Transcript of Preschool programming and planning – Part 5

Preschool programming and planning – review (part 5) video (57:43)

Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator

Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor

Jacqui Ward – Welcome to the preschool and planning cycle, part five, which is all about reflection. My name is Jacqui Ward and I'm the Early Learning Coordinator. I'm here with my colleague Kelly.

Kelly Birket – Hi everyone, welcome back to this. The last session in our five part series. Hope you get a lot out of this today.

Jacqui Ward – I'd like to begin. With an acknowledgement of country. In doing so, paying respect to Elders both past and present, and any Aboriginal people with us today. And to remind everybody that this is a registered course and maps to the Australian professional teaching standards as per the screen. And then, as we mentioned all along the course has some learning outcomes across all five parts, and these are written on the screen here. So please do take some time and review them and see whether or not you feel that you have achieved some learning in those in regards to those points.

Kelly Birket – Yes, thanks Jacqui and when you complete your evaluation at the end of this session, you'll be able to let us know how you feel you've gone in relation to each of those outcomes.

Jacqui Ward – And reminder that all materials that we talk about today kept in the folder in our Microsoft Teams drive within the communities of practice channel and please feel free if you wanted to start a conversation in their share a story, ask some questions, whatever you feel like. Some pre session tasks as per our other sessions, the first one is. A critical reflection reading from Gowrie and the other one is developing a culture of learning through reflective practice from ACECQA. So if you haven't already read those, take some time now to review them. They'll be really important in helping you move through the course content today.

We just wanted to quickly sort of call out that within the national quality standard. There is a specific reference to reflection and evaluation within the planning cycle itself, but in addition to that, critical reflection is a standout element as well, so it's really important this final stage of the assessment and planning cycle that it's that we really unpack that notion of what critical reflection is and how does it inform your work and your professional practice.

So just to recap, as you know, we've covered off on observing and collecting meaningful, relevant, rich information about children, analysing that for, finding out what children are learning and what we can do with that information in order to inform our planning. Looking at implementing, learning and using a range of strategies there in the final section is reflecting and evaluating. And this stage of the cycle involves educators reflecting to evaluate how effective and meaningful the other stage of assessment and planning a cycle work, as well as considering questions of equity, inclusion, bias and discrimination. Going to be talking a lot about that today, that critical element of your work.

So just going to set the scene a little bit in terms of what does our guiding framework tell us. So the early years learning framework talks about groups reflective practice together with ongoing learning because that's really the point about reflecting on anything. If you don't really learn anything from that reflection, then there's kind of no point in doing it. And it really speaks of it as more of an action or a verb than something that is just a word that we refer to, I guess reflective practice is a form of ongoing learning that involves engaging with questions of philosophy, ethics in practice. Its intention is to gather information and gain insights that support inform and enrich decision making about children's learning, as professionals early childhood educators examine what happens in their setting and reflecting and reflect on what they might change. So there's really quite. It's quite meady part of the cycle and really important for us to know exactly what we're doing. And what we are reflecting on what is our philosophy and what does it look like in practice. What are the ethics that drive our practice and how else, what are other professional standards that guide our practice? Early years learning framework goes on to say that a lively culture of professional enquiries established when early childhood educators and those with whom they work are all involved in that ongoing cycle of review. Through which current practices are examined, outcomes are reviewed and new ideas are generated. So that idea that it's not just about a single educator doing this on their own, they're doing it within their team, within their community, within their school, within the parents, the families, the children themselves. And obviously, the benefit of such things is that in such a climate, issues relating to curriculum, quality, equity, and children's well being can be raised and debated. So we can really talk about the effectiveness of our work in terms of outcomes for children.

