Families are children’s first and most important teachers. From birth, children are learning from those closest to them. When children enter the care environment, the educators within their early childhood centre will have a significant influence on how those children grow and develop. The relationships that exist within an early childhood centre play a crucial role in the educational outcomes that may be achieved.
Giving children a voice in planning their learning environment helps build mutual respect and strong positive relationships. There are many ways to document the children’s voice and ensure that their ideas are listened to and responded to with the utmost respect. Within Kinderloop there are a number of ways to document children’s voices. Regular posts may be highlighted using supplied images and tags. Children’s voices can now be recorded in a variety of methods including text and video and posted directly onto the centre’s Kinderloop. This allows educators and families to share ideas and allows educators to track children’s input to the educational program.
Within the early childhood education environment, a number of educational outcomes are sought each day. This can be done through centre developed programs or externally sourced programs (for example, Playing and Learning to Socialise: PALS, or Munch and Move). These programs work best when children are able to explore the concepts they are learning at school with their family at home. Paper notes with updates are easily lost, and require educators to distribute to families. Using Kinderloop as a communication tool allows immediate sharing of up-to-date progress on educational programs being conducted, allowing families to follow up with children and provide reinforcement of concepts covered. It is also possible to see how many families have seen posts, making tracking the distributed information easy! Comments and feedback may be given by families in real time, when it is possible to families to take time to engage.
This kind of engagement helps deepen relationships with children and families and helps to embed programs in everyday practice.
As a parent, I worry about my daughter when she is at school. As an educator I know that she is safe, learning and having a great time with her peers. I don’t always have time to pick up my daughter and check in with her educators. With Kinderloop, I am able to get a snapshot of her day just about every day. I feel closer to her educators and can give them feedback directly on the posts about things that have happened at home, current interests and developmental milestones. I don’t have to worry about missing notes or special event days because they are all there waiting for me when I check in to Kinderloop. I feel as though I am part of my daughter’s time at preschool and have a much stronger relationship with educators than I would otherwise.
Relationships are the medium through which children learn all manner of skills; relating to social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive development. Building bonds across settings takes time and participation from all parties and, above all, communication. Kinderloop provides a two-way communication tool that will help support and strengthen relationships within early childhood care and education settings.
Kate, Early Childhood educator