Transcript Preschool programming and planning – Part 1

Preschool programming and planning – introduction Part 1 video (50:45)

Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator

Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor

Jacqui Ward – Welcome to today's session. Preschool, programming and planning. This is part one, the introduction to a five part series. My name is Jacqui Ward and I'm the Early Learning Coordinator within the Early Learning Unit at the Department of Education, and I'm here with my colleague Kelly Birkett.

Kelly Birket – Thanks Jacqui. Hi everybody, I'm one of the Early Learning Advisors working in Jacqui’s team. Before we begin our session today, I want to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land that I’m on today. They are, pardon me. The Darramuragal people and this is Ku-ring-gai land. I recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and I want to pay respect to the land that you're on today while you're accessing this recording.

Ok, this series of five recorded sessions as a whole suite addresses these two professional teaching standards. So 6.2.2, Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice targeted to professional needs and school and, or system priorities and 6.4.2, Undertake professional learning programs designed to address identified student learning needs.

Again, as a suite, this professional learning has outcomes and it is intended that learners will understand and apply the legislative and quality standards of the National Quality Framework. It's intended that learners will apply knowledge of child development, early childhood pedagogy, and curriculum to plan teaching and learning experiences which enhance learning outcomes. Learners will develop skills to take a planned and reflective approach to curriculum decision making, synthesise the individual as well as the integrated aspects of the planning cycle, and finally, it's intended that learners will critique practices, systems and processes in relation to quality, teaching and outcomes for children.

Ok, so a folder has been set up in the Early Learning and Schools Microsoft Office Team. Within the communities of practice channel, that's the first image on the left there. If you go into files, you'll see a folder and within that folder are the materials that are referred to in this in this session. Also there's some tasks and reading tasks and some pre session tasks. You'll find all the materials in there. If you have any problems, perhaps you can't access the team, or when you are in there, you're not quite sure where the materials are, if you email Early Learning someone will be able to help you to find them.

Ok, so when you enrolled in this course, you would have got information about three pre-session tasks. The first one was about reflecting on your image of the child, the second was a reading and the third was a terminology task. If you haven't had a chance to complete these three tasks, we suggest that you pause this recording now and then go to the folder I just mentioned and you'll be able to find a document which has got the details of each task and then when you've completed those tasks, come back and push play and continue this recording.

Jacqui Ward – OK, we're going to have a little look now in this section about legislative and quality standards and also Department requirements for programming and planning in the preschool. So first of all, we are going to take a little quick look at the legislative standards. Laws and regulations outline the legal obligations of approved providers, nominated supervisors and educators. So basically they are the requirements of what we need to do in the space of programming and planning. The Education and Care Services National Regulations apply and the Education and Care Services National Law apply. So what we're going to talk about on this slide is really, I guess knowing what you're required to do as a bare minimum as a starting point. There's a few that we've mentioned and highlighted in this presentation, but obviously you might want to have a little bit more of a look at that. We're going to start off with Section 168 in relation, that's from the National Law, and it talks about what the requirements are for the educational program in a preschool. So the program must be delivered to all children in the preschool that's based on the Early Years Learning Framework and delivered in a manner that accords with the Early Years Learning Framework. So in other words, applying the pedagogical principles and practices of the framework. It is based on the developmental needs, interests and experiences of each child. So it definitely needs to be considering all of those sorts of things and is designed to take into account the individual differences of each child. So again, a program should look different for each child at the preschool, because they've all got their own different interests, dispositions for learning and cultural backgrounds. If we move down into talking about what does Regulation 74 talk about, it's about documenting of child assessment or evaluations for the delivery of the educational program. So in other words, it's saying, what are the sorts of things that you need to write down, so the first one is more talking about the delivery of the program and this one is talking about the things that should be recorded. And it talks about for the purposes of the educational program, the following information needs to be recorded. So assessments of the children's developmental needs, interests and experiences and participation in the educational program. So all of those things need to be captured when you're writing something down. Assessments of the child's progress against the outcomes of the educational program, and again remembering those outcomes relate to the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework, as we mentioned above. In preparing the documentation, educators should consider the period of time that the child is being educated and cared for, how the documentation will be used by educators at the service, and prepare the documentation in a way that's readily understandable by educators and parents. So what I want you to have a little think about when we're looking at this page and also the next page is having a little think about where in these requirements does it say how much or what methods that you need to do? I think Kel this is probably an opportunity, you might want to have a little say in this because I know that that's often a question that people get asked, isn't it? How many observations do I need to do?

