Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

The Awards!


Tuesday 22 May 2018

In April, Mag Coogan, Owner of the ABC Club in Dunboyne, Co. Meath, was the overall winner of the first ever Early Childhood Ireland Educator of the Year Award. Here’s what happened in the preschool the week after the Awards Ceremony!

Returning to The ABC Club on the Monday after winning the Educator of the Year Award, the staff team were doing show and tell with the children. The trophy featured in a big way! They each got a chance to hold the trophy and it went from shiny crystal to frosted crystal from the finger prints as quick as lightning. The staff team told the children how we all dressed in our nice dresses and got our hair and nails done, and some of us even put on makeup before we went to the ball. We told them how we got a bus and when we got to the Castle we had dinner served by waiters and waitresses and drank wine. Then there were the awards; Mag won and Lauren (one of the team) jumped up out of her seat screaming and everyone was clapping and Mag went on the stage to get the trophy. Then there was music and we danced all night. The children were enthralled and excited at the thoughts of us teachers being princesses (more like oul queens/stepmothers!) for a night.

Suddenly a voice pipes up "that’s not fair, we never get to go to a ball". Joan suggested we ask Mag (who was at AsIAm training) if we could have a ball one day to celebrate. We began by consulting with the parents if they would be okay with their children having their hair, nails, makeup, and tattoos done for a ball to celebrate. This wish was granted. We then consulted with the children about what they thought they needed to go to a ball. As you can imagine, the clothes were top priority followed by food, drink and dancing. We planned a week of preparation with the culmination being the ball.

The day of the ball arrived and the children arrived in their beautiful party dresses (the girls) and their suits/waistcoats and dicky bows (the boys) where they were whisked away to make appointments for their beauty pieces. They arrived on time for their appointments and the multi-tasking team accommodated all the children and turned them into princes and princesses. Meanwhile, the award winner was Cinderella in the kitchen doing the cooking! While the beautifying was finishing up, the table was being set with the red and cream table cloths, the cutlery and the glasses.

The children then had a fire drill and were evacuated from the building. After the drill was complete but before they went back indoors, they were given the invitations they had made. These had to be handed to the butler at the door for entry to the castle and they had their photo taken as they walked in. They chose their seats at the table and dinner was served by the waitresses; chicken nuggets, sausages and chips. There was a special treat of coke zero and diet 7up (red wine and white wine) followed by sugar free jelly and ice cream.

The dancing followed and the children strutted their stuff from Irish jigs to break dancing and don’t you just love the dab? Cinders had turned into Snow White at this stage for some reason and joined in the dancing while the waitress’ (Ugly sisters) did the washing up (Cinders got her own back!). One little girl with special needs obviously felt that she was being upstaged, so she took Snow White by the hand, took her off the dance floor and pushed her into a seat.

The award ceremony followed the dancing and each child had to climb on a bench (the stage) to receive their award for being one of the best children at The ABC Club and Lauren had to jump out of her chair screaming each time and everyone was clapping.

It was such a special day for the children and the staff team. They had as much fun at their awards ceremony as we had at Clontarf Castle. The next day, talking about the ceremony and awards, one child told us, You are the best teachers here in Ireland but not in the universe. When asked who are the best teachers in the universe, he replied, I don’t know but it’s not you! FEET are now FIRMLY ON THE GROUND, HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS!

Our celebrations as a team at the ECI awards ceremony became a celebration for the children as we listened to them and their ideas, followed their interests and put them into practice. We are now looking forward to having an awards ceremony with the parents on the 8th June, it won’t be a ball but I’m sure we’ll have one.

Thank you, Early Childhood Ireland, Toddle Box and Wesco for a great night and thank you to my amazing staff team Catherine, Joan, Antoinette, Áine, Patricia, Ruth and Lauren, without whom The ABC Club would not be an award winning early years’ service.

Thank you to the parents of The ABC Club who sponsored the children’s award ceremonies. You too are amazing.



