Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dessert in Dannevirke

Dannevirke Kindergarten have been exploring the ways they can encourage whanau to participation in the programme. Over the year the Team has made great efforts to manaaki all whanau into the kindergarten. They find whanau spending more time there and when a learning story is shared the whanau is alerted to it immediately so an opportunity for conversation and feedback can be created.

Not satisfied with feedback alone, as Early Childhood Teachers we have always sought partnership with whanau... what does this look like? in my opinion its shared decision making, then a joint effort to respond to children with meaning, so how would this happen?

Notice the magic-a child shares something really important to them, an interest, a theory, a question, a continuous disposition...

Co-author the story-write a narrative with the child that captures this, ask the child to title it, read it through, do they want to change/add anything?, what do they want to say to each picture?... Comic Life is a great publishing application that makes this easy for Children and Teachers to do IN session, why do we continusly do this away from the child who it is for?-are we going to really understand what they want to know more about by osmosis?

Interview the child- Its ok to ask the child, what they like about the story, the interest, what do they want to know more about, if you have some ideas share them and ask the child which ideas they would like to try.... WAIT six seconds for an answer, research shows we wait 1-2 seconds and children need alot longer than this, if you really struggle with this, count it out silently on your fingers beside you he he :)

Whanau involvement After you have told the family about their child, and the ideas you and that child have for a follow up learning experience/s ask the whanau for their help, what other ideas do they have, make a plan for them to be involved, expect it, you will get it, even a very busy parent will WANT to talk about their child and be involved in a big or small way with that is being planned for their child.

Do what you say you are going to do - follow through on your planned response in the teachable moment or a soon as possible, keep your promise and keep realistic, a good plan is achievable.

NOTICE RECOGNISE RESPOND - I would really like to see Teachers strengthening their response to learning, that is where the true teaching and learning deepens. There is alot of pressure to produce learning stories like property sales in real estate, I would much rather we approached them like art. A great Learning Story tells me about the child, the teachers passion and skill in co-construction the love, support and interest of the family and like a great painting is a treasured masterpiece of a very important moment in time.

If you have a work of Art to share or talk about from your service, please respond to this post, alternatively let me know if any of these strategies work for you :)


  1. Hi Janine, its sheryl
    Just got your collage of whanau evening photos, they are great, t was a fun nite and hopefully they wil spread the word to others. I love working with the dads, because they are the ones that sometimes lack confidence when coming into kdgtn being a female place. so to make it about them helps. Anyway just a quick reply, good job, and thanx foe the support for space planning story, we are very excited. Im actually off to work soon to do a little more.

    C ya bye Sheryl xx

  2. Centre4 » ECE ICT PL » Cafe
    Re: Documenting Good Stories
    Posted by Cathy Grigsby - Sunday,20 September, 5:08PM

    Janine is our facilitator and we have been working very closely with her investigating what makes a great Learning Story. As our team is quite diverse in terms of understanding of what a Learning Story actually is her awhi has been incredible! The team now have a shared understanding....common ground if you like....the journey has been long for some of us but well worth it! Janine has challenged our thinking and practice but for me the best part has been actually seeing the Learning Stories in action.....the child's learning, the teacher's learning and the parents participation. I agree with what Julie said about a "where to next" but without actually using those words, it kind of naturally takes that path anyway. A good Learning Story as I see it develops over time, this helps you to see and identify Learning Dispositions. Before Janine a lot of what we termed as learning Stories were what she described as "chew and spew", photos with a caption just for the sake of adding something to a child's profile book. I imagine you have already had your workshop, I hope it all went well for you.