Kelly Birket – Yeah, absolutely Jacqui. When I was a P-2 initiatives officer that was generally a concern, not just for educators also for school management wanting, wanting a number where very much we can't give a number because the focus needs to be on the meaningfulness of the information and the quality. You know, one really meaningful quality piece of information that informs the program is going to be a lot better than half a dozen meaningless pieces of documentation.

Jacqui Ward – For sure, and I think you know really what we need to think about is probably not how many and how should I write them in terms of, should it be a learning story, a post it note or digital documentation or whatever, but really, our question should be, is it actually meeting the requirements of what we're talking about on this slide and the next one. So it's yeah, it's really something to have a little think about there. It really talks about, these requirements talk about the content and the meaningfulness of the observations and the information in the planning and all those sorts of things rather than the numbers.

Kelly Birket – That's right, and before we go to the next slide, I just want to remind you in the Microsoft Team in that same folder you'll find a resource summary sheet and on that is the URL, the link to the online regulations. If you do want to go and you know, read a little bit more and also don't forget in the guide to the NQF, the operational requirements interpret the regulations and give examples of what they might look like in practice, so that's another great source of information if you want to dig a little bit deeper into what the regulations require of you. And don't forget also our team has also delivered an online self-paced module focused on quality area one and the link to enrol in that will be on that resource sheet as well, and that's another way to get some more information, if you do want to look a little bit deeper into the regulations.

Jacqui Ward – Yeah, and again I think this five part series, is hopefully when you finished all five of them, you know you won't be too worried about what's required because you will have a great understanding of the processes and practices and why you are doing all those things and that will be sort of, you know, the requirements will happen automatically because you'll understand the process a little bit better, but that’s a good way to start, just to preface that. The next slide we've got here is talking a little bit about the quality standard. So the National Quality Standard has requirements that detail the information that we need to include in the assessment and planning cycles. So standard 1.3 talks about the fact that assessment and planning is, you know, there's a very reflective, planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child and there is specific information then in there that's required in terms of that ongoing cycle of observation, analysing, documenting, planning and implementing and reflecting on learning. And there is also the link in quality area seven that the educational leader is supported and leads the development and implementation in the educational program and the assessment and planning cycle. So there's lots of links in the National Quality Standard for that as well.

Kelly Birket – Yeah, thanks Jacqui and apologies, I have accidentally jumped the PowerPoint forward.

Jacqui Ward – I was expecting another slide there.

Kelly Birket – Yes, it was. We did have a little bit of an unpacking of regulations 75 and 76 which also relate to the educational program. And also I wanted to mention that we've got the legislative requirement, we've got the standard is here, but then there's also the departmental requirements. As teachers you all we all need to follow what is set out in the teachers handbook. So in Chapter five the responsibilities in relation to programming and planning are noted. It states that in carrying out their duties and responsibilities, all teachers must meet the individual learning needs of students and assist each student to maximise his or her learning outcomes. And then there's also, as you are probably very aware, the School Excellence Framework. It provides a really clear description of the key elements of high quality practice. And if you haven't used this document previously, it's what schools use to document and to assess their practices to inform school planning and annual reports. I won't go into the detail, but I've uploaded a copy of the School Excellence Framework into the folder and you'll find there's some notes. in there about what curriculum looks like at the excelling level.

