Pedagogical Documentation

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Our Ministry of Ed recently released a monograph called Pedagogical Documentation that is based upon the Reggio Emilia approach for early education. This philosophy is grounded in the idea that as educators become more precise in their observation of the work of children, they will be better able to guide them into new learning experiences – essentially, using assessment for learning! You can read more about my summary of the Reggio Emilia approach here, but the core principles are:

  • A holistic approach to educating the whole child
  • Learner-Centred
  • A carefully organized environment engages children in a stimulating learning environment
  • Children are encouraged to inquire, observe, record, reflect upon and share their experiences
  • Community members are involved members of the learning community
  • The delight in learning is a major goal of this project approach
In Pedagogical Documentation, our Ministry makes the following statement which I think fits nicely with the way that many of us are trying to transform our classrooms with technology tools:
As educators become more adept in the use of documentation, they embrace it not so much as a technical process but as an attitude toward teaching and learning. They understand the value of knowing their students and how they thing so that learning is maximized. This transformational change moves the focus away from product and “becomes an approach of knowing, making it possible for the adult to be and know together with the child” so that the students’ interests, thinking and understanding drive instruction (Turner & Wilson, 2010).
Help me unpack this a little more – here’s what I’m grappling with…
How might our conceptions of teaching and learning change if digital documentation played a bigger role?
How might documentation make assessment more authentic?
What happens to our thinking about public and private knowledge?
Hoping to hear your thoughts on this!


  1. Hi Brenda. That all sounds lovely and I fully support it. However, having recently read the Kindergarten curriculum, I fear that the children will still be pushed to go beyond their developmental stage which research clearly shows destroys a love of learning, at least at school. My own 6 year old twins have a strong dislike of school already. Do you think this report can work with the curriculum?


  2. In my experience with pedagogical documentation this is not an issue at all. Children are not pushed. They are challenged by teachers who believe passionately that children are capable. It is a transformational approach. I have seen it in many settings from Reggio Emilia to Ontario with a few places in between.


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