1. Learning Stories Monthly Awards

These awards were initiated to showcase the wonderful work and learning that is happening in our members’ services.

1. Learning Stories Monthly Awards

Learning Story Winners


2018 Winning Learning Stories


2017 Winning Learning Stories 


2016 Winning Learning Stories


2015 Winning Learning Stories


2014 Winning Learning Stories


2013 Winning Learning Stories
2013 Highly Commended Learning Stories


2012 Winning Learning Stories
2012 Highly Commended Learning Stories


About Early Childhood Ireland Learning Stories

Early Childhood Ireland launched the “Learning Stories Awards” in 2012.
These awards were initiated to showcase the wonderful work and learning that is happening in our members’ services.


Do you have a Learning Story to Share? 

Help us to celebrate the learning and make it visible!

We know that every day in your service there are many recordable learning moments. Why not get recording and send them in to us!

We are inviting you to submit stories that show significant learning moments or events that happen through play in your service. We will be displaying a monthly winner which will go forward to the “Annual Learning Story Awards”.

Each Highly Commended story will also receive a certificate and be displayed on our website.


How to Apply

Format of Submissions
The learning stories should be comprised of the story (text) with accompanying photographs. These can be submitted using our template or a simple word document. Powerpoint presentations are no longer accepted.


Observation Framework
We would like you to use the Carr and Lee (2012) framework of Noticing, Recognising, Responding, Recording, Re-visiting and Reflecting as depicted below. Using this framework will keep you focused on the learning episode and guide you through the recording of the learning story.

Remember! Most important is to KEEP IT SIMPLE! Perhaps you currently record the children’s learning in a large project format? We think this method is a terrific way of sharing with the children, parents and other stakeholders. However, for the purpose of the Learning Story Competition we would appreciate if you could Keep it Simple and extract a single learning episode for your learning story entry. This will demonstrate to us that you have a deep understanding of the children’s thinking and learning.


Linking to Aistear
It would be good to see you link your stories to any or all of the four themes of Aistear:

  • Well-being
  • Identity and belonging
  • Communicating
  • Exploring and thinking

(Aistear, NCCA, 2009)


Selecting Featured Stories

Each month a panel of Early Childhood Specialists will select stories to be featured on our website. Please note that the closing date for monthly submissions will be on the 28th of every month. From this selection a monthly winner will be chosen to be entered for the Annual Learning Story Awards. Prizes for each monthly winner and for the overall Learning Story Award will be presented at the Annual Early Childhood Ireland Conference


Awards Criteria

The following criteria will be used to assess entries: Does the story:

  1. Follow the Carr and Lee framework?
  2. Make children’s/adults’ learning visible?
  3. Include an insight into children’s own thinking?
  4. Explain how the experience emerged from the children’s interests?
  5. Explain plans for further development?
  6. Unfold and present in such a way that it is readable and meaningful to adults and children?
  7. Share the learning from the experience?



Early Childhood Ireland will be exhibiting both the Winning and Highly Commended learning story on our website each month and these stories may also be used in our research, training, and publications. Therefore we need to have permission from children, parents and staff involved. While you can talk to staff and children to seek their permission, you need written permission from parents. If parents want to see examples of the ways in which the information would be used they can have a look at the examples we have displayed on the Learning Awards information page. If you are submitting a learning story please download and complete our Consent Form. It is your responsibility to obtain permission and to retain the signed consents. The application form below includes a section where you can confirm that you have obtained and retained completed consent forms.


For information on the judging process, please click here.


Submitting Learning Stories

Please download and complete the learning story application form. An application form (which includes verification of Consents received) should accompany every entry submitted for the awards. There is no need to submit the actual consents signed by the parents. These forms should be retained by you on site and available to ECI if required. Your entries can be submitted by email to ahearne@earlychildhoodireland.ie.


Closing Date for Applications

The Learning Stories Awards will be allocated on a monthly basis.  The closing date for monthly submissions is the 28th of every month. Prizes for each monthly winner and for the overall Learning Story Award will be presented yearly at the Annual Early Childhood Ireland Conference.

Design & Development