Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Stories from the Heart


Tuesday 17 October 2017

When I set out on my journey writing learning stories I felt very anxious. Would I know what to write? Would I know what to look for? Did I have the right words to explain the story? I soon discovered the more I did it, the more comfortable I became with the process. I realised you can’t get it wrong if you are writing from the heart and writing about what happens. Later, when I had the confidence to share the stories with parents and my colleagues, the stories took on a whole new meaning for me, as I suddenly realised I was making memories for children and parents, memories they would have for years to come.


Our story “Follow Your Dreams”, which won the Early Childhood Ireland Learning Story award in June of this year, will forever be a cherished memory for everyone in the Clare Family Resource Centre. What started out as two boys playing with blocks and a simple conversation about mountains, soon took our entire centre and our community on a journey together that would lead us all to the top of Mount Everest. John Burke from County Clare, summited Mount Everest to raise money for the youth of Clare. He felt they needed to be encouraged to reach their full potential and to know that dreams do come true. Having him come to visit our centre with his story of Everest gave us all the amazing opportunity to reach children in the early years with that same message, because let’s face it, the early years are the most vulnerable and impressionable years of a child’s learning journey.


Wendy Lee, speaking at the Early Childhood Ireland Conference in September, asked us to imagine a child, opening their book/ learning journal in 20 or 30 years’ time wondering:

Who was I when I was 4 years old?
What were my interests?
What was in my soul?


Imagine that child then reading a letter or a story written to them from you, and getting the answers to those very questions…. now that is powerful! Since meeting Wendy, I have taken on some of her wise advice and I recently got this reply from a parent of a non-verbal child after they had a taken home their child’s book “Thank you Maxine, it’s just brilliant to be able to picture my son’s day. It gives me a great link until he can actually tell me himself”.

Remember a learning story can come from something as simple as a gust of wind, you just need to be open to see it and explore through a child’s eyes.


Maxine Ryan has worked with Clare Family Resource Centre for about 15 years. She has worked with children of all ages and qualified as a Montessori teacher a few years back and has been doing that ever since. She is also an accredited Incredible Years mentor and delivers the Programme and mentoring trained staff in a few different settings within Clare. She also recently passed the LINC Programme and has just started a new role as inclusion officer in CFRC and is really enjoying it. Maxine recently spoke about her Learning Story journey at the Early Childhood Ireland Celebrating Children’s Stories conference in September.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

