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:

Settling in(4) Book Club(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Digital(1) Supernanny(1) children’s learning(1) Painting(1) Playdough(1) School Age Childcare(1) EM Standing(1) Iraq(1) learners(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Horizon 2020(1) Light table(1) early childhood(1) Event Guide(1) healthy eating policies(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Thinking(1) Environment(2) Loving Relationships(1) Performing(1) friendships(1) Iceland(1) Arlene Forster(1) man up(1) staying connected(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Child mental health(1) Trade union(1) research submissions(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) AsIAm(2) Wesco(1) ECEC(3) Investment(2) primary education(1) STEM(3) Community involvement(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Our Little Seed(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) documentation(4) Creative(1) Twitter(1) Meal time(1) Touch(1) play pod(1) Hand Hygiene(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Irish(1) First 5 strategy(1) Trade Unions(1) United Nations(1) Awards 2019(1) developing motor skills(1) Fantasy play(1) Interactions(2) HR(1) Biting(1) Learning Stories(9) Care-giving routines(1) animals(2) Deirdre Rogers(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Patterns(1) Scéalta Blog(99) University(1) Photographs(1) UD(1) Irish guidelines(1) Child Care(1) Pobal(1) community(5) learning(19) Educator of the Year Award(3) Death(2) Anxiety(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Growing up Outdoors(1) development(8) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) lockdown(1) keezy(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Pre-School Services(1) Vietnam(1) Academics(1) E.coli(1) relationships(17) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Social Skills(1) NCCA(3) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) COVID-19(10) educarer(1) Queues(1) reopening(1) eating(1) Competent(1) Nonverbal(1) Budget 2019(2) Primary School(2) listen(1) pablo(1) family time(1) Reflective Practice(1) Sport(1) Celebrate(1) Obesity(1) Exercise(1) refugees(1) Your place(1) Margy Whalley(1) RTE Investigates(1) Grief(1) MECPI(1) Time Out(1) Childcare(3) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Small World Play(1) Diversity(1) Body Language(1) Trick or treat(1) National Awards 2018(2) blog(41) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) outdoors(4) Exploring(1) Digital Devices(1) Educators(2) conference(1) Inclusion(3) Pedagogical leaders(1) UNCRC(2) experience(1) Learning Story(1) Art(6) Meet the Members(1) Appreciation(1) Fabric(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) outdoor environment(1) Mathematicians(1) Family wall(1) Italy(1) Childhood(1) Self Help Skills(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Children's Rights(3) Consent(1) PIP(1) reading(5) Covid19 crisis(1) Equality(1) Family(1) Maynooth University(2) early childhood educator(2) Yoga(1) First 5(1) structure(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Santa(2) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Creativity(5) Snack Time(1) june29(1) Norway(2) Inspired Practice Award(5) Visitors(1) Sociodramatic play(1) DES Inspection(1) SPICE Framework(1) bonds(1) Self-Esteem(1) Workplace Relations(3) imotion(1) ELC(1) Reggio Emilia(1) social media(1) Sleep(1) Stress(2) Facebook(1) Graduation(1) Confident(1) Inspirational(2) Maths Week(1) Brain(1) Large Doll Play(1) aistear blog(3) Engineers Week(2) value(1) child-centred approach(1) Communications(1) Wonder(1) Vertical grouping(1) feisty(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Sustainability(3) curriculum(5) Craft(1) art of the relationship(1) Winter(1) ECCE(7) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Line-ups(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Early Years(1) Decisions(1) Orla Kenny(1) Potential(1) Giraffe(2) Independence(1) Covid pandemic(1) science(3) Academic Skills(1) educating(1) Music(3) Workforce(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Feeding(1) environments(1) Running(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) gender stereotype(1) Little Buddies(1) Time(1) Learning Stories Award(3) purpose(1) Qualifications(1) pets(1) Map(1) Mantra(1) ears(1) Covid response(1) worries(1) AIM(2) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Mark Twain(1) Gardening(1) mental health problems(1) Impact(1) meals(3) CCTV(1) World Health Organisation(1) Magnavacchi(1) ReCreate(2) COVID-19 crisis(1) European Project(1) science week(2) Culture(2) Staff Motivation(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) education(2) Snacks(1) ERASMUS+(3) Learning journals(1) Leargas(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Upcycling(1) maternity health(1) play(35) Afghanistan(1) Early Childhood Ireland(4) Effect of Lockdown(1) RIE philosphy(1) Book Review(1) Home Corner(1) Magda Gerber(1) Thank you(1) Communicating(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Administrative Burden(1) Masterclass(2) trust(4) UN(1) Builders(1) learning bias(1) reopening ireland(1) Arithmetic(1) outdoor space(3) collaboration(1) social science(1) Confidence(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Design(1) Syria(1) Whole Group(1) early life(1) Budget 2020(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Laugh(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) National Awards 2019(1) The Jelly