Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

‘Tuning in’ with Learning Stories


Tuesday 10 April 2018

As the final countdown commences to Early Childhood Ireland's Awards night, the amazing stories from our sector continue to blow us away day by day. The hard work and dedication of the educators, who wholeheartedly devote their energies into providing the best care and education for the children in their setting, is oozing from each story we receive. These stories are first class examples of educators tuning in to rich play, where they are heartfully present in practice, awaiting the wonders of childhood to unfold before their eyes. It is then that the best stories are recognised and the excitement of the educators is felt as they progress the children’s learning through using their interests for planning.

Aistear and Síolta advocate for a play based, emergent curriculum and on the Department of Education Early Years focused inspections, the inspectors look for evidence of this emergent curriculum. The educators who are truly present, aware and eager to really get to know the children, are the educators who bring that emergent curriculum to a new level of effectiveness. These educators write learning stories of friendships, adventures, emotions, experiences, good and bad; they value the now and in turn, have the richest profiles of children to help them share their stories with their families and friends. Learning stories are a step deeper than assessment, they are more than a collection of observations, they are one of the most treasured ways of capturing the child/children’s stories as they progress through their time in a setting.

Learning stories can be a true testament to the work of educators in the early years sector. They can be a tool that explains play by focusing on the little moments, highlighting the monumental meaning behind it. They come in all shapes and sizes, but children are at the core of each. They have the power to demonstrate great practice, how it’s done and why it is valuable. Learning stories go beyond the paper they are written on – they have the unique ability to give an understanding to the many important moments that occur in child’s play. According to Margaret Carr (2001) learning stories are observations of children’s participation in everyday activities, in everyday settings, that demonstrate children’s growing identities, dispositions, thinking, exploring and communicating.

In the everyday running of daily practice, documentation can often become somewhat disconnected. Ask yourself; who am I doing this for? Each of the winning learning stories that we, in Early Childhood Ireland, see as some of our most treasured possessions, is what documentation should be: for the child, with the child, by the child. Documentation should always have the child at the centre and I believe these learning stories are true testaments to that goal.

We eagerly anticipate our National Early Childhood Ireland Awards that will take place this Friday, 13th of April in Clontarf Castle. We would love you to join in the celebrations for our leaders in practice:

To read some of our winning learning stories and for information on how to apply please see:



Catherine Quinn has been working as an Early Childhood Specialist for the last 3 years. She completed her Level 8 degree in Letterkenny IT and is currently engaged in the Masters of Education program in NUI Maynooth, specialising in the Early Years. She has a great passion for outdoor play as she has worked in forest schools in both Ireland and Norway. She also has a grá for documentation with her research focusing closely on tuning in to children’s play for richer documentation.  

