10 members from West Melton Playcentre and two from Darfield Playcentre started the PIA (Playcentre Introductory Award) in late July.

When they reached the end of the first module (Let’s Play) and were halfway through, a member of their group decided to celebrate and recognise this in a novel way and delicious way, by providing half a cake!

This group has gone on to do the second module of the PIA and seven are already booked in for the B403 module (positive relationships) which is part of the PEA (Playcentre Education Award).

Beginning Online Learning

Next term we will take another big step forward with the goal towards a fully blended delivery of the level 4 programme. A blended learning programme has some content as face to face (in workshops) and some online. We believe some content is best delivered as workshops. For example, Play, curriculum and communication are best suited to face to face settings in groups while other content can be provided either as a set of workshops or as an package online.

The online option will allow you to work through the learning from your home, at your own pace, at a time of the day when it suits you for a specified timeframe say over a 2 month period for a particular module. You could do it all in the first week if that was what you wanted to do or use the whole time it is offered over.

The Learning Management System we are building our online packages on is called iQualify and is a NZ software application and platform specifically designed to provide content, learning resources, exercises, videos, activities, feedback to learners and for you to be supported by connecting you with a tutor. We are going to begin with the C405 module. The content of five of the eight workshops in this module will be available as an online package. Students will register their interest to participate using the current Playcentre website booking system – go on the Playcentre website to “Find a Workshop”. The Schedule advertising ‘events’ will specify if the module is an online option and will explain how you will receive information to access the iQualify platform, the start date and how long you will have access to the system to do the particular content online.

This is just the beginning of using a fully blended approach across the programme. Eventually, more content will be available as an online learning option. For some modules – part of the content will be online and the remainder as workshops or the whole module may be available online. In some instances students will able to choose between a workshop series or an online package for the learning in a particular module – whatever suits you best.