Jacqui Ward – Can I just jump in there Kel? Obviously we're not suggesting that you know you need to be too concerned about the school space, but I think you know we often talk about our department preschools and there being a whole school approach. So it is good to be thinking about what does the teaching and learning cycle look like in the school and how are those similar standards and expectations carried across into the preschool. Have we got a next slide on that Kelly?

Kelly Birket – We have, Ok, it's not responding. There we go, pardon me. OK, so that is just the teachers handbook and the School Excellence Framework I just noted. Then also some schools then as well have specific school guidelines or policy and that that's when people sort of start asking about quality and quantity because they want to sort of include that information in a school guideline about programming.

Jacqui Ward – And I think that raises a good point too, to remind everyone that as part of these sessions we will also be encouraging people to at the end, it's an optional task. If you've got a procedure in place or a policy in place for this that you might want to, sorry for programming and planning in the preschool that you might want to review and update it, or actually think about writing one. It's an optional extra though, so again.

Kelly Birket – if you do decide to take that pathway, it is a big job and definitely get your P-2 initiatives officer involved as well as the rest of your team. It's not something you can do on your own because obviously practices need to be consistent across the whole preschool. But yeah, we'll talk about that towards the end of this recording.

So which leads us to a task. You will be familiar with the Leading and Operating Department Preschool Guidelines, so if you could pause this recording and just go and pull up your copy of the document, you could go to the department's web page or I've also saved a copy in the team channel. These guidelines interpret the legislative and quality requirements in a department preschool, so the section on quality area one, pages 11 to 22 give you some detail on how you will apply their requirements in your preschool.

OK, so after you've done that reading, you can come back and continue the recording. Did you want to add anything there, Jacqui?

Jacqui Ward – No.

Kelly Birket – OK, alright so then will go on to the next section.

Jacqui Ward – So we thought that it might be a good place to start to sort of unpack some of the theoretical perspectives and understanding that underpin programming and planning in the early childhood space. Also, I think that there's you know a need for us to think about how we view children in general, but particularly the way children in the early childhood setting, the way children learn and how that influences the decisions we make in programming and planning.

So the EYLF and the educators guide talk to us about the idea that drawing on a range of perspectives and theories can challenge traditional ways of seeing children, and inform approaches to children's learning and development. It talks about that skilful educators are aware of their beliefs and knowledge, and the theoretical perspectives from which they come from. And I really love this quote in the Early Years Learning Framework as well, that the educators professional judgment are central to their active role in facilitating children's learning. So when we're talking about that professional judgment, we need to think about what sort of things you know, how do you make those professional judgments, and where does that judgment come from? And as the EYLF quote goes on to say that in making those professional judgments, educators weave together their professional knowledge and skills, their knowledge of children, families, and communities. Their awareness of how their beliefs and values impact on children's learning, their personal styles and past experiences. Educators also draw on their creativity, intuition and imagination to help them improvise and adjust their practice to suit the time, place and context of learning. So that's kind of the, I guess the foundational ideas and statements that underpin this course, that we're saying that you need all of those things to weave together to implement the programming and planning cycle well, and what we're going to touch on now is just, exploring a little bit about what theoretical perspectives mean and how they inform our professional judgments. We are going to explore some theorists in particular, and how and where you might refer to them.

