Documentation, Programming

The great “program” dilemma!

So I don’t know if this is going to be an “inspirational” post as such, but it is something that has me thinking at the moment. Tonight at our staff meeting we will be discussing our program. Currently we do a daily journal in both of our rooms – a narrative of the play and learning that has taken place throughout the day, accompanied by delightful photographs. Our wonderful educators put a lot of time and thought into the journal, yet sadly for the most part – it is unread.
This can be frustrating and I often find myself questioning…
Who do we produce the journal for?
If it isn’t read by families is it any less meaningful?
Is there a way to encourage families to read it? (And yes we realise that families are busy!)

I have seen some beautiful programs/journals in services – they look great, read well, yet I still wonder if they are being read and enjoyed? Does a visually appealing journal equal more readership? We currently print our journals in black and white as it is more cost effective, however perhaps if they were in colour they would be more appreciated. For our service it has always been more important that the content be meaningful than that the journal look “pretty”, but maybe we need to strike a balance between the two.I alsowonder if the busy lives of families contribute to the lack of readership. Maybe we need to think outside the box (or off the page!) and look at different types of technology to share this information with families without compromising the privacy of the children.

Perhaps families would be more inclined to read the journal if it was available in different ways, such as via email or on a blog. I did a quick google search and found a child care service that blogs… the Early Years Learning Framework in place, the importance of meaningful documentation of children’s learning has been highlighted. The framework really values play and explains the benefits of play in a simplistic, family friendly way. The challenge now, for us as educators, is to find ways to share that with families. I am really excited to hear some innovative ideas at our staff meeting tonight and would love to hear how other centre’s document children’s learning. Do you have a daily journal? Do you have a weekly one? How do you entice families to read and appreciate this documentation?