early life(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) play stories(2) Qualifications(1) Meet the Members(1) Scéalta Blog(106) man up(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Employee(1) Certificate(1) TOY Programme(1) Wrapping paper(1) GDPR(1) Body Language(1) Inspiring Practice(1) value(1) EECERA(1) ICBN(1) Jenga(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Mindfulness(3) memories(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Sport(1) Vietnam(1) structure(1) curriculum(7) worldbookday(1) Bereavement(2) Communicating(1) iOS(1) ears(1) Well-Being(10) Building Resilience(1) Youtube Series(1) coronavirus(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Workplace well-being(1) Nordic model(1) Storytelling(8) Sculptures(1) feisty(1) Snack Time(1) family time(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) emotions(2) School Age Childcare(2) Thanks(1) Shoes(1) Trick or treat(1) Nonverbal(1) transitions(10) budget(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Favouritism(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Role play(1) Staff Motivation(1) child led(1) Research Seminar(1) children’s learning(1) Budget 2018(1) Games(2) Early Learning and Care(2) Infectious diseases(1) environments(1) NCCA(4) Arithmetic(1) Visitors(1) First 5(1) gender stereotype(1) outdoor space(3) Music(3) Sustainable(1) preschools(1) Equality(1) eating(1) Return to Work Training(1) development(9) Iraq(1) Environment(2) Interests(1) Snacks(1) ECIAwards20(1) Self Help Skills(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) educarer(1) story time(2) Exclusion(1) Autism(4) Light table(1) Flowers(1) curiosity(3) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Design(1) Running(1) Norway(2) Twitter(1) Seas Suas(1) Exit interview(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Sessional service(1) baby room(1) ECEC(4) Leprechauns(1) Kindness Challenge(1) built environments(1) Learning Journal(2) Pedagogy(2) annual awards(1) parents(7) Gardening(1) emotional well-being(1) annual conference(1) Positivity(1) Reading Time(2) overhear(1) developing motor skills(1) Italy(1) Looking Forward(1) democracy(1) Performance Management(1) Maternity Leave(1) Prexit(1) Hand Hygiene(2) outdoors(4) Aistear(132) early childhood educator(2) Learning Story Awards(2) phone apps(1) Care routines(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Challenges(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Fabric(1) COVID(3) Workforce(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Sequins(1) Confidence(1) Book Club(2) child-centred approach(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Reopening Childcare(1) RTE Investigates(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Giraffe(2) Digital(1) Fire Safety(1) Map(1) Recycling(2) Annual Conference 2017(2) Looking Back(1) Dance(1) Kerry(1) Inter-generational(2) Mental Health(4) Universal Design Guidelines(1) UNICEF report(1) Playschool(1) emotional environment(2) books(5) Brain(1) Kids Own(1) Mud kitchens(1) democratic citizens(1) Magnavacchi(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) imotion(1) Infection Control(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) conversations(1) Professionalisation(5) Anxiety(2) behavioural science(1) Identity and Belonging(4) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Queues(1) ERASMUS+(3) risk(2) Anthony Semann(1) Affordability(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) AIM(2) Thinking(1) Meal time(1) Leargas(1) Names(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) supportive environments(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Magda Gerber(1) Appreciation(1) Engineering(3) code of ethics(1) Buddy Bench(1) timekeeping skills(1) Children and families(2) Document Learning(1) Winter(1) Trade Unions(1) Mixed age groups(3) Early Years Education(1) Wilenski(1) Early Years Educators(3) bloom app(1) Spiders(1) Study Trip(1) Policy(2) collaboration(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Touch(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Shapes(2) scéalta(58) Technology(3) Whole Group(1) Kindness(1) dining experiences(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Family wall(1) Through the looking glass(1) First 5 strategy(1) journey(1) routine(2) experience(1) European Project(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) QRF(1) National Holiday(1) reopening ireland(1) Mo Scéal(1) AsIAm(2) art of the relationship(1) Routines(2) learning(19) Pretend Play(1) Rituals(1) Behaviour(3) Your place(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) ReCreate(2) Diversity(1) preschool(4) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) education system(1) UK Government(1) early childhood(1) Awards Night(1) Pobal(1) Trigonometry(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Sleep(1) Empathy(1) Interaction(1) Proceedings Journal(1) partnership with families(1) keep in touch(1) Time(1) Recycle(1) Xbox(1) life long learning(1) refugees(1) Frustrations(1) reading(6) Early Years(1) Ariana Pucci(1) TRAP(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) E.coli(1) Biting(1) Learning Story(1) Covid response(2) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Kilkenny(1) social science(1) outdoor play(7) Funding(1) Titles(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) listening(1) gender bias(1) Educators(2) Learning journals(1) Culture(2) apps for children(1) Online(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) MA(1) Story(2) National Awards 2019(1) National Awards 2018(2) Engineers Week(2) Síolta QAP(1) Window(1) research submissions(1) Unesco(1) Iceland(2) Patterns(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Digital Devices(1) science week(2) dogs(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) meals(3) Children's Voice(1) planning(1) responsive relationships(1) Independence(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Childhood(2) Masterclass(2) National Childcare Scheme(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Grief(1) Time Out(1) College(1) toddlers(3) Degree(1) play therapy(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Children(8) RIE