• Kate Hodgekiss

Learning (what) Story....

Since the introduction of the National Quality Standard and the Early Years Learning Framework there has been a huge emphasis on documentation. Arguments about the best way to document have ensued with the traditional observation vs the learning story debate taking over. Now I am all for meaningful pedagogical documentation. In fact, I confess to being a bit of a documentation queen - I love it. I take great pride in representing the learning that has taken place in my room in a professional and inviting manner. But that right there is the key - I take pride in representing the learning. That means that before I take to the documentation board I am doing something meaningful and intentional with the children! I often see services that are so caught up in the documentation side of things that they forget to focus on the learning side. But you can't have one without the other.

I used to tell the educators at my service - you can document all you want, but if you are not doing meaningful, thoughtful experiences with the children this will surely show through in your documentation. If that's the case it won’t matter how aesthetically pleasing or well written your documentation is. It won’t matter how much you relate it to theory and curriculum. If your experiences with the children aren’t up to muster then nor will your documentation be. When we study our degree or diploma or cert 3 we don’t learn how to write, we learn how to teach. Documentation is a part of that to be sure, but it does not work on its own - it must be a representation of thoughtful, intentional teaching and meaningful learning.

So when assessing your service under Area 1 - program and practice, I would challenge services to think first about the practice and secondly about the program - practice and program rather than the other way around. Engage the children through their natural curiosity and sense of wonder. Because it works both ways - just as your documentation will show poor practice, it will also demonstrate good practice. So even if you are not a great writer, or you do not have an eye for presentation of documentation, it won’t matter, because the richness of your planned experiences with the children will show through anyway.

#documentation #earlychildhood #practice #learning #intentional

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