Recommended Policy for Universal access for families to children's developmental records
Purpose and Rationale
Family involvement in each child's learning and development is paramount to our service. Research shows "learning begins at birth and children’s experiences in their family shape their learning and their literacy development. Parents are their children’s first teachers. They are role models for their children and have a strong influence on their learning. They socialize their children into particular types of literacy. Home literacy and literacy in educational programs may be different. When they match, children are more likely to be successful. Both home literacy and educational literacy are valuable. Programs and parents need opportunities to find out about these different literacies and to build on them to help children succeed" (NWT...,ND). Our services acknowledges that fostering a supportive and collaborative partnership with families is vital to ensuring the success of our educational programs.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all families, regardless of personal circumstance or choice, with regard to access to the Internet, can safely and securely access/collaborate with our service with regard to all documentation about children's learning and our programs which promote and extend each child's learning.
The primary tool for documenting children's learning and collaborating with families in our service is LIFT (Learning Involving Families & Teachers). LIFT is an online system that parents can log into and safely and securely view, share ideas, comment and participate in learning that occurs at our service. Our service has selected LIFT as our key documentation system because:
- Information is completely secure, stored and accessed via a password protected SSL secure environment (the same level as security provided with online banking);
- Documentation is back up and maintained via a system that is accredited to a world class quality standard;
- Families can view and comment on observations taken of their child/children;
- Families can share their own observations of learning from home;
- Families can view and comment on the latest programs on offer for their child; and
- Families can provide feedback and share ideas on their child’s overall assessments.
Our service understands that not all families have access to computers and/or the Internet and hence we have developed this policy to show our commitment to engaging families in the event the family does not have or choose to have access to the Internet. In the event that parents cannot access LIFT online we provide a number of complimentary communication strategies to effectively collaborate with our families.
To ensure that all families regardless of circumstances, can safely access/collaborate with our service with regard to all documentation about their children's learning and our programs which promote and extend their learning.
Strategies to implement this policy
Safety & Security
LIFT has a comprehensive array of world class security measures ranges from elite physical protection measures (security guards, biometric security etc.) to extensive data level security and encryption. A detailed summary of these systems is available for review online at http://www.raiselearning.com.au/pages/lift-security and is printed and attached as an addendum to this policy.
Our service ensures that your security and privacy is maintained by seeking first explicit advice in writing, through our family access permission form, before any person can be granted access to review your records.
Access to information about programs/experiences provided
Linking learning that occurs in our service with home and visa versa; significantly enhances our learning environment. We understand that families are very busy and/or do not have access to the Internet so alternative communication methods provide further opportunities for our families to become involved at our service. This is why we always provide a 'print out' and/or display of experiences provided at our service and a space for parents to provide feedback into this our learning process. Parents are invited to review, comment or provide input into our programs.
We also invite parents to email or phone our team directly.
Access to children's learning portfolios
Our educators are specially trained in early childhood development theory and regularly observe each child to assess their development, interests and seek ways in which we can engage, extend or enhance individual learning.
Observations are recorded into LIFT. Parents are encouraged to share their own learning from home, and also participate in learning as it occurs; providing comment, input and suggestions.
Our service understands that some parents may not have access to the Internet. We invite parents who cannot access LIFT online to review their child's learning onsite or as a printed developmental record. Parents are invited to request access at anytime with one of our educators or in person, on the phone or via email.
Privacy and choice
Our team (which includes all of our administrators and educators of our service, including the LIFT team) are screened to ensure the highest levels of security of your child's information which includes "National Working with Children" and "Police" checks. Our team will not share your personal information with any third party unless explicitly requested in writing by a consenting guardian.
We also understand that some families may choose to limit the inclusion of images and/or identifying information online. While our programming system provides extensive security, we respect our families right to choice. Our service collects information about each family's choice during enrolment (or later as an addendum to our enrolment process). Where families opt not to use identifying information, your child's learning will be recorded using a coded system (eg. your child's initials or numerals) and/or images will not be included. This way our educators can still ensure each child's learning is included in our planning process, families can still access and participate in the process either online or via other communication methods at the service whilst also ensuring that our service respects and complies with the privacy choice of each family.
Links to forms & factsheets which support this policy
NWT Literacy Council "Involving Families in Learning" retrieved 23/06/2011 from http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/howtokit/involve/involve.pdf
Scottish Executive Education Department "Parents as partners in their children’s learning Toolkit" retrieved 23/06/2011 from http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/Images/Toolkit_tcm4-373859.pdf
Raise Learning, "LIFT Security" retrieved 23/06/2011 from http://www.raiselearning.com.au/pages/lift-security
1.1 The Early Years Learning Framework (or other approved learning framework) informs the development of a program for each child that enhances their learning and development.
1.2 The program for each child takes into account their strengths, capabilities, culture, interests and experiences.
6.1 Respectful supportive relationships with families are developed and maintained.
Specifically... 61.1 There is an effective enrolment and orientation process for families.6.1.2 Families have opportunities and support to be involved in the program and in service activities.
7.6 Information is exchanged with families on a regular basis.
Specifically... 7.61.1 Current information about the service is available to families; 7.6.2 Information is available to families about their child which includes documentation of the child’s learning, development and participation in the program; and 7.6.3 Information provided by families is documented as appropriate
Council of Australian Governments (December 2009) National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care