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How Often Do You Update Learning Stories?


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Our committee has recently put together a Development Plan for the setting and one of the targets is that "Children's progress is systematically assessed and recorded every session using a variety of assessment approaches i.e. photographs, note taking, one to one dialogues, contact books" and the success criteria is "Every child has a Learning Story continuously depicting their development both within the setting, in other related early years settings and at home".

 

We are a sessional preschool offering sessions of 3-4 hours and finding the time to update Learning Stories on a regular basis is always a challenge but we currently manage to update about once a week using evidence gathered over the whole week. It's the bit about recording progress "every session" which key persons feel is unreasonable, particularly as we are not given time to do it and it has to be completed in our own time. Can I ask how often everyone else does it before I go back to our committee?

 

Thank you

Karen

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Hi

I would take that to mean that observations/photos etc are made/taken at every session, not necessarily that the actual Learning Journey is updated every session. We observe children, take photos, have discussions etc at every session (although not every child every session) and then update Learning Journeys once a week or once a fortnight depending on how often the child attends. It wouldn't be possible for us to keep Learning Journeys completely up to date at all times!

Beehive

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I agree.. it would be doing the observations etc each session which i am sure you already do not update the books every session.. that would really not be practical.

 

Think it is just a way of writing down and formalising what you already do..

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We do make observations and take photographs every session but not for every child every day and this is what the committee have set us as a target. They have said they want evidence of progress to be documented in Learning Stories every day. Do you think that is reasonable?

 

Karen

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No I don't! I'd question where the committee got this idea from, and why they think it's best use of your time. At no point in the EYFS (old or new!) does it specify this level of detail of observation. Possibly negotiate that each child has observations recorded weekly? How many children and staff do you have?

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not without being given time to do it... and even then it will result in pointless paperwork with no meaning behind it.

 

remind them that if you sit to do this in session you are out of ratio.. so they will need to cover the time it takes for you all to do this, example 5 mins for every child each day takes so much time for each member of staff to complete this..

 

not all children progress that quickly.. and will not have anything to add for a while, I feel you will not gain anything by doing this..

 

How are they going to check it.. what will they do if you decide it is not practical.. would think it would be difficult to make anyone do this if it does not benefit the children... perhaps that is something to ask.. we always did before making changes, how will the child benefit.. remember not the parents or staff but the child..how will writing this in a book every day benefit them, reminding them that they will be losing the staff attention and input while they are being done..

 

that said we used to involve the child in the books so they put in the pictures and drew in them etc.. but can not imagine them wanting to do it everyday. Ours tended to be put in the books fortnightly but they were taken daily.. not all children every day though.. only anything that was relevant.. our aim was to cut paperwork to a minimum unless essential.

Edited by Inge
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Can you talk to your committee about how they expect this to be managed? Do they understand the way your sessions work and the need to be with the children - not sorting out paperwork?

Some settings get children involved in doing their learning stories together- gives a fabulous opportunity to talk about things they have been doing BUT it does depend on your staffing levels, ages of children and layout of setting especially if you are freeflow and have outside to supervise all morning. Some days it could be possible but never ALL children every day! Maybe you can get committee members to spend time in the setting and then get them to explain how it could be managed. Maybe they could come in every day to relaese staff to do this. Unfortunately what sounds reasonable on paper can be almost impossible in practice.

You could point out that all work in own time should be included in your working hours and will need to be paid for(including holiday pay) and goodwill is priceless!

korkycat

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maybe you could ask your eyfs advisor to come in and speak to them, ......we take notes and photos on a daily basis if its note worthy or a key worker has made other staff aware at planning that they'd like something noted on a particular key child but definitely not on all the children every day, we do a formal ob each term for each child (maybe more if we have a reason to)

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I would direct them towards the Tickell review of the EYFS which specifically said they do not want practitioners following around children with pen and paper/camera in hand recording every moment!! We are supposed to be moving towards less, but more meaningful observations and the KEY to early years is the meaningful ineractions that we have with children rather than the continual recording of them.

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Thanks for all your replies and helpful advice.

 

I doubt any parent would really want to walk into a setting and find all the staff with pen and paper in hand rather than interacting with the children! Much better to be doing the learning and development than spending all our time documenting it. We already spend a lot of time on our learning stories and to increase this must surely impact on the children.

 

Karen x

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This is something that came up on our ECERS and we need to improve on, so on advice from our Liaison teacher, we're timetabling in 10 minutes per key child for each key person each week, and it can be non-contact time. Her suggestion is that it should be, but I don't really like that idea as a permanent solution... I'd like the staff to do them with the children but I know they need to gain confidence and it is harder to achieve the specific time when you're with the children than in the lobby or office.

 

So, if she's suggesting we aim for best practice of 10 mins writing up & sticking in photos per child per week, I hardly think every day would be achieving much! I can't really see many parents being that enthralled at being given the quantities I'm envisaging, let alone next settings finding it very useful.

 

I think your committee need to clarify what they hope the achieve by this idea!

Edited by Lyanne
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I agree with those who have raised the issue of recording something every day (even if that is only collated weekly - incidentally I think that is sufficient having worked in a sessional setting). There is no point in recording things you already know the child can do, and whilst you might still be encouraging the child to extend their abilities/skills/learning it doesn't mean you will see something worth recording every single day. I do think this needs to be pointed out to the committee.

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