So being at these cycles talking about reflection and evaluation, I think it's really important that we sort of draw out a few points of where they differ. They're not interchangeable. I don't believe, and again, I think it's important. for our purposes, we've delineated them in this way in order for you to sort of, I guess, check off to see that you're doing both. We speak of evaluation in terms of being that micro level. It could occur while you're doing something after the event or experience, and it predominantly ask what questions. So what worked well, what didn't? What things could I change in terms of the time of day I implemented that, or in terms of what strategies you could use? Focuses in on those daily experiences, and aims to find answers from existing knowledge. May make an observation or judgment without detailing the reason for the judgments. So important things, because if you don't have that map micro level focus on things we don't always pick up issues at the macro level, so critical reflection is that sort of bigger picture view or the macro level view occurs after an event or an experience. And quite often after multiples, or when a few issues are raised collectively ask what occurred as well as how and why so that real analysis of the situation focuses in on your professional practices, so not just that one event, but as a series of experiences or series of strategies or series of approaches, a series of interactions, all of those sorts of things. And involves a close examination of all aspects of events and experiences from different perspectives. So the idea that we're not just thinking about our individual learning experiences with the children were actually seeing it as part of a bigger picture of all of our interactions aims to finances relating to practice to literature and to theory. So we're thinking about all of those things influencing our critical reflections. An as we've mentioned a few times that it's considering those issues of social justice, equity, inclusion bias and discrimination it allows us to think critically about our work and it also allows us then to be able to facilitate those sorts of skills and promote that learning within children. And that's really strongly featured in areas learning outcome one and two. So in order for us to do that is promote that learning, we need to be able to be practiced as at that as educators.

So again, if we think of ourselves in doing this, we are really thinking of reflective practice or reflection as just one of the tools in our tool kit. So characteristics of a reflective educator are that they're willing to stand outside and observe their practice to better understand their actions. So you get a level of objectivity when you're doing that, you creating that sort of looking in on your own practice, you are comfortable with examining and analysing your experiences rather than just leave them. You know these are the things that encourages to go a little bit deeper. Have the courage to question truths in inverted commas, as things that we've always believed and why things that are done in that particular way. Often we inherit a lot of practices when we start somewhere new or that we've just sort of collected along the way without questioning those. We can never truly improve our practice. It's about really respecting different viewpoints, and recognising that there's no one right approach or answer that everyone brings that. Diversity of experience and understanding to the table that they are constantly looking for ways to improve their practice in order to deliver a high quality program in. In fact, those two things being a reflective educator in a high quality program in my opinion are intrinsically linked. They're able to be critical without being negative. That's important. This isn't about bringing anyone else down. This is about actually critiquing your practice. Focusing on the professional, not the personal tapping into perspectives, experience, and beliefs of their colleagues and seeking out professional collaborations and networking opportunities when we see what other people are doing and we see some of that theory, an ideology in practice, we learn so much and we prioritise improving outcomes for children because if we don't change our practices or differentiate our practices, we're not necessarily achieving the best outcomes for all children.

So we're going to actually ask you right now if you can pause your session and have a little watch of the ACECQA video here, it's about critical reflection in practice, it goes for four minutes, and it really is focusing in on some educators talking about what critical reflection is and really focusing in on what things they've changed based on that critical reflection. So take some time, and if you are happening to do this series with a group of people. Take some time to discuss it. If not, take it to your next team meeting and have a chat about what does this mean for you guys as a team.

Kelly Birket – OK, so next section about recording we're going to have a look at it evaluation and will start by asking why, why we do evaluate? So there's two you could look at evaluation in two ways, and the evaluation that's actually in the moment, as you're implementing your plans and then there's also the evaluation after an event or the experience, quality experiences are not going to automatically happen there has to be some sort of evaluation and critical or and or critical reflection for things to happen and for things to go well. So we'll start by looking at evaluation in the moment it enables an educator to make decisions about what to do in, say, during a learning experience to promote learning. This is a type of evaluation that's just happening in the moment on the go. You are probably not even conscious that you've actually evaluated. It's not necessarily something that you would record, but it's an action you would take in response to something you've seen or heard to further promote learning. Similar to that, an educator in the moment might make changes to the environment to extend learning. Again, depending on what the hearing and seeing for an example might be, adding or removing a resource. Knowing what adjustments to make so all children are able to access and participate in an experience. So this is about noticing that a child is interested in something, but for whatever reason isn't able to engage or participate. So it's the things that you would do to make that inclusion possible. Very similar to that knowing where and when support and intervention are necessary. It's a really finely tuned skill to know when to stand back or when to intervene, but as you gain experience, you'll know exactly what the right moment is, but those actions are based on an evaluation and of course as we talked about last session taking advantage of the teachable moment. OK, so evaluation that happens after an event or experience, so this might be at the end of the day. When you sitting down and you just jotting down how things went, what went well, you know what didn't go so well, things like that. This will help educators know if they're gathering and analysis of information planning and implementation were and it looks like the word effective got knocked off there, but this is what Jacqui was talking about earlier about evaluation of all the other stages of the assessment and planning cycle. After an event enables an educator to judge if the information they collected was relevant and meaningful. Did it actually give you the information to make a relevant or meaningful plan that actually resulted in learning? Determine if their teaching strategies were effective and judge if the learning experiences were meaningful and if the experiences help to achieve the intended learning. So educators evaluate all aspects of the assessment and planning cycle to make continual improvements which result in better outcomes for children.

