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Advice on Reggio documentation/display boards.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Our daycare is already very child centred and I am trying to start transitioning to a Reggio-inspired approach. I just wanted to ask some teachers with experience about what they are doing for documentation.

We already do very extensive daily reports for parents. This typically amounts to about 3/4 of a page typed, with a picture, daily for each child. These reports describe learning, annecdotes, quotes, and also the more mundane like time napped. Parents are very enthusiastic about these reports.

Now, I am working on display-type project documentation but find myself disappointed. We are putting sooo much effort and money into wall displays with the children's work, quotes, and photos compiled by our very artistic lead teacher. The results look fabulous and ought to be very inviting to both children and parents, but no one pays any attention or ever steps off the entry mat to take a closer look at their children's work.

I resolved that the displays were too high for the children to view properly. Displays had been done more at adult height since we have toddlers who tend to destroy anything posted less than three feet off the ground.

So, I purchased plexiglass and made some 2'x4' framed display panels right at their height, to showcase work and allow the toddlers to pat and mouth the displays as they wish. While this did garner some more interest from the children, the parents still seem to pay no attention.

I think each display probably costs at least $200 of staff time, writing explanatory text and putting together all the pictures, work and children's quotes. I wonder if we are just wasting resources and if we should devote those hours to more take-home documentation such as newsletters. Or, perhaps channel more of those teacher documentation hours into adult-child interactions.

- Krysta
post #2 of 8
Our preschool is Reggio and I think the displays are stuck together on posterboard. They rotate but change probably once a month. Usually there are pictures and text transcribed from a teacher's notes. They are interesting but not elaborate. Most of the children are 3 or 4 but there is a small program for 2 year olds. Other documentation is kept in a log by the door but again, it is mostly in plastic sleeves. It takes time but I don't think it is a huge burden and I think if it is very expensive/time consuming that you probably have overkill. But then I am a parent...
post #3 of 8
i have the same questions.
it's a lot of work, and i think the hardest part isn;t even in creating the board but in documenting DURING the process...and then it seems like nobody cares. there are the parents that have their kids there b/c it's daycare and they work alot and it's convenient and good...so they never look.
then there are the parents who have their kids there b/c they have $$ and want to work out and hang out for a half-day so they don't care either.
but every so often you get the parent who really wants to see the stuff. i suppose that makes it worth it. now that i am a parent and dd is at the school i love every little bit of it her class displays.
but this year i have a class of all daycare kids, before-care + aftercare who have been there since 8 weeks old. nobody is looking at our stuff. i'm thinking of instead focusing on visuals for the kids in the room...at least THEY love to see themselves and their work.
post #4 of 8
Also, a lot of work is done on the computer which for an experienced user, probably takes less time. The sheets get uploaded to the blog and one is printed out for the binder up front. They do about once a week.
post #5 of 8

This is a great discussion! I have been teaching at Reggio-inspired schools for a while now and I have the same concerns.  I think that tzs has a brilliant idea of re-focusing and making it mainly for the children.  I am going to shift my focus and try this myself.  

 

We have a monthly newsletter that I spend hours on, and at the end of the last two I pretty much begged the parents to "take a look around the room" to see the changing documentation.  The day after the newsletter went out both times the same two parents asked their children to "show them what's new". The boys were both very proud to do this, and of course I was thrilled.  But again, it just pointed out another thing to me... I think those two moms are the only ones that even read the newsletter!!!

 

The children are currently working on turning our dramatic play area into outer space.  One morning at meeting time I decided to read them back the script that I had recorded in my notebook while they played (it was a lively game- space ship running out of gas, crashing into earth, aliens, etc).  They went nuts for it! All the kids did.  So, I think something as simple as this, to type up their words with a few photos of them playing, and hang it at their eye level, will be much more meaningful.

 

Also, even if you feel like parents aren't reading it, I feel it is a good learning opportunity for more inexperienced teachers at your center to view them and help create them.

post #6 of 8

This is a great discussion! I have been teaching at Reggio-inspired schools for a while now and I have the same concerns.  I think that tzs has a brilliant idea of re-focusing and making it mainly for the children.  I am going to shift my focus and try this myself.  

 

We have a monthly newsletter that I spend hours on, and at the end of the last two I pretty much begged the parents to "take a look around the room" to see the changing documentation.  The day after the newsletter went out both times the same two parents asked their children to "show them what's new". The boys were both very proud to do this, and of course I was thrilled.  But again, it just pointed out another thing to me... I think those two moms are the only ones that even read the newsletter!!!

 

The children are currently working on turning our dramatic play area into outer space.  One morning at meeting time I decided to read them back the script that I had recorded in my notebook while they played (it was a lively game- space ship running out of gas, crashing into earth, aliens, etc).  They went nuts for it! All the kids did.  So, I think something as simple as this, to type up their words with a few photos of them playing, and hang it at their eye level, will be much more meaningful.

 

Also, even if you feel like parents aren't reading it, I feel it is a good learning opportunity for more inexperienced teachers at your center to view them and help create them.

post #7 of 8

oops it posted twice... I'm new to this

post #8 of 8

Hi, I take a reggio approach (although I teach in a public school) and I have two ideas for you.  One, have you thought of doing a blog where parents can post comments?  It is much more cost effective...you could maybe document the 'big projects' in your program but for the daily learning or smaller projects do a blog approach that you could update daily.  

 

Have you heard of Learning Stories from NZ?  They're so similar.  It's basically a narrative of one child's progress, sent home in a binder with pictures throughout the learning process--there is a page for parents to write comments.  Check out http://thelivingclassroom.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/a-learning-story/  and http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/SueHill/Learningstories.pdf

 

Good luck!  

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