Midlands Kindergarten is situated in central Ballarat, Victoria. It is one of 24 learning services managed by ECKA (Eureka Community Kindergarten Association).
We have 95 families attending our service.  We have two four year old groups and 2 three year old groups.  Here at Midlands we see value in teaching children through the use of an inquiry mode and are inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach” says Emma Manton.
Midlands have been using Storypark since February this year.  “Prior to this we were using hard copy visual diaries, individual portfolios and using extensive coloured printing, photocopying and excess paper!” As with many learning services, an awareness of sustainability led Midlands Kindergarten to explore alternatives to their current systems.
As a team, last year, we were reflecting on ways we could be more efficient with our documentation, strengthen our communication with families in a more accessible way, and look for ways to be more environmentally sustainable.
img_3510We researched several online e-portfolios and trialled Storypark for 30 days.  We found Storypark user friendly, there was lots of positive feedback, and a big support network.”
Over the past 7 months, the team of educators have discovered several benefits since using Storypark:
  • Time saving with learning stories, and community posts.
  • A more updated and accessible approach for communicating with families.
  • Parents are reading our documentation and we can see evidence of this.
  • We enjoy receiving comments and responses from families. This has increased ten fold.
  • Sharing community newsletters, articles, notices is more time efficient.
  • The help desk are very quick to respond to any issues and are very helpful.
  • As educators we communicate via Storypark and can view each others programme and learning stories, gaining insight into the learning that is happening for each group.
  • It has improved quality outcomes through digital technology and sustainability.
Families have also discovered the many ways Storypark enhances sharing, and strengthens the link between family life and kindergarten life. “We have received a great deal of positive feedback over the year from families excited to see their children’s learning visible, (particularly the video documentation). It’s wonderful to hear their voices. Families seem really comfortable communicating with us on Storypark.
The Midlands Kindergarten teaching team have also noticed they are receiving more recognition for the work they do as professional educators.
It seems parents have found communicating about children’s learning more convenient when they can access it on their devices at their convenience, rather than at rushed drop offs and pick ups. Families are even sharing their own learning stories, particularly about their holidays.
We love hearing from extended families including Grandparents from overseas!
Children are enjoying revisiting and reflecting on their learning, both with their families and their teachers. “Children share their achievements and learning online with their families. They also have opportunities to reflect on their learning whilst viewing Storypark posts with educators.” Revisiting their documentation in this way allows children the opportunity to reflect on their learning both at home and at Kindergarten. In this way, families are able to extend and support the learning that occurs, at home.
We would highly recommend this online network, a valuable communication tool, supporting a reciprocal learning community. The documentation is more accessible and convenient for families to access in this fast paced, busy world we live in!

Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya was born in Lower Hutt and went to Rata Street Kindergarten and Petone Kindergarten. A qualified ECE, she studied at Victoria University in Wellington and has worked with home-based educators, in community-based childcare and in kindergarten. With childhood memories of reading books and writing stories, combined with her passion for all things social media, Sonya segued into her role with us at Storypark as social media manager.

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