OK, we'll have a little look now at how. Most educators spontaneously engage in reflective practice as they make decisions in response to what happens throughout the day or session. They build on children's discoveries by adding materials and extend children, thinking by posing questions, or suggesting another way to tackle a problem. This type of reflection in action also occurs when new situations present themselves or established strategies did not seem to work, and the and the educator experiments with alternatives. Evaluation may be likened to commentary or anecdotal comments on programs or an experience. It is simply descriptive in nature and does not assist in any deeper thinking or analysis. Often the commentary stops there without any further or actions being considered. That might be the case. Often though, are there will be a modification made to if it's evaluation after an event. There might be a modification to the planning. There might be a modification to the environmental setup. An educator might think well if this happens tomorrow this is how I will respond. Yes, decisions like that. It made OK. How does it happen? Before I read this I just want to say because it is an area of concern on how you record your evaluation, just like we've talked about evaluating the document. The documentation of the other stages of the cycle. It's definitely a local decision, but whichever way you decide to do it, it has to be manageable for you. I just mentioned before you can't document all your evaluations because you were just constantly evaluating throughout the day, so you need to just select identify the most significant. Some people use dot points or make notes on their daily plan at the end of the day. Other people during the day might make jottings on post-its or I've also seen educators actually record themselves speaking into their phone and then sending that to an email to their own email address so then they've got that documentation there.

Educators evaluated by seeking the opinion of families through informal conversations, surveys, or formal interviews. Engaging and collegial discussions with colleagues spontaneously or more formally, such as at staff meetings that spontaneous conversation that generally is what happens at the end of the day when you're cleaning up, you know when somebody's washing the paint, somebody else is wiping down the tables, and you have a discussion about did you see what happened here? You know this didn't go so well. What can we do about this? That's the sort of informal discussion, asking children to talk about what they learned and what they think helped them. And developing and using a set of guiding or prompting questions, so those four dot points all relate to how educators evaluate.

OK, what does it look like? OK, so these are the types of questions an educator asks themselves during the day in the moment as experiences are happening. This type of evaluation helps the educator know what to do that. So what actions to take to support and extend the learning in the moment. So, the educator might have set up this learning experience with a particular intention and might have been related to a social skill for the little, you know, the kids involved. It might have been related to make believe play could have, I've got no idea. With those resource there it could have been an extension of another activity, but the types of things that an educator would ask themselves is what extra resources could I add? How's the child going? Are they engaging? What are they saying, is what I'm seeing consistent with other information I've collected about this child? Are the children interested and engaged, and then of course, if they're not, what could I do to support engagement? Is their experience actually promoting learning? Is it doing what it was intended to do? What about tomorrow in this area? What questions can I ask to support the children's learning? And again, how is this experience going? Other children having fun, are they staying there for a while? I guess also you could ask questions related to learning outcome for about, you know, maintaining concentration and focus.

OK, so these are some examples of the types of questions that and educator might ask after a learning experience, perhaps at the end of the day or the end of the week. Maybe at the end of a particular project or an enquiry. Generally, this information would be recorded along side the planning for those experiences in the same document, but you don't have to do that, but often educators will have the plan. This is what was planned for, these were the experiences and the strategies used, and then this is the evaluation of how it went. So you'll notice the text on the slide is arranged around the cycle because, as I said before, evaluation should be very much about the other stages of the cycle. So with in the observer the collecting gathering information stage questions might be was the information collected meaningful? What additional information needs to be collected was the analysis of information accurate? Was it relevant? And then down asking about the planning stage, did the intended learning occur? Were the learning intentions appropriate and relevant? Were the teaching strategies affective, what should be included in future plans or modifications made to current plans, were the principles and practices of the ELYF reflected in the planning. And then at the implementation stage what adjustments were made for individuals. Were these effective? Were children involved and engaged equally? What's the next step after this? What did educators do to respond to the children? Did the learning environments promote learning or just simply what happened?

