Evidence Gathering in EarlyWorks
Sometimes as educators, we can become so intent on evidencing the planning cycle for every child in our care, that it all becomes a bit overwhelming. We might feel like every experience needs to be formally observed, and outcomes ticked and commented upon, and then reflected upon, and then a next experience planned to build on the learning observed… And, we may feel as though every observation needs to include photos of every child, because families love photos… And so the stress levels build as we feel like precious time is being taken away from the children… You get the picture.
Well, the good news is, that nowhere in the material I have read from ACECQA (and I have read a lot!) does it say that every single experience needs to be formally observed, and also nowhere does it say that every single observation needs to be followed with a next experience. However, the National Quality Standard does say ‘The educational program enhances each child’s learning and development’ (1.1). And, ‘Educators facilitate and extend each child’s learning and development’ (1.2). And, ‘Educators and coordinators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child’ (1.3).
So creating a program that’s informed by rich sources of evidence from all stakeholders (families, children, educators and our community) is what counts. In other words, we need to be able to justify why we are doing what we are doing by creating a curriculum that takes into account each child’s learning and development. We do this by evidence gathering, reflecting on evidence, using our professional judgement, and listening to all stakeholders as we create the program (next experiences).
Using EarlyWorks, educators can be gathering evidence of learning and development from multiple sources to inform the planning cycle and the program. So, one single observation’s narrative might include parent comments, educator comments, the voice of the child, daily communication comments, photos, or even excerpts from educators’ reflections of pedagogy. Then using all of this rich evidence that has been collected in EarlyWorks, experiences can be planned that are truly child centred (1.1.2), intentional (1.2.1) and responsive (1.2.2). And, most importantly, we are generating a planning cycle.