KU Killara Park Preschool has embraced innovation. They have worked closely over several years with Dr. Kate Highfield, an early years and technology expert, and they have thought a lot about how technology can fit within their play-based philosophy.

 

“My diverse, multicultural families are loving Storypark because a picture tells a thousand words. The photos really help them understand what we do and helps them understand the learning through play approach. Storypark is great at matching the levels of information with what people need.” – Laure Hislop, Director


They recently won the KU ‘M
aking a Difference’ Award for Innovation particularly for their use of technology and it was acknowledged they were prepared to take risks and explore possibilities without compromising what is important.

KU Childcare 2015-119
This sums up what is most important for
Director, Laure Hislop and her team, “We advocate for children, she says. One thing they grapple with constantly is the issue of privacy and respecting children’s rights when it comes to having children’s images shared with the world. They always found the openness of email and the ability for anyone to forward an email they send out as problematic. They used to say that until they can have a space with a password and where photos are contained they wouldn’t be sharing photos widely with their community.

Then, came Storypark.

Laure talks about going to her first meeting about Storypark feeling very skeptical, but she came away enthusiastic and ready to try it. “This was in no small part in the developers commitment to get it right,” she says. “At the core this is about communicating with families and putting children first.” She values the way Storypark are constantly looking to improve upon it.KU Childcare 2015-127

Using Videos & Learning

One real value they see at KU Killara Park is in the ability to share videos with parents and the community through Storypark. As Laure explains it, [a] child trying to explain what they are doing is really hard, but put a video out there and it is fabulous – it helps them to understand the experience and to revisit situations.

Storypark allows educators to revisit, improve and develop experiences. And, then they can share that with families. This is important because before children start childcare or preschool their parents know everything about their lives, Storypark helps to show parents what is going on when their children are at preschool or childcare, it is an important gap to fill if we acknowledge parents as first teachers.

Parent Engagement: 100%

KU Childcare 2015-144At KU Killara Park they have 100% parent involvement in Storypark. And, the engagement is different across all the different families. Some parents comment as soon as a post is up, but staff also know parents don’t always all look – and that is OK, too. Laure says “It will be at different times and different places.”

 One story from the centre is of a family whose Dad works in remote WA as a fly-in/fly-out worker. Through Storypark he sees what is happening in a way he never would before. In separated families it means mum and dad can both manage and work through how to view, share and work together around the child’s preschool experience.

KU Childcare 2015-140KU Killara Park recognise that everyone can have collaborative conversations and give feedback around the child’s learning and development. Storypark is an integral piece of technology that aligns to their practice and their ongoing commitment and advocacy for children and supporting their parents and families to do the same.

“We are giving parents a voice. They get a sense of belonging. Being part of a community is about having rights and feeling like you are a part of things. You want ownership and feel like you are a part of it. Storypark helps us do that.”

-Laure Hislop, Director

Posted by Dan Donahoo

Daniel Donahoo is the Director of Project Synthesis, an ideas consultancy whose work is driven by play, technology and narrative. Daniel is the author of two books on children, family, media and technology “Idolising Children” and “Adproofing Your Kids” and writes and blogs regularly on the topics of technology, children, education and families.


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One Comment

  1. This is our second year for using Storypark at our kinder. Not all families are tech oriented and so take a while to respond or they will just read and not interact. On the other hand we had a set of grandparents in Cairns last year, (we are in country Victoria) who commented on every story about their little grandee, and this year we have one mum who is posting videos from home about her child. It’s worth a thousand entries in a “What’s happening at home” page or book when that happens, but it’s not how everyone can/will use it.

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