Could more time be spent playing with the children instead of completing learning journeys?
Many people would argue that spending quality time with children is far more crucial than filling in a learning journey. Could practitioners time be used more effectively is the question?
As learning journeys aren’t an Ofsted requirement, why are so many nursery practitioners spending excessive time completing these and making them neat and tidy? As long as practitioners can show children’s level of progress in other ways, e.g., tracking sheets, 2 years progress check, observations, etc. why go to this extent of wasting precious time. More time should be spent with the children, helping them learning new skills ready for their next transition.
Another way of recording children’s learning
Some nurseries instead document the child’s work on the wall as a record of their learning; these displays are called learning stories, They can often be a working document that practitioners continuously add evidence to, as children’s next steps may not be achieved until six months down the line. To some people, these displays look untidy with bits of paper stuck on the wall, with post-it notes added, however, this is a visual way of showing children’s individual learning to Ofsted. Some nurseries spent time typing these up and making them look pretty but again why waste that time.
When Ofsted come to inspect they will look closely at how children’s interests are identified and incorporated into the planning, they will also talk to practitioners about their key children. This is the ideal time for practitioners to speak to the inspector about their key children’s individual next step and where they are at in their development. A learning journey is only a supporting document that is made up of observations and beautiful photos. Would you agree that it is more valuable for a key person to spend quality time getting to the know the child rather than spending time writing in their learning journey?
Observing children during play will give practitioners vital information that can be used to enhance children’s learning opportunities. It is important that practitioners don’t forget about these observations and just file them away. When completing observations, it is more effective if you have a purpose in mind when you are doing them, as this helps you when planning children’s next steps.
Finding time to complete children’s learning journeys
Some nursery managers give practitioners time out to complete children’s learning journeys, but not all nurseries are able to do this as this costs the nursery money. If this is the case how do other practitioners complete them or are they done in the room with the children or do practitioners have to take them home? Taking children’s folders home is a safeguarding issue.
Many practitioners are under pressure to have the child’s learning journey looking all pretty and neat for parents but how many parents prefer to hear verbally how their child is progressing. Yes, learning journeys are an excellent keepsake for parents, and are ideal for sharing with the child.
Investing in digital learning journeys
To help practitioners save time some nurseries have invested in digital learning journeys, these allow staff to record children’s observations, insert photos, add EYFS links. However again who are these learning journeys actually for?
There is too much emphasis on paperwork and more time should be spent with children. Early Education is the crucial time where children learn new skills and interaction from adults is fundamental in helping them reach their full potential.
As long as Ofsted are able to see or be told about children’s progress then why waste those precious moments compiling a neat and tidy learning journey. How does yours setting document children’s learning?