So we're going to just talk a little bit about, again, the Early Years Learning Framework asks us to think about theoretical perspectives when we're planning a curriculum for children, it talks about that there's a range of different theories that have informed the development of the framework Itself. But also the way we are encouraged to view children's learning and development instead of being influenced strongly, perhaps by one or another, it's about weaving all of those different theories together. So we thought we would just do a little quick catch up and find out a little bit about those theorists to start with. They are sort of grouped into some main ideas in the Early Years Learning Framework. We talk about developmental theories, we talk about sociocultural theories, developmental theories are about those ideas where children, you know go through a series of developmental stages, and they develop conceptual ideas as they progress, and they talk about children's learning being grouped in developmental domains such as the physical domain or the socio-emotional domain or language domains and cognitive domains. Sociocultural theory emphasise the central role that families and cultural groups play in children's learning, and the importance of relationships. There's also a whole lot of theories that focus in on the role of experiences in shaping children's behaviour or behavioural theorists. Bowlby's theory of attachment, is a good example of that one. There's critical theories that invite early childhood educators to challenge the assumptions about curriculum and consider how their decisions may affect children differently. Again, if we think about that, those critical theories you know involve us to critically reflect on our assumptions of different things and the idea that not everybody perceives a situation in the same way, and the final one is talking about, not the final one, but the list in the Early Years Learning Framework talks about post structuralist theories offering insights into issues of power, equity and social justice in early childhood settings, and I think that those are really great things to consider in our programming and planning as well, because we can really explore some of those deep issues with children, even very young children, and again we draw on those theories when we do that. Anything to add there, Kelly?

Kelly Birket – No, no thanks Jacqui, that sounds great. We will have a look at a bit more detail of those in a minute. Just before we go on to that, this is something to really keep in mind when you're thinking about your own theoretical perspectives and also working on developing your preschool philosophy, is that the principles and practices of the Early Years Learning Framework are founded on beliefs that children are capable and competent, that they actively construct their own learning, and that learning is dynamic, complex and holistic, and that children have agency.

Jacqui Ward – Yes, and it's worthwhile I guess having a think about that when we talked about the pre-task, being the thinking about your image of the child and whether or not your image of the child, how that is reflected in these concepts and ideas.

Kelly Birket – Yes. Ok.

Jacqui Ward – So this table comes directly from the educators guide. So again, if you'd like to read more about it, you can, but it's just giving you some examples of the theoretical perspective and some of the more famous theorists in that space, so Vygotsky and Bronfenbrenner are ones that definitely stand out for me in terms of this sociocultural theory perspective. And again, we talked about that being focused in on relationships and participation are essential to learning so you can see some strong connections there to the concepts of belonging. Children develop and learn in multiple ways that are socially and culturally approved and constructed. In other words, language I think is a really good example of that, you know, children obviously learn home languages, but if they are in a setting where English is spoken, they will automatically develop and flourish in both languages. Children are active agents and contributors in the different social groups in which they participate. Again, positioning children as a key player I guess in that family and social construct.

Kelly Birket – Yes, thanks Jacqui. An example of a sociocultural perspective in action is educators who feel or who take advantage of a learning experience or situation by engaging and interacting with the child, and so believing that the learning will take place through the interaction, discussion, the sustained shared thinking about what the child's doing. So yes, there's a lot of different theorists who do advocate for sociocultural theory, but definitely the key one that everybody knows about is Vygotsky. And the example obviously there is trying to extend the children to work with you in their zone of proximal development. So when they're working with you together, they're able to do more than what they would do independently.

Jacqui Ward – Definitely, and I think a nice one to point out there too is if you choose to write down a learning story that this is really representative this theoretical perspective. You know the idea that you're telling a story, I guess of children's learning journey and it's reflected in that sort of concept or idea and I guess one of the ones, the thing that I did want to sort of preface when we're talking about these theoretical perspectives. I often get asked the question about, do we need to specifically reference, you know, a theorist in our observations, and I know some people choose to do it that way, and again there isn't a requirement, if we come back to the requirements in the legislation, it didn't specifically say we needed to reference a theory. It doesn't say that in the in the quality standards either, and it certainly doesn't say it in our Early Years Learning Framework. It's just, I guess it's a personal choice, and for me I think it's more important that you know and understand the links to theory then necessarily you know specifically writing a reference to them in your programming and planning. If I think about that requirement that we talked about earlier on, that the information needs to be presented in a way that educators and families Understand, I'm not sure it's always appropriate to mention you know a complex explanation of a theorist in that kind of format, so again, the choice is yours. We just wanted to cover off on some of these concepts.