The ABC Club was founded in January 1997 by Mag Coogan and Catherine Buggle. They started in a bedroom in Mags house with 4 children. That September they enrolled 12 and knew a bigger premises was required. The following September they opened in their current building and doubled their sessions to two per day. They now cater for 45 children over the two sessions. Mag became the sole trader but Catherine remains her right-hand woman. The team are proactive in moving with the times and with change. They are advocates for inclusive practice, outdoor play and partnership with parents.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Magnavacchi(1) Halloween(2) christmas(9) Reflective Practice(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Smiles(1) Titles(1) Snack Time(1) Maths(6) Creative(1) transitions(10) The Lullaby Book(1) Childhood(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Prexit(1) PIP(1) Health(2) Sweets(1) Investment(2) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Workplace well-being(1) Interests(1) Budget 2020(1) Laugh(1) Tuscan Approach(2) parents(6) Inter-generational learning(2) Universal Design Guidelines(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Online(1) gender stereotype(1) friendships(1) Children's Voice(1) Line-ups(1) Pen green(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Lego(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Japan(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) annual awards(1) Kerry(1) early years learning(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Yoga(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Mindfulness(3) Scéalta Book Review(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Recycle(1) NAEYC(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Creativity(6) Book Review(1) Self-regulation(1) Learning Journal(2) EECERA(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) First 5 strategy(1) reopening ireland(1) ECCE(7) reopening(1) Learning journals(1) Wendy Lee(3) Confident(1) Window(1) collaboration(1) scéalta(56) behavioural science(1) Sustainable(1) Care routines(1) Irish(1) Adoption(1) Change(1) outdoor play(6) Pre-School Services(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Map(1) Academics(1) phone apps(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Mealtimes(1) ReCreate(2) racism(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Home Corner(1) democracy(1) Scéalta Blog(104) European Project(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Opportunities(1) Mud kitchens(1) curiosity(3) Covid-19 lockdown(1) child-centred approach(1) ECEC Setting(2) play pod(1) Upcycling(1) movement behaviours(1) child-centric(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) UNCRC(2) Sleep(1) an post(1) Care-giving routines(1) Winter(1) Leprechauns(1) Staff Motivation(1) Limerick(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Reading Time(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) play stories(2) Socioemotional development(1) AsIAm(2) blog(53) art of the relationship(1) Magic(1) Italy(1) Kids Own(1) outdoors(4) Self Help Skills(1) outdoor environment(1) Educators(2) Nuturing interactions(1) family time(1) early life(1) Looking Forward(1) structure(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Dance(1) Engagement(1) Magda Gerber(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Rituals(1) UNICEF report(1) Building Resilience(1) june29(1) Death(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Fantasy play(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) RIE philosphy(1) Plastic(1) play(35) First 5(1) Covid response(2) bloom app(1) Awards Night(1) preschool(4) democratic citizens(1) Games(1) Pretend Play(1) Workforce(1) Shapes(2) Behaviour(3) Infection Control(1) Thanks(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Exercise(1) Seanchaí(1) Maynooth(1) Meal time(1) Facebook(1) Leargas(1) Sustainability(3) COVID-19 landscape(1) Infectious diseases(1) man up(1) developing motor skills(1) social media policy(1) Stress(2) Exploring and Thinking(1) Maria Montessori(1) Story(2) HR(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) educating(1) Sequins(1) Breathing(2) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Exclusion(1) Trigonometry(1) risky play(2) Community involvement(1) feisty(1) Treasure(1) Gardening(1) GDPR(1) Exploratory Play(1) Blocks(1) development(8) Awards 2019(1) memories(1) Impact(1) Syria(1) Treasure Chest(1) Confidence(1) EECERA 2016(1) Graduation(1) Autism(4) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Recycling(2) Party(1) gender bias(1) Performing(1) Academic Skills(1) playleader(1) play therapy(1) research submissions(1) Technology(3) Horizon 2020(1) Albert Einstein(1) TOY Programme(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Biting(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Culture(2) risk assessment(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Counting(1) Small World Play(1) Book Club(2) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Training(2) Twitter(1) Event Guide(1) science(3) Competent(1) Irish guidelines(1) Touch(1) Spiders(1) relationships(18) Elders(1) emotional well-being(1) emotions(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Engineering Ireland(1) early childhood(1) creche(1) education system(1) Study Trip(1) STEM(3) Return to Work Training(1) Identity(5) Photographs(1) social media(2) Children's Rights(3) Family(1) Love(3) Frosty the Snowman(1) CPD(1) learning bias(1) NCCA(3) Art(6) apps for children(1) Light table(1) purpose(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Trick or treat(1) Sociodramatic play(1) role playing(1) Little Buddies(1) Child Care(1) Malaguzzi(1) Painting(1) dining experiences(1) TRAP(1) healthy eating policies(1) Human Resources(1) Meet the Members(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Consent(1) pets(1) dining(1) Builders(1) Xbox(1) Universal Design(2) DCYA(6) Engineering(3) Gratitude(1) communication(4) Well-Being(10) responsive relationships(1) Playschool(1) curriculum(5) Mayo(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Capable(1) MA(1) Early Learning and Care(1) EM Standing(1) Aistear(130) Role play(1) Mental Health(4) Degree(1) Brain(1) Orla Kenny(1) documentation(4) Penguins(1) under 3's(3) Obesity(1) risk(2) community(5) Reggio(1) Equality(1) Nutrition(1) Super