Outi Silander, Head of Early Childhood Education from Miehikkälä-Virojoki shares their story
Close to the eastern border of Finland, in Miehikkälä-Virojoki, TinyApp was taken into use in Autumn 2018. We are interested in to hear what TinyApp has brought to early childhood education, what has changed, and how does it look like today?
In the beginning, we were looking for a solution to communicate with parents. We took TinyApp in use in all our units, including pre-school at once. TinyApp is our primary communication channel.
What is excellent in TinyApp, is that we can share photos, videos, stories, and newsletters shared with parents. We did share photos before, too, but there was no tool that we could adequately control. Now all parents have equal opportunities to see their child's early education.
In addition to communication, we are making early childhood education curriculum visible for ourselves too. We need to continue sharing the early childhood curriculum with transversal competencies and learning areas. We are practicing it, and TinyApp is the tool for us.
This Spring, we will expand the service and take the child's individual education plans in use in TinyApp too.
How did you arrange the onboarding so that all staff is using the TinyApp tool?
First, each of the teams had its own TinyApp responsible person. She was the one who learned to use the tool and then helped others. We have also arranged onboarding training with TinyApp-team. Last time those who had not used the tool much participated in the training. That's how we have increased competences. I know that it is a challenge to find time to use TinyApp, but we have agreed that everyone uses it, and everyone has opportunities to use it.
What are the TOP3 benefits of TinyApp?
It makes early childhood education curriculum visible
All parents have equal opportunities to participate in
When parents have seen what kinds of activities their child has been involved in, it has increased the respect of our work and staff.
How familiar were you with pedagogical documentation before taking TinyApp in use?
We have collected the child's portfolios, but we did not do those from the perspective of pedagogical assessment. Now we are learning the method with TinyApp. Now we have an opportunity for the pedagogical evaluation when TinyApp shows what we have done. Pedagogical documentation is also a question of professionalism. The challenge is that what and from whose perspective we took pictures and videos. Our guideline is "all-day-pedagogy," where all moments of the day are learning moments. We can document even tiny moments, for example, when a child learns to put his socks on.
What has changed after taking TinyApp in use?
We had password-protected blogs before, but it was quite a stiff tool, and we wanted to have something more agile. TinyApp has now replaced our blogs. We have been able to show our pedagogy and the early childhood curriculum.
What are the things you enjoy most about your work?
I'm personally happy to see that we are documenting all aspects of competences and learning areas; we look at the early childhood education curriculum from a comprehensive perspective.