King(1) Positivity(1) dublin(2) transitions(10) mushrooms(1) Interests(1) Jenga(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Affordability(1) Youtube Series(1) Sustainable(1) Document Learning(1) Sequins(1) Wendy Lee(3) TRAP(1) Intention(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Summer(1) Shapes(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Maternity Leave(1) risky play(2) play stories(2) Interaction(1) behavioural science(1) Elders(1) Identity and Belonging(4) GDPR(1) Easter(1) Valentine's Day(3) Mount Everest(1) Traffic Lights(1) Maynooth(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Recycle(1) early years research(2) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Shoes(1) Plastic(1) Japan(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Support(1) Buddies(1) Technology(3) New Appointments(1) code of ethics(1) Seas Suas(1) Buddy Bench(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) racism(1) Degree(1) Graduate(1) Early Years Educators(3) memories(1) Children's Voice(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Albert Einstein(1) Mud kitchens(1) routine(2) Infectious diseases(1) SAC(1) gender bias(1) Rituals(1) Routines(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Blocks(1) babies(7) Flowers(1) Story(1) Anthony Semann(1) Behaviour(3) Pedagogy(2) preschool(4) Weather(1) Party(1) Quality(4) under 3's(3) Cognitive development(1) Universal Design(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Playschool(1) Professionalisation(5) child-centric(1) Halloween(2) children development(1) Siolta blog(8) outdoor play(6) annual conference(1) Research Conference 2019(1) National Holiday(1) Advocacy(1) Maria Montessori(1) Bereavement(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Training(2) Storytelling(6) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Traditions(2) Reading Time(1) Building Resilience(1) CPD(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Exit interview(1) Decision Making(1) Gratitude(1) Children(4) Pretend Play(1) phone apps(1) Titles(1) Certificate(1) Autism(4) Wrapping paper(1) Montessori(3) Breathing(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) Names(1) creche(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Care routines(1) Cork(1) INTO(1) Treasure Chest(1) Engineering(3) Aldo Fortunati(4) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Ceremony(1) Limerick(1) Leprechauns(1) Magic(1) CIT(1) Síolta QAP(1) emotional well-being(1) conversations(1) keep in touch(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Engagement(1) baby room(1) Xbox(1) books(4) Department of Education and Skills(1) Spiders(1) Sessional service(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) play therapy(1) Scents(1) stories(3) Engineering Ireland(1) Leadership(1) Health(2) Snakes(1) awards 2020(1) linc(1) Awards(2) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Reggio(1) Oireachtas(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) food(1) Exploratory Play(1) overhear(1) Aistear(123) risk assessment(1) Fee Play(1) Penguins(1) childcare services(1) Lego(2) Children and families(1) emotional environment(2) Inter-generational learning(2) Síolta(125) supportive environments(2) Rich Documentation(1) Thanks(1) continual professional development(1) planning(1) Eritrea(1) Visual Impairment(1) Participation(2) San Miniato(4) Drawing(2) Christmas Creativity(2) listening(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Online(1) Funding(1) Maths(5) dining experiences(1) Socioemotional development(1) Sculptures(1) Budget 2018(1) research(6) Awards Night(1) Mo Scéal(1) Kids Own(1) ECEC Setting(2) Challenges(1) Performance Management(1) peer group(1) Policy(2) youdoodle(1) Wilenski(1) parents(6) play pods(2) Super Shed Stories(2) Research Seminar(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Glitter(2) christmas(9) EECERA 2016(1) journey(1) communication(4) Loss(1) IGL(1) Employee(1) role playing(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) apps for children(1) Pen green(1) Through the looking glass(1) Kerry(1) Love(3) Sweets(1) Mixed age groups(3) Learning Journal(2) Malaguzzi(1) Adoption(1) ICBN(1) Opportunities(1) Pobal sector profile(1) scéalta(45) education system(1) Mindfulness(2) Nutrition(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Belonging(3) Recycling(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Study Trip(1) Mental Health(4) Mayo(1) early years learning(1) Imagination(3) Kilkenny(1) TOY Programme(1) show and tell(1) Workplace well-being(1) Change(1) grandchild(1) Role play(1) Teamwork(1) MA(1) curiosity(3) budget(1) Ariana Pucci(1) DCYA(6) Dance(1) Window(1) story time(2) movement behaviours(1) Celebrations(4) emotions(2) College(1) dining(1) life long learning(1) dogs(1) Empathy(1) responsive relationships(1) Smiles(1) preschool settings(1) iOS(1) risk(2) Identity(5) Capable(1) Awards 2018(3) bloom app(1) Trigonometry(1) interacting(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Treasure(1) Mealtimes(1) NAEYC(1) respect(5) Favouritism(1) Games(1) Laughter(1) coronavirus(1) Inspections(1) Exclusion(1) Arts(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Well-Being(10) Children's Research Network(1) Infection Control(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Self-regulation(1) Inter-generational(2) Frustrations(1) Relaxation(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Human Resources(1) Prexit(1) Plants(1) Liz Kerrins(1) toddlers(3)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine