Transcript of Preschool programming and planning Part 2
Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator
Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor
Kelly Birket –Hi and welcome to the second part of this series of preschool programming and planning in this part today we're going to be focusing on the observe and analyse stages of the cycle. My name's Kelly Birkett I'm one of the Early Learning advises and I'm here with my colleague Jacqui Ward.
Jacqui Ward – Hi everybody, my name is Jacqui Ward I'm the early learning coordinator and very excited to talk to you about part two of the planning cycle.
Kelly Birket –Great thanks Jacqui. Before we start I want to acknowledge that where I am today while we record is on the traditional lands of the Karringi and Darra people, I recognise their continuing connections to land, water and community and I want to pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Elders both past present and emerging. I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which you are today as you access this recording.
OK, the teaching standards that this course addresses are. We looked at this in the last part are 6.2.2, 6.4.2. And again, as you would have seen in the first part, these are the course outcomes which will be addressed. Over all five parts of this course.
OK, just a few little reminders, so the materials that we refer to resource is the precession tasks are all in a folder within the communities of practice. Channel of Early Learning and schools. If you're not a member or you can't see them or there's a problem with accessing just send an email to Early Learning and we will help you out there. Also in the folder there's some examples and illustrations of practice that have generously been shared by preschool teachers. They're not vetted or quality assured but they are provided to give you insight into the wide range of approaches that teachers are using across the state in their documentation and also finally in the communities of practice. There's a post tab and the idea is to increase effectiveness of this PL you can engage with your colleagues by using the post tab. So if you select posts down the bottom, you'll see you can start a conversation. And we encourage you to do this to ask questions. A post questions maybe that should be answered questions share your reflections and your ideas with your colleagues to just have a little bit of a little bit of professional dialogue about the content of the course.
Jacqui Ward – Can I jump in there Kelly, just to say that part of the research and the evidence based around effective professional learning is that really that idea of supporting learners to apply learning back into their practice within the classroom. So that's a really important component of this course, and we encourage you to do so and will also be posting things in there as well that you can comment on some questions or ideas. But if you're brave enough, share some examples of your work and ask for some feedback from the colleagues in that group.
Kelly Birket –Yes, great, Thanks Jacqui. OK and you would have seen the precession task. There's two readings, the essence of what we're doing today is from the early years learning frame of the assessment for learning section. There's also some more information on this in the educators guide. And then also we ask you to consider why you gather information about children in your preschool. What why are you doing it? If you haven't completed these, this reading and reflection, just pause the recording now and do so and then come back to it.
Jacqui Ward – And I think that's a really important one as well that second point there, Kelly, just to make sure that you know in order to be doing the teaching and learning cycle well or the planning cycle, well, you really need to know why. What's the purpose behind that information that you're collecting and what you're doing with it? So it's a really important task that one and again. What a great one to share your insights in the communities of practice channel
Kelly Birket –Absolutely. OK and so will start with the first section.
Jacqui Ward – OK, first section of the planning cycle is observing and collecting information, so we're going to be focusing in on that. And as you can see, there's the whole planning cycle. That diagram comes from a ACECQA, the guide to the national quality framework and basically the essence of the planning cycle is to promote learning and development. Each stage of the assessment and planning cycle relies on the other stage being given equal consideration, so they're all important components and they definitely can be viewed together in this professional learning. We're breaking them down for the purposes of really honing in on what skills and knowledge are required for each stage of the planning cycle. So this stage involves collecting meaningful information about a child in relation to their current knowledge, strengths and interests, skills, abilities and culture. So the information that we gather really provides the foundation to the rest of the cycle. If you don't have good solid information at this first stage of the planning cycle, you may not necessarily be able to plan rich and meaningful experiences. You may not necessarily be able to analyse the learning or reflect on the learning either, so it's a really crucial stage, so we really encourage you to think about that what I just mentioned there about meaningful information and whether or not your practices at the moment are really hitting the mark on terms in terms of all of those things we just mentioned their current knowledge, their skills, their interests, their skills, abilities and culture, all of those things need to feature. And though it's described in stages, and we're unpacking this in this professional learning in stages the cycle is ongoing, is ongoing in a holistic process, and the entire cycle might be documented in one piece of documentation. A couple of sentences it doesn't have to be written separately in the way that we are presenting the information today. Sometimes you might spontaneously implement a planning cycle for in response to a teachable moment. Some things you might have planning cycles that are long ranging, and I think we mentioned that in the first part, but just again to reiterate. It's not necessarily about breaking them up in this sort of individualised way. When you recording your information, you can definitely collate and cross over the ideas and what not in each of the sections, but today we're focusing in on this one.
Kelly Birket –Great.
