Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Don’t let the research journey end


Monday 22 February 2021

‘Research is a tool, and when you learn what it does, how it is used and why we use it, it becomes invaluable to our professional practice’ (MacNaughton, et al 2010). This description of research has stayed with me throughout my years studying early childhood education. It is a constant reminder of how important it is to use research to develop and improve our own practice as well as the question, challenge and investigate certain areas of early year’s theory and practice.

When the opportunity arose to submit an abstract of my work for Early Childhood Ireland’s Research Symposium back in April 2020, I took it. I thought of how long I had spent researching, reading, collecting data and composing the dissertation for my master’s degree and how this would be a fantastic platform to share my passion and research findings. My research over the past seven years has surrounded the importance of storytelling for early literacy development. It has always been a passion of mine and an area of teaching I have always felt needed further exploration. I researched this topic to understand the extent of which a practitioner’s values, attitude and beliefs can impact the successful implementation of high-quality storytelling experiences for children. This is important now more than ever with the constant push down of formal education into early childhood; we need to advocate for developmentally appropriate literacy activities in early year’s classrooms and settings (French, 2012, O’Connor & Angus, 2014, Katz, 2015).

Feeling slightly apprehensive I went with the option of presenting my work through a poster presentation. It seemed a little less daunting. However, the pandemic of 2020 had other plans and it was decided that the research day would move online. Each participant was asked to record a ten-minute video presentation of their work for the online research symposium. This threw me completely out of my comfort zone. Even though I am a Higher Education lecturer, I still have moments where public speaking makes me slightly nervous and this was a completely new situation.  However, I quickly reminded myself again about how research is a tool to be used. It is a way of sharing, improving, encouraging and implementing best practice. Not only for yourself but for others who share similar interests and for the children for who we are trying to provide high-quality learning experiences.

It was such a straightforward experience and those working behind the scenes to create the first online research symposium did a fantastic job. My presentation was pre-recorded through zoom, well in advance (to account for any hiccups!) and I was invited to attend in the evening to answer any questions regarding my research. It was such a wonderful opportunity to engage in professional dialogue with other early childhood educators and researchers. Although it can be a daunting experience to speak about your research, we have to remember that we are part of a learning community. The early year’s sector is ever-changing, and it is our responsibility as early year’s practitioners to keep up to date with current research, legislation, policy, government initiatives and theory (past and present). Early Childhood Ireland’s online research symposium is the perfect opportunity to do this. You can see the presentations from the 2020 Symposium here

I am sure that we are all on the same page in wanting to professionalise the early year’s sector and provide children with the highest quality experiences for their learning and development. Researching for any dissertation or thesis is a lengthy and time-consuming process carried out on a topic that you must have enthusiasm and passion for. I would highly recommend and encourage anyone who has a specific interest in early childhood education to put forward their thoughts, ideas and research for the next online symposium. Do not let the completion of your dissertation by the end of your research journey; you will not be disappointed! Submit an abstract for 2021 here

You also have the opportunity to submit your research paper for consideration in Early Childhood Ireland’s Conference Proceedings Publication!  Read the 2019 Proceedings here.



French, G. (2012) Early Numeracy and Literacy Matters. Enriching Literacy and Numeracy Experiences in Early Childhood. Dublin: Barnardos.

Katz, L. (2015) Lively Minds: Distinctions between Academic versus Intellectual
Goals for Young Children.
minds-4-8-15.pdf Last Accessed: 14th February 2021.

MacNaughton, G., Rolfe, S. and Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2010) Doing Early Childhood Research: International Perspectives on Theory and Practice. Buckingham: Open University Press.

O’Connor, D and Angus, J. (2014) Give Them Time: An Analysis of School Readiness in Irelands Early Education System, A Steiner Waldorf Perspective. Education. 42 (3). 488-497.


Laura Ruth Maher works as a Higher Education Early Years Lecturer in Warwickshire, England. Originally from Dublin, Ireland. She completed her honours degree in early childhood teaching and learning with Maynooth University before obtaining her Masters’ degree in early childhood education with the University of Sheffield. Her research has always surrounded the importance of storytelling and rhyme for early literacy development and in 2019 her first rhyming picture book was published by the O’Brien Press.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