Shed Stories(2) learners(1) Family wall(1) ERASMUS+(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) bonds(1) Challenges(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Snakes(1) listening(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Budget 2018(1) Digital(1) Design(1) Awards(2) Identity and Belonging(4) Youtube Series(1) Belonging(3) Document Learning(1) Feeding(1) Primary School(3) Employee(1) Buddy Bench(1) Mathematicians(1) continual professional development(1) Inspections(1) Maths Week(1) Administrative Burden(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Self-Esteem(1) Loss(1) education(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Children and families(1) baby room(1) Large Doll Play(1) Anthony Semann(1) science week(2) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Síolta(137) San Miniato(4) pablo(1) Settling in(4) IGL(1) Queues(1) educarer(1) College(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) dogs(1) ears(1) mushrooms(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Wilenski(1) Music(3) inspiring interactions(1) grandchild(1) experience(1) early years settings(1) Covid19 crisis(1) books(4) ECEC(3) Independence(1) quarantine(1) Vietnam(1) ICBN(1) Teamwork(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) routine(2) Weather(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) respect(5) Participation(2) Iraq(1) eating(1) play pods(2) Margy Whalley(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) multi-generational community(1) Mount Everest(1) Learning Stories(9) Snacks(1) Kindness(1) Mixed age groups(3) Inspired Practice Award(6) Favouritism(1) staying connected(1) Inter-generational(2) GoToMeeting app(1) food(1) Arlene Forster(1) Visual Impairment(1) Through the looking glass(1) School Age Childcare(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Communications(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) mental health problems(1) Storytelling(7) Sessional service(1) Positivity(1) Giraffe(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) SPICE Framework(1) Qualifications(1) Wesco(1) childcare services(1) Early Years Education(1) conference(1) children development(1) aistear blog(3) Afghanistan(1) Fee Play(1) Buddies(1) Plants(1) preschool settings(1) Summer(1) Leadership(1) COVID-19(14) meals(3) Your place(1) Drawing(2) Learning Story Awards(2) Aldo Fortunati(4) imotion(1) Looking Back(1) Communicating(1) Learning Stories Award(3) E.coli(1) dublin(2) awards 2020(1) Bereavement(2) Online Research Symposium(1) INTO(1) National Awards 2019(1) Performance Management(1) coronavirus(1) Arts(1) Glitter(2) Funding(1) learning(19) Fabric(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Sculptures(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Exit interview(1) Children(4) AIM(2) Hand Hygiene(2) Traffic Lights(1) Graduate(1) Decision Making(1) Certificate(1) Oireachtas(1) show and tell(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Digital Devices(1) Covid pandemic(2) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) code of ethics(1) conversations(1) Decisions(1) Mantra(1) Quality(4) Maynooth University(2) learning hub(1) Professionalisation(5) Norway(2) linc(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) overhear(1) Support(1) trust(4) refugees(1) Advocacy(1) Easter(1) UD(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Time Out(1) toddlers(3) Educator of the Year Award(3) Craft(1) Child mental health(1) primary education(1) children’s learning(1) environments(1) reading(5) stories(3) animals(2) Imagination(3) Cork(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Visitors(1) social science(1) life long learning(1) Research Seminar(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) UN(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Potential(1) Diversity(1) Routines(2) Patterns(1) Thank you(1) CCTV(1) Body Language(1) Iceland(1) New Appointments(1) keep in touch(1) Siolta blog(8) budget(1) iOS(1) Empathy(1) Montessori(3) Celebrations(4) Sport(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Running(1) Pobal(1) Kilkenny(1) Vertical grouping(1) University(1) emotional environment(2) Loving Relationships(2) story time(2) Exploring(1) Flowers(1) ECIAwards20(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Seas Suas(1) Relaxation(1) Valentine's Day(3) Interaction(1) Cognitive development(1) Workplace Relations(3) Traditions(2) interacting(2) supportive environments(2) Interactions(3) Maternity Leave(1) National Awards 2018(2) online training(1) early years research(2) Thinking(1) Nonverbal(1) Early Childhood Education(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) youdoodle(1) Learning Story(1) Supernanny(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Budget 2019(2) RTE Investigates(1) Síolta QAP(1) International Narratives(1) Arithmetic(1) early childhood educator(2) Mark Twain(1) Affordability(1) Trade Unions(1) listen(1) Mo Scéal(1) DES Inspection(1) Trade union(1) United Nations(1) Inspirational(2) Learning through Storytelling(1) Engineers Week(2) worries(1) Policy(2) Shoes(1) Grief(1) Early Years Educators(3) Jenga(1) Rich Documentation(1) annual conference(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Early Years(1) peer group(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Laughter(1) Playdough(1) journey(1) The Jelly King(1) Appreciation(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Intention(1) Our Little Seed(1) Awards 2018(3) Whole Group(1) Children's Research Network(1) Santa(2) Time(1) value(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Eritrea(1) ELC(1) outdoor space(3) CIT(1) Wrapping paper(1) World Health Organisation(1) maternity health(1) Names(1) Anxiety(2) Kindness Challenge(1) babies(7) SAC(1) Pedagogy(2) Scents(1) Masterclass(2) Frustrations(1) National Holiday(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Environment(2) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Ceremony(1) planning(1) Childcare(3) Celebrate(1) Wonder(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Research Conference 2019(1) keezy(1) Social Skills(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Inclusion(3) lockdown(1) Proceedings Journal(1) research(6) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) MECPI(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine