In life as in work there are a million things to do and each one appears to be as important as the other. Documentation for the NQF can be one of those must do things that just keeps getting pushed down the list, particularly when there are so many other things that need your immediate attention. Here are a couple of ideas that are used in other child care centres to ensure that there is time for documentation.
1. Commit to documentation
There needs to be a commitment by all staff to document. If there are members of staff who have every excuse under the sun why they ‘can not / have not’ produced documentation this needs to be addressed. Some centres provide a paid period of 15 to 30 minutes at the start or end of a shift to allow for documentation time.
2. Encourage support
At times there could be an opportunity for one educator to take the lead in an activity to provide another educator a few minutes to write a few notes or start an observation. This is usually achieved on an adhoc basis but can provide some time to get started.
3. Be inclusive
There are often times where children will ask ‘what you are doing?’, particularly if you are documenting on an electronic device such as a tablet. This may be an opportunity to be inclusive and discuss what you are doing and work some documentation into this event with the interested children. Perhaps document a planned goal for the child (NQS 1.1.2 child’s interests are the foundation of the program) or complete an observation about the inquiring nature of the child, NQF outcome 4.1 Shows curiosity or 5.1 Interacting verbally for a range of reasons.
4. Be realistic
If you are in the position to complete an observation every day that is great. If on the other hand you struggle to make the time, only commit to a manageable amount of documentation. An observation a day will accumulate to 200 + over a year, but one every other day may be all you are able to achieve. Do not be discouraged, continue to be consistent and your documentation base will continue to grow and show your ongoing commitment to the NQF and NQS QA1. Becoming stressed about your documentation or lack of it, will kill your productivity. Start small and grow your capacity.
Once you are committed and become confident in your documentation practice the process will become easier and easier.