Jacqui Ward – You make a really good point there. Kelly there's actually sort of, I think, three time frames when we talk about evaluation. You kind of doing it where you're looking at, as you've mentioned in the moment, you're looking back, but you're also looking forward, as in, well, what am I going to the answers to all these questions will inform the next cycle of planning wont they in terms of that information you use, in terms of the analysis, in terms of the planning.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely, definitely yes, that's a very good point. So it is a great resource we've just very recently come across. And throughout it it's been made by the Victorian government and throughout it features different learning experiences for different age groups and for each of the learning experiences that has a little synopsis of what of each of the stages, what not actual documentation, but just an explanation as to what the educators did at that point. And then what's really interesting about it and relevant to this recording, is for each of the learning experience there's a list of the types of evaluation questions you would ask. So if you're wondering about how other people evaluate or looking to get some more ideas, just have a little look in there. You'll find that resource in our channel in the folder that says materials and resources.

OK, so the last slide for this section on evaluation is a reflection task. Just think about the last week you've had with the children. Identify three occasions when you evaluated so either in the moment or after the event. It might have been a formal evaluation we actually sat down, intending to evaluate, or it might have been one of those evaluations with your colleague as you're doing things and it's more of a conversation more spontaneous as well. For each occasion, what was the focus of your evaluation and what action did you take as a consequence of your evaluation?

Jacqui Ward – We'll now move into the section focusing in on critical reflection and starting off with why, why do we do it? The great quote in the guide to the national quality standards. So critical reflection involves closely examining all aspects of events and experiences from different perspectives, with a focus on implications for equity inclusion and diversity. It takes reflective practice to a deeper level and includes educators analysing or don't diagnosing what happened and asking why. So definitely looking at not so much as the individual practices as we mentioned with the evaluation of that moment in time, but more thinking about bigger issues and the way we work having some potentially unintended consequences. So it takes it takes ourselves to look at our practice an critically evaluate whether or not we're doing what we should be doing in terms of achieving outcomes for children.

So moving on the attention of critical reflection is to gather information and insights that support, inform and enrich decision making about children's well being in development. And of course their learning. Critical reflection is an ongoing process that facilitates continuous improvement, so by no means can you say at any point in time I have finished reflecting.

It's just a process, cyclical process, like the planning cycle itself. It enables educators to analyse or diagnose what happened and why, supports educators to make changes and improvements to their practice, knowledge, interactions, actions, and learning environments. Helps identify areas educators might want to learn more about, understand better, or to find different ways to approach their practice. Encourages educators to think about questions of equity, cultural competence, social justice, democracy, and fairness. As I mentioned before, they're all elements that are covered off or concepts or ideas that are covered off in the early years learning framework learning outcomes. So in order for us to be supporting development in those areas for children, we need to be thinking and critically reflecting on how we do that as adults.

In terms of critical reflection in terms of how, so there's some strong foundations for critical reflection that we need to think about first and foremost. So in order to be able to do critical reflection well, because I think this is an area that often comes up as a question for educators. Well, what am I reflecting on or what questions do I need, or what template do I need? Because there's that uncertainty, I guess of knowing what they should really be critically reflecting on so first of all, building your professional knowledge of all of the things that you need to be knowing about in order to critically reflect so things like professional standards. So the national quality standard, the code of ethics, you know, knowing the EYLF really well, knowing your own service philosophy well, all of the things that you need to know in terms of your professional knowledge. That's just to name a few, but those are sorts of things that you need to have in your toolkit or as a foundation. I guess for success. You need to be thinking about embedding critical reflection as a regular process, so again, not just something you're doing to say I can tick a box that I'm critically reflecting, it's just becomes a natural part of what you do every day in every way. You allow time for it. You prioritise it and it becomes part and parcel of your everyday actions. And that also that you know. Again, as I mentioned before, but I wanted to emphasise that again and again and again. Making a change as a result of your reflection. So what am I doing differently now that I'm aware that this is an issue or a challenge for me, or that I've realised that this particular practice isn't really achieving the best outcomes for some of their children in my group. What can I do differently and actually implementing that in your planning cycle?

As we mentioned there that you drawing on your professional standards, so within the national quality standard element 4.2.2 talks about professional standards and how they guide our practice our interactions in our relationships. So educators use professional standards, an ethical principles to guide professional conduct in decision making in practice. Guide professional conduct in relation to decision making requires on educators reflecting on these professional standards. It's important that educators are aware of their attitudes, values, and beliefs, how they impact their work. So again, it's one thing to know what those standards are, but where do you fit in that in understanding and application of those particular professional standards. Educators benefit from working with each other, the educational leader and the supervisor to identify where biases may have informed their values and minimise the impact of those biases in their practice and relationships with children, families, colleagues and local community. And this is really important this point, because, again, we're not being critical reflective educators if we don't acknowledge that every single one of us has some biases. It's inevitable in the way that we experience the world we were raised in a particular way. We have certain world views because of our culture and our family background, so inheriting that is a way of seeing the world that has some biases in it. So it's important to acknowledge those when all educators understand what's guiding their practice and why educators can make improvements to their practice and enhance outcomes for children. And that comes from the guide to the National Quality Framework, Section three.

As I mentioned before, the code of ethics is a really important component of our professional standards as well. We're very, very fortunate and privileged. Not all teachers have a code of ethics to guide their practice in early childhood we do and they are a set of ethics or standards that guide what we do. They can be used as a tool to support our critical reflection or create that rotor of are we on the right track and are we living up to the ideals that we hope and that we all agree on are important in early childhood profession. The ethics note that being ethical involves thinking about everyday actions and decision making, either individually or collectively and responding with respect to all concerned. Again, you can't do that unless you've got a component of critical reflection in there and the code of ethics also guides our decision making into in relation to our ethical responsibilities.

Kelly Birket – I've also uploaded a copy of the code of ethics into the folder with the material, so if you're not familiar with the code of ethics, definitely worth all having a look at what the principles and values are.

Jacqui Ward – And you've also captured one on the slide there to Kelly in relation to colleagues. I will participate in a lively culture of professional inquiry to support continuous improvement, so the code of ethics is very much written like that a set of statements that we all agree to.

And of course, a really another really important thing that we need to consider in terms of what are we critically reflecting on or what is guiding us through those critical reflections is our service philosophy, because it contextualises your reflections. It encourages you to think about what does, what have we all agreed is important in our context in our particular community, and again, a nice little quote from the guide to the in NQF there drawing on your philosophy will help to ensure that your making the right decision based on your agreed norms and values. The statement of philosophy serves three purposes that it underpins the decisions policies and daily practices of the service reflects that shared understanding of the role of the service among children, families, children, sorry, staff, children, families in the community, and it guides educators, pedagogy, planning and practice when delivering the educational program. So it's one of the things that we need to think about when we're doing that critical reflection is what we're doing in our program when we think about the assessment and planning cycle. Is what we're planning for? Is it in line with whatever philosophy says? You know, if our philosophy says that we believe in that children are competent and capable learners and they learn best through experiential play based learning. Are our learning experiences then mapping to that? Or are they actually, you know, very much based on rote learning or very structured teacher led experiences. Therein lies an opportunity for critically reflecting on whether or not we're realising the best outcomes for children through our service throughout planning.

And this is, I believe a little graphic, which is a beauty from the pre task reading that we mentioned. And it talks about.

Kelly Birket – So I just said, yes, that's right.

Jacqui Ward – It talks about the layers of reflection and it talks about the fact that we all have our own experiences and knowledge base. As we mentioned before and then when we think about reflecting, we add in these layers so we add in the experience and knowledge of others. We don't have to be the holders of all knowledge ourselves. We can draw on the expertise of others we look at, you know, doing some reading we look at theorists and theories relevant to our work, and in particular the subject or the idea that we're reflecting on, and we think about those broader social and political circumstances. At the moment, we've got quite a few things going on where we are experiencing some social and political climates. I think we always do that we need to think about and what we could do to make a difference for those things and contribute to the betterment of our community as well as our individual children.

And this is a little bit of an example. Again, if you'd like to, you can read that full article the sources on the page there it talks about. You know, having a bit of a cyclical process again, or a process to critically reflect. So if we're thinking about how do we do this? This is a little sort of stepped out action. If you like to do this. If you thinking well, I'm not sure where to start in terms of critical reflection. This is some of the prompts that you could use to start that process. First of all, reflecting identifying the issue or topic and gathering up evidence to say why is it a problem and why talking to children and families and other professionals? How are they experiencing this particular problem? You could look at reframing that to say when we do it in this way, who benefits who is disadvantaged? Is there another way to do it? What could be improved? How does it meet the big ideas of the earliest learning framework and all your service philosophy and all the code of ethics and all the national quality standard? All of those sorts of things, decide and plan to make any changes necessary and change or modifying your practice and thinking about too how do you need to embed those changes as well? You know does it require you to update your procedure or your policy or whatever on those things. Looking at the final stage of reviewing by reflecting on the changes made, rethinking and review as required, so that idea of where these change successful in actually achieving what we wanted to do in that re framing section and the planning section, you know, did it actually work or do we need to make some changes?

And just a reminder that again, if you're still stumped as to how do I go about that element of critical reflection, we're talking about critical reflection really in relation to the planning cycle here, but in actual fact, critical reflection is an important practice for all of our work across all of the seven quality areas across everything that we do so there is embedded within each standard at the start of each standard there are prompt questions for you, so you don't need to reinvent them. You can actually use some of those questions, so there's an example on the screen there of some of those things, so this might be the starting point for your critical reflection and to build your muscles and your strength if you like in being a critically reflective educator.

Some tips. Again, if you think about if you new to the journey or if you'd like to get better skills, thinking about reflecting individually, it's good to practice on your own and think about what you might say, but also it's good to practice as a group. You're more likely to do that if the reflection occurs leading up to or is taken by the group of educators. So when we do it together makes a difference. Go deeper than a simple description of an experience or an event. Remember, critical reflection of what you decide to actually write down is really more about the decision making. You don't really need to describe all of the events that happened, you just need to capture about you know what did you think about. And why did you think those things were, you know, not on the right track or not in line with the professional standards and what changes did you make? Don't take things at face value look beneath the surface and see what might be influencing a situation again. And try and think about it from the multiple perspectives you know, different family backgrounds, different cultural expectations there's lots of things where you can try and take that child's perspective in your reflection. And again, actually asking them how they're experiencing the program and those bigger picture questions are actually quite insightful and knowledgeable about those things. Drawing an experience and knowledge of other educators as we mentioned considering theories, research and literature and how they inform practice. If you're not currently reading some research or some literature on that particular topic, that could be an opportunity to broaden your perspective as well. And as we said, considering those broader societal issues that may impact on practice, such as your stereo types, any culture, any racism, sexism, all of those sorts of things, maybe even the way that we view our typical family structures or gender issues. There's lots of things that we have in place that need to be thought about when we're thinking about critical reflection.

Another opportunity to pause and watch another video. This one is written by a service director. In it she talks about her experiences as part of a professional learning community committed to critical reflection. There is there is a series of them and that's really useful, so pause the video, pause the session right now, and have a listen. Otherwise you can come back to it later.

Again, if we talk about the what of critical reflection, so what are the things that were actually sort of ending up with?

We've got a similar graphic here where we're talking about some example of critical reflection questions, so this is particularly based on learning experience, but this also could be equally relevant these types of stem questions for reflecting critically reflecting on a particular issue, or a challenge that you might be having. I won't read through all of them, but I'll have a little look at some of those things there, a little question there is to say is this a good cultural experience? Or is it tokenistic And how will I know? Again, these are the sorts of things that are really important to reflect on. If we thinking about because we can see there that this experience is quite obviously an experience focusing in on learning more about Aboriginal culture. And so again, how is this experience supporting Aboriginal children within this? And what are preschool families want to learn, want children to learn about Aboriginal culture and why is it important? Why have I included this experience with an Aboriginal focus? Why is that relevant? How do other preschools imbed, Aboriginal perspectives. Again, how does this experience support the department's Aboriginal education policy? That's a really good one as another piece of professional standard or something that guides our critical reflection. So have a little think about how all of those sorts of things are happening in your preschool.