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

multi-generational community(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) reopening(1) Qualifications(1) SPICE Framework(1) Well-Being(10) risk(2) play(35) College(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Playdough(1) respect(5) UNCRC(2) Shapes(2) Workforce(1) Role play(1) Confidence(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Maternity Leave(1) Flowers(1) responsive relationships(1) Easter(1) parents(6) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Learning Stories Award(3) Culture(2) First 5 strategy(1) imotion(1) Academic Skills(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Buddies(1) Summer(1) awards 2020(1) Photographs(1) online training(1) Feeding(1) Wonder(1) child-centric(1) Capable(1) Mental Health(4) code of professional responsibility(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Affordability(1) Jenga(1) Yoga(1) Certificate(1) Anthony Semann(1) Frustrations(1) lockdown(1) Online(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Smiles(1) Sleep(1) Children's Voice(1) Positivity(1) Titles(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) pablo(1) Arithmetic(1) Learning Stories(9) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Creativity(6) Diversity(1) EECERA 2016(1) under 3's(3) Magic(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) reading(5) Síolta(136) Art(6) Book Club(2) Belonging(3) refugees(1) gender stereotype(1) Kindness(1) ECIAwards20(1) Kindness Challenge(1) experience(1) Limerick(1) Self-Esteem(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Mayo(1) CPD(1) risky play(2) Leprechauns(1) Snacks(1) National Awards 2019(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) National Awards 2018(2) Christmas Creativity(2) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Playschool(1) New Appointments(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Primary School(3) Pobal(1) Cognitive development(1) The Lullaby Book(1) creche(1) Maynooth(1) Self Help Skills(1) maternity health(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Trade union(1) Environment(2) Exercise(1) Oireachtas(1) Masterclass(2) Leargas(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Imagination(3) Glitter(2) Event Guide(1) Motor neuron disease(1) RTE Investigates(1) Awards(2) Nutrition(1) Confident(1) Brain(1) Visitors(1) Learning journals(1) NCCA(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) risk assessment(1) Exclusion(1) memories(1) scéalta(55) Support(1) ERASMUS+(3) Youtube Series(1) Mealtimes(1) Magda Gerber(1) Family(1) Self-regulation(1) Consent(1) Routines(2) Loving Relationships(2) Iraq(1) Syria(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Maria Montessori(1) Eritrea(1) food(1) GDPR(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Norway(2) National Childcare Scheme(1) play pods(2) Relaxation(1) Exploratory Play(1) friendships(1) Liz Kerrins(1) research submissions(1) Window(1) MA(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) eating(1) Spiders(1) emotional environment(2) life long learning(1) Magnavacchi(1) ECEC(3) Health(2) Traditions(2) Nuturing interactions(1) communication(4) Mount Everest(1) Irish guidelines(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Fee Play(1) Challenges(1) children’s learning(1) educarer(1) Mathematicians(1) Giraffe(2) Buddy Bench(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Creative(1) keezy(1) coronavirus(1) Japan(1) curriculum(5) Names(1) DES Inspection(1) Wilenski(1) Margy Whalley(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Leadership(1) Wesco(1) Socioemotional development(1) Family wall(1) Laughter(1) Hand Hygiene(2) purpose(1) Whole Group(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) meals(3) Children's Research Network(1) Book Review(1) Queues(1) peer group(1) Communicating(1) collaboration(1) Meal time(1) Line-ups(1) early life(1) Orla Kenny(1) Loss(1) learning hub(1) AIM(2) Sequins(1) Children's Rights(3) Small World Play(1) Budget 2019(2) Research Conference 2019(1) Sustainability(3) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) INTO(1) Fantasy play(1) early years settings(1) UNICEF report(1) Fabric(1) Decision Making(1) staying connected(1) Teamwork(1) PIP(1) play stories(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) EM Standing(1) Biting(1) bonds(1) World Health Organisation(1) Sculptures(1) Supernanny(1) Early Learning and Care(1) MECPI(1) behavioural science(1) Running(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Potential(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Treasure Chest(1) Participation(2) SAC(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Care-giving routines(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) phone apps(1) Trade Unions(1) Reopening Childcare(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) blog(52) listen(1) emotions(2) Snack Time(1) relationships(18) annual conference(1) Impact(1) keep in touch(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) CCTV(1) UN(1) Visual Impairment(1) E.coli(1) Thank you(1) First 5(1) Recycling(2) Story(2) Laugh(1) IGL(1) Plastic(1) outdoor environment(1) Halloween(2) reopening ireland(1) Educators(2) conversations(1) democracy(1) science(3) Gratitude(1) aistear blog(3) Síolta QAP(1) Opportunities(1) ears(1) Early Years Educators(3) Intention(1) story time(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) Maths(6) Celebrations(4) Grief(1) animals(2) Child mental health(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Childhood(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) developing motor skills(1) Drawing(2) Wendy Lee(3) Irish(1) Pedagogy(2) Performing(1) Snakes(1) Large Doll Play(1) Advocacy(1) child-centred approach(1) Sustainable(1) iOS(1) Upcycling(1) playleader(1) gender bias(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) youdoodle(1) NAEYC(1) Santa(2) Italy(1) Early