1. The purpose of documentation
Observation and documentation provide evidence of children’s thinking and learning in Kindergarten and inform the teaching and learning environment.
2. Types of documentation
Kindergarten educator teams use a variety of strategies to capture evidence of children’s thinking and learning in the contexts of exploration, play and inquiry, both indoors and outdoors. Documentation may include items such as:
- Photos of children engaged in activities as learning and inquiry progress;
- Visual representations of children’s learning, including photographs of artefacts, projects, and explorations;
- Digital audio recordings or video clips of children engaged in play-based learning or explaining their thinking;
- Notes of what is seen and heard while children are engaged in exploration, play, and inquiry.
Documentation may also involve creating items such as:
- Learning stories that capture the context of the learning environment, as well as the contexts that children come from, which may play a part in enabling or inhibiting learning;
- Portfolios that capture development over time, connect to overall expectations, and provide evidence of children’s reflections (e.g., “I am learning to...”);
- Documentation panels, or a series of photographs paired with captions about the knowledge, concepts, or theories that children are constructing.
3. "Noticing and naming" children’s learning
In Kindergarten, the emphasis is on engaging children throughout the documentation process to help them understand their strengths and interests as learners and develop the ability to articulate and monitor their own learning.
4. Supporting the Kindergarten educator team
School leaders use professional learning conversations with educator teams to support embedding documentation into daily practice. They encourage educators to take time to reflect on key decision points, such as how decisions regarding learning experiences are informed by assessment information and how learning is being made visible to children.
5. Engaging families in the documentation process
School leaders may support Kindergarten educator teams in building parents’ understanding of and participation in pedagogical documentation by:
- Ensuring that time is dedicated to building trusting relationships with families and responding fully to families' questions about Kindergarten;
- Viewing families and communities as co-constructors of children’s learning;
- Inviting parents into the classroom to share with them the evidence of their child’s learning and to reflect with them on their child’s learning, to share experiences, and to familiarize them with resources that will support their child’s deeper learning;
- Developing an approach for sharing stories about children’s learning with families – and inviting families to share any information about their child’s learning that they might like to add.
Source: Supporting Ontario Leadership Strategy: Principals Want to Know
Issue #15 (revised) October 2017
To see how your Kindergarten child's progress is documented on the provincial report card,click here