So we've developed a little bit of a resource as part of these professional learning to provide you with some prompt questions to support reflective practice. Again, you might not find that you actually need them, but you may find them useful to keep them handy just to keep them in the forefront of your mind when you're doing you're working with your practice. And again, it's about critical reflection it's about drawing on the information from the early years learning framework in particular, page 13 those overarching questions that really help us go a little bit deeper. Who is disadvantage when I work in this way, and who is advantaged sometimes, you'll notice that you know you have that certain way of working with some children. That sort of things just seem to fit together it’s quite natural. Again, that's probably got a lot to do with the fact that your experiences potentially might be quite similar to that group of children or that individual child and therefore they are advantage because they have a similar life experience or worldview to you. Maybe some children whose world views and experiences and cultural identity is quite different might be disadvantaged when you work in that way. Again, this there's no judgment about these particular reflections. They're actually just saying, well, what could I do? Or how could I change things to make my practice more inclusive? What are my understandings of each child? Sometimes we can make some decisions early on about all people in our lives, and sometimes it's important to revisit what am I actually, what am I of my basing these understandings on in these ideas. What theories, philosophies and understand understanding, shaping assist my work. How they outgrowing some of the things that I learned in my pre service training or my initial qualifications? Or you know the more recent or some of the professional learning that I went to a while ago that I'm still using to guide my decision making in my everyday. What aspects of my work are not helped by theories and guidance that I usually drawn to make sense of what I do. Again, these are some examples where sometimes, for example, if we think about those developmental stages and thinking that children have to progress through those in a linear way, well sometimes some children don't actually do that. Sometimes they jump ahead a couple and sometimes that they may be quite progressed in some aspects of the cognitive domain, but others you know further back, so it's about acknowledging that sometimes theories we might need to draw on different theories at different times to support our work. What questions do I have about my work? I quite, really like that one as well. You know, it helps us to make sure that we are on track in making sure that our work is meaningful and relevant and engaging for us as professionals. That's the way that we keep making sure I guess that we're bringing the best of ourselves to our work. What are my challenge by what am I curious about? What am I confronted by? All great questions to keep us on our toes to think about the fact that you know, maybe there's room for us to be. You know, following a particular curiosity or an interest area. What am I confronted by? Sometimes I do that for myself when I think I'm swimming along you know really well and an my practice is on track with its alignment you know, to the code of ethics. And then every now and again I've confronted by a bias that I didn't realise that I had. And I'm realising that yes, I need to always be open to different perspectives and seeing things from looking from a different window I guess if you like or taking a little bit of a further step back and looking in. Are there other theories or knowledge that could help me understand better what I've observed or experienced? Again, a really good one to think about in terms of, well, maybe I've been always guided by, you know, a range of theorists that I've sort of kept to be quite consistent. Well, maybe there's knew theories about the way the mind works, or the way interactions support learning, or the way you know people and children are using technologies that could benefit our work, so those questions are in in the file if you would like to use them to take with you, I guess and take into your daily practice to get you thinking about things.

So another reflection task. So this is really getting you about getting you to think about applying what we've covered so far into your practice. So thinking about your week with children so it can be any week you can be thinking about something that happened in the past, particularly if there's something that you. That stands out for you. You know, based on the content, that we've just covered, you know, think about a time where you thought, wow, that did really unsettled me that particular week or something happened in that particular time. Again, identifying three occasions when you critically reflected, and for each occasion thinking about the following questions was the issue. What was the issue or focus of reflection? So what were you thinking about and why was it an issue? What perspective all sources information other than your own knowledge and experience, did you consider? So again, that could be, how do we include? You know, different families. Did we talk about it with other educators? Did we draw on some theoretical knowledge? Did we go to the code of ethics all those sorts of things? Have a think about that. So writing answering all these three questions for each of those three occasions, and the final one. Again, re emphasising that there's no point in critical reflection if we didn't actually take some action. So what actions did you take as a consequence of your reflection on each of those three occasions?

Kelly Birket – OK, so this is the last section of our presentation. Thanks for talking us through critical reflection Jacqui.

Here's another video task. This is an optional one. It’s very interesting though Katherine Lee, the director of the point preschool talks, takes us through the ongoing process of evaluation and the way her team has overcome some of the challenges that they've come across, you might recognise some of the challenges in your own service. Again, it's a short video, and if you pause, you can follow the link at the bottom of the screen there.

Jacqui Ward – and I do apologise. I was referring to this video when I talked to earlier on in my section about the reading task that was actually a reading that you needed to read in this one is the video

Kelly Birket – That's OK, both a service director and both talking about reflective practice in their own service. So what do you do with all the information after you've completed an evaluation or you've critically reflected so your fact finding, your discussions, you might find that you actually are on track and that you know that things are OK in that might confirm that you are doing things in an effective manner or it's probably more likely that you want to tweak things you want to take action to make improvements, which will in turn lead to improved outcomes for children. Also, it's really important that after with everything you do, you actually know why you're doing it. So for instance, you need to be able to say you know we're doing this because of this, or we change this because we talked about this and realise this, so that nothing is random. None of the practices in your service I just happening because that's why they happen. They're happening because as a team you've observed. you've gathered, information you've talked to each other, you've talked to other preschools, you've read information, you've attended professional learning and then made a considered decision about how to do things. so that they were effective. So some of the changes that teams have made, you might recognise some of these. So after as a result of evaluation, the types of things people have changed plans modified to include experiences to assist children to know how to be a kind friend. So imagine you can, in your mind think about what was happening in the preschool that this staff came to this decision that they had to have this as a priority. Another team talked about their routine and then changed it to reduce the number of pack ups. You change could be as simple as outdoor storage areas being reorganised, but that might have an impact on the children's learning. Different methods of recording observations trial. New resource purchased to support the teaching of dramatic arts, staff engaged in professional learning and discussion around scaffolding so you can imagine in your mind why and the types of issues that might have come up and that as a result of the evaluation these are some of the actions of the teams took. As a result of critical reflection additional cultural celebrations incorporated adjustments made to preschool furniture, organisation of parent teacher interviews changed, information booklet translated and photos included sustainability prioritised in the selection of art and craft materials, and a review and update of the QIP, the philosophy or particular procedures. I wonder if any of those resonate with you. If you've made similar changes in your press school, or if you've actually got an issue at the moment that perhaps one of these changes will be the result of your reflection.

