“I’m also a parent – I saw Storypark as a great tool for families. I was at the centre, working in the industry and still not reading what my child was doing. Storypark is perfect because at 10pm I can look at what they are doing and can come in and chat with their educators in the morning. It makes a working mum feel so much better.” Kylie Campbell, Centre Manager

Bambini Worongary is a 75-place childcare centre in a locality that has a high saturation of childcare centres. There are 20 other centres within the local area. Bambini Worongary would call itself an older-style centre and their use of Storypark is one of their points of difference. It fits strongly with their desire to connect and strengthen the relationships with families and across the community. They have a culturally diverse community who use their centre and many extended families who live overseas as a result.

The centre also runs a successful before and after school care program.

Bambini Worongary was a Storypark trial site for Affinity Education Group, and when Kylie Campbell, the Centre Manager was given the opportunity, was keen to try it out and see just how it could help engage families in the education of their children.

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The Overseas Factor and families

“We have families overseas and it is a huge thing for them,” Kylie Campbell says. The whole staff talk about the value of having grandparents or other family members abroad engaged in some way in not just children’s lives, but in their learning and development.

But, it isn’t just families overseas. All families at the centre have found it a strength. “It has ticked a box for every family – the family receive posts everyday and feel connected in seeing their children’s stories. They are commenting and sharing. It is a whole new way of engaging with families.” Kylie says.

Benefits to staff

Storypark gives the educators at Bambini Worongary more time. Some staff go really in-depth with their stories, while others do smaller pieces everyday. The centre encourages a bit of both, some for individuals and some group stories.

The value to staff is not just in how they can perform their work more efficiently, but it boosts moral and makes them feel really valued by parents.

At Bambini Worongary, they had parents provide feedback to the staff – and in the majority of those they mentioned how much they love Storypark. But, it isn’t just Storypark, it is the way staff are using it that matters. Previously, the centre had tried to email photos and notes to parents’ everyday, but it wasn’t the same. An email is harder to link together with everything else that is going on and is a stand-alone.

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Before & After School Care

Bambini Worongary have also started to use Storypark for before and after school care. Kylie has identified that it enhances the understanding and experience of before and after school programs to be able to show school parents that it is more than a care service. The service has grown by 100% to 21 children a day and Kylie puts part of that to Storypark. Parents are sharing what we are doing with other parents. They see an out of hours school program that is emergent, based on children’s interests.

The use is slightly different from the younger programs in the centre, but it is also new to the families. To date, parents don’t comment that often with our schoolies, but, we’ve had great successes like with one child who has a developmental delay and we were able to connect the social worker and speech therapist – a whole support team through his Storypark. They commented and talked in the communication section. It was a great thing to watch grow and be able to talk together as a group.”

Highlight

“One thing I think is fantastic is the use in the babies room. It is always difficult to plan and share with parents. The videos allow you to catch moments that parents couldn’t see without Storypark. It is helping us support and strengthen families.

– Kylie Campbell, Centre Manager

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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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