Jacqui Ward – So it's a little quote from the early years learning framework, because really, what we're doing in these two phases of observing and gathering information, analysing the learning is were actually assessing children's learning, so we're assessment for children's learning according to the EYLF, refers to the process of gathering and analysing information as evidence of what children know can do and understand again that little phrase there is really important one as well. Does the documentation that you currently have about children. Does it demonstrate? Does it make the learning visible of what children no can do and understand? Is that clear in individual records as well as across groups? It's part of an ongoing cycle that includes planning, documenting and evaluating children's learning so our own early years learning framework gives us some good guidance in that space as to what we're doing in this first part of observing and gathering information. And again, like all teachers across the education continuum, we need to think about assessment and I think for early childhood educators our views of assessment have been very much influenced by the theorists that we talked about in part one, and a lot of those theorists coming from more of a scientific background and really focusing in on observation. And that's one of the reasons why we talk about observations, but effectively what we are doing is assessing learning. NESA talks about assessment, for learning formative assessment, talks about assessment as learning as in children, being involved in their own learning and assessment of learning, which is more of a summative thing. And again, I think this is where our views of assessment can be a little clouded when we think we need to observe something directly or a moment in time. Whereas summative assessment gives us permission if you like or viewing it from that point of view to say that we can actually summarise children's learning overtime, we don't have to maintain that very objective perspective that you may have learned in your formal training, your preservice teaching or what not.
So I'm just going to read through a few of those points on the slide, so if we think about formative assessment or assessment for learning, it's in support of ongoing learning. It's an integral part of day-to-day practice, usually in observation of the child in everyday learning experiences, and usually acted on immediately by the teacher to support or extend learning. So, again, the other thing there is that formative assessment can also inform the effectiveness of our teaching as well. So when we present experiences or we engage with children in a certain way, those maybe more. Some of those intentional teaching strategies may be more effective for some children than others, so formative assessment is a way for us to gauge the effectiveness of our teaching as well assessment as learning again the early years learning framework positions, children as competent, capable learners, and having agencies, so it's really important to think of them as having a key part in the planning cycle. Children can self assess and reflect on their own learning and this will help give you more information that you need to know whether or not where a child is at in terms of their current knowledge, skills, abilities, and what they can do, and no one understand. An educator in child discussing what the child has learned, how they learned it, and what they would like to learn next is a crucial part of involving them in that planning cycle involving children in contributing are setting their own learning goals is really important. Again, how do we get motivation and buying from people? We involve them along the way, so that's really important. And as I said, assessment of learning or that Summative Assessment is a summing up or reviewing of what the child is learned, their progress or the distance travelled. Some of the obvious examples of that when we do some we might make some summative assessment comments towards the end of the term, or halfway through the year, or as part of the transition to schools statement. Again, you can use all of these different types of assessments at any point in time and use them to help you gather rich and meaningful information. As we said generally used for the summative of assessment generally used to assess learning against the ELYF one of outcomes. The learning outcomes for children and often used at defined endpoints, but again, can be used throughout, so that's just a little bit of a snapshot if you like about assessment.
So again, if we think about the question that was posed, why do you collect information about children well you've got a range of different reasons, and connecting with the purpose behind what you do tends to give you a lot more confidence in your own professional knowledge and your own professional decision making as well. Why do we document? In case you're still there thinking I'm not really sure, some of the points are on the slide there. So to develop a holistic understanding of each child, to better know how to extend their learning because every child's disposition is different. Each child's learning style is really different and they each have a role to play in how best to support and extend their learning. To monitor each child's learning progress towards the EYLF learning outcomes as we talked about in part one, that's a legislative requirement. We do need to make sure that we have information as to how children are progressing in relation to those learning outcomes. Again, not with an end point in mind, but just looking at how they're progressing and learning along those outcomes as a continuum. The reason why we collect and observe information is so that it can inform the planning of our educational program. It is supposed to be based on those observations of children it’s not meant to be a random collections of things. Again, if you think about the difference between a school curriculum and our early childhood curriculum, the difference is the centre of focus. So the centre of focus in our curriculum is children and what they're interests and needs are and how they're learning is progressing. Whereas in that school stage it's more about a curriculum or a topic focus. So again, that needs to be clear as to why you're collecting that information. Again, that's also a legislative requirement. And of course we want to make learning visible and be able to share it with others that's one of the joys of our teaching profession that we get to share it with our colleagues. We get to share learning with children with families with other professionals that you may be working with. Also, those people that are coming in to check on what your program looks like in your observations. So your supervisor or your principal, also your authorised officers as well. So think about that when we're talking today. I want you to really have that in the focus of your mind. Is the learning visible in what we're doing here? What information we are observing and collecting? And of course, you know this gives us meaningful information. These observations in terms of evaluating the effectiveness of the learning experiences in the environments provided and as you know, that at the end of the cycle, that evaluation and reflection sort of leading to this part of the cycle as well. So there's a bit of a link and an overlap there as well.
