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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015
Our planning for educator professional learning and development considers the individual needs of educators within the context of organisation goals. At the advent of the Long Day Care Professional Development Program (LDCPDP) funding, we were excited because we could see the funds provided a unique opportunity to undertake deeper level learning at an organisation-wide level, involving educators from both our centres. We also realised this would be a one-off, time-limited opportunity that would not be available in the future. As such, we set out to plan for the most effective and strategic way to use the funding to benefit our service. We have maintained our current professional learning budget and have also set up a separate budget line for the LDCPDP funding, so that we can specifically invest in higher level learning for our educators and staff. We wanted to use the funding to undertake work above and beyond our current professional learning budgets. Research shows the value of collective and collaborative professional learning because it can contribute to educational change and innovation (ibid). The starting point for our planning was to review educator appraisals and list negotiated individual professional learning needs. We also mapped the ongoing qualification and study needs of educators. We identified what we thought would be open-ended, ongoing professional learning as opposed to discrete sessions. Finally, we reviewed the professional learning priorities arising from our Quality Improvement Plan. This process resulted in a long list of possible topics. In order to make sense of the many possibilities we then began a process of arranging our list into groups of related topics. As we were engaging in this process, Gowrie SA had developed an ‘LDCPDP Planning Tool’ which we used as a guide. We cross-referenced our initial list with current and upcoming areas of inquiry and projects for our two centres. This enabled us to centralise all the information we needed to plan for the use of the funds for the next three years. This process was very helpful as we were able to discuss the implications of working on particular topics and our excitement grew as we saw rich possibilities. An example of how we organised our professional learning priorities is provided in the diagram on the following page. Among the topics on the list were - program documentation, nature play, emergent curriculum, challenging older learners, digital literacy and child voice. On a long list these topics would have been treated as independent topics for particular educators, but once organised as categories of a larger topic of pedagogy and curriculum we could see the relationship between these topics. What we know from research is that one educator going out to external professional development is unlikely to result in changed practice in a team of educators, but if we can gather topics together into a project approach where the learning is shared more broadly, the learning can extend over a longer period of time and be much deeper. In working through our list we ended up with three main areas of focus. 5 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • WINTER 2015 - ISSUE 59
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015