OK, so this slide sort of wraps up this recording, and this focus on the evaluation. And critical reflection. So, what do you do now? You finished the cycle and we've had our five sessions. At this point you might decide to wrap up your planning cycle or you might use it as a springboard into a news cycle. You might continue, but go a little bit different. Or you might just end things now. Remember, some cycles are implemented in a short space of time, or others a longer term and just continue on and on some cycles that you implement for individuals while others are for groups. Just a review you remember, in session part one we had a look at this image, so I just want to recap. We started by talking about gathering information, making sure it's significant and it's meaningful and asking yourself what you know about the child, their current knowledge, strengths and interests, skills and abilities and culture. That in part two pardon, I’m sorry that was part two part one before we even started with our cycle. We looked at the our image of the child. We considered theorists that have influenced contemporary early childhood practice. And we reflected on which ones our practice are aligned to, and in part two, as I just said, we looked at observing collecting information and then we spoke about analysing the learning. What does the information tell me about what and how the child is learning. And in part three, we focused on planning. That's where you're selecting, identifying what it is the child is ready to learn next, and how you going to support them to get there. Then we focused in the last part four on implementation. What it is you do as an educator, your actions while the children are with you engaging in their learning experiences. How you respond to them and how you promote learning. And finally, we've wrapped up here looking at reflecting and evaluating.

OK, in part one we asked you to reflect on your assessment and planning cycle. We asked what do you do in your preschool at each stage of the cycle, are the links between each stage of the cycle clear? Are there any gaps? Are the legislative requirements being covered? So if you still got those notes it would be great to have another look at it but have another go at this task because you've learned a lot since you completed that reflection. You might have some additional information now that you're aware of what you're able to actually label what it is you're doing. You might be aware of gaps now that you weren't aware that it actually was a gap before. Also, if you've been working on reviewing or developing a programming and planning procedure, complete the last section related to evaluation and critical reflection, and then have a look at the document as an entire piece of work. Make sure there's no overlap. Make sure it reads through well and that it would be something that you could take to your team and try to get some. I guess buy in from your colleagues, you probably want to speak to your supervisor about it, get some feedback. Also, contact your P-2 initiatives officer or next time they visit us them if they would mind having a look and offering feedback and then I suggest you trial using the procedure and then make any modifications needed. You procedure might be two different from what your current practices and in that case you might want to choose a small part of it. You might just want to focus initially, perhaps on the way you analyse information, or you might want to focus just on what it is in your procedure you've got about critical reflection, and that's OK because it's a continual journey of improvement and whatever you do needs to be manageable. You can't take everything on at once.

Jacqui Ward – And an important part there, Kelly is that we have I guess a concept or an idea and we can articulate the planning cycle and how we do it, and that's one of the great things about having a procedure is that you can actually document and record how you do all those things and if someone new in your team starts or someone's filling in for someone when they're away, it's really easy to convey that message to other people as to how you work in relation to the planning cycle.

Kelly Birket – Yes, definitely

Jacqui Ward – and it is how we embed our practice

Kelly Birket – for sure. OK, and so finally I would really appreciate it if you could take five minutes to complete this anonymous survey So as I mentioned earlier, it asks you to judge how you're learning towards the learning outcomes of this course, and that will give us information to inform the development of future professional learning and it also, asks some questions about the actual delivery of this professional learning. Yes it is anonymous and it won't take long at all, so thanks a lot for joining us on this journey. I've enjoyed it and thank you Jacqui for being my co deliverer.

Jacqui Ward – Thanks Kelly, it's been great. I hope everyone's got a lot out of it.

Kelly Birket – Great thank you. Bye bye.

End of transcript

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