The Importance of Documentation
Sharing a sense of pride and the spirit of learning.
Children are initiators, explorers, authors, inventors, illustrators, investigators, scientists, actors, designers, planners, artists and much more. Accordingly, the basis of our work is to help children gather knowledge and represent their thought processes. At Learning Brooke, children are active participants in their day and their work is represented through documentation — which is a living, breathing form of communication for the whole community.
When it comes to assessing a child’s development and needs, observation tells much of what we need to know. We look for the way children are able to understand their interests, how they relate what they know, the questions they have, along with the many ways they look for answers. In essence, we consider the child’s complete learning process.
Framing our environments with the inspiration of our explorers.
Learning Brooke Portfolios celebrate the individual potential and growth of our Explorers, while providing an invaluable personal profile for their ongoing development. In order to put this information into a form that can be examined and communicated, documentation is key to the process. In addition to logging scores of empirical data, our educators record, catalog and display the various pieces and elements described in the Learning Brooke Portfolios section of this website. The benefits gained are threefold.
1) Providing an additional learning tool for the children.
Throughout Learning Brooke, special presentation panels represent the children’s work. Being noticed gives our Explorers a sense of pride and ownership: a sense that their work and play are powerful and important. They can see the value of their play, using prior explorations to inspire new ones or extensions of previous ideas. This enables the children to revisit and share their learning with others. The environment also becomes a true reflection of their personalities and daily progress — inspiring them to further their explorations.
2) Keeping parents and visitors in touch with their child’s explorations.
On a given display panel, a family member is liable to see many things. It could be a direct quote from a child’s recent inquiry. It may be photos of a structure the child built with blocks. Families can also see how long-term projects are developing — sharing the experience with the child as he/she explains the work. This allows families to focus on the process the children are using and/or experiencing: instead of concentrating solely on the product of their efforts.
3) Helping our educators to enhance the curriculum.
To show the children we value and respect their work, the Learning Brooke curriculum continually evolves with the children’s current interests. Our teachers help extend their play by carefully listening, watching and noting the subjects that are most meaningful to the children. This enables the teachers to create new activities, projects and play areas — based on their observations of the Explorers in their care.