We were lucky enough to be invited into Brady Bunch at Hervey Bay. This is one of their three Queensland centres with another three down South. The absolutely wonderful team took us through their service and how they achieved an Exceeding Rating. Brady Bunch completely flipped their planning and programming method and introduced the Butler Method in 2021 with the:
- The Nominated Supervisor Diary
- The Educational Leader Diary
- The Childcare Centre Diary
- The Cook's Diary
- The Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary, and
- Our Sustainable Year Wall Calendar
Assessment and Rating: Rated Exceeding
Brady Bunch switched their programming and documentation system near the end of 2021 after finding their original system made showing evidence at Assessment and Rating difficult.
"The system we were using had a lot of loose paper. So a lot of different reflections in different formats and in different handouts. It was really easy to lose bits and pieces. Then when you're trying to collect things, for assessment and rating and things like that, you've got a lot of material to collate. Whereas with these, having the reflection in the diary, having the program in the diary, the learning story trackers, all of that, in one format just made things a lot easier. And we really did notice when we went through assessment and rating. Half of our year had been done in our old format and half had been done with the new diaries. And we could really see the difference that it made having the diaries because everything was there together. "
Rachel described how the Butler Method, in particularly The Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary, had simplified the process of documenting their evidence and importantly, made it simple to share their evidence with assessors.
"We are so grateful, honestly. The department love it. We completely flipped our planning and programming upside down to suit the Butler Diaries and the girls are so grateful and the department loves it. They say, 'we can see the flow, we can see the programming cycle'. This will be our third year ordering them."
The Butler Method has been designed to simplify documentation and by doing so, not only save educators time on collecting evidence but make it easy for co-workers, families and the Department to see the great work they do.
"It's in one area, they don't have to look for it, as long as you can show that you are doing that on the floor."
Simple and Straight Forward for Educators and Families
Rachel shared that changing to the Butler Diaries not only made things clear for Assessment and Rating but made planning and programming simple and straight forward for educators and families.
"It just made things really simplified, and really straight forward. And just took any of the difficult or uncertainly out of programming and just made it really, really straight forward and easy for everybody to understand, not just the lead educators, but the assistant educators too, because it's all right there for them to see."
We are passionate about simplifying the documentation process and reducing compliance confusion. We want the Early Childhood Community to have more time to do what they do best... shape the lives of young children. Because our Diaries are designed using the National Quality Standards, we also made sure the documentation was simple to share with families.
"They sit on top of the girls' lockers in their rooms. And so then the parents can flick through and they can see whatever has been programmed... And then they can also flick through and see the reflections and photos and all of that too. It's just really straight forward for everybody. For the department, for parents, for the educators.... for everybody."
We asked the team at Brady Bunch if there was anything we could do to improve the Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary or if anything was missing.
"I feel like it has everything and it is so easy to understand. We have parents that have come in and flicked through and read it and say the same thing. They know what we're writing. And everything is just so self explanatory, it's all right there."
Story Park & Butler Diaries
Many believe you have to choose between Diaries and technology but at Butler Diaries, we believe they can go hand in hand. Rachel described how the learning outcomes are transferred from the Weekly Programming and Reflection Diary to Story Park to share with families where they are expanded on in learning stories.
This method ensures your records are all still kept together with the evidence of where they originated from. It also gives you an easy system for finding the corresponding learning stories with the Observation Tracker.
A Guide for Centres & Staff
With a new centre opening soon, Brady Bunch has a chef coming on board who is new to the industry. She shared they planned to use the Cook's Diary to support the new Chef in her role.
"We will be relying fairly heavily on the Chef's Diary for the new centre because they likely won't have experience with children and in a childcare setting. Our plan is that then that should help them to become accustomed with how everything should be."
Here is Hervey Bay's experienced Chef who will be helping to train the new chef with the help of the Cook's Diary for her day to day planning and record keeping.
With such a simple method of planning and documentation, Brady Bunch is able to come together to support each other in the use of the Butler Method, even across different States and their slightly different regulations.
"We have monthly directors' meetings between the directors. And then we have monthly educational leaders meetings as well, where educational leaders get together. And we discuss the programming and the diaries as directors, but the educational leaders get more in depth with the programming and how things are working. And if there's things that we need to improve on, or things that we need to look at, then they will discuss them. We do get together and collaborate all together, it is obviously a little bit different across the States, but generally the content is the same."
Sustainability as a Whole Centre Initiative
Brady Bunch uses the Our Sustainable Year Calendar to get children involved in the centre's sustainable practices. Children contribute to the Calendars and then the centre comes together as a whole to display their learnings on their Sustainability Wall.
"This then links with our sustainability wall in our foyer. And so the team will usually pick something that they've written on here and they'll do a learning story about that. And then that goes to our sustainability wall in the foyer, which the whole centre contributes to."
A Message from Butler Diaries
Thank you so much to everyone at Brady Bunch for opening your doors to us and letting us see your commitment to providing quality services for your families. It was wonderful to see how our Diaries are supporting you in your goal to deliver exceptional early education!