When it comes to programming, educators typically have a lot of questions. While it might be something that we do each and every day, there is always more to learn and new theories, approaches, or ideas to explore. In this post we wanted to break down some of the frequently asked questions about programming and planning.
It’s the age-old question. How much is enough?
When it comes to programming, educators typically have a lot of questions. While it might be something that we do each and every day, there is always more to learn and new theories, approaches, or ideas to explore.
In this post we wanted to break down some of the frequently asked questions about programming and planning.
This is a tough question straight up. Why? Because the response may vary from service to service, or between nominated supervisors and approved providers. Some educators suggest that their managers have expectations that are simply too hard to live up to, while others lament that there is not a clear expectation and so they never quite know if they are doing enough or too much. Put simply though, documentation and records of children’s learning shouldn’t be about quantity - it’s quality that counts. I could write forty-five observations on a child each month and still know very little about them, or communicate very little about their learning, development, or interests to their families. Likewise, I could write one high quality observation that captures deep learning, skill development, social connection and growth.
Another factor to consider is children’s attendance patterns. If we say that every child must have four observations per month, but Ebony attends one day per week while Veda attends 5 days per week, this will be much easier to achieve for Veda.
Some educators (and some documentation software) like to have a box where educators can tick any of the EYLF Outcomes that have been met during the play. While this might be a helpful reminder, it does little to prompt us to think deeply about how these outcomes are being met, and what role we as the educator are taking in supporting that. Writing a small paragraph that makes the learning visible and links it to the EYLF outcomes is far more meaningful and requires deeper thinking and reflection.
This really comes down to personal preference, and to understanding the families within your service and how they best respond to receiving information. Perhaps it is possible to effectively blend the two mediums to allow for visual and kinesthetic learners to pick up a folder, or stand and read a piece of documentation on the wall, while still making the most of the effectiveness of technology - there will be families who will enjoy to sit down in their own time, after the busyness of pick-up/drop-off, and look through photographs or stories about their child.
Yes, and also no. Confusing right? Well, ideally we want the program to evolve each day or week, as the children’s interests evolve and their skills progress or their need for challenge grows. However, we should have the same base program all the time. This might look like always having blocks available and just adding some balls to the block area when we know that the children have been interested in trajectory. It might be always having a mixture of pots and pans, shovels and buckets, trucks and the like, available in the sandpit, and then just adding a stove when the interest in setting up a bakery emerges.
Often we make the program way more complicated than it needs to be. When children have access to high-quality environments, open-ended materials, and engaged adults, it simply becomes a matter of adding or adapting as their play evolves.
I honestly think that the reason we have so many questions, is that there are not so many clear answers. It really comes down to our unique context, our skills and experience and even our service philosophy and policies. But, keep in mind - questions aren’t a bad thing. At least when we are asking questions, we are engaged. When we stop asking questions, that’s when we know we have checked out and are probably just coasting along and ticking the boxes.
What happens once we have the policies in place? How do we know if they are “lived out” in practice, if they are being understood, and quite simply - if they are even being read?
Policies. They are an essential part of the education and care sector. We all know that they are essential. We know that they help us to maintain compliance and ensure an ethical, responsible approach to our work with children and families.