Kelly Birket – OK, thanks, Jacqui we will move on to the next one we've got here, again straight out of the educators guide to the Early Years Learning Framework.

Jacqui Ward – Yes, so those behaviourists theories that we talked about there. Pavlov I'm sure everyone recognises that name, Pavlov, Pavlov's dog with the conditioning and Skinner and Bandura, and I also mentioned Bowlby there as well and the main ideas here is that behaviour is learned, inappropriate behaviour can be replaced by appropriate behaviour, changes in children's behaviour occur because of the responses they get. Again, you might not always agree with all of these theories or ideas, but definitely I think there's definitely a degree of conditioning in our programs whether or not we like to admit it. Children do become sort of used to our routines and what not.

Kelly Birket – Yes, that's right, Jacqui. And I guess at the start of a preschool year or when a child commences, there's a lot of learning of routines, and reinforcing what the behaviour expectations are and obviously that's influenced by a behaviourist approach.

Jacqui Ward – We can see a little bit of crossover there too can’t we with that sociocultural theory too, because I think if children in that context won't necessarily be. included in the group if that behaviour isn't acceptable, so a bit of a crossover. We talked a little bit already about the developmental theorists, and probably I think one of the most famous ones is Piaget there, Steiner, Montessori and Gardner are some examples as well. That development is holistic, that they move through a series of developmental milestones, and they learn through exploration and playing with concrete materials, and I think that's a fundamental thing that we all agree on that children learn through that exploration and play.

Kelly Birket – Yeah, ok, and the last one we will look at closely is the critical theory.

Jacqui Ward – So there is Haber-mas and Freire, again that children have agency, that they have the capacity to make decisions and choices about their learning. It really positions children as active agents. Children have the right to be consulted and heard on matters that affect them. Social transformation is supported through education for a more just and equal world. So really I think an important component underpinning both the Early Years Learning Framework and also all aspects of the National Quality Standard.

Kelly Birket – Yes, that's good. Thanks Jacqui. And now we're just going to have a look at two sort of scenarios or situations in a preschool. So again, this isn't intended to be an example of the fact that you need to annotate or document examples in your program. It is not a requirement, but this is really for the purposes of drawing it out as an example, so the first one there talks about content which acknowledges the influence of and reflects children's home culture is an example of Bronfenbrenner's ecological model. The idea that children fit within a family first in a neighbourhood or community and beyond. Again, that's based on the sociocultural theories we talked about the attention given to environmental provocations as an example of the Reggio Emilia approach, based on those sociocultural theories as well and down the bottom, if an adult joined in on children's play, intentionally engaging them in discussion to scaffold their learning and skills would be an example of Vygotsky's social theory, sociocultural theory in particular, that zone of proximal learning encouraging the child to the next step.

Kelly Birket – And this second example depicts a preschool in which the positive behaviour for learning program is being implemented. So you can see at the bottom of the image there's the rule or expected appropriate behaviour, that bikes and cars will stay on the red track. When such appropriate behaviours are explicitly taught, reinforced, and rewarded, this approach is based on a behaviourists theory. Also just say, for instance, this child was taught to ride this three wheeler before being introduced to a two wheeler bike, that's a developmental approach, so Piaget saying the child goes through stages of development.

Jacqui Ward – So I guess there for me, a place where theoretical perspectives can be called out and identified is the preschool philosophy. The preschool philosophy really explains what you do and why, and so the idea to identify and articulate theoretical influences fits nicely in there. The preschool philosophy is informed by the theoretical perspectives that influence at the preschool community, so again, depending on all of the different ideas and understandings of each of the educators, and again what's happening in the school space will influence the philosophy. It guides all aspects of preschool operations. So when we talk about something in our philosophy, we show how theory influences our day-to-day routines, our educational program, our learning experiences, our behaviour expectations, all of those things, the way we interact with families. It outlines the purposes and principles under which the preschool operates, so everyone has those agreed terms of reference, if you like and reflects the guiding principles in the National Quality Framework in the Early Years Learning Framework, again, everyday practices must align with the philosophy. If not, something needs to change either the philosophy or the practices. Sometimes I think it's a question of the fact that we don't always acknowledge that the philosophy should be such a everyday kind of document that we engage with. And we don't always connect with the fact that those theoretical perspectives are underpinning our philosophy.

