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Documentation Study Session April 2017
April 29, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT
Dear friends and colleagues,
Several of us, educators representing child care, school boards, and graduate students, spent a pleasant Saturday morning together recently at our York University/Ontario Reggio Association documentation study session.
We had the opportunity to read documentation together that included children sharing ideas of assembling materials together as a very nice sample of the empathy and the sensitivity of children working in their many zones of proximal development found in groups as they were learning with each other. We also studied some photographs that showed a child’s surprisingly strong sense of design revealed in his interest collecting and beautifully arranging bouquets of leaves. Another collection of documentation shared a child’s painting of sunflowers in response to hearing a read aloud. This documentation highlights how thinking stimulated through language may lead to expression mode of communication. Finally, documentation was shared that showed how a child’s approach to materials changed when her friend was missing. It’s interesting that sometimes we notice how the presence of things or people affects us but we often forget to realize how the absence of people or things has an affect too. Each of these samples showed valuable information about the children and their learning but these sorts of things may often go unrecognized or unvalued without using pedagogical documentation.
Studying documentation is an excellent form of professional development. It offers the documenter an opportunity to learn how people read data that they have collected and the meaning that they are making of what they see. As the documenter listens, they hear what people see, what they are wondering about, and what they are thinking about as they read their documentation. This listening process allows educators to take time to think about their practice and to consider how they communicate their ideas. It also allows an opportunity to hear a variety of different interpretations of the same documentation that they have collected and value these differences.
Please feel welcome to join us at our sessions. You may bring documentation in any form or stage of development and we will study it together. If you do not have documentation to share, but you are interested in learning about processes of documentation study that we use, you are also welcome.
We will be meeting in our usual Room 283B, Winters College, York University on April 29th from 10-12. Please register using Eventbrite for this free event. I look forward to seeing you there.
Ellen Brown, MEd, OCT, RECE
PhD student, York University