We were lucky enough to visit a wonderful service in Hervey Bay, Torquay Kids, who started using Butler Diaries two years ago. They are ready for 2023 with the following Diaries:
- Nominated Supervisor Diary
- Educational Leader Diary
- Central Outdoor Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary
- Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary, and the
- QLD Kindy Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary.
Everything is there
Kylie described their previous struggles to find a method of planning and documentation that worked for their whole service.
"We've tried a few different things. Sometimes we just had a folder with a template that we relied on. Other times, we've used a chalkboard and we've just written up on that, but they do have to be photographed and printed for evidence. Limited. We've tried lots of different things really. We really like this because everything's in it, you know, you've got the theorists in there, linking to the EYLF and QKLG."
One of the ways Butler Diaries reduces compliance confusion is by keeping everything in one place, including compliance overview pages. Our Diaries include Approved Learning Framework overview pages, National Quality Standards overview, a linking theorists to EYLF cheat sheet, and more. We have now also introduced compliance eBooks that can used to support you in linking your method of planning and documentation with regulations and best practice. You can download a copy by heading to your Diary's product page and downloading it from the "Look Inside" tab.
"We sort of put this to the girls and said look... and we sort of had a meeting with all the lead educators and just said, this is what we're looking at doing and you know, what are your thoughts on that... I was quite inspired by the examples that you had put in the writing and it was so beautiful and visually very appealing. So we've given them a go and then we sort of reflected on it and are happy to move forward with that again next year."
We love seeing the different ways educators are adding their own personality to their documentation. We checked out the Torquay Kids team's Diaries and saw how educators are using different methods such as highlighting and photos to complete planning and reflections. We are excited to see their examples of the new Central Outdoor Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary that they are trying for the first time this year.
"Now we've seen you have an Outdoor one, that will be great for our educator, we are looking forward to giving that a go."
The Butler Diaries method is designed to be simple and allow educators to adapt their documentation to meet their style of planning.
"Some of the girls just write next to it or some of them use the highlighter, it's great."
Kylie and her team showed us how they link their learning outcomes with their planning. Some choose to write the learning outcome next to the experience in the planning boxes, some leave notes or dates next to the learning outcome checklist, while others highlight the learning outcome with the corresponding experience in the planning boxes. No matter the approach, the cycle of planning and their linking was obvious throughout their diaries.
"We link to the EYLF, QKLF, National Quality Standards, Code of Ethics, Developmental Milestones. It just expands everyone's knowledge then. Keeps everyone's head fresh. We link to all the different areas. That keeps everyone broad, we can get a bit set, only linking to the EYLF, but you can do so much more than that."
Kylie sums up the importance of critical reflection in Early Childhood and how different frameworks, regulations, and guides can be used to strengthen programming and practice. Our Diaries already include links to Approved Learning Frameworks and the National Quality Standards, and we like the idea of incorporating links to Developmental Milestones and The Code of Ethics. We would love to hear your thoughts, drop us a comment below!
"It's good to be compact, then in the individual learning journals, the girls can then elaborate... they just go into more depth when they're doing journals."
Torquay Kids is another service that uses the Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary as a record of the learning assessments taken in the room. The team then links these assessments with individual learning stories that are placed in the children's individual portfolios.
"If it's not written down, it doesn't happen."
We asked Kylie about her use of the other documentation Diaries such as the Nominated Supervisor Diary and the Educational Leader Diary and she shared, "if it's not written down, it doesn't happen." With so much happening in your busy services, things can easily get lost in emails and on the computer. Kylie has found by noting things down in a Diary she is better able to manage her day. Flagged emails that can quickly be pushed down her inbox stay at the top of her to do list when recorded in her Diary.
We feel the same way, which is why Butler Diaries believes technology and Diaries come together perfectly. Technology can automate processes and help you save time on completing some tasks while a Diary to record your day's to do list and reminders keeps you centred and focused on the things that matter.
A Message from Butler Diaries
We just wanted to say a huge thank you to Kylie and her team at Torquay Kids for taking us through your documentation and planning process. We know there are incredible amounts of records that have to be kept by services and appreciate you sharing your method with us!