Kelly Birket – Yes, yes, ok. So just a little task now again, we will ask you to pause your recording. Skilful educators are aware of their beliefs and knowledge and the theoretical perspectives from which they come. So what we want you to do is just recall one aspect of your practice, just one small part or a common scenario which occurs in your preschool and think about the theoretical perspectives that are influencing your actions, reactions in relation to it. Just to try to analyse where your beliefs are coming from and if you need to go back to the EYLF educators guide again, pages 54 to 57, because that's where those tables we looked at earlier are from. Ok, and after you complete that task then we will go on to the next section.

Ok, the assessment and planning cycle. Ok, so you'll be familiar with this cycle. This is the one published by ACECQA. The assessment and planning cycle is the ongoing process used by educators to design programs that enhance and extend each child's learning and development. We often talk about the first stage, the second stage, the third stage, but in reality for some scenarios and situations, it's ongoing. Each cycle leads onto another, generally sometimes a cycle will be implemented, and it will end at the reflect stage, but often the cycles are ongoing.

Jacqui Ward – And definitely Kelly if we can point out to our learners that sometimes the cycle will happen in an integrated way so you might write a sentence or two than it actually is sort of covering off on all of the things at the one time or sometimes you might break down the cycle when you're writing some things down, and you might go through it step by step. You might have an experience that you're writing about or a planning cycle that's actually done and implemented in a spontaneous way and all done within half an hour process so you might record it after the event, or you might actually have quite a long range project, so the cycle might go on for a really long time, so it's not as sort of a pre-set or predefined idea, it's a range of different ideas in one, the planning cycle.

Kelly Birket – Yes, yes, absolutely. The key thing is that all the stages are there just over different periods of time that you know, if you're planning something, perhaps a learning experience, if some observation and analysis of learning hasn't gone before and if you’re planning randomly, that's not going to be as valuable as planning that's been informed by the prior stages of the cycle, so it's really important that you are covering all the stages of the cycle.

Jacqui Ward – You make a really good point there, Kelly. Every part of the planning cycle is underpinned and enriched by the part before. So if you haven't got some rich and meaningful observations or analysis, you won't be able to plan for rich and meaningful learning, so it's all related.

Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely. Ok, so now we will just have a little look at the different stages. Ok, so first of all, we've got the observing and collecting information and this stage of the cycle involves collecting meaningful information, as we mentioned before, about a child in relation to their current knowledge, strengths and interests, skills and abilities and culture. So in part two of this series, we're going to unpack the importance of collecting meaningful information and talk about a little bit more about prioritising the quality over the quantity.

Jacqui Ward – And I think it's really important here to emphasise the sorts of things that you're looking for when you're observing and collecting information. It's all of those things that you mention there, Kelly, it's about current knowledge, so if you were to, as a result of you know, attending this session today, have a think about before you progress into the other parts of the series, do you regularly correct collect information on children's current knowledge? What does each child in your preschool know about a variety of different things? What are their strengths? What are their interests? What skills and abilities to they have? Where is their cultural identity represented? What sort of things do I already know about this child, as opposed to always having to write moments in time observations? So thinking about that from that point of view that you are really collecting some really rich, meaningful information.

