ItemChildLinks Issue 3: STEAM Learning in Early Childhood(Barnardos, 2022) BarnardosSTEAM education for young children involves teaching science, technology, engineering, arts and maths as an integrated whole. This holistic apporach not only supports children’s learning in the different areas, but enables them to develop skills that extend beyond them. In early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, when we encourage children to be creative, to experiment, to predict and to try things out, both on their own and while working and interacting with peers, we support them to develop skills in self direction, critical thinking and problem solving. In this issue of ChildLinks, we consider STEAM learning in early childhood education and care settings from both an Irish and international perspective. In the first article, Nicola O’Reilly from the Institute of Education in Dublin City University (DCU) gives an overview of the Early Childhood STEAM Network, an informal network of educators, students, academics and mentors in Ireland with a particular interest in learning more about STEAM, and outlines a study that researches how educators currently perceive STEAM education within ECEC. Dr Nuala Finucane from the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest then considers the factors that influence the provision of science learning experiences in ECEC in Ireland, examining educators’ perceptions and practices around science education. In a further article from the Irish context, Lorraine Farrell from NCCA explores how the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide can support early years educators to notice, name and support science, technology, engineering and maths learning opportunities within their early childhood curriculum. Also in this issue, Dr. Thomas Delahunty, Assistant Professor of Education at Maynooth University, looks at the implicit gendered constructions of STEM education among early childhood educators, examining the evidence of gender stereotype endorsements among future early childhood educators and how this may contribute to the gendered subjectivity in their future pedagogic practice in the early childhood setting. From further afield, Virpi Yliverronen from University of Turku gives an overview of technology preschool education in Finland and explores two projects that approach technology education from different viewpoints. Finally, from the United States, Dr Tracey Hunter- Doniger, Associate Professor of Creativity/Creative Arts in Education in the College of Charleston, South Carolina, considers child-centred approaches to learning, and explores creativity, play, and autonomy as essential skills that engage students in the learning process and enhance their overall enjoyment of STEAM learning. ItemChildLinks Issue 2: Staff Wellbeing in Early Learning and Care(Barnardos, 2022) BarnardosCaring for and educating young children in Early Learning and Care (ELC) settings is often very rewarding and fulfilling work. However, the role of the early years educator can be emotionally demanding, and this, coupled with often low wages, poor working conditions, a lack of role clarity and leadership, high staff turnover and low professional status can all result in educators feeling high degree of stress, depression and burnout. The multiple time pressures and limited resources in ELC settings can also lead to a working environment that offers little in terms of staff care and wellbeing. Given what we know about the importance of the quality of relationships and interactions between young children and the important adults in their lives, as well as the link to child outcomes, poor educator wellbeing can impact not just on the individual educator themselves, but also on the children in their care. It is essential that attention be paid to reducing the stress and promoting the resilience of early years educators so they are best equipped to support the children in their care. In the first article in this issue of ChildLinks on staff wellbeing in ELC, Oke, Hayes and Filipovic draw on their study looking at the experiences of burnout among early years educators in Ireland and consider the importance of educator wellbeing in early childhood practice, for both educators themselves and for the children in their care. Concerns about wellbeing are not just confined to staff in Irish ELC settings, however. Also in this issue, researchers from the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center at the University of Colorado highlight how personal demands experienced by the early years workforce and work conditions within settings can negatively affect job satisfaction and wellbeing among staff in the US. Another article looks at the negative impact of Covid-19 on educators’ wellbeing in Australia and outlines how some organisations have supported early childhood educators, as well as the children and families in the setting. In other articles, National Childhood Network highlight how child and educator’s health and wellbeing is promoted in Healthy Ireland Smart Start Programmes for ELC services; Amy Dowd from Cuan Bhríde Childcare Centre in Roscommon outlines how, as an ELC manager, she works to provide a positive and supportive work environment; and Sheila O’Malley, a professional trainer in wellbeing, gives her suggestions as to how to work without sacrificing yourself. Finally in this issue, Sharon Byrne, Barnardos Early Years Development Coordinator, looks at the potential impacts on educators who work with children and families who have experienced trauma, and explores some of the ways that ELC services can support their staff to prevent burnout and secondary trauma. ItemChildLinks Issue 1: Mixed Age Groups in Early Learning and Care(Barnardos, 2022) BarnardosThroughout our lives we engage, interact and socialise with people of all ages, learning from and supporting those both older and younger than ourselves, and benefitting from their different experiences, understanding, knowledge level, abilities and skills. In most Western countries, including Ireland, however, many children spend much of their time outside the home with other children the same age. It is the norm in the primary and secondary school system, for example, for children to be segregated into classes based solely on age. In centre-based Early Learning and Care (ELC) settings this is also often the case, with children grouped into babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, to be cared for and educated separately in different rooms. By not being given the opportunity to play with and socialise with others of different ages, children are being denied the positive relationships, enhanced learning experiences, and social and emotional development that would come from such engagement. This issue of ChildLinks considers the benefits of mixed age groupings, particularly in Early Learning and Care, where children engage with children at least 2 or 3 years older and younger, supporting, nurturing and learning from one another. In the first article in this issue, Sandra J. Stone, Founder of the National Multiage Institute and Professor Emeritus at the Northern Arizona University in the US, considers the myriad benefits of mixed age groupings in maximising every child’s overall well-being while preparing them now and for a future, mixed-age, diverse society. Following this, Barbara Gavagan, Early Years Inspector in the Department of Education, discusses effective pedagogy with mixed age groups in Early Learning and Care settings, drawing on both the content of the Early Years Education Inspection Quality Framework and the findings from inspections in settings across Ireland. Tina Dunstan then gives an overview of her experiences as owner of Cherryblossoms Childcare Ltd, a service that espouses mixed age groupings, and highlights the benefits this approach has had for the children in her care. An article from Barnardos then looks specifically at the positive impacts of mixed age groups on children social and emotional development. Finally, Dr Miriam O’Regan, Regional Childminding Development Officer with Dublin City Childcare Committee, explores mixed age groupings in childminding settings in Ireland.