Years Education(1) Mud kitchens(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Touch(1) Covid response(2) Afghanistan(1) interacting(2) Elders(1) Digital Devices(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) dogs(1) Human Resources(1) Childcare(3) Home Corner(1) dublin(2) Builders(1) Breathing(2) Interactions(3) development(8) Settling in(4) Reggio Emilia(2) Performance Management(1) Body Language(1) Sport(1) Facebook(1) movement behaviours(1) Time Out(1) Pretend Play(1) Montessori(3) Scéalta Blog(104) COVID-19 Reopening(2) San Miniato(4) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) preschool(4) Training(2) dining(1) Counting(1) RIE philosphy(1) Music(3) ECCE(7) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) GoToMeeting app(1) democratic citizens(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Plants(1) Technology(3) Xbox(1) education(2) TRAP(1) Trigonometry(1) Through the looking glass(1) dining experiences(1) Gardening(1) Malaguzzi(1) play pod(1) primary education(1) Identity(5) Lego(2) ICBN(1) worries(1) Valentine's Day(3) Jillian van Turnhout(1) babies(7) Behaviour(3) journey(1) social media policy(1) Mo Scéal(1) overhear(1) feisty(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Engineers Week(2) social science(1) Inspections(1) Universal Design(2) Love(3) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) European Project(1) Child Care(1) Winter(1) Mindfulness(3) budget(1) Maths Week(1) environments(1) Exploring(1) outdoor space(3) early years research(2) Children(4) Department of Education and Skills(1) value(1) Traffic Lights(1) Cork(1) DCYA(6) Meet the Members(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) UD(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Arlene Forster(1) Reggio Children Network(1) COVID-19(14) trust(4) early years learning(1) Mark Twain(1) Communications(1) christmas(9) Exit interview(1) Staff Motivation(1) Reflective Practice(1) apps for children(1) continual professional development(1) Degree(1) Independence(1) Adoption(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) linc(1) Inspirational(2) Penguins(1) ECEC Setting(2) annual awards(1) education system(1) Appreciation(1) Treasure(1) Scents(1) art of the relationship(1) Recycle(1) Reading Time(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) stories(3) Inspired Practice Award(6) Thinking(1) Change(1) learning bias(1) grandchild(1) early childhood(1) Games(1) Favouritism(1) ELC(1) conference(1) Policy(2) science week(2) Design(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Our Little Seed(1) routine(2) Aistear(130) Siolta blog(8) Kilkenny(1) Online Research Symposium(1) Celebrate(1) Anxiety(2) Shoes(1) bloom app(1) outdoor play(6) Engineering(3) Pedagogical leaders(1) Prexit(1) Maynooth University(2) Death(2) Mantra(1) Learning Story(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) man up(1) mushrooms(1) show and tell(1) Trick or treat(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Document Learning(1) Decisions(1) Quality(4) Exploring and Thinking(1) Workplace well-being(1) Identity and Belonging(4) community(5) Storytelling(7) University(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Looking Back(1) Map(1) racism(1) june29(1) Craft(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) EECERA(1) Care routines(1) baby room(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Rich Documentation(1) Covid pandemic(2) Research Seminar(1) Funding(1) Budget 2018(1) Graduation(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Thanks(1) Ceremony(1) educating(1) Dance(1) Reggio(1) Infectious diseases(1) family time(1) emotional well-being(1) curiosity(3) learners(1) Interaction(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Graduate(1) Horizon 2020(1) Patterns(1) Vertical grouping(1) Investment(2) Obesity(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Your place(1) Building Resilience(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) transitions(10) General Data Protection Regulation(1) research(6) outdoors(4) Emergent Curriculum(1) Competent(1) Social Skills(1) Community involvement(1) Digital(1) documentation(4) Arts(1) supportive environments(2) CIT(1) Kids Own(1) AsIAm(2) Awards 2019(1) Wrapping paper(1) Time(1) Looking Forward(1) Administrative Burden(1) National Holiday(1) Learning Journal(2) Kerry(1) Seanchaí(1) planning(1) childcare services(1) Stress(2) Empathy(1) Academics(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) International Narratives(1) learning(19) play therapy(1) Awards 2018(3) Early Years(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Mixed age groups(3) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Twitter(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Budget 2020(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) early childhood educator(2) Albert Einstein(1) code of ethics(1) Painting(1) Equality(1) Inclusion(3) Rising to the Challenge(2) Return to Work Training(1) healthy eating policies(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Study Trip(1) Leaders in Practice(1) The Jelly King(1) mental health problems(1) Early Childhood Education(1) School Age Childcare(1) Little Buddies(1) Workplace Relations(3) Pen green(1) HR(1) preschool settings(1) Professionalisation(5) Engagement(1) Sessional service(1) social media(2) Weather(1) Bereavement(2) Rituals(1) Engineering Ireland(1) pets(1) Nonverbal(1) books(4) Sweets(1) United Nations(1) TOY Programme(1) toddlers(3) role playing(1) listening(1) Blocks(1) Party(1) STEM(3) Infection Control(1) Pre-School Services(1) children development(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Employee(1) Iceland(1) Seas Suas(1) Autism(4) Interests(1) Light table(1) Awards Night(1) structure(1) ReCreate(2) inspiring interactions(1) Inter-generational(2) Children and families(1) Vietnam(1) Covid19 crisis(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine