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  • Learning Stories/ Portfolios

    Here is a question for you all... I have been in discussion with others in both CCC''s & stand alone preschools. I have also attended a 'Porfolio' P.D at Gowie.

    The question I pose is: When using learning stories for documentation, for individual portfolios, how MANY (nothing about quality) should each child have?

    I have been told: It doesn't matter, as long there is a good 'picture' of the child. I have also told from a centre that is about to go through accreditation that the dept. needs to see one a month for children attending less 3 days per week and more for the children attending more.

    I did ponder on this one refusing to believe this would be asked of educators and EC professionals- as for many (including myself) this would just be too much and consume them with paperwork, spending less time with children and more time worrying.

    Is there anyone who knows what is acceptable or better seen as "high equality" when hit with accreditation?

  • #2
    We try to do one learning story a month per child, then the follow up, so most children will end up with two ob's per month, some do have more. We find the children that are in for 5 days are the hardest to ob. Our head office has always told us that each child is to have 2 observations a month, to be of high quality for accreditation.


    • #3
      Thanks Lauren

      this is a really imporant questions and the answer is not an equation. That being said many settings have attempted to make a ruling - it helps to have somewhere to hang your hat.

      So what do I think - I think you have to decide through a process of critical reflection what is right for you and your team while keeping in mind that we have a responsibility to account for what children can do, know and understand (EYLF). If you portfolio entries (even if you have four hundred of them) do not do that then they are useless. Its about learning not just presence at an experience.

      I think we need a range of recordings about children's learning - that indeed build a picture of children.. but I would add children's learning. Otherwise what is tha piont - that is what we are hear for!!

      The new NQS system will, I hope, be looking for this rather than equations.

      What do you think?



      • #4
        I completely agree. I hope that is the case with the new system and they are looking for quality and not quantity. As an educator, using the EYLF I see this true 'picture' of the child and documentation of they're learning journey to be the most important, and what I personal aim for, (and I am very lucky at my place of work that each teacher is allowed to have their own program style- it is also beneficial as we learn from one another). It is interesting that some centres and kindergartens are placing numbers on this. Especially if this is not the issue for NQS.


        • #5
          I like Catherine's comment
          It's about the learning not just presence at an experience
          All too often I see portfolios that are full to overflowing with generic group based observations/photos which are copied and provided for each child observed in the photograph.

          I agree it is about the quality not quantity of observations taken....


          • #6
            Interesting isn't it when we are in a position of having to quantify that which is not easily counted. I agree wihte centiments and perhpas we will need to be articulate about the purpose and potential of observation and assessement in early childhood. I fear once again that learning stories are appearing to be the 'standard' way to account for children's learning. They are just one way and yes they can be very time consuming for the benefit gained - i.e knowledge about children's learning. Let's not forget that observation and assessment of and for children's learning can be shown by insightful jottings, reflective evaluations, shared conversations and quick notes in a daily diary. These can be just as important and provide a broader view of the child than a single learning story. My hunch about the NQS is that what will be required is for educators to demonstrate their understanding of the learning taking place and how this is influencing their curriculum decisions for children's future learning. While I see this as complex work, many educators have been doing this well for a very long time. Let's build on what we already know and be advocates in this time of change for what we understanding to be in children's best interests.


            • #7
              Totally agree with you Sandra - I think we need to demonstrate that we fully understand how children learn, what they know and how they got there. We also have to know the child beyond the walls of the setting, in the context of their family, their community and beyond that. Learning stories won't capture all of that. We need to have a mix. We also don't have to throw everything we do now out the window and start again - what we have to do I think, is reflect on what we do now in the context of what the EYLF talks about and together, in our teams and with our families, ask what else do we need to capture and do. And also can we do it smarter - we dont want people writing till midnight or taking work home .


              • #8
                Learning stories

                I agree about the quality of these learning stories, my centre requires five obs/learning stories per month per child which is ridiculous, I am in the pre prep room with 47 children, to manage that amount I have to churn out rubbish which has no reflection of the child's learning journey at all. We haven't really got going down the EYLF road yet so am going to strongly put my point of view across when we have the next staff meeting but it has been reassuring to read your comments as I knew this amount could not be right never mind practical.
                Thank you also for this forum, it is really interesting to see the EYLF put into action. I am currently trying to design a programming format that works for my room,to be fair to my centre they allow me the freedom to experiment with what I feel will work so it is quite exciting as well as a huge responsibility.


                • #9
                  I work in a preschool and childcare setting. Portfolios are completed on a termly basis. Staff record bservations through anecdotal notes, photos and pieces of 'work'. A learning story is completed if a 'significant development' occurs. Parents receive the photos with notes based on the goals and strategies developed. Parents share the portfolio at home and complete a feedback sheet hightlight their child's interests and developments at home. Our service operates two days a week and many children attend one or both days. Trying things this way has enabled us to complete portfolios even through times of staff turn over and most importantly keep it mangeable and flexible.


                  • #10
                    thank you

                    Thanks for that info,Hedy.I found that very helpful. I had an interesting moment this morning watching a child in my class complete a puzzle and watching him I felt that this was what I should be recording and now reading your post I feel that this is what EYLF is all about so I feel happier knowing I am on the right lines now. Just need to get my weekly programme sorted now and some kind of system organised.....
                    Last edited by babs; 15-02-2011, 11:44 PM. Reason: spellings


                    • #11
                      hey all one of the big topics at a recent team meeting was around the portfolio's and alot came out of this on peoples knowledge and understanding of what can be a observation or what to record this is a grey area in the team here at my work place sometimes the educators are only thinking big planed stuff not small reachable goals its great to see we are discussing this and starting to get an idea of ways to present in our own contexts.


                      • #12
                        We are required to do at least 2 learning stories per day for the room. Each child is then required to have at least 2 stories in their portfolio each month. I am in the babies room, with only 15 babies in total. I have found that 2 per month is very achievable, particularly if there are any group activities.


                        • #13
                          Babs....47 children in the one room? Have I read this incorrectly?
                          I got my calculator out...47 children X 5 LSs per month =235 LSs per month. 235 LSs X 12 months of the year= 2820 LSs for one room and how many educators are involved in doing this?
                          Hope you had or have success in having your say at the staff meeting....and keep us posted.


                          • #14
                            Hello again

                            re the learning story and portfolio approach - I was asked the other day if we have to do them - if they are now the prescribed way!! lets be clear they are not the only way they are a way not THE way.

                            Some of us might need to stop using them if they have become traps and no longer a helpful tool.

                            If they are useful and a powerful tool to promote learning etc then by all mean keep going.



                            • #15
                              Agreed. I've now decided in my setting that I will only do learning stories if they are meaningful. (note the full stop) I will note however, the children that I seem to be getting less of and therefore, as an educator it's my job to look deeper. Why? What am I missing? Why am I missing this child's learning? And pay particular attention to this, the answers and questions. Unless the new accreditation system can argue otherwise.