Educa is primarily used by early learning services, schools and camps. However, we have had good success recently with after school services (out of school hours), which we thought was worth sharing.
Kellie Symons from Concordia Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) shares how they use Educa.
“Having everybody involved – staff, parents and students makes sense”
Concordia OSHC & Vacation Care is in Highgate, South Australia. As OSHC and Vacation care, catering for students aged 4-14, they faced three challenges common to all educational services, not just after school services:
- Communicating with families – parents couldn’t see children’s activities as they happened or give feedback.
- Too much paper – creating student profiles using folders and exercise books wasn’t sustainable or tech savvy.
- Access to information — it was challenging to ensure all staff could access and disseminate information instead of relying on a single staff member.
Introducing Educa not only resolved Concordia’s communication challenges, but educators are now involved in the cohesive planning and reporting system, with information at their fingertips.
We asked assistant director Kellie Symons how Educa helps Concordia OSHC close the communication gap. “Everybody’s involved – all staff have their own profiles and they all use Educa. It’s not hard for the staff to use and it’s quick to upload and share stories.”
These changes make early childhood educators lives easier and communication a two-way street. As Kellie tells us, when parents log in they arrive at our after school service message board, Educa’s dashboard — it is an easily accessible online noticeboard. Parents can easily see whatever information we need them to see — it keeps everyone informed.
Educa users can communicate upcoming events and notices to parents easily and swiftly. When Concordia sent out a survey about using the Educa app via the dashboard, feedback was immediate. “Parent feedback has been positive, parents have enjoyed/appreciated being able to view what is happening at OSHC.
OSHC Learning Philosophy
We believe children learn best when there is a positive and supportive relationship between staff and parents.
Having information online through Educa fits the increasingly digital learning environment at Concordia College.
Educa on the iPad means everyone creates visual stories
“Students have their own iPads – they airdrop images or videos to share with their parents.”
With the accessibility to technology – older students create plays, make videos and share them with educators. Educators can easily share with parents using Educa.
As Kellie shares “having the iPad means educators can upload quickly – or have the photos and videos already there to use later”. Often Concordia’s learning experiences take them out into the community so it’s important for them to be able to document on the move.
Exceeding Expectations In Government Inspections
When Concordia was assessed against the 7 quality areas of the National Quality Standard (NQS) they achieved Exceeding in all 7 areas. This is an exceptional result for any service. Kellie credits Educa directly, with helping Concordia to gain exceeding in quality areas.
For example, in NQS Quality Area #1 of the NQS (Education Program and Practice and Quality), Educa enabled Concordia to provide documentation on each child who attends our service in the form of written stories, photos and videos. These collectively displayed individual and group learning that was happening at our site.
And for NQS Quality Area 6 (Partnerships with Families and communities), Concordia uses Educa to provide a communication means between families/community and their after school service. Parents are able to access information about the curriculum and their child’s participation in OSHC and Vacation care. Educa also provided a way for families to provide feedback regarding their child’s learning.
Less Stress During Regulator Assessments
Kellie also commented on the ease of navigation that Educa was an asset during assessments. Assessors were impressed with the ability of Concordia staff to immediately locate and display information.
Making Learning Visible
Too often educators feel families don’t understand the learning that is happening at OSHC and Vacation care.
With Educa, that understanding comes as educators link the curriculum (My Time Our Place, for instance) to learning stories.
As Kellie explains “parents are able to access information about the curriculum” (MTOP, and others) and see how the OSHC Philosophies operate in practice.
Educa also empowers Concordia educators as they plan learning activities and policies. “We use the policy area (in Educa) to upload all our service policies such as sun-smart, behavior management policy, fees etc”
Finally, we asked Kellie, to sum up in one sentence. What makes Educa invaluable for her? She said: Educa is a simple effective way to collect and display children’s learning and involvement in the OSHC program.
Visit the Concordia Out of School Hours College website here.