So this is the million dollar question Kelly that everyone always asks what do I do and how much do I do? And all those sorts of things. So we're going to cover that a little bit. And what sort of things do you need write down and collect and what's the evidence that you're providing that you've got information that relates to what we're talking about? So it's important to plan which information you collect, allowing you to be strategic with your efforts and time, you might choose to make targeted observation or to summarise learning. You know the choice is yours at the focus is about making children's learning visible and recording that progress as we mentioned before. So one of the things that I think most, especially early childhood teachers really grapple with is how do I manage to document in the time the time allocated you know time is the most challenging aspect I guess of the planning cycle. So I really want you to think in today's session will, maybe there's some things that I can actually stop doing because they don't necessarily provide the rich, meaningful information that I need and that I want to collect. And maybe you think about doing things a little bit differently. So as we said before the information collected might be related to a child's progress towards a specific learning outcome, including discrete skills, making sure that's not the only thing you write about. I know that when I read a lot of observations, I come across a lot of people writing something about how a child might be learning to write their name, or that they're cutting scissors, or that they're holding their pencil in one hand or the other. Yes, maybe some relevant information, but there's nothing else there that necessarily tells me a lot about the other learning outcomes. As we said, distance travelled towards achieving an individual learning goal. So have we noticed that a child can you know, that they have different skills from you know the start to the end of term or a period of time that you can select. Have we got information about their interests, their strengths or their needs? This is what we're talking about in relation to children's current knowledge. There should be a rich portfolio in there information about this individual child and I'm not suggesting that means barrels and barrels of written information, but even in some point forms or some post it notes, just some information that tells that child, that family and other educators that you know that child that they're known, valued and cared for, and that they are challenged because you know all the things that they already can do and know and understand. We need to think about how the how we show the way that they were involved in a range of different experiences and this is one of the issues that I personally have when we do group observations because it doesn't necessarily give me information about individuals and what individuals were getting out of that learning. So how was that child involved in that group learning experience, nothing wrong to talk about the group experiences as a whole, but then you might talk about some individual ways and things that children were learning in that. And also there might be that development in an area of developmental domains so physical social all those sorts of things. There is a crossover with the outcomes in relation to developmental domains, but sometimes people might like to call those out separately. Physical obviously catered for in learning outcome number three social is covered off on one and two. You know there's lots of ways at the developmental domains are intersected in there, but a particular thing that I can think of, Kelly is that you know if we're calling out a developmental domain. It might be if we have some concerns over a child not progressing in the way a child. We might expect a child too, so that can give us some good information to flag that maybe they might need some further assessment. Is there anything else that you've got to add on that Kel?
Kelly Birket –No, no, not at all. Just like you talk to again, it's making sure it's not random what your I just want to confirm that it’s so important you need to actually set out knowing what information you're looking for, because otherwise we'll just end up with reams and reams of info that you can't necessarily use, so yes, that would be my point.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, I definitely think that such a such a good point Kelly. You can be very and you should be very targeted. You know sometimes you will be observing a moment that happened that told you a lot of information, but other times you'll be, well, you know what I don't really have a lot of information about this child and I know this is something where a lot of people talk about checklists and whether or not you should have a checklist. But I think they're probably for me about a tool that. Is for teachers really to say what parts do I not have very much information on this child, so they're good for that reason. I think yes.
Kelly Birket –Yes, I've seen some teachers have great spreadsheets with the five outcomes and they just kept a little bit of a tally to make sure that they are collecting information about the whole child and that identifies any areas that they don't have information about the child. OK, so on the next slide, if it's OK, I'll talk about this one.
Jacqui Ward – Sure
Kelly Birket –if you start up the top, right corner in the red and this is just a little bit of a flow chart to support you to critically reflect on. What you're collecting information on and a little bit to try to make your work targeted and manageable. So first thing you need to ask yourself is that that pinky box will the information add to your knowledge of the child. If no, just stop. Follow that arrow down you're wasting your time. If yes, think about will the information inform the teaching and learning cycle. We collect information about children to inform our planning so that we can extend their learning. If it's not going to help you with that, perhaps stop. You might be wasting your time. If yes, think about how you can relate the information to the early years learning framework. If it can't be, I mean you might. It might be related. It's a little bit hard if it's not because our curriculum needs to be based on the early years learning framework. If you can, just check that you not duplicating information that's already been documented, or that's written in another way somewhere else. If it's not, go for it, collect the information if that particular piece of information has already been collected, perhaps just stop you don't need to re-document it, so this flow chart is just to sort of make you stop before you collect some information and just consider how meaningful and significant and relevant the information is.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, and I think, can I just reiterate to on that, can you relate the information to the EYLF? Well, we did talk about children's, you know, skills, knowledge and all those sorts of things, but they sit within that, you know, that's really ultimately the purpose of the information, isn't it? So it's good to have a lot of information around that, but you know, to know you don't necessarily, I guess have to record every single thing that you know about that child, for example, they went on holidays, you know, to Hawaii last week, if it's not necessarily relevant to what they're interested in in your preschool or your program, so you've got to be a little bit discerning, I guess.
Kelly Birket –Yes, and I guess when you are collecting information about the child's interests or you know things like that. If it can be, if that interest or experience they've had can be used as a vehicle for future learning, then that's a really valuable piece of information to collect.
Jacqui Ward – I think yes, you do raise a really good point there. Kelly and I think we I'm not sure if we mentioned it last time, but I'm sure we probably will. That's how a play based program works, or experiential learning works. You know you use the interest as a vehicle to. You know, facilitate learning. So it is important to know about that. Again, and it's important to know what is it about that interest that is intriguing for that child as well.
Kelly Birket –Yes, for sure. OK, well, we'll move on to the next section. This sections about gathering the information.
OK, so we'll start with how this is the tough question, because everybody does want a template that they can fill in the boxes for, but the early is learning framework acknowledges that documentation is important, but it's not prescriptive. This is because each educator is an individual. Each group of children is different. There's no one size fits all approach or template. You'll probably have found yourself that from year to year you actually evolve your modify, you change the way you do things. You might start the year with a particularly great template that's working well for you and as the year goes on, you change it because your needs are changing. Whatever message you do use to gather information, the key thing is that it's manageable as teachers were always sitting really high expectations for ourselves and we have great goals and plans of how we'll document and how many we'll do, and when we'll do them. But if that's not manageable, everyone will fall in a heap. That the prime time for the children's learning is when you're there with them face to face and you need to be your best person then and if you've been up till midnight, documenting or rewriting or annotating you not going to be at giving 100 percent with the children. that's my opinion. So you know the methods you use need to be manageable.
OK, the documentation methods you use also need to be understandable to the children and their families because you need to make the learning visible, so you need to keep it fairly simple. Also, it's not noted here, but the other educators, your colleagues that you're working with everyone needs to be able to access what's written an understand what it means and interpret it. Keep in mind also, children demonstrate their learning in different ways, so, a diverse range of methods to gather information will capture and validate the different pathways that they take towards achieving their outcomes. Again, just like teachers are all individuals and there's no one size fits all with your information gathering for different children, you might use different methods. It's hard to even predict what will go well with some children, but you know, keep in mind that it's not a one size fits all. And finally, just like Jacqui said earlier, the information gathered must make learning visible, so make sure any samples, photos, recordings, anything like that it can't stand on its own, it needs some sort of contextual information, an explanation or annotation because you know what the photo is showing and you know the context, and you know what learning was happening, but you know, four weeks down the track or to a parent looking at that photo or anybody else that information isn't there, so it's really important to annotate. So definitely less photos, but more photos with some sort of contextual information.
Jacqui Ward – Kel I've just got to add something in there because I know that I've always, you know, had the In flying the flag about the fact that I think photos of really undermined gathering information and making it rich and meaningful because I think there's a such a strong focus on gathering the photos and collecting the photos and print the photos and resizing the photos and sharing the photos. And it just becomes more about the photos than actually the learning and one of the things that I've always suggested whenever I've delivered PL is how about we put away the camera for a couple of weeks and just see. If we might write things down in a different way, or if we might try different methods of demonstrating children's learning.
Kelly Birket –So I agree, and I think the saddest thing is to see in a preschool sort of the two to three PM last hour rush, the kids are tired. You know the educates are trying to finalise things. Some kids are being picked up early, and then there's one very stressed educator trying to make the printer work to print out x number of photos to have ready for when the families come in the afternoon and the stress that the educator's put on themselves or the team to do that is just really unfortunate because the afternoon you know the day doesn't come to a nice end. It's a very stressful time and then and then often the educator will get be heartbroken because the families will be in a rush and they won't necessarily take the time to look at the photos. So that's something else.
Jacqui Ward – That’s right, we really got to rationalise our time as you said and think about it. Is it manageable? And the other thing is to that the other thing that I think has been an undermining of the quality of rich and meaningful information provided is this idea that we need to present that end of day experience or label, or journal or whatever you want to call it every single day. Actually, there's no requirement for you to do that, and if that's not working for you, and if it is stressful and if it is taking up a lot of time, you could think about doing something different. So one of the things that is another, you know flag that I fly because I feel like it's also been undermining the quality of rich and meaningful information that we provide. Is the idea of presenting information in that daily kind of space at the end of the day that there's this pressure that we need to provide photos and evidence of our day families. There isn't actually any requirement for that and if you finding that unmanageable or that you're not really presenting really good information, then maybe think about stop doing that or thinking about a different way to do it again. I personally as a parent four children never really read any of the day books. I know that's a bit of a bad thing to admit, but again, you know the things that were more meaningful and relevant to me were those you know, collections of information about my children's learning overtime, I found that to be a bit more valuable, so again a great way to involve your families to find out actually, do they. Do they want need that or and or would they like something else you know?
Kelly Birket –Definitely asking families is really is really important because, yes, you don't want to be spending a lot of time on something that isn't accessed, or is it? Is it more people actually want? It's not the information they want, so yes, I definitely agree there.
OK, so the next slide, is purposely a little bit vague because we've said one size does not fit all so you know we're not going to be overly prescriptive about the different methods that you use to collect information. I mean, of course you document an observation. How you do that is what works for you. For some people it's in the post it and then at the end of the week it's put in the child's file or at the end of the day it's put in a particular area of the preschool. Some people make their observations on a little template, but again, whatever works for you is good and what's more important is not how or what it's written on it's what you do with it. Some people get more and more as well as taking photos. They're taking little video snaps or audio recordings that could be quite valuable. Recording of a child talking about what they're doing is they're doing it gives you some really good information. As we talked about before, collecting and then annotating a sample. Also, think about asking the child his or her view and their perspective on their learning. They'll give you some insights that you might not have thought of, don't forget, never dismiss the value of talking to a family and gathering information from them. Also, your team, particularly if you're working in a double preschool and as for educators. Everybody is in a different part of the preschool. Everybody seeing different things, getting a little bit of collaboration and just using the expertise within your team is really good idea. And also if you've got therapists working in your preschool, if you've got a OT or a speech therapist coming in, taking the time to ask them about their interpretation of the child's learning will add to your picture of the child. OK, so now will move on to the next section.
Jacqui Ward – This is a section on analysing the learning so hopefully you've gathered or gleaned some really good information as to what sort of type of information you need to gather what sort of observations, you need to gather how you're going to do that and the reason why it's important, now we're going to talk about the important part of it and again this is what might be the annotation to the sample or the photo or the recording because it's your version of the learning that you think is occurring so the analysis of learning, which is really important.
So back to our lovely planning cycle and again you can see this is the little pink section there that we're talking about. And again we talked about promoting learning and development at each stage of the assessment and planning cycle relies on each of the other stages to be given equal consideration, and I think this part of the cycle is really important in terms of that interpreting an assessing the information you collected about the child, because it will determine what and how they're learning, and it will determine where you go to next. So it's an absolutely crucial stage for the future direction, so the next step of the planning cycle, if you've skipped this step and you don't necessarily have an analysis in there, you don't necessarily you might be just providing more of the same experience because you haven't drawn out any other things that are important to inform that planning. Again, we talked about the fact that it's the cycles ongoing, it's a holistic process, and that analysis might be blended up into the observation that you're doing, so you don't necessarily need to keep them separate. But if you think that's a great way for you to learn as to how to provide some rich and meaningful information, then feel free to separate them. There aren't any rules about this, and again, it's about developing your skills and developing your craft and developing your professional knowledge and skills to be able to implement the planning cycle. I will also point out at this point in time to that the analysis of learning is really underpinned by the things that we know so we talked in the first part about the theoretical knowledge and understandings, we talked about the knowledge and understanding of the earliest learning framework. These are all important things that you need to have a good firm understanding of before you dive into the analysis or it will give you the tools if you like to understand how to do the analysis of learning. And one of the things that is my pet peeve also is you know to see the links to. I think very sometimes extraneous links to theorists in this analysis part or the links, to Ello 4.1 or something, or the link to the whole outcome. Or, you know, an observation that's of a moment in time yet it links to, you know, five of the learning outcomes. You know all five of the learning outcomes, so that's something to have a think about when you analyse the learning, you'll be able to really draw out which bits of the framework are relevant in this situation.
Kelly Birket –I mean and there's no, you know, one piece of learning that would show one of the learning outcomes has been achieved because it's just not possible. You know that their lifelong outcomes, so you quoting the outcome in its entirety, is not generally that helpful. Using the little points of evidence in the tables which we'll look at in a minute in the document in the ELYF document is helpful, or it actually calling out a specific learning, not the overall outcome is more helpful for your planning and for the families as well.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, it's just about to say exactly that. Kelly, that I think this is where I you know I hear from a lot of different families who might have a range of different backgrounds and they I think that they can be a bit perplexed by the fact that we write some information up that sort of says it links to these things, but they can't see the link between my child climbing on that balance bean and how does it link to these things, because this is the bit that's important. The analysis of learning is missing. Yes, it's a crucial breach. I think to making that learning visible.
Kelly Birket –Yes, yes, and calling out skills like sharing the child you know, showing their able to share, or you're focusing on that as a learning goal is more helpful than giving an outcome. But I mean, as educators as professional as you know what skills fit into which, in which concepts fit into which outcomes. Just be very conscious that they're very big, broad outcomes.
OK, so I'll move on to the next slide.
Jacqui Ward – OK, we probably covered off on a little bit of that, haven't we? When we were talking about our little chat then so,
Kelly Birket –We did
Jacqui Ward – We analyse collected information to make that subjective judgment about what the information is telling us about the child and their learning, and I think the subjective word is really important there because I think you know, as I said before, we learn how to write some observations and some interpretations, and you know, from my professional training, I was taught to be quite objective and to be as objective as possible, whereas it's always going to be subjective and I guess this is about giving you permission to say. You know you put you put it out there because you are thinking that in this analysis that you're making the judgment about what you think that child is learning and if you've got some rich and meaningful information that tells you that, then that will help to support that judgment. For example, there's a few children might be playing in the sand pit and they're filling containers. One child might be learning how to self soothe and regulate their emotions, and they're doing it for more of a sensory experience. And they might be enjoying the, you know, the visual of the grains of sand, falling and all sorts of different things. Another child might be exploring some, you know, mass concepts of volume and capacity and estimating and hypothesising whether or not these it'll take two or three containers to fill this bucket or whatnot. So we don't necessarily know unless we've sort of thought about analysing the information. And again, the more information the rich and meaningful information we've got, that first stage, the observing and gathering information. The more helpful it will be at this particular point in time. Analysis helps educators in partnership with families and children and other professionals to plan effectively. As I mentioned before, communicate about their progress, clarify what might be hindering progress. Again, you know you can make some comment in this analysis of whether or not you think this is typical behaviour for this child, or whether it's out of the ordinary, or whether or not there's been a great level of progress in a particular area or whether or not there's been some regression. All of those sorts of things. And as we said before, identifying children needing additional support. That's where we can say in the analysis you know that that this child isn't progressing typically if we think about developmental domains or all of those sorts of things.
Kelly Birket –Definitely and this next slide sort of. does show how intertwined these two stages are. This critical reflection of the analysis of learning is similar to the flow chart we had in the first stage. This action is focusing on just again, if not already asking yourself is the information meaningful or helpful and what it could be used for and if it should actually be written or recorded? Or do you stop? Do you just leave it as a conversation or in your memory? The reason I've just made this point is because often the more experience an educator is, the more blurred the line between these stages becomes to the point that experienced educators are making the assessment, collecting the information and already at the same time there analysing it in their head or as they document the observation, they're adding the analysis at the same time, and then also moving already into thinking about the next step.
Jacqui Ward – For sure, and it's a really good. It's a good reason why we've grouped these two parts of the planning cycle in the one session today because they are so integrated. Yes, because you would automatically. I think, particularly if you're looking at, we're going to look at the EYLF examples of what might be observed. It's kind of automatically interpreting the learning that links to that sort of outcome at the same time, so.
Kelly Birket –Yes. I think educators need to know what is which part of the documentation is the observation and which is the analysis because that's really important to be able to differentiate between what was saying and what it actually means. But yes, doing them all in one is definitely the way most people end up working.
Jacqui Ward – And I think too one of the problems here is, this is why I think it's important to do this critical reflection is. If you can't analyse the learning and you can't show some links to a range of different outcomes. What? Why is that? As in, you know is the information that I collected in the first place the problem and I kind of think that's often the case. We haven't collected enough information to start with, so we're trying to build a 20 story building on some sand foundations and it keeps crumbling. We can't really analyse the learning and we can't plan for it because we didn't get enough good information to start with.
Kelly Birket –Yes, I absolutely agree with that Jacqui, it is all gets back to what you're actually collecting.
Jacqui Ward – OK, what in terms of analysing for learning? So the analysis of learning helps us make sense of what was seen or heard. Again, that interpretation of the learning was the child you know, engaging with an exploration of mass concepts, or were they doing it as a soothing experience? Or were they developing that connection with the land or you know, with natural materials, all of those sorts of things, so it helps us to sort of point the compass in the right direction. It interprets or questions information collected in order to determine what it's telling us about the child in their learning. So coming back to what I said before about having you know some summative assessments or some collections of things. This helps us with our analysis of learning. If we've seen this child do the same thing in multiple different situations or indifferent learning experiences, or throughout different times of the day of the week. It helps us to interpret that information, and therefore that leads us to you know, perhaps ask a question. Why is this child repeating this particular experience? What are they trying to get out of it? It might be focused in on one piece of information. As we said, sometimes the particular moment in time can be that epiphany that can give you that information or a child can demonstrate a whole range of skills and understandings that you haven't seen them do before, so sometimes it will be one piece of information. Other times it'll be a collection of information. As I said, overtime or over, you know, a range of different experiences that the child will demonstrate what they're interested to learn more about and the direction of where they're taking their learning, what skills there practicing, what they're keen to find out more about. And as we said before, it makes the learning visible. When we unpack it, I think of an example years and years and years ago of, you know. A little 3 year old in my class that started drawing some patterns on a picture that she been drawing. She was really interested in drawing pictures, but this is the first time I've ever seen any symbols. They looks like dashes and triangles and I remember showing her mum and saying You know, how exciting is this? Look at this look at what you know the child has drawn and I didn't add in the analysis of learning for the parents so they kind of were like it's a nice picture. You know because I was obviously what I was. what I didn't say to her was this is your child and she is learning about what patterns and symbols mean, and she's writing them on there and I wrote the little quote of what she'd said there, but that was her way of writing at that point in time. That was her early writing. So again, if we make the learning visible for families and show them what that means, it helps them to understand how learning happens in those early years and how learning happens through play. And again makes a formative or summative assessment of children's learning and also of the effectiveness, I guess of our teaching, particularly if we think about the planning cycle could be repeated or an ongoing kind of spiral. The observation could be tied into the evaluation at the end, and so our analysis is there for a really ideal place to say whether or not what we provided before was being effective in terms of our teaching.
Kelly Birket –And what you said about the family. Also, providing the analysis is a way of advocating for the importance of early childhood education, because sometimes the significance of what the child has done is not apparent. So by calling it out it definitely, you know, helps the family to actually see that you know what the child is doing is really quite significant.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, and it kind of reiterates what I said in part one too, Kelly where I said I'm not a big fan of sort of linking to a theorist when we write this analysis again. Maybe you do. But is it in a way that presents the information that is making the learning visible? Or are we just doing it to prove that we're super clever? Or you know that we know the links ourselves? For me, the place for analysis of linking our work to theorists happens, probably in other spaces, but again, that's just my opinion. That's not a rule, I just think it's really important that we sort of. Again, I use the word interpret because I think of it being like an interpreter. You know, if you are interpreting something for a person who spoke another language while we are the early childhood experts in, it's our job to interpret what that learning means and how we can present the information. I guess in Layman's terms, that are meaningful, to families.
Kelly Birket –Yes, absolutely it is. It is all about that. Yes, presenting the information in a way that's understandable to everybody else. So we'll move on to the actual the How, pardon me wrong slide. A little bit more information about what the analysis is.
