Lorraine Duncumb, Group Manager ECE for YMCA Auckland In New Zealand wrote about her experiences using Storypark to engage families in their children’s learning and communicate important information about their services events and procedures.
Storypark has been a huge part of our development in communicating with our families in our early learning centres.
When we were using a scrapbook to share what is happening for their child each day, and what they were learning, only about 10% of parents responded. Comments from parents and family are now between 85% and 90% since implementing Storypark.
This is a huge difference and improves practice at the centres, as the staff build deeper relationships with children.
When we launched Storypark, we were not sure what sort of participation we would have. We are in low socio-economic areas. We did a survey of parent’s IT capability. A very high proportion of parents had smartphones so were able to access Storypark and contribute online to the posts.
Posts can be a number of photos and a couple of sentences, through to a long story demonstrating the learning a child is exploring and developing. A child’s learning journey is online, as well as having the option to print out and put it in their book. Some children and parents like to keep the record in their books.
There are multiple uses for different audiences – families and staff. We are finding that for staff, shared knowledge and understanding, staff meeting items and action plans are part of the use we make of Storypark. For centres, newsletters and items for parents e.g. coffee morning, grandparents day, working bee, fish and chip night are all well attended when notified through Storypark. It is a very effective form of communication for us. We share knowledge and learning from staff with our parents – our focus is the natural environment – and as we read (Prof Richard Louv’s books) you will find them mentioned in posts on Storypark as we share the outcomes for children e.g. building resilience, decision making, problem-solving, leadership etc.
For the organisation, we have regular Policy and Procedure reviews and this is carried out over Storypark and we have seen engagement and comments from our families and staff. We share “special” programmes and discounted classes at our Recreation centres as well.
Reports help us keep a record of all posts, and can be filtered to give topical stats of stories etc.
I’m so pleased we use Storypark and confidently recommend this to you.