Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Why? How? What?… Researchers in Early Years settings


Tuesday 30 August 2016

This week EECERA (European Early Childhood Research Association) rolls into town. This is a huge event which will see close to one thousand people passionate about early childhood arrive in Dublin. For the next few days we will discuss, debate and support research and learning about Early Childhood Care and Education. Inspiring stuff indeed.

The Theme for this EECERA conference is Happiness, Relationships, Emotion and Deep Level Learning. This Conference theme resonates with us in Ireland as Aistear has, at its core, a belief that happiness, relationships and emotions are absolutely fundamental to deep level learning.

Research matters…at times it can seem academic and distanced from practice. But each of us is a researcher in practice. I will be presenting a paper about the newly established research circle in Cork. This is one of a number of practitioner research groups that Early Childhood Ireland are delighted to be involved in. There’s a nationwide group focused on outdoor play, there’s a group based in Kildare and the Cork group. It’s all about peer sharing and support. The practitioners involved share their thoughts, ideas, challenges and leave with new ideas and inspirations to try in their practice. These are reflected on and discussed again in the next gathering.

And let’s not forget that children are born researchers. When we see the baby on the floor grabbing for his toes…we are seeing a researcher in action…what is this thing waving in front of me, if I touch it what will happen, if I pull it what will happen? That’s research!


Children question things, they want to know, they need to know. Recently I was paying for parking. A little boy and his mam were nearby. I heard him asking her why was I putting money in the machine. She shushed him. I told him what I was doing and showed him the ticket I received to place on the dash. He smiled with satisfaction…his research question was answered!

Any one of us who observe children will see how they figure out the world…they look, they listen, they ask questions and they try things out. And if that doesn’t work, they try again, and again. And sometimes they might rethink and give up, to try something new. And often they keep trying until they get the answer. Alison Gopnik, who is one of the Keynote Speakers at EECERA says ‘Babies and young children are perpetually exploring and experimenting, testing out new theories and changing old theories when they learn something new.’ Just as any researcher, in any field, does.


So let us always remember our children as researchers, let’s provide the environment where they can explore, think and figure things out. Let’s foster and encourage curiosity. Let’s enable them to be happy, deep thinkers. And match their research with our research. For that is the way forward!

How do you make your room a place where children can experiment, question and explore? How do you encourage curiosity? How can we document our ongoing reflections, research and findings about how children develop and learn, simply and effectively?

We would love to hear your ideas and thoughts!

