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:

risky play(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Learning Stories(7) Arts(1) Mud kitchens(1) MECPI(1) Maths(4) Mindfulness(2) linc(1) trust(2) early years research(1) Upcycling(1) Certificate(1) ReCreate(2) Visitors(1) Socioemotional development(1) Investment(1) Queues(1) Running(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Penguins(1) Oireachtas(1) Settling in(2) research(5) Tuscan Approach(2) learning(15) Social Skills(1) Scéalta Blog(78) Reggio Emilia(1) Shapes(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Exploring(1) Giraffe(2) Positivity(1) routine(2) STEM(2) Treasure Chest(1) Builders(1) play(29) Glitter(2) Mark Twain(1) United Nations(1) Seas Suas(1) Communications(1) Maynooth(1) Confident(1) Primary School(2) Leprechauns(1) Smiles(1) DCYA(4) play stories(1) Engineers Week(2) National Pyjama Day(1) Well-Being(6) First 5 strategy(1) Weather(1) Horizon 2020(1) Japan(1) Interaction(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Our Little Seed(1) Trade union(1) Syria(1) Technology(2) Fabric(1) MA(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Craft(1) bonds(1) books(4) RIE philosphy(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Capable(1) CPD(1) Plants(1) Change(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Role play(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) NAEYC(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Wendy Lee(2) risk assessment(1) Margy Whalley(1) Event Guide(1) dining experiences(1) grandchild(1) Party(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Performing(1) Grief(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Sculptures(1) early childhood educator(1) educarer(1) Cork(1) Gratitude(1) Routines(1) Wilenski(1) Wrapping paper(1) Administrative Burden(1) under 3's(3) animals(2) Communicating(1) science week(2) baby room(1) Diversity(1) Music(3) Workplace Relations(3) Feeding(1) Mental Health(3) Buddy Bench(1) Challenges(1) Impact(1) Celebrations(4) Vertical grouping(1) Autism(3) Anxiety(2) ERASMUS+(3) Body Language(1) Nutrition(1) Light table(1) Síolta QAP(1) overhear(1) mushrooms(1) Graduate(1) social media(1) Training(2) Valentine's Day(3) Budget 2019(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Facebook(1) EECERA 2016(1) Flowers(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) refugees(1) emotional environment(1) science(3) Norway(2) Twitter(1) College(1) Map(1) National Holiday(1) Research Seminar(1) journey(1) Cognitive development(1) Vietnam(1) Kilkenny(1) University(1) Awards(2) Thank you(1) Pobal(1) curriculum(5) Trigonometry(1) Educators(1) planning(1) Empathy(1) Qualifications(1) Playschool(1) Traffic Lights(1) Imagination(3) role playing(1) Biting(1) Care-giving routines(1) Arithmetic(1) SPICE Framework(1) Line-ups(1) child-centred approach(1) Thanks(1) Halloween(2) The Jelly King(1) development(8) Time(1) listening(1) Sequins(1) Consent(1) Sustainability(3) Loss(1) ECCE(6) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) toddlers(3) Brain(1) Sustainable(1) GDPR(1) Gardening(1) San Minia(1) Plastic(1) Behaviour(3) Frustrations(1) Exit interview(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Professionalisation(4) Shoes(1) Maternity Leave(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Performance Management(1) environments(1) Mathematicians(1) dublin(2) Art(6) UNCRC(1) Academic Skills(1) Identity and Belonging(3) reading(4) Drawing(2) Educator of the Year Award(3) Environment(2) budget(1) Breathing(2) Exclusion(1) Síolta(98) Games(1) Inclusion(3) worries(1) outdoor play(6) education(2) AsIAm(1) Obesity(1) Early Years(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) ears(1) Mayo(1) Inter-generational(1) IGL(1) experience(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Culture(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Family(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Budget 2018(1) Wesco(1) San Miniato(4) Book Club(2) Bereavement(1) Orla Kenny(1) Easter(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Love(2) Independence(1) Lego(2) Inspirational(2) Photographs(1) Italy(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Limerick(1) Supernanny(1) emotions(2) Window(1) Masterclass(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Mo Scéal(1) Maria Montessori(1) NCCA(2) Self Help Skills(1) scéalta(25) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Workforce(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Nonverbal(1) food(1) transitions(9) Engineering(2) Leargas(1) Names(1) Mixed age groups(2) Home Corner(1) Snacks(1) Advocacy(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Recycling(2) Maynooth University(1) Self-regulation(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) meals(3) Awards 2019(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Graduation(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) memories(1) Relaxation(1) Dance(1) UN(1) Painting(1) Sport(1) Trade Unions(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Interests(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Celebrate(1) Design(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Recycle(1) Teamwork(1) Snakes(1) Affordability(1) Children's Research Network(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Reggio(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Ceremony(1) Adoption(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Appreciation(1) outdoor space(3) Snack Time(1) Titles(1) Story(1) Learning Story Awards(1) conversations(1) dogs(1) documentation(2) outdoors(3) friendships(1) Exercise(1) Care routines(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Eritrea(1) Laugh(1) Patterns(1) Trick or treat(1) Visual Impairment(1) Siolta blog(2) supportive environments(1) babies(6) risk(2) story time(1) Playdough(1) Potential(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) National Awards 2019(1) CIT(1) Sweets(1) Laughter(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) TOY Programme(1) Favouritism(1) respect(4) Pen green(1) Death(1) Family wall(1) parents(5) Employee(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Early Years Educators(1) feisty(1) Childhood(1) Childcare(2) Stress(2) Storytelling(2) Thinking(1) Self-Esteem(1) Rituals(1) Magic(1) preschool(2) Iraq(1) Competent(1) Prexit(1) Little Buddies(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Winter(1) Creative(1) Irish(1) First 5(1) Albert Einstein(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Identity(4) listen(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Awards 2018(3) Workplace well-being(1) Traditions(2) Treasure(1) Community involvement(1) Aistear(103) St. Patrick's Day(1) INTO(1) Children(1) Xbox(1) christmas(8) Fantasy play(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Scents(1) UD(1) Malaguzzi(1) maternity health(1) Learning Story(1) Policy(2) Universal Design(2) Degree(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Maths Week(1) Magda Gerber(1) Through the looking glass(1) ICBN(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Montessori(2) educating(1) Decision Making(1) PIP(1) Mantra(1) dining(1) ECEC(1) community(5) Arlene Forster(1) AIM(2) Engineering Ireland(1) curiosity(3) Early Learning and Care(1) Touch(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Kids Own(1) Interactions(1) EM Standing(1) Spiders(1) blog(28) National Awards 2018(2) eating(1) Blocks(1) pets(1) Wonder(1) Creativity(4) Mount Everest(1) Belonging(3) Meal time(1) Meet the Members(1) Jenga(1) interacting(2) Decisions(1) Kerry(1) Mealtimes(1) Online(1) Academics(1) Funding(1) Children's Rights(1) Santa(2) Buddies(1) stories(2) communication(4) relationships(12) Ariana Pucci(1) Time Out(1) Learning journals(1) Yoga(1) Magnavacchi(1) Quality(3) Afghanistan(1) Health(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Child mental health(1) Growing up Outdoors(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine