The Learning Enrichment Foundation is a community-based non-profit in Toronto, Canada. It supports the local community in meeting various needs through employment training, immigrant settlement services, language training, and youth programs. It also has 24 early childhood education and care centres serving 1855 families. LEF is one of the largest childcare providers in the City of Toronto.
A need for consistent network-wide communication
With a large number of learning services, the team at LEF wanted to ensure that families received important messages and updates in a timely manner. When Covid-19 restrictions and closures took effect in 2020, it became even more evident that consistent network-wide communications were vital. They needed to improve their process and find a more efficient way to communicate with all families from a network level. Educators also required a more effective way to communicate with families.
Piloting digital documentation platforms
Prior to the pandemic in 2019, LEF piloted two digital documentation platforms in five centres to help them streamline and strengthen their communication processes. When considering their needs, they identified several key outcomes they hoped to achieve:
- Consistent and timely communication with all families across the network
- Increased visibility of children’s learning through documentation
- Improved engagement between educators and families about children’s learning and development
- Strengthened relationships between educators and families
- Increased feedback from families about the learning programs
Storypark – a clear winner
Storypark proved to be the most user-friendly platform. They discovered the various features for communicating and documenting children’s learning to be superior to the other platform. LEF began implementing Storypark in its infant, toddler and preschool services. In 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, Storypark was introduced and used with families of school-aged children. This ensured all families using LEF child care services had access to the platform.
Everyone can have eyes on what is happening. Having everything available for the management team to see really helps. Nicola Maguire – Director, Research and Pedagogical Leadership, The Learning Enrichment Foundation
Strategies for success
The educators had varied degrees of technology skills and comfort. Recognizing this, LEF worked with Storypark to ensure educators were well-equipped to use the tool successfully. Strategic planning with Storypark’s professional learning and development team was vital to this work. LEF also implemented processes to ensure educators were positioned to succeed, with access to additional resources and designated team members to guide them in Storypark usage. As a result, educators have embraced using Storypark to communicate and share children’s learning with families.
Since implementing Storypark in its network of learning services, LEF has observed significant improvement in multiple areas and now has an efficient and streamlined communication process. The network dashboard has enabled upper management to send regular and timely network-wide messaging to families and staff across all centres. They also use the Community of Practice area on Storypark to share professional resources and learning opportunities with educators across the network. They have experienced a positive impact on educator growth and development.
Families consistently receive essential information and updates from upper management, centre supervisors, and educators when needed. They regularly respond to communications and build relationships with staff at the organization’s management level, many of whom they have not met in person.
Educators have noticed that the immediacy of sharing information saves families time at pick-up and drop-off. The Daily Routine and Child Note features allow them to share information with families in real time, eliminating the need for families to wait until the end of the day to connect. Weekly menus are shared with families on Storypark, ensuring families can respond and plan for their children’s specific dietary requirements ahead of time.
Educators can also create children’s individual learning or development plans within Storypark and link notes to plans. Ensuring their progress and changing needs are updated as often as needed. Families can access this information for other external services that work with their children.
I can send important communications out to everybody at once. Maybe we didn’t realize it was a pain point until we had Storypark. It is so much faster and more efficient. It saves so much time. Nicola Maguire – Director, Research and Pedagogical Leadership, The Learning Enrichment Foundation
The Learning Enrichment Foundation provides integrated and holistic community response initiatives that enable individuals and families to become valued contributors to their community’s social and economic development. LEF provides its clients with the support they need to survive and thrive in Canada. These services include childcare, employment support, skills training, language training, youth services, and other settlement services. LEF respects and believes in the dignity and value of individuals and works to restore and enhance self-sufficiency and self-determination for clients, celebrate diversity, and support an inclusive community focus.
Storypark streamlines communication processes for multi-site ECE organizations worldwide. Using analytics and reporting dashboards, administrators can send network-wide communications, observe engagement, monitor educator, family and centre activity and identify opportunities for improvement.