This month sees the launch of the new ‘Quality Enhancement’ recording function on MOSAIC Educator. The word ‘Enhancement’ is purposefully used to signify the ongoing and sometimes overlooked actions that shape quality provision and practice in early childhood settings.
As Ireland’s only completely child-focussed pedagogical documentation system, the inclusion of the Quality Enhancement Record adds another dimension to the already comprehensive early education tool. Early childhood services using the MOSAIC platform will be able to plan and record a wide range of quality actions over any period of time. A downloadable report promotes a progressive view of quality where quality actions are seen as any activity that enhances user experience (children and family); staff expertise or well-being (management and staff), and quality compliance (outside organisations).
The development of the MOSAIC Quality Enhancement Record is underpinned by the idea that quality is not just mandatory or narrow pre-determined options. Instead, it embraces a range of actions that may be overlooked.
Quality enhancement can be hidden in plain sight.
By way of example, I have seen evidence of this in the previous week alone. A pre-school service in County Donegal has gone to great lengths to find and install a specially adapted piece of outdoor equipment for two children with specific mobility needs. This responsive action enables the children to experience play equity with their peers. That’s ‘Quality’ right there – responding to the individual
needs/voice of the child, honouring the child’s right to participate, promoting well-being and a sense of belonging to the group.
During a recent mentoring session, a creche manager in County Mayo told me about a mindfulness and self-care programme delivered to the whole staff team to help them cope with work and life stress. Her ability to recognise the need for a staff well-being intervention and her leadership in making it happen, is also a strong quality indicator.
In addition, we will also be welcoming the latest group of early childhood services to TribeMOSAIC this month. These services, by adopting a process based pedagogical documentation system, will provide an educational and care pathway for every individual child in the setting. Educator time will be used more efficiently, and family will be engaged and updated in real time. In addition, professional evidence-based documentation will underline quality practice for visiting agencies. Quality in multiples.
These examples of quality interventions will take their place on the MOSAIC Quality Enhancement Plan providing a well-rounded and accumulative view of quality enhancement.
On a cautionary note, care is needed to ensure that Quality Action Planning as a requirement of Core Funding this does not turn into a tick box exercise, suffocated by an avalanche of administration requirements for funding. This would undermine what is most likely a well-intentioned action.
Recognition must be afforded to early childhood settings that adopt a progressive and broader approach to quality, not because they have to, but because they want to.
About the Author:
Avril McMonagle is Founder and CEO of MOSAIC Digital Solutions for Early Education which provides a range of child centred digital products, training and quality compliance supports for early childhood services and stakeholders. For more see www.mosaicearlyed.com; email [email protected] and follow us on social media @mosaicearlyed
Additional information: MOSAIC is a multi-modal child documentation system that captures the learning, development and care of children of up to a five-year period in early education. It is the only application on the market in Ireland exclusively dedicated to the child and their unique educational pathway regardless of age or ability. The mobile and web-based system facilitates evidenced based pedagogical documentation including assessment for learning and emergent planning based on the needs of the individual child. The sharable platform enables collaborative partnerships in early learning involving the child, educator and family.