ERIC Number: ED393608
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
The Contribution of Documentation to the Quality of Early Childhood Education. ERIC Digest.
Katz, Lilian G.; Chard, Sylvia C.
Documentation, in the forms of observation of children and recordkeeping, has long been practiced in many early childhood programs, particularly in the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Documentation typically includes samples of children's work at several stages of completion; photographs showing work in progress; comments by teachers working with the children; transcriptions of children's discussions; and parents' comments. High-quality documentation of children's work contributes to the quality of early childhood programs in at least six ways. First, documentation enhances children's learning. The processes of preparing and displaying documentaries of children's efforts provides a kind of re-visiting of experience during which new understandings are clarified and strengthened. Second, careful and attractive documentary displays convey to children that their efforts are taken seriously. Third, documentation encourages continuous teacher planning and evaluation of work with children. When teachers and children plan together, activities are likely to be undertaken with greater interest and representational skill than when children plan alone or when teachers are unaware of challenges facing the children. Fourth, documentation fosters parent appreciation and participation. Through learning about the work in which their children are engaged, parents may contribute ideas for activities to teachers and their own time in the classroom. Fifth, teacher research and process awareness is fostered by documentation. As teachers examine and document children's work, their understanding of children's development is deepened in ways not likely to occur from inspecting test results. Sixth, children's learning is made visible through documentation, which provides information about children's progress that cannot be obtained from standardized tests. When children are engaged in absorbing and complex projects, documentation can make a contribution in these six ways. (BC)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.