Can your supplier do all this, or indeed, can your pens, paper and files?
8+ Plus Reasons to spark up your provision…
1. Can you… save time?
- By deploying staff effectively in practical terms and with financial efficiency; Practitioners can continually be with the children. Time out to catch up on ‘paperwork’ or add to digital records is not required.
- On senior staff doing and checking Practitioner’s work. Regular observations go out to parents in real-time without any literacy issues.
- On compiling paper learning journals. No more ‘cut out and stick’ evidence into books.
- On writing up long observations.
- Cross-referencing observations. It is all done instantly addressed within the software.
- Working out the possible Next Steps. spark provides focused suggestions based on the individual’s progress for the Educator to choose from in line with the child’s current interests.
- Carrying out analysis. Each child’s progress is instantly before you, all at the touch of a button, in different formats, and each is easy to decipher (no need to reproduce something else.
- Checking if data is accurate; spark holds and gives precise and accurate information.
- Tracking Groups. With a range of options, appropriately organised, you have everything on hand.
- Planning the environment and activities. spark’s flexibility will match your ethos on planning for the children while staff are supported with child development. The planning features can be used formally, informally, or not at all.
- Compiling transition reports; choose what you wish to share.
2. Do you… Wow your paying customer? Enhance your reputation and consequently gain more revenue…
- Parent – Educator relationships are robust, and professional discussions about learning and development can confidently take place. All staff have access to information. Key Persons will know the children exceptionally well as will staff within that team.
- Information not remembered can be quickly accessed and given to the parent.
- Children flourish. spark has been designed to flow with the child’s interests, building upon what they already know and can do, in a ‘use on the go’ format, so learning and adult-child interactions are not impeded.
- Gaps in learning and development are discovered quickly as are children who excel. Consequently, staff can swiftly exercise applicable interventions.
- Children can learn at their own pace in things they are keen to know about. Therefore, they seek and enjoy new experiences and attending the setting.
- As all are working from a consistent platform no child is disadvantaged by the ability or aptitude of their Key Person; therefore there is less worrying and complaints by the paying customer (freeing up senior time again).
- Parents will appreciate daily progress and informal learning objectives.Relationships with parents should be strong.
- spark offers parents different ways to become active brain builders at home during their daily routines and activities they may organise.
- Differentiate for families, so they have suitable software tools to encourage and develop their involvement level.
- Parents receive standard observations instantly, including photographs.
- Parents receive extra information on these observations instantly or on the same day.
- Reminders are sent in an evening to encourage parents to share events with their child.
- Every adult involved with a child’s care and education may become involved (for example, sending news, feeding back after a Learning Journey Profile Report or into The Progress Check).
3. Do you… Retain staff and save on recruitment costs by enhancing job satisfaction?
- Deploy staff effectively and save on the number within your team. May be able to re-deploy the saved staff hours to fill a role or vacancy that has been hard to fill (being lean).
- Your team will spend more if not, all of their time with the children. Playing with the children is generally the part they most enjoy! Non-contact time to do ‘paperwork’ or to catch up on digital observations is not required.
- Improve your team’s work: life balance, if there is currently a need to take work home.
- Members of staff focus on the children’s or setting’s needs as appropriate to their role.
- Promotes the well-being of the team as there will be less stress and pressure. Such as, always being on an ever-ending paperwork/observation/planning ‘catch up’.
- Working ‘on the go’ ensures team members can see the difference they are making every day.
- Staff members are supported with the EYFS through spark and from evaluations. All can accomplish and aspire to do even better for their Key Children.
- HR issues can be quickly substantiated around learning and development, and highlights of exceptional practice, within a team, celebrated
- Happy staff, happy children, and happy parents.
4. Make sure that you… Save on staff training and narrow in to use your training budget well
Greg Bottrill, an early years expert in the power of play: “spark is certainly a powerful piece of software with an array of possibilities for analysis and feedback. The next steps are what I really like. It feels like software that is ‘malleable’ to the needs of the setting too – not didactic which is a big positive. In a way, it is like a training tool for staff too that brings into focus the children and their needs.”
- The software (whichever sort) provides ongoing support and guidance for each hierarchical level.
- spark supports less able or inexperienced staff in understanding and to appropriately deliver the EYFS curriculum confidently.
- Evaluation and writing reports are less laborious (Ref C), as staff are supported through the processes and with their literacy skills.
- All staff are encouraged to evaluate their ‘teaching strategies’ against each of their Key Children’s progress in a particular field (Areas of Learning, Characteristics of Effective Learning, Sustained Shared Thinking, Involvement, Phonics etc.). Therefore, upskilling is a continual process.
- Using spark supports professional conversations with parents and external professionals (LA, Ofsted, Case Reviews etc.).
- Information is available for staff supervision and appraisals.
- Data and evaluations indicate who and what teams need additional support. This approach enables management to take accurate measures to upskill effectively (mentoring, individual or group training). So there can be a targeted focus on training expenditure and the difference it has made.
- The outcomes from the training provided can be measured and authenticated as improvements are visualised.
- spark offers a platform to empower a continuous improvement ethos.
5. Can you really miss out on the free, extra and personal support below?
- From an experienced Early Years sparkCONSULTANT. Weekly initially and then as required.
- WhatsApp and Facebook groups
- Via monthly sparkNEWSLETTERs
- Video clips within sparkTUTOR
- sparkDROP-INs – pose questions and discuss spark and early years with other sparkUSERs alongside Catherine (founder of spark)
6. Improving your cashflow
- Take advantage of different ways to pay.
- Only pay for what you need rather than for elements you don’t require.
- Pay at different times of the year for what you want for your setting.
- Save on:-
- Staff salaries.
- Paper and Post-It-Notes.
- Printer and Biro ink.
- Diary booklets.
- Scrapbooks, folders, laminating pouches and glue.
- Arch lever files
- spark works on all platforms and inexpensive tablets.
- Improve occupancy through an enhanced reputation.
- Professional reports, charts and graphs are available to share and set you aside from others.
- Time to be customer-focused, thus enhancing customer service
- Developed partnerships with parents, external professionals, local schools and providers
- Boosted progress in children’s learning and development as staff are consistently focused
- Increased recognition by regulatory and professional bodies (Ofsted, Quality Assurance, External Professionals)
- Add a fundraiser by introducing spark@HOME
7. Be professional and keep within the law:-
- Maintain at least the Minimum/Living Wage rates by not needing staff to work ‘unpaid’ hours at home as they strive to keep up with paperwork
8. Save on space and maintenance perhaps!
- There’s no need for shelves of heavy files, where paper may slip out, get lost or get tatty.
- All the valuable information is kept safe and altogether in one place on spark.
9. Be green
- Do your bit to save the planet for the children in your care
This article has been written on what is possible with spark. It will rely on how well it is used. spark always will respect which bits you wish to use for your setting and ensure you gain fully in these aspects.
A – The focus of this article is on sparkPRO; however, sparkESSENTIAL will potentially improve your bottom line too.
B – Cross-Referencing refers to; Areas of Learning, Development Matters Statements and Characteristics of Effective Learning; spark will also cross-reference to ECaT and Sustained Shared Thinking Strands
C – For example, in 15-20 minutes, you have a detailed report of progress. Included are the child’s progress; the chosen next learning and development needs with ideas in how the parent might help their child at home. Get in touch, and we will send you one!