Storypark is an important tool for communicating with parents about the development of their children and it can also be used in other ways to support the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Framework.
As an advocate for Storypark I look at ways the centres can use this tool to assist them with not only their programming and planning but also meeting the centre policies, procedures, philosophy and quality improvement plan.
My 5 top tips for Storypark would be:
Create a folder in the learning tags that is for your centre, then when you are looking for tags they are easy to find. Tags such as room goals, centre philosophy and personal philosophies can all be added to personalise this area for you. For all you Aussies out there this helps with QA7.2.1 A Statement of Philosophy is developed and guides all aspects of the services operations. By including your philosophy into the learning tags it will assist educators to show how they are doing this.
Creating or using the Quality Improvement Planning (QIP) templates is a great way of gathering evidence in Storypark on how you are striving for improvement in quality. When you look at areas that need improvement in practice, the learning stories should reflect this and can be linked to the QIP. The purpose of this also helps educators really consider the “WHY’ when it comes to documentation and helps support them to capture moments that are not only rich in development for children but also the development of the centre. QA7.2.3 An Effective self-assessment and quality improvement process is in place what better way to gather the evidence for this than in 1 place no printing and everyone contributes and parents are able to comment.
Community posts are a great way to reach families quickly and let them know what is happening at the service. One of the ways that Community posts can be used is to let parents know about sickness in the service, educators who are away and who is replacing them, special excursion reminders, calendar event days like dress up days etc. This is also a great way to regularly share what is happening in your centre and what is happening within your community, really supporting the building of a community. Although this only goes to the administrator of the account in most cases this is the person that needs this information the most. Great way to meet QA 6 .1.3 Current information about the service is available to families. And also QA 6.2.2 Current information is available to families about community services and resources to support parenting and family well-being.
Storypark’s new planning feature is the most effective way in collaboration with great learning stories to demonstrate the cycle of programming and planning in your service. The cycle of planning can be shown using the planning templates to reflect on the activities of the day, the children’s interest and where to from here. They can also be used as a group reflection on the room environment and all educators can contribute. With the use of links, you can plan future activities and then link them to the stories as you complete the plan. This will help with QA 1.1.2 and QA 1.2.3
Personal portfolios are a great place to write your critical reflection about your practice. This is usually a private area for you to work on your own professional development. When critical reflection takes place it enables the educator to look at themselves both professionally and personally and look at ways that they can improve and track their progress. It is also a great place to store interesting articles you might want to share with families at a later date, theorists that inspire you and guide your practice and professional development certificates that you may have received. After all, lifelong learning is exactly that: life long. QA 4.2.1 Professional standards guide practice, interactions, and relationships.
Storypark can assist you in all aspects of your job, the choice is yours.