A core requirement for EYFS is that childcare providers must give parents information on the types of activities they are undertaking, the daily routine, food and drink provided and, in EYFS 2012, how the EYFS is being delivered.
This is exactly what ToucanLearn's Daily Diary is intended for. Each child has their own unique Daily Diary and you can create entries during the day. Each Diary can be shared between parents and childcare providers which allows parents to log in and see what's going on at any time of the day. Everyone can even add their own entries.
We recently launched our mobile phone service where you can email a photo directly from your mobile into the relevant Daily Diary - what could be easier?!
This service also processes text messages, so, for example, if you want to quickly report on what the children are eating, just send a text email (not an SMS message) to your diary and a new entry will be logged. Remember to name the children in the subject line or the body of the message, and please ensure that your 'from' address matches your ToucanLearn login. Entries should arrive in your diary within 2 minutes and if it fails to match, you will receive a notice back telling you that.
Find out more here: http://www.toucanlearn.com/daily-diary.
Sharing your pictures has never been easier with ToucanLearn's facility to email photos directly from your mobile phone into the correct Daily Diary! There isn't an easier way to maintain EYFS diaries throughout the day and what's more, you can share your diaries straight with the relevant parents too, so that they can stay informed throughout the day.
Those members who tested this for us are unanimous in their praise!
"This great new feature of being able to send photos straight to the learning journey is great! It really makes my work very much enjoyable and its simple to use", Fay, Childminder, Bedfordshire.
Here’s what to do! Give it a try and let us know how you get on...
The photo will automatically appear in the account/s of the child/children's written in the subject line.
Subject: Musical statues
Message: Ben and Polly played musical statues, Polly won because Ben got the giggles and couldn't stay still!
This email will be turned into a Daily Diary entry for both Ben and Polly with the subject line as the entry title, and the message becomes the caption for the photograph.
Photo entries should appear in your diary within two minutes. If we fail to match the photo to the correct diary then you will receive an email back explaining the problem.
This feature is for Premium Members only as we don't offer photo uploads on free accounts.
Early years providers should be constantly looking ahead to ensure that they can nurture the development of their wards over time. Short term planning ensures that you know what you are doing with your children day in, day out. Medium term planning gives an overall strategy and direction to your learning. Essentially, following a strategy to push development turns you from a babysitter to an educationalist.
Medium term planning should be done up to 4 or 6 months in advance. Best practice advocates not simply creating a 4 month plan, seeing it through and creating the next one, but revisiting the plan regularly, at least once a fortnight, to ensure that you are on track and to extend into the future. At any given moment, aim to have the next few months in development terms mapped out. In revisiting the plan, adjust it to any needs that may be emerging.
Constantly reviewing and revising your plan keeps it fresh in your mind so that you know what you are delivering at any given point. Buy some books on child development and use this to help work out what milestones you should be reaching, and undertake activities that help achieve those milestones.
Your medium term plan will inform your short term plan so that you can map out activities on a weekly basis. Activities on ToucanLearn are designed so that they are always at the edge of what children should be achieving. By keeping up with activities in ToucanLearn you will automatically be following a strategy for success.
When planning, make sure that you cover all the bases of EYFS. Projects offer a great opportunity to extend activities out over time. The spring and summer months are great for projects because you can study how plants and animals develop, base craft around the notions of insects and animals, and there are plenty of games and songs to take in along the way.
Allow for flexibility in your planning. Short term planning allows you to cater for the emerging interests of your children and to some extent you should always follow their interests above any rigid planning. Children learn through constant interaction with the world and if they show an interest in a particular topic then run with that, ignite that spark and your children will soak up knowledge and learn based on what they find stimulating at any given point in time.
If you have children of varying age groups within your setting then younger children will develop faster as they try to mimic the older children surrounding them. This create a positive impact but at the same time, do not neglect the needs of the younger children, especially babies. Even though they may appear to be less demanding than older children, they still need devoted time for stimulation and interaction.
Your Daily Diary in ToucanLearn will help you achieve your planning aims, you can then share your plans with parents and they can comment and get involved too. There's absolutely nothing wrong, however, in keeping your plans on paper. Planning in any medium is much more important than having no plans at all.
One of the requirements of the EYFS has always been to observe children and gage their progress against the areas of Learning. Observation should tell you what stage your children have reached in terms of development and will help you plan activities to challenge their current capabilities. Parents naturally observe their children but in an informal way, and it doesn't necessarily lead them to challenge their children.
There are two key modes of observing children. The first, formal mode, is to watch them for a period of time as they play in their setting. Watch what they do, what they say, how they solve problems, and make a record. Doing this on a frequent basis will let you notice patterns emerging and help you plan progress. The other mode of observation is simply noticing particular moments that strike you as funny, special, amazing. Young children are constantly amazing us, perhaps they do something in the way that you do, or say something that you would nomally do; maybe they achieve something that you really didn't think they could do, a baby rolling over, pulling a cushion off a sofa, pulling themselves up to a standing position. Note these moments too and again you will see patterns emerging over time.
