2015 Winning Learning Stories

March Winner Oh Gloop…. OOPS’ Nurture Childcare and Learning Centre, Mount Street This story began with a planned messy play activity for the babies in the baby room.  However, only one took to the mess like a duck to water – or rather a baby to gloop!  Catherine clearly demonstrates her sheer enjoyment of all […]

2015 Winning Learning Stories

March Winner

Oh Gloop…. OOPS’

Nurture Childcare and Learning Centre, Mount Street

Adult and baby doing messy play in childcare service - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

This story began with a planned messy play activity for the babies in the baby room.  However, only one took to the mess like a duck to water – or rather a baby to gloop!  Catherine clearly demonstrates her sheer enjoyment of all things messy as she goes hands first into the gloop, the jelly, the flour and water….   See where that got them!


April Winner (Joint)

Ana’s Passport Story

Kidz@Play, Maynooth

Young girl using a lamination machine - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Ana’s excitement is palpable as her mum has  just told her they are going to go away on holidays.  Having checked out what a passport looks like, Ana decides she needs to make one for herself for her travels.  Luckily the ‘man at the airport’ let her through so she was able to continue on her journey to Spain where she saw the green lake – and guess who lives there?????


April Winner (Joint)

Rainbows, Booby Traps and Leprechauns!

Tots Preschool Roseberry Hill, Newbridge

Children doing crafts - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

What started with nursery rhymes about a tricky leprechaun soon became a world of wonder and surprise as Sean Seamus, the Leprechaun, became an active member of the group.  Although the children began by making a trap to catch him, they soon came to see him as friend “I love Sean Seamus, he plays lots of tricks, but he’s nice” said Mia.  The children, educators and families showed great excitement when they discovered the everyday tricks that Sean Seamus played on them…


May Winner

Little Gardeners – Learning Through Nature

Early Days Montessori Playgroup

Girls planting seeds in a flower pot - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

The children of Early Days Montessori had a clear attraction to the resources of nature as an abundance of acorns, leaves, conkers and sycamore seeds were given a place of importance in the classroom.  They then demonstrated their vast knowledge of technology by informing the educators how to go about getting information on the phone and laptop!  This research led to experiments and the growth of new possibilities in nature.  What happens next is a story only the children can tell…

June Winner

Earthquake Fun Day

Scallywags, Co. Carlow

Group of boys spilling containers of water - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

The children of Scallywags Crèche showed great curiosity when they heard the news of the earthquake in Nepal.  They delved into research by looking at videos and demonstrated how they visualised them with drawings.  They continued to make a whole world of their own and watched the buildings fall as they pretended their new world was shook by an earthquake…


July Winner

The Fundamentals of Life

Fingers and Toes Community Childcare and Education Centre, Co.Monaghan

Boy in a high vis vest - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

In Fingers and Toes Community Childcare and Education Centre a conversation about local windmills sparked the interest of the children.  During sand play one of the boys created a “windmill with sand on it that moves around.”  This then led to an adventure outside the setting, with a trip for the children and their parents to a real mill, where they were able to find the answers to many of their questions about windmills.  Upon their return their curiosity then spread to other types of windmills.  From further explorations the children discovered wheat seeds and investigated what would happen when they planted them in a bed of soil.


August Winner

The Egg Challenge

Bright Horizons, Drogheda

Group of boys sitting on rug - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Finding a safe and protective means of transport for an egg is no easy task.  See how this group of after schoolers take on this task and work together inventing rocket ships and flying pillows that would hopefully give the egg the soft landing it would need to survive the fall.


September Winner

Music in Motion

The Jigsaw Centre, Darndale

Two boys playing with musical instruments - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

The early years educators of the jigsaw centre followed the children’s interests closely by incorporating music into their newly developed outdoor area.  They used simple, inexpensive materials such a pots and pans and watched as these musical resources brought three children together in play.  They had very little language but that didn’t get in the way as they soon found other means of communication.


October Winner (Joint)

Play in a Risky Environment

Bessborough Creche, Blackrock, Cork

Young girl walking amongst rocks - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

This story shows us Annalyse who bravely takes on an exciting challenge.  She shows great confidence in her own capabilities and combats the task of climbing over some difficult rocks.  She explores her options and figures out the best path to take.  The simple moments within this story show great examples of confidence, courage and competency.


October Winner (Joint)

Fireman Sam

Little Fingers Playschool, Douglas, Co.Cork

Group of boys pretending to be firemen - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Sam’s Grandad is a Firefighter and Sam’s interest in his Granddads Vocation soon crept into playschool where the children’s play was overcome with different firefighting opportunities!  The dangerous ‘chemical spill’ the children discovered in their playful way became the first of many obstacles they embraced together.  Their journey brought them on a trip to a real fire station where they excitedly got to meet some firemen and see how it all works first hand.  


