Documentation is a process, a living story of children’s thinking, ideas, questions, trials & errors, educators questions and reflections. It is never finished, rather a continual collaborative dance between child, educator, and environment.
“It offers a process for listening to children, for creating artifacts from that listening, and for studying with others what children reveal about their competent and thoughtful views of the world” (Wien, C,).
The value of listening to children, materials, environment, parents, and educators creates opportunities for shared research.
This shared research between the work of the children and work of the adults needs to be a priority in our practice.
Pedagogical documentation is , “the study of the learning taking place” (Stacey, S., 2015, Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood, pg. 1).
Engaging in this collaborative practice not only makes the learning visible to us, the children, parents, admin, but also to the community.
This shared practice shines a light on how capable and competent children are. As well as the importance of quality early learning programs and the need for us as early childhood educators for children’s development.
Documenting the conversations, dramatic stories, graphic representations, thinking during play, children’s observations allows us to show the different ways of learning and communicating children ideas, known as the hundred languages.
Choosing the right type of documentation will create a strong voice, such as recording a dramatic piece along with photos will bring the learning to actual life.
Children, educators, and parents will be able to reflect and make new theories based on their own observations of the video.
They will see first hand children expressing their thoughts, ideas, & hypothesis. Educators adding in their own observations and wonderings next to photos will begin to create that shared practice.
This is another step towards creating a collaborative curriculum and shared thinking between the children and educators.
I recently listened to a podcast and the guest was Don Giesbrecht, Executive Director of Canadian Child Care Federation, and he said that on average parents are in our facilities for 90 seconds each day for drop off and pick up.
That is not a lot of time to give parents an impression of what a child is learning.
This is where documentation can help engage and communicate what their child is learning.
Art work, pictures and projects displayed in the entrance or hallways can act as an invitation for the parent to engage with on their own.
As well as the children will point out their own art work or pictures which creates a conversation with their parent about what has occurred.
Children may make new observations, parents can have their own questions and this continues the exploration and engagement of the child.
Having your observations, questions, and ideas alongside the children’s work will give the parents a clearer story of their children’s ideas, thoughts, and theories.
“Pedagogical documentation inserts a new phase of thinking and wondering together between the act of observation and the act of planning a response.”(Wien, C., Making the Learning Visible Through Pedagogical Documentation).
Stacey, (2015, page 2) notes how documenting supports our growth as educators:
Documentation is a collaborative story between the educators, children and parents.
It is a map of a child’s learning, a tool for educators continuous growth and development, and a parent’s door to their child’s day.
Now that you know what and why we make documentation…how do you make these different kinds of documentation….
within the limited time that you have?
There are many ways to make these but I have ONE fav tool that I use everyday that is very effective, simple to use and every ECE’s fav thing, FREE…
Canva is a robust powerful tool that can be used for FREE to help with making the learning visible through newsletters, portfolios, social media posts, blogs, documentation panels that are modern, easy to consume and professionally designed.
It’s DRAG AND DROP editor makes it easy to use even for the not so tech savvy ones.
I’ve been using Canva for over 3 years and all of the free guides, workshop slides, resource books, social media posts, my website, blog..basically everything has been created in Canva.
I WISH I knew about Canva when I was operating my dayhome and for the 16 pieces of documentation I had to review each week when at a large centre.
Canva has many tools that can help you use your limited time more effectively to utilize your artifacts and create pieces of documentation that you can use to advocate for play, make the learning visible and continue to research.
If you are curious, can easily make a free account at www.canva.com (and there is an app too that has been updated and much more user friendly on mobile devices!) Which makes it easier when you get a random 15 minutes during nap time to easily put together a learning story!
Then make sure to check out this brand new resource, DOCUMENTATION TEMPLATES! A powerful but easy to use resource to help you make the learning visible.
With these intentionally designed Documentation Templates, you’ll be showcasing the learning across portfolio’s, newsletters, panels and learning stories.
I am an Early Childhood Consultant and very passionate about supporting and inspiring my fellow Educators. I will share my reflections and experiences about implementing my philosophy, views, and ideas into my practice.
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