Using ToucanLearn's Daily Diary, you can keep a permanent record of progress and come back to it over time. If you are a childminder, share the Diary back with parents and that way they can log in at any moment and see how their child is progressing, and what they are doing.
Although the EYFS is a prescriptive programme to help cover a wide variety of development topics, almost everything we do covers aspects of EYFS without even having to try, and that's because EYFS is really gearing us up to learning about the real world.
Take a trip to the supermarket for example, your little ones are learning where their food comes from, they can help find products on the shelves, they help you with the money when you come to pay. These activities touch elements of health and bodily awareness (PD), place (KUW), and shapes, space and measures and calculating (PSRN).
Picking up siblings or other children from school and chatting with mum's at the school gate aids language (CLL) and sense of community (PSED) as well as helping grow confidence (PSED), the walk alone contributing to Physical Development.
Familiarity with the goals of EYFS will let you turn every routine task or chore into a learning game. Accentuate the lessons across the different areas of the EYFS and at every step you will be nurturing your children in understanding the world, their place within, and in how everything works. Don't forget to log the lessons learned in your Daily Diary at ToucanLearn!
As our children grow day by day, there are many small changes that we may not notice; using a diary can help you observe and identify change over a longer period. Observational diaries are a good instrument for observing and monitoring over a long period. Simply keeping a diary of what you do each day will highlight long term changes in development because when you compare entries weeks or months apart, you will see that your little ones are undertaking activities that were previously beyond their capabilities.
Diaries are a useful tool to explore long term concerns that you have, for example, to help identify what triggers certain physical conditions or behavioural patterns in your child. If your child is prone to allergies, you might want to log what they eat, where you have been during the day, what the weather was like and how their allergies were manifested. Over time you might pick out certain triggers such as food types, weather patterns or locations. By isolating the causes you can then learn to avoid them.
If your children are cared for by childminders during the day then you should ask them to undertake monitoring for you, and to keep a regular diary. ToucanLearn offers a Daily Diary which can be used for such purposes, fill entries in regularly and then look through them every couple of weeks in order to try to ascertain what you are looking for.
Your baby grows up so quickly; before you know it, you have young children running around your house! When your baby arrives, why not make some keepsakes that will help you remember those precious early days? There are all sorts of keepsakes that you can create either yourself, or buy through services from professional companies. Here are a few ideas:-
You can find details of professional services in your area who can help you create keepsakes in most hospital maternity wards, health centres, baby magazines, and, of course, online. If you opt to create your own keepsakes, be careful to use safe paints, inks etc. Use only water based materials and watch out for any sign of allergic reactions, your young baby's skin is very delicate.
We've progressed a long way from the Victorian days when children were best kept our of sight and out of mind, but the sad truth is that modern living often means that your children spend more time with a childminder than they do with you. Are you kept informed of how your children are doing, and do you have a good idea of their progress?
The government's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requires for child minders, carers and nursery teachers actively to keep records of every child's progress. Make sure that you are getting the level of information you want about your children and how they are developing. If you aren't hearing enough, then ask for more - if you feel your childminder is being too diligent, then they will be delighted to be asked to reign back a bit and tell you just what you want to hear!
At ToucanLearn, every child receives their own Daily Diary designed especially for childminders to share information with parents. By sharing the Daily Diary you can stay informed about what your children are doing every day. This service can be used for free, but premium members can also upload photos to keep a photographic record of everything they do too.
We know from feedback that we receive about our service that many parents are able to view what their children are doing throughout the day - they can see pictures of new artwork once it has been uploaded, and they can read what their little ones are making, doing and eating during the day. Here at ToucanLearn we're dedicated to helping working parents share as much information about their children as they can. If you don't feel you are getting the information you want from your childminder, why not ask them to start posting a Daily Diary in ToucanLearn? Our FREE service means they don't even have to spend a penny to do so!
At ToucanLearn we encourage you to keep a daily diary for your little ones, but if you have children of a school age who can read or write, why not have them record a diary of their baby and toddler siblings? A diary kept by a young child of their younger sibling would make for a fascinating account, you would get a glimpse of their understanding of the world and interpretation of events. If your children are too young to be able to write, then how about trying to keep a recorded diary, making an audio or video recording each day? It's really easy to make audio and video recordings these days, using mobile phones, smartphones or laptops or computers with webcams.
Keeping a diary of a young baby from a siblings perspective would make for an interesting project for you, but would become an invaluable record for your children in years to come!
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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!
Sign up FREE to ToucanLearn to follow our activity based learning programme for babies, toddlers and children. We offer hundreds of fun learning craft, games and activities - every activity is aimed at the capabilities of your specific children. Download custom activity sheets, and log their progress in each child's unique Daily Diary!
You'll also find sticker and reward charts, certificates, number and letter practice. Every activity links into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development.
Fill in our Daily Diary to log progress against the EYFS and add photo entries instantly simply by sending them straight from your phone. You can share diaries back with parents or childminders so that everyone can enjoy watching your children develop.
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