Pictured at the awards night were l-r: Gemma Gleeson, Maeve O'Connor, Anne Macken, Joanna Roche and Orlaith Coughlan.

There were smiles all around in Happy Days in Ballyporeen, as they were presented with a learning story award from Early Childhood Ireland at the weekend.

The award was given for their story entitled ‘Welcome to the Family’, which tells the beautiful story of a calf being born.

Manager Anne Macken was joined by staff members in the Gibson Hotel in Dublin on Saturday to receive the award and said that they were delighted with the recognition.

The judges praised the ‘Welcome to the Family’ story, describing it as ‘a simple tale where Molly’s excitement is evident following the experience of watching a calf being born’.

“The practitioner recognises this special connection that Molly has made with this lovely experience that she loved so much.”

“In this story, we see the educator valuing Molly’s story and showing a great respect for it by documenting it exactly how Molly told it – full of enthusiasm, enjoyment and fascination.”

The Early Childhood Ireland awards are a way to celebrate the great work done by early childhood educators from around the country.

“Through these learning stories and innovations, we get a real insight into how the most effective play and learning experience is child led and evolves into an experience steeped in learning and fun,” Dr Carmel Brennan of Early Childhood Ireland explained.