Welcome to a brand new series of the weekly pedagogical provocations. In series 3 we will be focusing on the assessment & planning cycle.
Why should I implement the planning cycle?
In short, the children! Our focus is fundamentally to ensure children are stimulated, engaged, safe & secure in our OSHC environments. Programs heavily impact on a child’s time and enjoyment at the OSHC service. Programs are also a huge part of our practice as educators.
To ensure we are offering stimulating and engaging programs we need to ensure our programs are relevant. To ensure relevance we need to, gather information through rich conversations with children and through observation of their play. Analyse this information and create holistic programs.
An introduction to the cycle
Quality Area One of the National Quality Framework focuses on three overarching concepts.
Firstly, the program; the implementation of an educational program that supports children’s learning and wellbeing.
Secondly, practice; educators’ facilitations and implementation of the program.
And third, assessment & planning; the ongoing cycle of planning and evaluating to ensure each child can grow and succeed within the Service.
In series 3 of our weekly pedagogical provocations, we will be focusing on the assessment & planning cycle and then following in series 4 we will look at programming and educational practice.
Series 3: The Assessment & Planning Cycle will be a six-part series focusing on each part of the cycle, practical implementation ideas & of course plenty of critical reflection.
But firstly, let’s go back to the start! What actually is an educational program?
What actually is an educational program?
Well, when we refer to an educational program it is important that we consider its holistic nature. My Time Our Place, the Learning framework for School Aged Children defines it as,
‘all the interactions, experiences, activities, routines and events, planned and unplanned, that occur in an environment designed to foster children’s wellbeing, development and learning’.
The My Time Our Place Learning Framework supports programming as an ongoing cycle. Educators must use their expertise, understanding of individual children and their families, the Service Philosophy and Service context, as well as their collaborative skills to inform the program and ongoing planning.
What does the planning cycle look like?
As element 1.3.1 outlines; Each child’s learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of an ongoing cycle of observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection.
Each week as part of this series we will focus on a different element of the planning cycle.
1. Gathering information
2. Analysing learning
3. Planning the program
4. Implementing the program
5. Reflecting & evaluating
What does this mean for OSHC?
There will be many of you thinking how can I show documentation for each child’s ongoing learning and development when:
- Some children only come 1 hour a week before school
- I am licensed for over 200 children a session
- We don’t have the budget for ensuring educators have off the floor time for recording this information
The requirements for OSHC are slightly different.
Regulation 74 outlines that for School aged children, documentation must include evaluations of the child’s wellbeing, development and learning whilst taking into consideration:
- The period of time that the child is being educated and care
- How the documentation will be used by the educators
- The documentation is prepared in a way that is readily understandable by educators at the service & the parents of the child.
Regulation 274A (this applies only to Services in NSW, QLD & NT) outlines that Services must also provide evidence about the development of the program is documented.
“The planning cycle is often a source of concern for educators, who misinterpret it as a focus on paperwork and recording data rather than spending time with children… Taking time to explore the assessment & planning cycle with educators will help them understand the benefits of the process and help alleviate undue stress.”
The Educational Leader Resource, Part one: The role of an educational leader: Expectations & requirements, P.40
So, before we delve into each step of the planning and assessment cycle, we should start reflecting on your current program. This will be a great way to show growth when you compare your programs and planning cycles at the end of the 6-part series.
Sources & further resources:
Documentation and the cycle of planning in outside school hours care – YOUTUBE – ACECQA A discussion with Dr Jennifer Cartmel and Professor Jenny Sumsion