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Identity and Belonging(4) Sequins(1) Budget 2019(2) collaboration(1) Santa(2) Confident(1) Autism(3) Mo Scéal(1) Challenges(1) Grief(1) Potential(1) Treasure(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Time(1) Biting(1) Children(1) risk(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Advocacy(1) Sculptures(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Exit interview(1) Confidence(1) Body Language(1) Environment(2) Facebook(1) Leargas(1) Flowers(1) Care-giving routines(1) Awards 2019(1) Patterns(1) Workplace well-being(2) Engineers Week(2) Leadership(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) play(30) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) purpose(1) christmas(8) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) ECCE(6) Learning Stories Award(3) Mount Everest(1) Independence(1) Early Years(1) maternity health(1) supportive environments(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Traditions(2) Family(1) dogs(1) Photographs(1) Learning Story(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) relationships(15) Christmas Creativity(2) Change(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) curriculum(5) Kilkenny(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Orla Kenny(1) Síolta(104) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Children's Rights(1) Exercise(1) worries(1) Primary School(2) Stress(2) ReCreate(2) Pen green(1) Frustrations(1) Quality(4) Trade Unions(1) Syria(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Sport(1) Anxiety(2) AsIAm(1) Childcare(2) Shapes(1) stories(2) NCCA(2) Twitter(1) interacting(2) Recycle(1) Wilenski(1) story time(1) Rituals(1) Funding(1) Creative(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Awards(2) Awards 2018(3) preschool(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Interactions(2) National Awards 2019(1) Magda Gerber(1) journey(1) Well-Being(7) Smiles(1) Siolta blog(2) Research Seminar(1) Qualifications(1) Jenga(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Síolta QAP(1) University(1) Engagement(1) friendships(1) dining(1) Interaction(1) Behaviour(3) Support(1) Exclusion(1) Performance Management(1) overhear(1) Empathy(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Story(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Sleep(1) Early Years Educators(2) Trigonometry(1) Oireachtas(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Reggio(1) Childhood(1) Meal time(1) Leprechauns(1) Little Buddies(1) Cork(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Plastic(1) Spiders(1) Albert Einstein(1) Workforce(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) San Miniato(4) books(4) Learning Stories(7) TRAP(1) Interests(1) EM Standing(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) memories(1) Visual Impairment(1) EECERA 2016(1) Universal Design(2) Winter(1) Loss(1) Performing(1) Intention(1) Investment(1) experience(1) Supernanny(1) Light table(1) Limerick(1) Nonverbal(1) Builders(1) Reflective Practice(1) IGL(1) Family wall(1) Magnavacchi(1) Inspirational(2) Maths Week Ireland(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Academic Skills(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Wendy Lee(2) Arlene Forster(1) scéalta(26) European Project(1) research(6) Recycling(2) Culture(2) Mantra(1) UN(1) Celebrate(1) emotional environment(1) Relaxation(1) MECPI(1) Decision Making(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) refugees(1) Bereavement(1) Study Trip(1) Mealtimes(1) Easter(1) Vertical grouping(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Social Skills(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) mushrooms(1) Scéalta Blog(84) meals(3) Diversity(1) Belonging(3) Arithmetic(1) Valentine's Day(3) ICBN(1) Mixed age groups(2) eating(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) respect(5) Visitors(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Learning journals(1) Fantasy play(1) Penguins(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Mayo(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Socioemotional development(1) Malaguzzi(1) First 5 strategy(1) documentation(2) Aistear(108) Creativity(4) Pobal(1) bonds(1) Health(1) Mathematicians(1) routine(2) Educator of the Year Award(3) HR(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Arts(1) Trade union(1) food(1) Laughter(1) Scents(1) Academics(1) educating(1) PIP(1) Shoes(1) Fabric(1) Maynooth(1) Employee(1) Maths Week(1) Art(6) RTE Investigates(1) Feeding(1) Teamwork(1) Communicating(1) ERASMUS+(3) AIM(2) Mark Twain(1) outdoor space(3) Irish(1) Thank you(1) Halloween(2) science(3) Decisions(1) animals(2) Budget 2018(1) Line-ups(1) role playing(1) educarer(1) Whole Group(1) Titles(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Touch(1) Mental Health(3) Buddies(1) Yoga(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Horizon 2020(1) budget(1) Inter-generational(1) toddlers(3) Positivity(1) planning(1) outdoors(3) Giraffe(2) Human Resources(1) dining experiences(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Event Guide(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) RIE philosphy(1) Inclusion(3) Staff Motivation(1) Plants(1) Routines(1) Sweets(1) Vietnam(1) Ceremony(1) Dance(1) GDPR(1) Time Out(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) early years research(1) Through the looking glass(1) communication(4) Snack Time(1) social media(1) Competent(1) Names(1) environments(1) science week(2) College(1) Workplace Relations(3) Training(3) Certificate(1) value(1) child-centred approach(1) Glitter(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Summer(1) Magic(1) outdoor play(6) Exploring(1) Our Little Seed(1) Iceland(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) CIT(1) Policy(2) Children's Research Network(1) Administrative Burden(1) feisty(1) learning(15) Treasure Chest(1) Community involvement(1) curiosity(3) Japan(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Xbox(1) early childhood educator(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Running(1) blog(28) Graduate(1) The Jelly King(1) Online(1) Communications(1) Montessori(2) Technology(2) Consent(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Thanks(1) Love(2) play stories(1) Upcycling(1) under 3's(3) Snacks(1) Queues(1) risky play(2) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) National Holiday(1) Breathing(2) Appreciation(1) Party(1) Norway(2) Capable(1) UD(1) Professionalisation(4) community(5) Educators(1) Painting(1) Care routines(1) CCTV(1) NAEYC(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) CPD(1) Child mental health(1) STEM(2) Window(1) grandchild(1) Laugh(1) Liz Kerrins(1) ECEC(1) Drawing(2) transitions(10) New Appointments(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Meet the Members(1) INTO(1) Cognitive development(1) Home Corner(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Italy(1) Maths(4) Buddy Bench(1) Wesco(1) San Minia(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(2) parents(5) reading(4) Degree(1) Team work(1) Thinking(1) development(8) Celebrations(4) risk assessment(1) Sustainability(3) Sociodramatic play(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Self Help Skills(1) Margy Whalley(1) Kerry(1) Mindfulness(2) Craft(1) trust(3) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Pobal sector profile(1) dublin(2) Book Club(2) Gardening(1) Afghanistan(1) Seas Suas(1) Kids Own(1) MA(1) Traffic Lights(1) Imagination(3) Eritrea(1) Brain(1) Weather(1) listening(1) Snakes(1) baby room(1) Masterclass(2) Maynooth University(1) Mud kitchens(1) conversations(1) Graduation(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Favouritism(1) First 5(1) Participation(1) UNCRC(1) Self-regulation(1) TOY Programme(1) National Awards 2018(2) education(2) Adoption(1) Maria Montessori(1) Role play(1) Gratitude(1) Playschool(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Maternity Leave(1) Engineering(2) listen(1) Music(3) Prexit(1) Map(1) ears(1) Self-Esteem(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Wonder(1) Settling in(4) emotions(2) United Nations(1) Trick or treat(1) Obesity(1) Blocks(1) linc(1) Death(1) Lego(2) Sustainable(1) Inter-generational learning(1) SPICE Framework(1) Identity(5) DCYA(4) Nutrition(1) Design(1) babies(7) Playdough(1) Iraq(1) pets(1) Impact(1) Wrapping paper(1) Games(1) Storytelling(2) Affordability(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine