Series Three: Assessment & Planning Cycle
Part two: Gathering Information
Standard 1.3 – Educators and coordinators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child.
Part two in our series on the assessment & planning cycle, will focus on the first step in the cycle; the gathering of information.
When we gather information as part of the planning cycle we are:
- Capturing information to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of children’s participation in the service program
- Collecting information about children including their interests, abilities, strengths, cultural background etc.
As we deconstruct this part of the planning cycle, we will focus on 3 Key areas.
In series one of our weekly pedagogical provocations, we delved into Service Philosophies. We learnt that a service philosophy underpins our decision-making, guides our pedagogical practice & ensures the service has a shared understanding of centre goals.
Element 7.1.1 – a statement of philosophy guides all aspects of the services’ operations.
As we look at our planning cycle, we must refer back to our philosophy
- When collecting information to inform your program do you consider your philosophy and what your service deems important? For instance, if your Service has a strong focus on sustainability is this incorporated into your cycle of planning and in-turn your educational program?
- How does your service philosophy guide pedagogy and educational program decisions?
The gathering of information about children and their interests, hobbies, etc can be a collaborative effort. Think about your relationships with key stakeholders and how you can collaborate with each other to ensure quality outcomes for children.
- Do you collaborate with families on enrolment and during the orientation process to gather information on their children that can support your programming?
- Do you continue to collaborate with families during their child’s enrolment, as their interests, hobbies, strengths change and evolve?
- Does your service and school collaborate on children’s involvement in the program?
Examples may include:
- combining orientation evenings,
- all about my child documents to be shared between services,
- family authorisations sought to allow the sharing of information between the educators and classroom teachers
- joint fundraising events
- exploring new initiatives together e.g., risky play areas
Aren’t we lucky in OSHC to be working with children who are in the middle childhood age bracket? We are able to collaborate and gain insights from children so readily that a child centred program should be a piece of cake… right?
In order to plan, prepare and implement a quality program for children we need to know them. We need to have built strong, trusting, reciprocal relationships or our programs won’t be relevant.
Children are the centre of our programs, so we need to take a two-pronged approach to their involvement. The first being relationships and the second, collaboration.
- When new Educators start at your Service, what supports do you have in place to ensure they are able to build strong relationships with the children? How are new Educators guided as to how relationships are built within your Service?
- Are children aware of the program and their ability to have input into service decisions? E.g. suggestion box, program meetings, brainstorming, discussions with educators, visual cues to remind children to make suggestions.
- How do you ensure that each child at the Service is given the opportunity to contribute? Does every child at your service have a strong, trusting relationship with an educator? Do they feel comfortable letting that educator know what they need and/or want in the service program?
“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
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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
Previous series provocations
Series one: Philosophy
Part one: Is your Philosophy current?
Part two: Children’s involvement
Part three: Does your philosophy advocate for children’s rights?
Part four: Does your service practices reflect your philosophy?