Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Where did the summer go!

By: ARLENE FORSTER

Tuesday 03 September 2019

Where did the summer go! Hard to believe another ‘year’ is starting. She’s off to preschool this September… these are some of the familiar statements we hear at this time of the year when thousands of children all over Ireland return or move on to the next exciting stage in their educational journey. A new set of faces with their own unique stories to tell brings excitement and adventure as well as a little nervousness and uncertainty. This time of year also means new beginnings and fresh starts as you get to know the new children arriving in your setting or your room, and they get to know you. These first few weeks are so important as new relationships are formed between practitioners and children, practitioners and parents, and children and children.

It feels like yesterday (thirteen and eleven years later!) when I was walking, hand in hand, with my two girls as they started our local playgroup. I loved playing dollies with my friend when we moved the chairs to make a house. I loved the sand tray. Remember when we made things when we stuck twigs on the cardboard boxes. These memories of their time in playgroup highlight the centrality of play in young children’s lives. The opening sentence in Aistear’s Guidelines on Play states, ‘Children love to play, and play often mirrors what is important in their lives’ (2009, p.53). In describing the key characteristics, Aistear reminds us that this play is highly communicative, meaningful and therapeutic.

  • Children share information and knowledge through their play
  • Children play about what they have seen and heard, and what they know
  • Play helps children to express and work through emotions and experiences (p.53)

Late August and September is one of the busiest times in the year to listen, to tune in and to notice children as they play. All those years ago, Froebel concluded that, ‘Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul’. Like my two daughters, play permeates some of my most vivid memories of childhood such as constructing a ‘housie’ which served as a shop, school and health clinic, as necessary. I was known, on occasion, to wall-paper that ‘housie’ with pages ripped from storybooks! I regularly baked mud pies delicately decorated with leaf-icing and carefully-chosen pebbles. I came alive in play. So, this September and in addition to the information you’ve received from parents and colleagues, what better way to get to know those little people behind the new faces than through the lens of their play. For example, the open-ended materials, the dress-up items, the real-life objects and the books they choose; the roles they play; their interactions; the conversations they have all give amazing windows into their identities and personalities.

In her model of participation, Prof Laura Lundy (2007) talks about giving children a safe and inclusive ‘space’ to share their thoughts. Play can give this space. Through their play, children show us and tell us what interests them, what they like and dislike, what they can do and understand, what they ponder on, what’s important to them, and how they are feeling in their new room or setting. Collectively, these insights help paint rich and illuminating pictures of each child helping you, as a practitioner, to identify the projects, investigations and experiences that might help them to feel secure, happy, valued and cared for while at the same time, fuelling their curiosity and their imagination.

The online Aistear Síolta Practice Guide’s pillars on Play and on Transitions (www.aistearsiolta.ie) remind us of the importance of play in children’s lives, and of the need for key people to work together to share information to support children in moving to a new room or setting. Parents and other practitioners have important information that can help you get to know the new children. Children too have powerful information.

I wish you well in your work as another new ‘year’ begins. May there be plenty of play adventures ahead but perhaps not too much story-book wall-papering!

 

References

Lundy, L. (December 2007). ‘Voice is not enough: Conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’. In: British Educational Research Journal. 33(6), 6, pp.927-942, 16.
 
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment [NCCA] (2009). Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. Dublin: Government Publications.
 
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment [NCCA] (2015). Aistear Síolta Practice Guide. Dublin: NCCA. www.aistearsiolta.ie

 

Bio:

Arlene Forster, Deputy Chief Executive, NCCA

Arlene is Deputy Chief Executive in the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The NCCA advises the Minister for Education and Skills on curriculum and assessment in early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools.

Arlene began her career teaching in the early years and primary in Northern Ireland and then in the Republic of Ireland. In her role as a director in NCCA, she led the development of Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and oversaw the development of the online Aistear Síolta Practice Guide. She has also worked in the areas of assessment and reporting, primary curriculum review, language and mathematics. She was appointed Deputy CEO in 2016 and has responsibility for leading the Council’s work in early childhood and primary education.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

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

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine