Category 1: Learning Stories Monthly Awards

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

Category 1: Learning Stories Monthly Awards

A ‘Learning Story’ is a record of what an educator has seen a child (or group of children) doing in an early learning and care service. Learning Stories allow us to document a child’s learning. They are a tool for tuning into the world of children in a deeper, more meaningful way as educators. Learning stories are an opportunity to truly hear children, to listen, watch and see, in order to extend a child’s learning.

Learning Stories are an effective and inclusive way of documentation and assessment in early childhood settings that require knowledgeable educators who understand children’s learning. Carr and Lee (2012) believe that learning stories are powerful ways of documenting learning, using the reciprocal relationships between the child, people and the environment.

These narratives are observations of children’s participation in everyday activities, in everyday settings that demonstrate children’s growing identities, dispositions, thoughts, explorations and communications. This natural way of documenting children’s journeys, learning and development links strongly with the words, wonderings, questions and ideas from children. Early Childhood Ireland recognises these quality practices and are delighted to share these stories with our members through our learning story awards.

Three awards will be presented in the Learning Story Awards Category:

Award 1: Learning Story of the Year (Written to an individual child) NEW

Award 2: Emergent Curriculum in Action Learning Story of the Year (Written about a group of children) NEW

Award 3: Best Learning Story from ‘Newcomer’ setting (individual child or group) NEW

 

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Criteria for short-listing and judging – Learning Story of the Year award (to an individual child)

Please use the application form to demonstrate:

Criteria Marks
  • That it takes the form of a ‘letter to’ the child, a story approach, speaking directly to the child.
  • A story with clear beginning that is led by a child’s interest, i.e., an example of a child-led approach. 
25
  • An extension to the child’s learning by the educator and setting, which follows the child’s initial lead.
  • That the educators have reflected on the story and what it means for and to the individual child.
25
  • An evident child’s voice, with clear quotes, descriptions of expressions, or include other means of communication, where possible.
  • The child’s learning dispositions. 
25
  • That the learning story is accessible to and shared with the child in the setting.
  • That the learning story is shared with the child’s family.
  • That the Learning Story is underpinned by the themes of the Aistear Framework. (However, it is not necessary for the story to make direct links to the learning goals and aims)
25
Total Marks 100

 

 

Criteria for Short-listing and Judging – Emergent Curriculum in Action Award

Please use the application form to demonstrate:

Criteria Marks
  •  A clear beginning to the story that is led by the children’s interests.
  • That the children’s voices are evident, with clear quotes, descriptions of expressions, or include other means of communication, where possible.
25
  • The children’s learning dispositions.
  • An extension to the children’s learning by the educator and setting, which follows the children’s initial lead.
25
  • The relationships between children, educators, families and anyone who is involved. 
25
  • That the learning story is accessible to and shared with the children in the setting.
  • That the learning story is shared with the children’s families.
  • That the Learning Story is underpinned by the themes of the Aistear Framework. (However, it is not necessary for the story to make direct links to the learning goals and aims)
25
Total Marks  100

 

 

Criteria for Short-listing and Judging – Learning Story Category – Best ‘Newcomer’ story (individual or group)

Please use the application form to demonstrate:

  • Criteria for individual learning story as above, and for Emergent Curriculum in Action group story.
  • The service has not previously entered or been shortlisted for an Early Childhood Ireland Award. 
 
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Documentation and Supporting Evidence

  • The maximum word limit is 1000 words.
  • Award entries must be factually accurate.
  • Supportive evidence may include for e.g. relevant photographs, artwork but is not essential.
  • Photograph submission form, if applicable.
  • A completed application form
  • A signed Declaration
  • Consents for all photos included (photos will not be accepted without photo consents).

 

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Learning Stories Reflective Framework

Here are some short resources to help you develop a Learning Story.
Learning Stories: What is a Learning Story? And is it a good way of assessing a child’s learning? – myece.org.nz
Learning Story Conversations with Wendy Lee, Educational Leadership Project, New Zealand – Part 1
Learning Story Conversations with Wendy Lee, Educational Leadership Project, New Zealand – Part 2

The following framework from Wendy Lee & Margaret Carr (2012) is also helpful:


Notice
• The Educator notices learner’s engagement or interest in something:
• What is encouraging or interesting a child in this episode?
• What are they trying to master, learn, achieve or explore?
• What actions or behaviours did you notice?
• Does this link to anything you have noticed before for this child?
• Was there another child or adult involved and if so, what was their role?

 

Recognise
• The educator recognises what learning is taking place for the child:
• What learning happened here?
• What learning is valued here?
• What were the key points to the story? Why?
• What is significant for you? For the child? For others?
• What links can be made to past instances of learning?
• Does the child have anything to say about importance of what has occurred here?
• What does the learner’s family recognise here?
• What have you learned?

 

Respond
The educator responds to and extends the learning:
• Are there possibilities or opportunities for further learning?
• What might the child’s own goal be here?
• Are there any resources, strategies or experiences the educator can introduce to support the learning?
• Are there opportunities to nurture the children’s dispositions?
• What is the adult’s role here?
• Does the response encourage self-motivation?

 

Recording
How can educators work effectively with children to record learning in ways that are accessible and meaningful to everyone involved?

 

Revisiting
Is there a way for educators to document learning that promotes learners’ enthusiasm for revisiting it?

 

Reflecting
How can children and adults (educators and families) reflect to co-construct meaning about their identities as learners?

 

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To view previous winners of the Learning Story Award, please click here

 

Closing Date: 14 February 2020

 

For more information on how to apply and the short-listing and judging process see here.

 

For more information on our National Annual Awards and Gala Dinner, please click here to visit our Conference 2020 website

 

To book your ticket, please click here

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