Jacqui Ward – So when the analysis of information is collected, the child's learning is being assessed. So that's what we're doing when we're analysing the learning, we're assessing the learning. The primary purpose, of that assessment is to support ongoing learning or future learning. Recognising that children learn at different rates and demonstrate their learning in different ways. As we've mentioned a few times, so assessment methods, strategies, and tools should enable children of all cultural and language backgrounds and a range of capabilities to demonstrate competence. I think this is a really, really important part where, you know we need to think about the planning cycle we focused in on lot on the early years learning framework outcomes, but there's actually lots and lots of opportunity to link in here and think about when you're analysing the learning as to whether or not you are living your EYLF principles and living the EYLF practices. For example, you know the high expectations and equity, the respect for diversity. The culturally competent practice all of those sorts of things are really important here. Recognising the cultural limitations, if we present information in a certain way that doesn't necessarily suit that particular child in their family and their identity, so I think it's really important that this is part of that analysis that you thinking about.
Kelly Birket –OK, and so here's the how, how you actually go about doing your analysis. But when you doing your analysis as an educator, your drawing on your professional knowledge and experience and you doing that subconsciously, you not actually even aware that that's what you're doing. You're using your professional judgment. You're also applying your understandings of learning an including the theoretical perspectives that explain how children learn. So Jacqui just touched on that a little bit. Now you refer to the ELYF learning outcomes. You refer to possibly information about developmental milestones. You might be using your knowledge of early childhood development as well. Holistically and also you refer to previously collected information about the child. So there's a lot of different things coming into play when you're analysing a piece of information. But essentially at the end of the day, you're using your professional judgment and what particular resource or perspective you draw on will depend on the situation. I mentioned this earlier about gathering information to gain different perspectives and insights. You talk to your colleagues. You talk to the child's family, other professionals, and you also ask the child themselves for their interpretation.
Jacqui Ward – Can I just say, then? I think that last point there about you know, different perspectives to is a really important part in the importance of critically reflecting or the way throughout the cycle as well. Which kind of reiterates what I said in the slide before you know, like are you being culturally inclusive? And are you thinking about children and including children with a range of abilities you know and disabilities and all those sorts of things?
Kelly Birket –So, this slide. Here you can say what? When you were analysing, you refer to the ELYF learning outcomes. So here you'll recognise this table from early years learning framework. So what you need to be doing is looking to the left column there to the points of evidence. So when we were saying before, you can't look at, you know, don't, you're not analysing in terms of an entire outcome. It's smaller discrete skills, such as what's in there left. Left column here the five learning outcomes are aspirational and their long term aims, so they're to broad to use when you analyse learning. It's these smaller skills in these tables in the document that will help you move the children forward. Did you want to make any comment on that Jacqui?
Jacqui Ward – Well, I just think this is a good one to sort of also reiterate that these outcomes have kind of got those developmental domains embedded within them. And that there's also links to other things, like munch and move and fundamental movement skills. If you notice that point there when you know this particular outcome is evident when children engage in increasingly complex sensory motor skills and movement patterns, and also that combined gross and fine motor movement and balance to achieve increasingly complex patterns of activity, including dance, creative movement, and drama so that's a really good example of when we're practising our fundamental movement skills that we are developing those skills and that's how we could interpret that. You know, like that child is progressing and then we can. Also, I think talk about how they are how that links into that sort of the analysis could include how that links into supporting future learning and growth as well. For example, if I know how to run well and I have developed the skill of the fundamental movement skill of running, then I'm now more capable to participate in a range of games, both organised and social games. When I go to primary school and beyond, because I know that you know, I have good fundamental techniques of running for example.
Kelly Birket –Yes, yes, definitely. And the other thing it's important that these points are that they themselves are not a checklist. You observe the child and you analyse, and then you come to this document and you look for the relevant point. You don't start at the top and work your way down. But that would be too stressful, and that's not how learning happens. And the other thing to keep in mind is you can actually the points of evidence like what you will see to know that the child is progressing towards his outcome you can actually add your own comments, your own indicators. You actually word it yourself. You worded in a way that is understandable to the family and your team is perfectly okay to add your own indicators that you know that they're addressing this outcome but you know. Say like the example Jacqui gave of the fundamental movement skills, you might add some more detail in there. You might add, you know that the child is learning is able to skip or that they can, you know, hop on both legs. Anything you can do that that's OK because that's relevant for your context.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, definitely. And again, for me I think it's about sort of making that comment. There's nothing wrong with also then calling out that this contributes to children having that strong sense of well being so rather than writing it as an outcome, we can just write it as a sentence. You know that when we you know when you know how to look after your own health and physical well being, that's an important part of you being strong, healthy, capable person throughout life. So you know, thinking about, I guess making in this analysis part, just making it a little bit more meaningful and relevant I guess and really, as I said before, interpreting the learning
Kelly Birket –And there's some other documents as well. So obviously ELYF is. Your primary document you source document, but if you need a little bit more information, there is the developmental milestones there based on the elf and the national quality standard. So there's a copy of that document in the channel for this course. So that's in communities of practice. Yes, so again, not a not a prescriptive checklist, but particularly a child who you have concerns about the developmental milestones might give you a little bit of information about what's the next step, or maybe what you should be seeing in that child. Well, so for those children who need a little bit of extension, I will probably already have some of your pre-schoolers who are working at the level of the literacy and numeracy progressions there already working at an early stage, one level in literacy and numeracy, so you might want to look to that document to see what the next step might be for them and what the progression of learning is. The third dot point, the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guide. So it's based on the early years learning framework, but there's a lot of sort of Queensland specific information in there, but what I have found quite are useful is the continua of learning and development. I like it just because it shows that if this is what the child's doing now, this is what they're showing you. This is the next thing you know, this is the extension. This is where you can go to next for the child, but you would have to pick through that document to find which parts are helpful for you. The Northern Territory preschool curriculum again is based on ELYF , and it's got throughout it little tables called phases of learning and it actually it has. Again, it's exactly it's similar to the Queensland one in that it shows you well if this is what the child's doing. This is a step before, this is a step after so that if you need to push a child on when you were doing your analysis. If you're thinking about what's the next step, it gives you a little bit of information.
