To end 2021 on a positive note we are reflecting on the privilege we had to learn and create awesome things! This year, we chose to double down on our commitments to children and educators – we love that we get to help you do great things, your way.

We asked our Chief Product Officer Melissa for her top five updates to Storypark and why they matter.

1. Continuous improvement

When time is limited and educators want to maximise the amount of time spent together with children, it just makes sense to keep improving Storypark to support them. We want Storypark to empower educators to be successful, and provide helpful tools and guides to enhance educators’ practice.
This year we added four highly requested features to the iOS Educator’s app: the ability to create and edit child notes, push notifications, daily routines and story templates aka story types.

Not only does this round out the amount of work that can be done via the app but also, each one of these tools give back time to educators when they’re on the device at hand, exactly when they need them!

Melissa notes, “recent reviews on the Apple app store have really cemented the value in these updates for us”:

2. Commitment to purpose-led innovation and surfacing what matters to children

Child mode is a safe space that enables any child to speak directly to their own Storypark observations, sharing their feelings and thoughts via recorded voice or video.

The idea of each child being more deeply included and placed at the centre of their documented learning has excited us for a long time. Launching Child Mode to the iOS Educators app this year is just one of the ways we see this happening on Storypark. We know the value of children’s voices, and we know that educators aspire to actively include a child’s voice in their own learning stories, so it has been an exciting journey not only for our team but the children and educators with who we partnered along the way.

Our CEO and co-Founder Peter Dixon, said it best 
when he described the enthusiasm the Storypark team had in creating this – “Child Mode certainly was a passion project among our team.”

3. Supporting educator retention and professional development

It can be challenging to say the least to document professional growth through collected examples of professional learning relating this evidence to work with children, reflecting on and using professional learning to enhance pedagogical practice – all while also meeting the educational and physical needs of young children. Despite that, supporting educators and their growth is what we strive for!

This year we added three widgets to our premium educator portfolios. This means every educator with access to premium portfolios will have a place to plan, reflect and nurture their own learning whilst providing evidence for accreditation and national or regional requirements. They’ll also be able to share the love amongst their team, check in with managers and make daily checklists.

“Creating these widgets was a first for Storypark and it’s been exciting seeing the enthusiasm for these new tools,” Melissa says.

4. Listening to customers

It’s hard to believe that after launching Daily Routines in January 2021, over 24 million routines have been recorded on Storypark to date. Early on, we heard from educators how routines delivered a much-needed solution to the new challenge of the pandemic faced by educators in 2021.

“One of our core team values is ‘relentless curiosity,’ this means we know that we don’t know everything, and believe in the power of actively listening to our customers, advisors, and community to drive our innovation. Knowing the value that daily routines bring to educators and families every day, it was essential for us that we listened to services as they shared insights and feedback about our initial offering.”

Based on the amazing feedback received, we developed and added three key updates to routines: 
1. T
he ability to organise and view children by their regular days of attendance
2. A new, flexible routine type
3. The ability to filter and show all routines

We’re also hoping in the future that tools like routines will only get even better by listening to our customers.

5. Adapting to changing needs

Spoiler alert – we have been steadily working on this in 2021, but some of these changes will be out next year!

Storypark has always been about helping educators connect with families in rich and meaningful ways. However, we know that the past couple of years has brought unique challenges to achieving this – teaching through restrictions and keeping in touch with families whilst services are closed.

Adapting Storypark to educators’ changing needs means that this year we jumped onto upgrading community tools. Some of these changes are live now. This year educators needed to make critical community posts like Covid announcements and centre closures. So we made it possible for educators to see which parents have viewed each post. “It was vital to us that educators felt confident parents had read their posts and that they could easily follow up with those who hadn’t.

We’ve also designed and are starting to create further updates to community posts that we will look to add to Storypark in 2022 when complete.

Here’s what you can look forward to next year: the ability to moderate community posts, more text edit options and the addition of categories to quickly identify the topic of posts and filter them.

Thank you for the privilege of partnering with your service(s), educators and families in 2021, here’s to building thriving communities around every child for another year.

Posted by Bernadette

Bernadette is part of the Storypark team. One of her earliest memories at kindergarten is declaring to the class that reading was too hard so she wasn't going to learn - whoops! She really enjoys helping educators and families get the most out of Storypark.

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