2013 Winning Learning Stories

Silage Making Time on the Farm (December Winner) Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre, Athlone   This learning story is situated in a rural service where the sounds and noises the children hear are different from those in an urban setting. One day the children heard loud noises right outside their window as the farmer next […]

2013 Winning Learning Stories

Silage Making Time on the Farm (December Winner)

Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre, Athlone

Untitled-2 copy  

This learning story is situated in a rural service where the sounds and noises the children hear are different from those in an urban setting. One day the children heard loud noises right outside their window as the farmer next door began baling the silage. This prompted a new play theme for the children. The playschools ‘farmer in residence’ Jack, was able to keep everyone informed of all that was happening – the sequence of how silage is made, the machinery used etc.


Uncle Adam (November Winner)

Ashgrove crèche & Montessori

Uncle adam  

Henry’s Uncle Adam is coming to visit and he’s a guitarist. Henry’s mum asked if Uncle Adam could come to the school and play his guitar for the children. The preparation for Uncle Adam’s visit generated great discussion on how he would travel from England to their crèche. It prompted the children to pretend play at what happens in an airport and they even got to travel on their own aeroplane. The story concludes with Adam’s uncle visiting their service and the children’s excitement as they listen and watch Adam play his guitar and sing. The children join in with their own musical instrument and sing one of their favourite songs ‘old mac Donald had a farm’.



The Frog-Garden Discovery (October Winner)

Bright Horisons Balgriffen


In this winning story we see an unexpected visitor to the crèche’s garden. As mark fills his water bucket with water, he hears a rustling sound behind the hose. What a discovery! What excitement! What an exploring and thinking opportunity! We can see children have an opportunity to share the extensive knowledge they already have and acquire new knowledge. We can see their ability to tend and care for the little creature. This is the kind of discovery that needs to be shared – both in the service and at home. The adults provide opportunities for the children to share their discovery with other children and the children themselves bring the story home and so begins a conversation between home and preschool.


Our Winkle and Whale Adventure (September Winner)

Ladybird Lane Day Nursery & Montessori, Clogherhead, Co Louth



Sean is passionately interested in whales and regularly goes to a nearby beach with his mam to look for winkles. In playgroup he draws a picture of a whale. In this month’s winning story we see how the adults pick up on Sean’s interest in whales and follow it all the way to the beach and back again. They demonstrate how they use the local environment to provide meaningful and memorable experiences for the children. It all started with Sean drawing a picture of a winkle and a whale. They read stories, search the internet and discover more information about the whale and winkles. This leads to an exciting visit to the beach to search for winkles in the rock pools.


Our Very Own Story Book (August Winner)

Cheeky Cherubs Cork City Council

Cheeky Cherubs Resized[1]   In this learning story we see how children are supported to explore books through a range of perspectives. The adults notice the children’s interest in reading stories to each other and build on this interest with a variety of activities and experiences. The children progress to creating their own storybook. They explore all different types of books, discuss all the parts of a book, and visit their local library. The story concludes with the children becoming authors, illustrators and publishers of their own story book. This was an exciting and empowering way to support children’s language, literacy and sense of achievement. JK Rowling watch out the next generation of authors are developing fast.

“I’m going to ask my Mammy can we get a baby too” (July Winner)

Beverton, Donabate, Co. Dublin

BeevertonW   There was a baby boom in Beverton and this prompted an increase in babies play. We see the children explore their concept of babies and everything that entails. A little extra shopping afforded the children an opportunity to explore this further as they bathed, dressed, fed and walked the babies. The problem of a shortage of equipment was promptly solved as the children themselves found a solution. This story demonstrates how the children’s play helped them to make sense of the people, places and things in their world.

Shadow Learning Story (June Winner)

St. Clare’s Pre-School, Harold’s Cross

Shadow Learning Story  

This story demonstrates how children are constantly enquiring and striving to make connections with their new learning. The reading of this story prompted the children to explore how and when they themselves make a shadow. Following up on this interest the children engage in activities both indoor and outdoor and as they follow lines of enquiry, they learn more about shadows and then decide to share their newfound knowledge with the wider community. Their investigation of light and dark, size and space portrays the children as young scientists and powerful learners. The principles of Aistear and Síolta are clearly visible in this story.



Terry the (sand) Pterodactyl (May Winner)

Early Days Montessori Playgroup

Terry the (sand) Pterodactyl  

In this learning story the children share their knowledge and interest in dinosaurs. As the adults support the children to explore how and where they might have lived, they learn from each other the names of many different dinosaur species. Further discussion on Pterodactyl’s prompted them to explore its size in a realistic manner as they used their own bodies to represent it. This demonstrates in a powerful way the manner in which play incorporates language, literacy and numeracy. Aistear and Síolta principles are evident.


The Bakery (March Winner)

Nurture Childcare, Mount Street

The Bakery   A couple of days later while the children were playing with playdough we noticed that they started to “bake”. We added baking tins, rolling pins, cookie cutters and plastic utensils to this sensory experience. On this particular day it happened to be Celine’s birthday and the toddlers decided to bake birthday cakes! “Candles, I want candles for. I blow candles for Celine’s birthday” said Rowan.

Our Dinosaur Story (February Winner)

The Old School, Ballapousta

Dinosaur Story   In this learning story we see how recycling boxes turned into an opportunity for the children to create a new species – Ballapoustex! While all of the children became involved in creating this dinosaur, Sam in particular was the ‘expert’ and guided children and adults in the pronunciation of their names! He now stands guard in the parents room as a daily reminder of the children’s creative skills.

Jack Frost (January Winner)

Tir na nÓg Childcare Centre, Athy


This story evolved when the children took an interest in frost after reading a book on Jack Frost. They watched the process of water turning to ice and back to water again. They checked outdoors and found that the frost had frozen some leaves, some of their toys and even a mop! Back indoors, they discovered that by colouring some ice cubes they had a new way of creating water colours!

Design & Development