Kelly Birket – Yes, thanks Jacqui. And then the next stage as you know, is the analysis of the learning, and so this involves interpreting and assessing the information collected about a child to determine what they're learning and how they're learning. And, just like previously, in part two, we're going to focus a lot on the why, what, and how of analysis. \

Jacqui Ward – That is a really good point, and I forgot to mention that in the first part too with gathering information, also those observations and the information you gather, needs to actually, you need to be looking for specific information that relates to all of the five learning outcomes, otherwise you won't be able to analyse in this section where it says, how does this link to the approved learning frameworks? Well how will you be able to analyse that information if you haven't thought about gathering specific information in relation to the learning outcomes. I think this is really important because and again, this is where your programming will look different for individual children, even though you might have had an observation where you are observing all of the children in the one setting. They might have all been, you know, participating in the one experience, but the learning will be different for each child. So really important to think about the analysis for learning in an individual way as well as in a group way.

Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely, I’ve seen educators. They'll have some photos of the group and a little bit of a group synopsis, but then they'll go into an analysis for the individual children who were involved in that experience, because it is so different for everybody.

Jacqui Ward – And it definitely gives us the direction of where to next when you've done the analysis.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely, and then that leads into the planning. So at this stage of the cycle you're planning the pedagogical practices you'll use and the learning experiences that will extend learning. In part three of this series we will be discussing what needs to be planned for as well as the importance of planning, the learning environment and we will have a bit of a focus on the outdoor environment and keeping the intended learning at the forefront of the planning.

Jacqui Ward – I think this is a really important one, Kelly, because often we see, well I’ve seen plans for learning and they are really just a list of the types of resources that people are putting out there when in actual fact, your plans for learning need to be really meaningful again, as we keep saying they need to include so it's visible for everybody. What are the intentions for learning? What outcomes am I hoping to achieve? What goals do I have for children's learning and how will I do it? What are my teaching strategies for each child and how am I going to implement that across all of our learning environments and all of our learning experiences? So all of those routines, group experiences, indoor, outdoor. So the planning part of things is really important and it allows everybody I guess to take an active role in facilitating that learning.

Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely, and I think that's what the Early Years Learning Framework is referring to when it talks about maximising learning opportunities, making all those different parts of the day and environments count by addressing them in your planning.

Ok, so the next stage is of course implementation, so this refers to the educators or the adults actions throughout the day as they engage and interact with the children to support learning and wellbeing. So when we do part four of this series, we're going to look a little bit at the place of intentional teaching in a play based learning pedagogy. There's a couple of really interesting readings about how you can address both simultaneously and we will also talk a little bit about the different roles an educator takes in children's play.

Jacqui Ward – I think this is a really important part of the planning cycle, Kelly in that we can have plans for learning, but if we are working from a play based pedagogical approach, you don't actually know how it will roll out until you're actually in those interactions and those experiences with children. So the implementation allows us for that quote at the start there where we talked about, you know educators needing to use their creativity and intuition. So this is where that comes into play when the learning is implemented. So if you have got plans for learning and the focus of your planning is, you know your learning and teaching strategies you can actually implement them in a variety of different ways across the week, the day, the term, or wherever.

Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely. I don't think anyone is as flexible as an early childhood educator in being able to seize a teachable moment or adapt what they're doing, modify and going with where the children's engagement is, but always, you know, within mine what their intended outcomes are. But just, you know, playing it by ear as the best way to achieve those outcomes.

Jacqui Ward – I think you're right there, Kelly. I think we are the Olympic gymnasts of the teaching profession.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely. Ok, and now we will go to reflecting, evaluating. So this stage there are two key components. Obviously your reflection and evaluation. When evaluating educators are asking themselves how meaningful particular stages of the cycle have been that they're looking at the micro level. So it might just be an evaluation of one single learning experience or one part of the day, and then the reflection is the big picture or the macro thing that involves critiquing or analysing one's own practices.

Jacqui Ward – Yes, definitely and I think again this is something that is a very misunderstood aspect of the planning cycle. I think people probably are actually, it's a thing that is probably done well but people aren't always identifying that part of what they're doing as you know, evaluating and reflecting and such an important part again if I think about you know, particularly critical theoretical perspective there, if we're not really reflecting on you know, those bigger picture ideas we are not necessarily going to be improving our teaching so reflective practice is crucial to improving teacher quality.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely and it doesn't have to be documenting every single thing, every thought because you're automatically critiquing your own practice throughout the day as you think, I should have done this or this would have gone better this way, or the way I did that was great. When we look at in part five, we will talk about making documentation of those reflections manageable because you know it very much is something which you are automatically doing all the time.

