COVID-19 has been a stressful but insightful journey for the ECE profession, changing some day to day practices in line with temporary requirements, and others in a way that will never return to what used to be considered ‘normal’.
With some parents being made redundant and government subsidies soon to finish, many centres face growing competition for remaining families.
With new spaces available in centres, families now have more options so can be even more discerning in their choice of ECE service.
Looking at ACECQA’s survey results from 2019 on the most important factors influencing families’ choice of Long Day Care service, it is interesting to note that families’ experience and self-informed notions of quality are more important than the cost or the actual quality rating as informed by ACECQA.
This leads to a few key conclusions:
- The experience for families at the centre and with educators is paramount because it determines their impression of the ‘feel’ of the service.
- The quality of documentation and communication with families is equally important, because it helps them understand and appreciate the thinking and intent behind the work happening with their child and the environment their child is a part of. This is turn helps inform their opinions of quality and the skill levels of educators.
- Families’ level of engagement and ongoing meaningful participation is important not only to create the best results for their children but as a way of ensuring customer retention.
Last year there was a PhD study completed on Storypark (Picher, M.E. The Impact of Storypark Use in Full-day Kindergarten in Ontario. University of Toronto). This is now one of the most comprehensive pieces of analysis of the impact of any digital documentation and family engagement platform in the world. This study found some interesting results.
“90% of parents involved in this study said that Storypark either greatly increased or somewhat increased their understanding of their children’s classroom learning.”
Storypark was found to:
- Improve parents’ understanding of their children’s classroom learning;
- Improve parents’ understanding of the curriculum;
- Improve parent-child conversations about children’s learning;
- Improve parents’ engagement in their children’s learning
This improved understanding built a better appreciation of the value of the work of educators, changing the questions at pick up and drop off and strengthening outcomes for children.
It’s fair to say that quality practice directly links to the depth of impact and outcomes created for the child. And if we look at ACECQA’s study I think it would be fair to say that ‘quality’ also equates to revenue by helping attract and retain parents, increasing the likelihood of word of mouth referrals and over time justifying fee increases.
So, if quality = revenue + impact how can we at Storypark support this?
We’re doing a lot of work in this space to support our customers in providing the best possible experience for families. As well as enriching communication and engagement, this also means helping them deepen their understanding of each child, and enhance consistent quality practice by supporting the ongoing professional development of their team.
We’re here to support you both through this upcoming transition phase which is going to be really important and challenging for children, families, educators and organisations. If you’re keen to adopt a digital platform, we’re happy to give you free access to Storypark to help you engage with families in the next three months. If you’d like to know more please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.