- Keep parents at the heart of your learning journey because they will read it more than anybody else
If you are writing your learning journeys primarily FOR the Ofsted inspector then you are wasting your time. Think about who will read your learning journeys the most: the parents. So always remember to keep parents at the heart of the work you are doing.
- Take better photographs
Take a look back through some of the photographs in your learning journeys. Lots of learning journey photos are taken from behind showing the back of the child’s head or looking down on them on the floor but for most parents, a photo of the back of their child’s head is not very interesting. Whenever possible get right down at eye level when you take the photo.
- Tell better stories
Pages of very dry observations written in pseudo-scientific language are not very interesting for parents to read. Think carefully about what ‘story’ and ‘message’ you want to tell parents in your learning journey observations. How can you enhance the basic observation with its relevance to parents?
- Treat learning journeys as advertising material
Taking great photographs and writing observations in interesting ways is a great way to show parents why they have chosen the best childminder in town! Use your learning journeys to remind parents about your ‘unique selling points’ – the things about your business that make you different from your competitors (other childminders and nurseries in your area.)
- Use your learning journeys to show parents that their children are happy in your care
Parents want to believe that their child is happy in your care. So if the child looks unhappy then retake the photograph. When you have to write about bad or worrying behaviour it is really important to learn to do so in a way that doesn’t sound overly critical of the parents or the child.
Want to improve how you write your learning journey observations?
I am now offering an 8 module distance learning course for childminders to improve how you write your learning journey observations. I will look at what you do and offer you suggestions on how you can improve it. The course also covers the following topics:
- Writing next steps and linking them to planning
- Writing observations in different Learning and Development areas including Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional development, Communication and Language, Mathematics and Creative development
- Writing and observing the Characteristics of Effective Learning
- Improving the ‘story’ and ‘message’ of the observation
- Sharing learning journeys with parents
- Linking learning journeys to whole child assessments
- Using learning journeys to promote a childminding business
- Writing about ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ behaviour in a positive way