Documenting the journey

Happy Wednesday! 🙂

If you would like to join the conversation, today we are discussing how documenting a child’s learning journey doesn’t have to be a difficult process.  There are many different ways we can document learning and how much or little detail and time given to any provocation or project depends on the child/ children. 

In the above pictures, you see paint, a cat figure and then much more. 🙂  Setting out paint and paper is a provocation that is common in all early learning programs, it is what most children gravitate towards.  If we just think about how paint includes the full spectrum of colors, it is wet, creamy, glossy, squishy, and you get my point.  I am not the type of teacher to tell children they have to paint or what to paint.  Painting is a very open and expressive way for children to not only de-stress, get inspired, be creative, it is a way for children to show their skill level when they are interested in something and take the time to put their best into their work.  There was no lines or picture for this little girl to follow.  She likes cats and she made the decision to paint one.  Did the picture stay a cat?  No, it continued to evolve with her creativity, exploration, and intense concentration as she continued with her work.  

My documentation for this provocation was, of course, pictures, but I journaled the process to her parents so they could not only see the wonderful artwork as it emerged but so they could gain more understanding of how their child assimilates knowledge in a Reggio inspired environment.  

For the preschool fair last fall, I bought some lovely yellow roses for my display and of course they went right on the table for school the next day.  I put out plain paper and crayons with the bouquet as a provocation.  I did not know if anything similar to the roses was going to emerge, so it was a complete surprise to me when it did!  Prior to this representation of a rose, the drawings were not symbolic, they were still heavy in scribble form.  Apparently, I was not the only one in love with the roses! 🙂  See how internal motivation and something aesthetically pleasing can bring out such creativity and understanding?!  Once again I not only took pictures, but I typed the process this child went through.  Now, I only chose to use two forms of documentation for these two examples, but there are more ways to document children’s learning journeys.

Documentation is a wonderful way to travel with each child as he/ she begins their learning journeys.  Each step one takes is full of curiosity, explorations, discoveries, experimentations and creativity.  The path each child embarks on is one that encourages each to keep building onto the knowledge they already possess.  The more interested and involved children become in these journeys, the more they strengthen the foundation for all learning.  I want young children to be well prepared for their futures.  However, I also want to make sure that I am honoring each child as a human being that needs time to use play as their vehicle.  Documenting this process requires me to listen to their words, their  dialogue, and watch their play patterns.  I can take pictures, video, write their words, type their discussions, map out their plans and the process each takes when creating something new.  Then not only myself but the children and their families can look back on the process and be as happy and proud of their children as I am!  

Young children have so much intelligence that can be tapped into if we only stop pushing harsh worksheets and structured academics onto them.  Respecting the developmental journey each child has ahead of him/ her means valuing play and documenting along with the child the entire learning process.  Why?  Because children are our precious future and they will carry the world ahead of us.  So why not respect, value and care for them as intelligent and capable human beings.

Please like, share and keep the conversations going!  Read my previous blogs so you can see how this conversation is emerging!  Thank you for stopping by!

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT

The Marigold School of Early Learning

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