iOS(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Childhood(1) Laugh(1) Awards Night(1) Buddy Bench(1) Budget 2018(1) Pedagogy(2) National Awards 2018(2) Mayo(1) Little Buddies(1) dining(1) AsIAm(2) play therapy(1) Children's Book Club(1) Affordability(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) Children's Rights(3) Administrative Burden(1) bloom app(1) art of the relationship(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Celebrate(1) Book Club(2) Patterns(1) mental health problems(1) Exploratory Play(1) ERASMUS+(3) linc(1) Fantasy play(1) budget(1) CPD(1) Arlene Forster(1) meals(3) Learning through Storytelling(2) Identity and Belonging(4) Mount Everest(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Pedagogical leaders(1) Covid response(2) gender bias(1) UNICEF report(1) DES Inspection(1) Human Resources(1) Employee(1) National Holiday(1) children’s learning(1) youdoodle(1) Mental Health(4) story time(2) show and tell(1) Degree(1) Kilkenny(1) Maths Week(1) environments(1) Halloween(2) Meal time(1) risky play(2) babies(7) Graduation(1) Large Doll Play(1) Inspirational(2) Role play(1) Snack Time(1) Nuturing interactions(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Small World Play(1) Craft(1) Seas Suas(1) Positivity(1) Laughter(1) Self Help Skills(1) social media policy(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) food(1) memories(1) friendships(1) Gratitude(1) Children(5) General Data Protection Regulation(1) NAEYC(1) ECIAwards20(1) Bereavement(2) Christmas Creativity(2) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Online(1) animals(2) Ariana Pucci(1) family time(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Sustainability(3) code of ethics(1) supportive environments(2) Story(2) PIP(1) relationships(18) peer group(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) Maternity Leave(1) EM Standing(1) Vietnam(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Treasure Chest(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) RIE philosphy(1) Looking Back(1) coronavirus(1) Norway(2) Wendy Lee(3) TRAP(1) preschool(4) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Kindness(1) Mo Scéal(1) respect(5) grandchild(1) Feeding(1) Staff Motivation(1) development(8) Awards(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) National Awards 2019(1) Digital Devices(1) listening(1) Titles(1) Mealtimes(1) Book Review(1) Advocacy(1) primary education(1) Traffic Lights(1) Maths(6) Mixed age groups(3) Learning Stories(9) Running(1) Jenga(1) Settling in(4) MA(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Elders(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Exclusion(1) Well-Being(10) Games(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Routines(2) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) interacting(2) Challenges(1) New Appointments(1) Trick or treat(1) Adoption(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) life long learning(1) Teamwork(1) inspiring interactions(1) Trade Unions(1) Educators(2) Thanks(1) Independence(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Body Language(1) Ceremony(1) Inter-generational(2) dining experiences(1) Potential(1) Storytelling(8) Graduate(1) GoToMeeting app(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) preschool settings(1) refugees(1) School Age Childcare(1) Family wall(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) outdoor space(3) blog(54) trust(4) Summer(1) social media(2) racism(1) Training(2) SPICE Framework(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Decisions(1) democracy(1) awards 2020(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Whole Group(1) Giraffe(2) Prexit(1) phone apps(1) Playdough(1) United Nations(1) value(1) Consent(1) Iraq(1) research(6) Kindness Challenge(1) Competent(1) Masterclass(2) Cognitive development(1) Sessional service(1) Breathing(2) stories(3) INTO(1) Frustrations(1) RTE Investigates(1) COVID-19(15) under 3's(3) Santa(2) Hand Hygiene(2) Intention(1) UN(1) Quality(4) The Jelly King(1) Home Corner(1) Visitors(1) emotions(2) Engineers Week(2) healthy eating policies(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Child mental health(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Family(1) Buddies(1) Reggio Children Network(1) worries(1) Event Guide(1) Magnavacchi(1) Primary School(3) Early Years Education(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) DCYA(6) risk(2) planning(1) Aistear(130) Sleep(1) Autism(4) Covid pandemic(3) Creative(1) Inclusion(3) First 5(1) lockdown(1) worldbookday(1) online training(1) Albert Einstein(1) E.coli(1) keep in touch(1) reopening ireland(1) Recycling(2) partnership with families(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Community involvement(1) annual awards(1) Socioemotional development(1) Oireachtas(1) Snakes(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) research submissions(1) Mantra(1) Sport(1) Leadership(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) role playing(1) EECERA(1) educating(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Orla Kenny(1) Weather(1) Playschool(1) Fabric(1) EECERA 2016(1) maternity health(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Funding(1) Appreciation(1) Glitter(2) Early Years Educators(3) collaboration(1) Nonverbal(1) Maynooth(1) Names(1) Rich Documentation(1) Blocks(1) University(1) Kids Own(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) transitions(10) Reggio Emilia(2) Builders(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) risk assessment(1) World book day(1) Map(1) Technology(3) Online Research Symposium(2) The Lullaby Book(1) Recycle(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Performing(1) Pre-School Services(1) Shapes(2) Early Childhood Ireland(10) curiosity(3) STEM(3) Traditions(2) Love(3) Effect of Lockdown(1) gender stereotype(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) educarer(1) child-centric(1) UNCRC(2) Reading Time(2) Art(6) Xbox(1) Siolta blog(8) journey(1) GDPR(1) NCCA(3) natural