November Winner (Joint)

Our Best Memories of Preschool

Giraffe, Cherrywood

Child's drawing - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

The children of Giraffe are listened to carefully as they express their memories of their favourite day in preschool.  They tell of pink and purple unicorns, witches, pirates and fire engine deliveries to their creche.  They tell stories full of imagination, creativity and fun.  These important days that they believe in and they cherish were then made into a book and shared among their families and friends.  What a lovely way to close their time in preschool and to help prepare them for their transition to ‘big school’. 


November Winner (Joint)

Blaze the hoglet comes to Playschool

Giggles Playgroup, Newbridge

Children building with pieces of wood - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Giggles playgroup were fortunate enough to get a very welcomed visitor.  Blaze the hoglet came wandering in to Giggles one Friday evening and received lots of care and attention from Carole and the children that helped get him back on track for his long Hibernation.  The children created a beautiful house for Blaze, learnt all about what he likes to eat and cared for him so much that they were happy to see he was strong enough to start his hibernation for the winter.  The children only hope that their new, important friend Blaze comes back to visit them again next spring after his well-earned rest.


December Winner (Joint)

Wondering about Water

Natural Start , Donabate

Group of children with fresh vegetables - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

As the children of natural start begin their explorations of  the water in a puddle at their service, the opportunities of discovery become very visible.   They eagerly become familiar with difficult scientific concepts such as floating and sinking while experimenting with different materials.  The children were given time and space to explore the many play opportunities this simple puddle could offer.  


December Winner (Joint)

Toby Bears Camping Trip

Fairy Folk Crèche, Kilkenny

Group of children - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Pyjama day 2015 became a day of excitement and adventure for the children of Fairy Folk Montessori.  Some of the children met a hedgehog for the very first time which sparked excitement and an interest to discover more about hibernation.  They set up camp for their resident teddy toby to hibernate when suddenly Toby decided to play a trick on them by hiding in the garden.  This led to an exciting adventure through long, wavy grass and dark squelchy mud to find him.  See what else they come across on their adventure… 


January Winner (Joint)

All Aboard Oisín’s Train

Toddlers Lodge Preschool, Newbridge

Boy drawing a picture - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Oisín burst into preschool early one morning full of excitement to tell his friends all about his adventure’s driving a real train with his daddy over the weekend.  This excitement spiralled out of control with all the children using their imaginations at its fullest, creating a train of their own, calling it ‘Santa’s Polar Express’ and allowing it to bring them on a journey to far off places like the pyramids in Egypt and the Zoo.   


January Winner (Joint)

Baby’s Day Out

Sundays Well Montessori and Preschool, Cork

Girl kissing her doll on the head - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

A baby doll, some chairs, a table, a towel, some kitchen utensils and a very caring and loving little girl called Molly is all it took to make this beautiful story full of care and compassion.  Molly showed great skills when looking after her baby, making sure she is fed well, tucked in tight and comforted by holding the babies hand when she fell asleep as she’s afraid of the dark.  Molly’s skills of care are breath-taking as we see her living her past experiences through her valuable play.


January Winner (Joint)

Look at Nadia’s New Toy

Tots Preschool, Newbridge

Group of children playing on the floor - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

This story brings us on a journey of inclusion.  Nadia is new to Tot’s preschool and she brings with her an interesting piece of equipment that sparks the children’s curiosity.  “How come she’s allowed a toy today” wonders Conor.  The children came to realise that Nadia needed this aid to help her walk.  This helped the children to reflect on their own differences; Nadia has a walking aid, Noah has spikey hair, Isabelle has glasses and Aoibhinn has brown hair that makes them all different to each other.  The children’s recognition of their differences helps make this an inclusive environment.


January Highly Commended (Joint)

A Pirates life for Me

Fairy Folk Montessori, Kilkenny

young boys dressed as pirates - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Vivi returned from a holiday in Legoland eager to share her photograph of a ‘Pirate ship’ she saw with all her friends!  This interest took over as what once was Fairy Folk Montessori became a Pirate Haven, ship and all.  Treasure, eye patches and canons all became part of the children’s play.  Some children were also summoned to reluctantly walk the plank.    


January Highly Commended (Joint)

Discovering our Garden

The Park School for Early Learning in Letterkenny, Donegal

Young boy picking fruit - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

Luke finds something ‘soft and squishy’ behind a tree in the garden.  The children wonder what it could be and Danni suggest ‘it’s fruit’.  The children decided to pick some more of the fruit and bring it to the kitchen for cooking.  The children at the park school were actively involved in bringing this fruit full circle – from the tree, to the kitchen, to spreading it on their bread and eating it.  What a wonderful learning experience this was. 


February Winner (Joint)

The Fairy Queen

The ABC Club, Dunboyne, Meath

Children walking through a forest - 2015 Winning Learning Stories

February Winner (Joint)

You Have to Use Your Indian Voice

Beverton Preschool, Donabate

Woman showing traditional Indian dress to group of children - 2015 Winning Learning Stories



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