Teacher, how do you use TinyApp? Jenni Kosonen, an early childhood educator, shares her story.
Who are you, and what is your job?
I'm Jenni Kosonen and I work as early childhood educator in kindergarten Kuperkeikka in Parikkala.
How do you use TinyApp?
TinyApp is already a natural part of my daily work. I prepare weekly group plans with the TinyApp planning tool. I also share those with parents in TinyApp. I use TinyApp to communicate with parents, and I follow reports, I prepare weekly and project plans as well as children's individual education plans. We share weekly activities with messages, photos, and videos to parents.
What are the TOP3 things in TinyApp?
1. In my opinion, the best part is documentation and that we can share those with parents. It emphasizes the interaction of our job. I feel that families get closer and are part of kindergarten activities. Rarely parents come to the kindergarten and follow our music activities, but through TinyApp messages, they can be part of what we do. TinyApp is a concrete tool for pedagogical documentation.
2. TinyApp aggregates group information. It is excellent that I can see the statistics regarding what we have done in the group.
3. The planning tool is excellent. I have learned how to use it this semester. I prepare weekly plans with the planning tool and all project and theme plans too. Now our theme is "Winter, snow, and ice". I first prepare the plan, and then we go it through with colleagues. I can always check the theme plan when preparing the weekly plans. We have not yet used the assessment tool.
How do you do pedagogical documentation?
I feel that the pedagogical documentation method has come up more last year. When studying, it was not discussed that much, but now, with colleagues and through the training I have familiarized myself with it. TinyApp provides us a tool and channel for pedagogical documentation.
Last time I documented our project, that was about the exhibition we had at the library. I wanted to document the process to families. Often I do not describe what is happening in the photos, but we have agreed with families that they ask from the children, and children can tell themselves about the pictures.
In practice, I document small group activities. Conveniently, I can link competencies to TinyApp messages. When I link those, I can also follow what we have done.
What has changed after taking TinyApp in use?
If I think about documentation, we used to share photos in a special photo frame or our blog. Parents did not follow those. Now when parents get a notification to their mobile when a new message has arrived, they do check it. So compared to our old way, TinyApp is an excellent tool for documenting.
And I have to say that the TinyApp analytics supports planning. When I see that there is an area that we have not focused that much. For example, for a child, I see that there is not much done around the multiliteracy area; I know I need to pay attention to it. TinyApp analytics is an excellent tool for me.
Mobile as a tool is also new compared to the old way. It is great when I can see in TinyApp a child's interests, and I can record targets to the child's individual education plan. Then parents also realize that there are also objectives for the activities. We had a perfect start for TinyApp; all parents got involved and have actively filled in the child's profile.
The most significant benefit is that I can share photos and information about our activities at the kindergarten with the parents. TinyApp-messages have involved parents in our daily life. It is lovely to hear when children tell me that at home they have looked at the photos that we have sent to their parents earlier in the day. This supports children to remember what they have done at the kindergarten.
What are the top 3 challenges in your work?
I feel that time management is a challenge. There is a lot of desk work that is always away from the child group. I think that big group sizes have an effect on the quality and also find it challenging to increase the appreciation of the educator work.
What are the top 3 highlights of your work?
Children give a lot of strength and energy. I also like that I can be creative in my job. And if we think about how much time a child spends in kindergarten, we are a massive part of his day and life.