Documentation of Learning

“Documentation is not pretty pictures of engaged children. Rather, it captures the thinking process: What motivated [students] to begin, continue, change direction? What were the breakthroughs, the pivotal remarks or actions? How did they solve the problem? The goal is to enable whoever reads a panel to understand what the child attempted and how they went about it, to see stimulus, process, and outcome.”

-A. Lewin-Benham (2006). Possible Schools: The Reggio Approach to Urban Education. New York: Teacher’s College Press.

Documentation in an intentionally designed environmentWhile reflecting on this quote, think of your classroom walls:

  • What is hanging on the walls?
  • Is it a reflection of the children?
  • Do the children look at, talk about, use the information that is hanging on the walls?
  • Did the children have the opportunity to help create the pieces on the walls?                                                                                                                                                                         As educators, we need to reflect on how we are showcasing the process of the learning of young children, how do we provide a visual to others of the children’s thinking.

Documentation of Learning journeyintoearlychildhood.comI believe that if we had this goal in mind as we are hanging items on our walls and deciding how to document children’s learning- not just the end product but the process as well- it would serve as an incredible focal point for student conversations as well as provide an amazing visible display of what children are learning and thinking for parents, administrators and other stakeholders- what are your thoughts?


Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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