations for the Educator - Leader in Practice Award, Partnership with Families Innovation Award and/or LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion now. Entry is completely free and the closing date for submissions is Thursday 28 February 2019. 

Entries are flooding from counties Carlow, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, and Wicklow. Make sure your county is represented too - send us your nomination!


Have a look at Eoghan’s silent advertisement award video:



Debbie Mullen is working as an Early Childhood Specialist with Early Childhood Ireland since 2002 and is a lecturer on the level 8, honours degree in Early Childhood – Teaching and Learning with Maynooth University. She gained her MA in Integrated Services for Children and Families at the University of Leicester / Pen Green. Debbie is also a qualified Marte Meo Colleague Trainer.

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