environment(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Learning Journal(2) Afghanistan(1) childcare services(1) Music(3) Research Seminar(1) Sociodramatic play(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Participation(2) learning bias(1) Seanchaí(1) Snacks(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) democratic citizens(1) Loving Relationships(2) Early Years(1) staying connected(1) aistear blog(3) Covid19 crisis(1) Visual Impairment(1) parents(6) dogs(1) Empathy(1) Opportunities(1) Pobal(1) dublin(2) routine(2) Stress(2) reading(6) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) developing motor skills(1) Communications(1) Social Skills(1) Smiles(1) Vertical grouping(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Policy(2) Scéalta Blog(104) Anxiety(2) Facebook(1) Awards 2019(1) ReCreate(2) Síolta QAP(1) Looking Forward(1) Rituals(1) Maria Montessori(1) CCTV(1) Engagement(1) Your place(1) early year’s classrooms(1) Early Learning and Care(1) College(1) communication(4) responsive relationships(1) pets(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Design(1) child-centred approach(1) eating(1) ELC(1) Exercise(1) Our Little Seed(1) European Project(1) quarantine(1) Performance Management(1) Winter(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Sequins(1) Queues(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Children's Research Network(2) Spiders(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) AIM(2) Investment(2) Valentine's Day(3) Eritrea(1) Time(1) Support(1) science week(2) Creativity(6) Obesity(1) Arithmetic(1) Belonging(3) Dance(1) Drawing(2) First 5 transitions for children award(1) creche(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Building Resilience(1) annual conference(1) experience(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Decision Making(1) Budget 2020(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Infectious diseases(1) Scents(1) Penguins(1) Professionalisation(5) partnership(1) TOY Programme(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) HR(1) continual professional development(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Flowers(1) IGL(1) Syria(1) play pods(2) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) imotion(1) Thinking(1) MECPI(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) play pod(1) Leargas(1) june29(1) curriculum(5) emotional well-being(1) Reopening Childcare(1) built environments(1) Death(2) Inspections(1) Workplace well-being(1) Awards 2018(3) listen(1) Engineering(3) Montessori(3) Academics(1) christmas(9) National Pyjama Day(1) play stories(2) science(3) Horizon 2020(1) Cork(1) structure(1) outdoors(4) movement behaviours(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) World Health Organisation(1) Easter(1) Irish guidelines(1) Self-regulation(1) apps for children(1) Leprechauns(1) books(5) Pen green(1) SAC(1) Identity(5) Magic(1) play(35) Care-giving routines(1) an post(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Sustainable(1) Confidence(1) Wesco(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Behaviour(3) Treasure(1) early childhood(1) Maynooth University(2) ECCE(7) Child Care(1) Arts(1) Environment(2) Impact(1) CIT(1) UD(1) Counting(1) Academic Skills(1) Reflective Practice(1) ICBN(1) Time Out(1) STEAM(1) Party(1) First 5 strategy(1) early years learning(1) purpose(1) children development(1) Exploring(1) Change(1) bonds(1) Favouritism(1) Equality(1) Photographs(1) Through the looking glass(1) education system(1) Irish(1) Learning Story Awards(2) homeschool(1) Infection Control(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Sweets(1) pablo(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Study Trip(1) Mud kitchens(1) Síolta(138) Children's Voice(1) Line-ups(1) Trigonometry(1) community(5) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Universal Design(2) Light table(1) Italy(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) education(2) Wonder(1) Childcare(3) outdoor play(7) Scéalta Book Review(1) ECEC(3) Tuscan Approach(2) Exit interview(1) Learning Story(1) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Qualifications(1) Return to Work Training(1) Fee Play(1) Mindfulness(3) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Certificate(1) Sculptures(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Thank you(1) conference(1) Magda Gerber(1) early years settings(1) Workforce(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Digital(1) Celebrations(4) Painting(1) Margy Whalley(1) Anthony Semann(1) reopening(1) Yoga(1) Loss(1) baby room(1) Diversity(1) overhear(1) Lego(2) ears(1) Shoes(1) Biting(1) Care routines(1) toddlers(3) Interests(1) mushrooms(1) Supernanny(1) feisty(1) Capable(1) multi-generational community(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Mathematicians(1) Pretend Play(1) conversations(1) Self-Esteem(1) Kerry(1) learning hub(1) Nutrition(1) Liz Kerrins(1) man up(1) early childhood educator(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) social science(1) Touch(1) Mark Twain(1) Health(2) early years research(3) Imagination(3) Children and families(2) Interaction(1) outdoor environment(1) Plants(1) Malaguzzi(1) Meet the Members(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Reggio(1) Upcycling(1) Leaders in Practice(1) documentation(4) Workplace Relations(3) Wrapping paper(1) Trade union(1) early life(1) Document Learning(1) Japan(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Brain(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Confident(1) International Narratives(1) Relaxation(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Twitter(1) Learning journals(1) learning(19) Plastic(1) Communicating(1) ECEC Setting(2) Interactions(3) Window(1) learners(1) Grief(1) playleader(1) Limerick(1) Wilenski(1) Youtube Series(1) scéalta(57) Iceland(1) emotional environment(2) Budget 2019(2) behavioural science(1) keezy(1) San Miniato(4) Gardening(1) Culture(2)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine