JUNE 2017

Kinder Pop is our resource shop for early childhood education. Our team of early childhood education enthusiasts extend from Danawa Education Malaysia, which has proudly served the Malaysian education community for over 15 years.
Documentation Series Part 2: Reggio Emilia 'Pedagogical Documentation'  This month, we are focusing on 'Pedagogical Documentation'- the documentation style and philosophy borne out of Reggio Emilia, Italy.  You may have come across the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education - which holds many important ideas and perspectives on empowering children's learning and experience with education.

Pedagogical (which means 'teaching') Documentation is part of any educator's day in a Reggio Emilia influenced classroom. Teachers make records of events in the life of the school as a tool for research.  Through pedagogical documentation, teachers are seeking to reveal  layers of learning and discovery of the children. The teacher will focus on a particular learning moment (for either a group or individual child) and then thoughtfully write down what occurred, excerpts of children's dialogue, and their own insight into the child's learning (from the perspective of the teacher) as well as photos.  Teachers are all the time working out the strengths and interests of their students, and pedagogical documentation is just one way to explore these.  You could consider it like a process tool to develop a teacher's understanding and ability. Once a teacher has deeper insight and understanding about a child or a group, this will positively influence her teaching, her dialogue with the children and the curriculum/activities she plans and sets up.  

The other important role of pedagogical documentation in early childhood education is to share learning with the community within a school - e.g the parents/families, other teachers, and very importantly the students themselves . Children can thoroughly enjoy revisiting and reflecting upon their experiences, especially with photographs within documentation.  Teachers treat pedagogical documentation as a process for 'making learning visible', and it is up to the teacher or principal to determine how frequently pieces (often called panels) of pedagogical documentation should be created. 


Different Teaching Philosophies

Want to learn more about the famous, inspiring Reggio Emilia 'ways' of teaching? Watch this inspiring video:

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Classroom Interior Inspo!   

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Examples of Reggio Emilia 'Pedagogical Documentation' 

There is a thoughtful process behind putting together pedagogical documentation.  As with most things in ECE, it starts with observation.  A teacher will be looking, noticing and recognising moments in the day that represent clues or indications of children's learning and development.  The teacher can then make the choice to document and share something meaningful about this observation. The Reggio Emilia education philosophy encourages teachers to be attentive to the many, many ways that children express themselves - for example, their words, their art, their creations, their behaviours and their actions.   And so a piece of pedagogical documentation (can be hand written or created using technology) may include observations, notes, images, or even audio and video.

Teachers who teach according to the Reggio Emilia philosophy will also be very mindful of the 'impact' of their word and image choices.  There are many concepts and principles that embody this teaching philosophy and these can be reflected in documentation.  For example, the teacher may want the documentation to show how the children demonstrate that they are competent and capable of complex thinking, or they may want the documentation to communicate the questions and theories that children have about the world.  

When teachers create a panel of pedagogical documentation they are actually making it possible to reflect on something in the past.  Through this meaningful process,  teachers are taking responsibility for deeper understanding and making decisions in their implementation of early childhood education.  Many schools are using Reggio Emilia aspects, including pedagogical documentation as a way to promote ongoing teacher commitment to reflective practise. To learn more about this, check out this classic and wonderful book 'Working in the Reggio Way'.  


Example Panels of Pedagogical Documentation 
HANDA'S SURPRISE. Oh my.. what a beautiful animation of a wonderful storybook, 'Handa's Surprise'!  Set in an African countryside, this story is wonderful for discussing sequence and surprise!

And with some quick research online, you can find activities to extend your children's learning, for example: