Welcome to my blog about my experiences working in early childhood. I have called it Nurturing Forests because I believe that raising children is not a isolated activity but takes a whole community.

As early childhood professionals, we are actively involved in this process but we also need to work closely with the children, parents, community as a whole and other allied professionals.

I hope you enjoy my site. I also have a facebook site of the same name where I provide links to useful sites for teachers, parents and others interested in the early childhood: www.facebook.com/nurturingforests

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Documentation part 1: Using the daily diary as a tool for reaching your families

There was a lot of feedback asking for a post on documentation. As documentation is a rich and varied area, I thought I would start with the trusty daily diary.

I know a lot of preschools don't use a daily diary but it is a lovely way of filling families in on their child's day. Also, it can be used as a way of demonstrating to children that their contribution to the day is valued and if you are organized and detailed enough you can use it for your observations.

At our centre, we do the diary in a number of ways:
- we have pictures of the children and what they have been interested in and add text explaining what is happening and if possible a quote from the children
- secondly, we cover any group activities undertaken
- we also list the art experiences
-And finally, the books we have read

The diary is in constant evolution and half of above were added as a result of parent feedback.

In the past week, I have endeavoured to add a few more dimensions as a result of the conference:
- a couple of highlighted boxes explaining the value of a particular type of play especially maths and dramatic play.
- I have changed our generic "parent feedback/ comments" line to a " for our families: what you can do a home?". Here, I have tried to provide suggestions to families on how they can extend a interest of their child e.g visit a museum to see fossils, dinosaurs; talk to your child about the weather e.g. Is it cold, hot, wet, dry? How can you tell?
- I have also added a paragraph about our latest project

The diary is at the same level as our children's sign in sheet which makes it very accessible for the children and they will often check the photos and ask to be read what it says. I have also started putting a copy into a plastic sleeve book so the children can easily read the diary and look back over time.

And next week.... I am going to add some stronger links to the early years learning framework using the five overarching outcomes. I'll let you know how that goes.

How do you use your daily diary?
Do you use one? If not, how do you let the families know about their child's day?
Do your parents read your daily diary?
How do you reach families from non-English speaking backgrounds?
Do you use technology e.g. Email or blogs to reach your families?

If you're a parent who uses long day care, what do you think of the daily diary? Do you read it? What would you like included?

Posted by Wendy

"the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy" -Martin Luther King

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