Mission Australia Early Learning Boronia is a not for profit service with an aim to help provide early learning support for the local community.
The service offers 85 places, providing care and education for children from the age of 6 weeks, with a programme that is led by children’s interests in a play based environment.
Located at the foot of the Dandenong ranges, the service is situated in a low socioeconomic area and caters for a range of families, including those with low incomes and those who have children with additional needs. “We have families ranging from dual income, single income, welfare families, child protection families and families with children who have additional needs.”
Most of the children attend part time, and care is used for either single parent working families, respite or social interaction.
Prior to the implementation of Storypark, the educators at Boronia used paper based portfolios to document children’s learning. Children had individual profiles but educators printed 2 copies of everything, one for filing, and one for families. Educators also had to manually keep track of the number of learning stories each child had, “We had lists for everything including who did or did not have an observation each month and what kind of observations were recorded. Planning checks were time consuming as we had to go through all programs and observations to ensure they covered all areas of the program.”
Below are some of the benefits Mission Australia Early Learning Boronia has seen since implementing Storypark:
How Storypark has supported our work with children and families
The implementation of Storypark has improved our connections with our community and families.
Storypark has enabled us to gain considerable family input, and reduced the use of paper consumption. It has improved the efficiency and quality of programming and recording observations. There is now a seamless link across all aspects of the service we provide such as outcomes, principles, practices and philosophy. Family input into our program has not only allowed us to build and extend on our program considerably, but has also opened lines of communication between families and their children about their daily activities. Now, families already know what their child has done each day before they arrive, enabling conversations conversations to start as soon as they collect their child. Children can be prompted by parents to talk about specific activities they were involved in each day.
Making a difference for educators
We now use iPads in the classroom so the children can be involved in the observation and program development process. Observations can be completed while children are resting so program time can now be used for program preparation and critical reflection.
Storypark helps our educators keep track of focus areas, ensuring all areas of the program are covered and all children are observed on a regular basis. Professional development opportunities and articles can also be shared by the educational leader to staff via Storypark. Conversations and planning input from all educators through digitalised and accessible planning notes is one way the team can now work more collaboratively. Our educational leader and manager can better support staff with conversations and self development opportunities with Storypark.
The benefits for families
Having instant access to information about what their child is doing and learning is beneficial to our families. They now have a better understanding of our service outcomes, principles, practices and philosophy. Parents can also easily contribute to our program and service feedback at a time that is convenient to them. As well, they can also be more involved in our services community and are able to communicate easily with educators at a time that suits them. Being able to see how and when their feedback is used within the program and service is so invaluable. It is also wonderful that extended family members can also be involved in and contribute to children’s education.
Benefits on a business level
It is a selling point for our service, as not many other services in our area have Storypark. It was considerably helpful in our recent assessment and rating visit as it showed evidence of programming, observations, family input, service communication and our community involvement. Using Storypark makes for a more productive workforce with better time management!
Impact for families
Families have shared with us, since implementing Storypark in our learning service; it has brought them closer together and opened lines of communication which they never had before. They now feel more a part of their child’s day and feel more connected to their family and children. They feel they are not missing out on aspects of their child’s development, even when they are not able to physically be with them.
There are endless possibilities for a service if they use Storypark, and with a team of dedicated educators such as ours it can only be beneficial to all who use it.