OK, so that's something that section the analysis of learning did you want to add anything there? Jacqui before we go on?
Jacqui Ward – No, I think that's great. We've done lot's chatting along the way.
Kelly Birket – So keep in mind those four documents, the resource documents, the early years learning framework, they're not the progressions. The other three are all based on the early years learning framework, so it's okay to use them but always start with the early years learning framework.
OK, so in this section we're going to sort of bring. The whole session together a little bit of a conclusion. Some educators also use the, so what question in this model here where to organise their information and analysis they use these titles. So what? What was the learning that they saw? And So what? Why is that meaningful or significant for this child? So this this gets a little back to what we were talking about before about you know, is it meaningful and relevant? And then educators use the question of now what? To start thinking about the next step for this child. So we're moving a little bit into the planning stage, just as you're analysing thinking OK, this is what it's showing me and what can we do next for this child? What's the little nudge? What do they need to know now? What skills are understandings? Do they need? And how will I teach these things? Just based on your own practice. Just think about what you do at these two stages of the cycle. Is the learning visible in the information you collect? And we've talked a lot about meaningful meaningfulness of information. Are you collecting rich, meaningful and relevant information? So after you've completed your observations or gathered information, do you analyse it and so that means you know, do you interpret it? Do you ask yourself what it's telling you about the child? What they can do, and how they're learning? And when you collect the information is it? Is it a focus on quality or is it more on quantity and that that's the big danger in setting yourself? Or if a school sets a prescribed number of pieces of documentation that. they end up just being done to satisfy a quota and that it's not quality and finally ask yourself, do you have information about each child across all five of the learning outcomes?
Jacqui Ward – And I guess you could just add in there Kelly that we're not talking about. As you mentioned before, it's not about quantity, so you don't have to have a huge amount of information. It could be a couple of dot points, but you've got some evidence that you show you know something about that child in relation to all of the outcomes. And that those key points of evidence that we showed in the EYLF table.
Kelly :Absolutely and it's also about this is going a little bit further on, but it's about when somebody is looking at your planning, being able to show that what you've planned for is not random or it's not based on what equipment you have available. There's actually some these two prior stages have already have gone into the planning. There is actually some sort of observation or analysis which has resulted in something being planned for. There’s a purpose. There's a why to the planning
Jacqui Ward – And I think that draws us to a really good point there. Kelly, that it's, it's also about making sure the planning cycle is visible so you know this came from somewhere and this is the reason why we do this now. So again, you might not necessarily write that down on your forward planning, which we're going to cover in the next section, but you can certainly speak to, you know what has informed this particular plan or what we're doing next. You know that you have covered off on all of those stages of the planning cycle and you can speak to them.
Kelly Birket –Yes, so important. OK so if you want to go a little bit, sort of review some of this content, there's two readings that are in the folder in teams they're not. They're not deep, deep readings. They summarise some of the points that we've made. Definitely both readings focus on what we just talked about. The quality over quantity, but they're quite good readings. So if you've got time, it'll be great to go and have a little look at them. And they're both very current as well.
OK and just like at the end of the previous session we did. If you could take some time now to reflect on the content of this recording and the implications for gathering information and analysing learning in your preschool. So you just had a little think before and there's a few questions you processes and practices. What do you need to maintain? And is there anything you need to change, now that you viewed this recording? Are there some changes you want to make? Or are there some of your practices that are actually hitting the spot an you really happy with how it's going and they're meaningful and effective? And then finally, if you have taken up the challenge to work on a programming in planning procedure, have a look at the next section a gathering information about learning and analysing learning sections. There's some prompts there, a little bit of a scaffold, some questions and it relates directly to the content in this this recording, and you will have the information now that you've completed this recording to have to know what to write in there or some ideas. That brings us to the end of this recording. Thanks for joining us and again thank you, yes for taking the time to be here. Keep an eye out the third part of this five part series we'll focus on planning. As always, if you have any queries, don't hesitate to contact us. There's the early learning email address there. Someone will get back to you and thank you Jacqui for joining me today and for all your knowledge and experience and sharing it today.
Jacqui Ward – Thank you. Kelly was great to have a good chat
Kelly Birket –Thank you. OK alright bye bye.
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