Definite planned “follow-ons” – What a load of rubbish!
I was talking to an experienced director about pedagogy the other week and we spoke about the importance of the relationship in teaching children, following their lead and the opportunities for intentional teaching within the meaningful context of the children’s engagement.
We spoke at length discussing how we documented the significant learning each day within the environment with reference to how we enacted the principles and practices of the EYLF throughout the text of the reflection.
Our documentation is simple and easy to understand. It is an assessment for/of children’s learning, ‘what they know, can do or understand’ (EYLF). We use EYLF terminology , describe where it is initiated, the child’s conversation, the educators’ actions and the learning that occurred followed by the evaluation using learning outcomes and a brief analysis of why the educator assessed the child as so……then the director starting talking about “what’s next”? This was our discussion point because a consultant and assessor said that there had to be a definite planned ‘follow on,’ a predictable planned experience/resource and if the children did not engage in it she should evaluate it and plan again. Oh dear … what a waste of time and dated advice!
As learning ‘is not linear or predictable’(NQS) it is not about a definite specific resource or experience that the educator MUST extend upon. Yes, sometimes we will be further extending the learning planned in consultation with children and families with future planned possibilities such as ongoing projects, an excursion or an experience that the children may have planned with their educator.
However, don’t think just because the old style developmental programming had to have a follow-up experience that was linked, evaluated and a further experience planned this is the case with EYLF. Remember that developmentally appropriate program was based on development/milestones and our focus was to assist the child to the next skill because we thought development followed a predictable path. With EYLF children progress toward learning outcomes which are not linear or predictable so how do we know what specific experience will or should be next. And why would we plan learning opportunities out of context for the child and if we do this are we following the child’s lead?
It is NOT about planning specific resources to follow on as we did in the past. The resources are secondary to the learning relationship with the responsive educator. It is NOT about evaluating how every is resource used (or if it was used) and which resource we must plan for next.
Planning should be a consultative process, co-constructed in partnership with families regularly with family input, with children facilitated by responsive educators who understand that it’s not all about resources. The headline for DEEWR publications about EYLF family documentation highlight this saying” relationships are the key”. That says it all.
So next time an assessor, consultant , director , educational leader or colleague says you MUST have a ‘follow on’ or you MUST plan for all resources indoors and outdoors….. Tell them that’s a load of rubbish and ask them to show you where it states this or why they believe this is true!
Please remember not to get caught up in the mine field of advice about documentation. There is no specific way in which you MUST document children’s learning. If you are a Centre Support customer we provide support, advice and samples to help you with any fuss. We take away any confusion and ‘childcare whispers’ that confuse the profession. Talk to us to empower you and support your team.
Nominated Supervisor and EC Consultant