More than Just Words.
Pedagogical documentation is an important part of what we do as educators here at Bear Park, it is a conduit that gives structure to our thinking, a tool if you will that allows the process of children’s work to be noticed and recognized for the scientific and important work that is children’s play.
As an Early childhood education centre in New Zealand, Bear Park implements Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood education curriculum.
Te Whāriki is a play based curriculum designed in a way that allows each Early childhood education setting to create a programme that is both unique and contextual to each child, parent, and teacher who form a learning community. Within the Bear Park learning community, the curriculum woven with ākonga (learners) is further enhanced and strengthened through the principles and practices of the Reggio Emilia
Approach that are intricately interlaced within this curriculum framework.
An important aspect of the Reggio Approach is ‘making learning visible’ through learning stories and wall documentation, and documenting not only the experiences children are having but also allowing ourselves to go beyond the surface, to delve deeper into the questions and theories
that the children are asking and the approaches that they choose to use to explore their thoughts and ideas further. Carla Rinaldi once said that “Documentation is not about what we do, but what we are searching for.”
It’s documentation of children’s learning that implores us as a child’s educator and whānau to be present with them in that moment and to go beyond what appears to be simplicity itself, but on closer observation is in fact a child demonstrating their ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, as they follow their innate sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around them.
At Bear Park our ākonga are continually expressing their thoughts and ideas through an array of expressive languages and it is a privilege as educators to work alongside the children as they generate, research, and modify their working theories about the world around them. Documenting this learning and making it visible for both the children and whānau through learning stories and documentation boards is something that
we at Bear Park place a lot of value on as it’s not only showing our ākonga that we value their work, we are giving them a voice so that they are empowered to lead their own learning.