Jacqui Ward – You raise a really good point, there, Kelly that we're not talking about any one of these components of the planning cycle having to require a lot of writing. It's really just about capturing you know the important ideas, concepts, moments, whatever, so it doesn't matter if it's recorded information or as in an audio recording or some post it notes or learning story or whatever the method is that you might choose to you to use. It's not about an onerous amount of information. It's just about really focusing in on capturing the key ideas.

Kelly Birket – Yes, that's an important point and not to get caught up on the method at all. The key thing is that yes, you were able to capture the ideas and that the reflection is occurring.

OK, so that leads us into another task so just based on what you have just heard, we've just talked in detail about each of the five stages of the cycle. We just ask you to pause the recording again and just think about what it is you actually do at each stage of the cycle. What are your practices? How are you documenting what you know? What discussions are you having? How are you engaging with your colleagues? And then also generally, people are using a lot of a range of methods of documentation, but is the links between each of these stages clear? So what I mean by that is where are you documenting your forward planning. Is it clear how that links back to the two earlier stages in the cycle? So how would somebody, an outsider coming in know what something is linked to? I guess it's all about showing that you are implementing cycles and that you are not, things aren't randomly chosen, there's actually a purpose in in what you're doing.

Jacqui Ward – And then can I just add in a quick note there too Kelly? If we could think about, you know in that first point, what are you doing at your preschool at each stage of the cycle? Can we also think about reflecting on what we're doing in terms of groups and what we're doing in terms of individuals? Because we need to have the planning cycle reflected in both.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely yes, actually I'm thinking I might adjust the task in the folder in the team, I'll add that into the detail to think about both and then the other and again for both are there gaps? Are you doing a great job with your reflection and evaluation but perhaps your collection of information is not quite as strong. It's a self assessment, so just have a little think about your cycle, you know are all the stages there, are the links clear? And then don't forget to just double check that, so the section 168 of the law and then the regulations 73 to 76, are you covering off on those?

OK, and then after that this is what Jacqui mentioned earlier, an optional task, the programming and planning procedure. Again, as I said before, it's a big big job and if you're not in the right place to do it, it's ok not to take it on now. Definitely, you cannot do it on your own because all of our preschool educators are working in a team, so it needs to be something that everyone comes on board with. Some preschools have already got a programming and planning procedure, and if that's you, you might want to update it. So just working on it gradually. At the end of each of this series, the end of part two, three, four, and five. There's a little scaffold, a little bit of information about what you might add to your procedure based on the content. And the entire scaffold is in the teams file. So just the third point there just to reiterate, it does take a long time to develop an effective procedure that is actually implemented well. You can't just, you can't just pick something up from someone else's preschool. You really need to trial implementation. You need to know if what you're going to be doing is manageable time wise, and you will need to evaluate what you're doing and then go back and modify and as I said before, developing a procedure requires collaboration and consultation. You need to get agreement from your whole team that this is what you're going to be doing as a team. And finally, as mentioned, also before your P-2 initiatives officer is a great support, particularly for writing and developing procedures because they come with a background of knowledge themselves and experience, they provide that, but they are also providing an outsiders view so they're able to maybe mention you know, pick up some ideas, additional ideas you might want to add in.

Ok so thanks everyone for viewing this recording today. I hope you found it helpful. And as always, if you've got any queries, don't hesitate to email Early Learning and then somebody, hopefully myself will be able to respond to you and to give you some assistance.

Jacqui Ward – Great, thanks Kelly, that's great.

Kelly Birket – Thanks Jacqui and so keep an eye out for part two and we will see you again then.

End of transcript

Return to top of page Back to top