philosphy(1) relationships(18) STEAM(1) Training(3) DES Inspection(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) under 3's(3) UNCRC(2) Exploratory Play(1) listen(1) Opportunities(1) Maths(6) Oireachtas(1) CPD(1) Communications(1) Belonging(3) Graduation(1) Plants(1) Plastic(1) Builders(1) role playing(1) science(3) Reflective Practice(1) Change(1) Rich Documentation(1) Consent(1) Home Corner(1) creche(1) grandchild(1) women in research(1) Mealtimes(1) Magic(1) documentation(4) play(37) bonds(1) Performing(1) Halloween(2) conference(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Impact(1) Visual Impairment(1) Fantasy play(1) UD(1) child-centric(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) maternity health(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) stories(3) Capable(1) Margy Whalley(1) Facebook(1) IGL(1) Awards(2) Care-giving routines(1) Creativity(7) Blocks(1) Maynooth University(2) SAC(1) DCYA(6) Loving Relationships(2) community(5) Laugh(1) Children's Rights(3) Motor neuron disease(1) Nutrition(1) partnership(1) Horizon 2020(1) Santa(2) outdoor environment(1) Decisions(1) World book day(1) friendships(1) ELC(1) learning bias(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Event Guide(1) ECCE(7) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Montessori(3) Our Little Seed(1) Wesco(1) Human Resources(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Easter(1) education(2) Glitter(2) Vertical grouping(1) MECPI(1) Primary School(3) Self-Esteem(1) Weather(1) New Appointments(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) inspiring interactions(1) Small World Play(1) CCTV(1) Pre-School Services(1) linc(1) communication(4) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Cork(1) Breathing(2) Elders(1) Little Buddies(1) Pen green(1) Child mental health(1) Penguins(1) INTO(1) interacting(2) EECERA 2016(1) dining(1) Covid pandemic(3) social media(2) homeschool(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) HR(1) natural environment(1) Administrative Burden(1) Gratitude(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Snakes(1) Universal Design(2) Deirdre Rogers(1) Inclusion(3) blog(56) Painting(1) Maths Week(1) Potential(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Art(6) Department of Education and Skills(1) EM Standing(1) Limerick(1) TUSLA(1) Regulation 23(1) research(8) Community involvement(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Socioemotional development(1) keezy(1) babies(7) Irish guidelines(1) Seanchaí(1) Craft(1) playleader(1) Settling in(4) Mantra(1) Creative(1) trust(4) Feeding(1) Obesity(1) Malaguzzi(1) primary education(1) Childcare(3) quarantine kids(1) Orla Kenny(1) Competent(1) Awards 2019(1) Liz Kerrins(1) worries(1) mushrooms(1) Fee Play(1) Early Childhood Education(1) racism(1) Traffic Lights(1) Learning Stories(9) Valerie Gaynor(1) movement behaviours(1) Decision Making(1) Reggio(1) Graduate(1) Eritrea(1) Mount Everest(1) Síolta(139) Irish(1) healthy eating policies(1) multi-generational community(1) continual professional development(1) Wonder(1) pablo(1) Siolta blog(8) Smiles(1) Return to Work(1) Intention(1) Sweets(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Child Care(1) Investment(2) show and tell(1) learning hub(2) Workplace Relations(3) Stress(2) an post(1) Wendy Lee(4) june29(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) International Narratives(1) Budget 2019(2) Christmas Creativity(2) social media policy(1) Afghanistan(1) COVID-19(18) Inspirational(2) Academics(1) Treasure Chest(1) CIT(1) Arlene Forster(1) NAEYC(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Women(1) Engagement(1) guardian(1) Health(2) Europe(1) play pods(2) Celebrations(4) peer group(1) ECEC Setting(2) preschool settings(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) educating(1) early years learning(1) upskilling(1) Celebrate(1) Book Review(1) Mayo(1) Mark Twain(1) PIP(1) Identity(5) STEM(3) Traditions(2) awards 2020(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) play pod(1) University(1) learners(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) quarantine(2) Supernanny(1) aistear blog(3) The Jelly King(1) Awards 2018(3) Cognitive development(1) Mathematicians(1) Inspections(1) Support(1) mental health problems(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Budget 2020(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Yoga(1) Maynooth(1) early years research(3) Frosty the Snowman(1) early year’s classrooms(1) Teamwork(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) respect(5) lockdown(1) Exploring(1) Buddies(1) Children's Book Club(1) Arts(1) Party(1) children development(1) United Nations(1) Family(1) animals(2) Reggio Emilia(2) youdoodle(1) Drawing(2) Maths Week Ireland(1) Valentine's Day(3) Japan(1) UN(1) Croatia(1) christmas(9) Confident(1) reopening(1) Trade union(1) early years settings(1) SPICE Framework(1) Relaxation(1) Treasure(1) Self-regulation(1) Online Research Symposium(3) Social Skills(1) Leadership(1) Exercise(1) Academic Skills(1) staying connected(1) San Miniato(4) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Covid-19 lockdown(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) purpose(1) Counting(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Albert Einstein(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Line-ups(1) Adoption(1) Summer(2) Participation(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Syria(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Loss(1) childcare services(1) Laughter(1) Large Doll Play(1) Lego(2) UK(1) Thank you(1) Advocacy(1) dublin(2) child safeguarding(1) risk assessment(1) Interactions(3) Sustainability(3) Skillnet(1) Scents(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Imagination(3) World Health Organisation(1) pets(1) food(1) Love(3) presentation skills(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Upcycling(1) Quality(4) Children's Research Network(2) Playdough(1) online training(1) Ceremony(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Death(2) Photographs(1) Maria Montessori(1) risky play(2)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine