The Power of Documentation


Documentation is not about what we do, but what we are searching for. – Carla Rinaldi


Documentation can serve to illuminate the thinking, a change in thinking that occurred,

what was learned or not learned, the evolution of behaviour questioning,

maturity responses, and opinions – Jullianne Wurm


Teachers – like children and everyone else – feel the need to grow in their competencies;

they want to transform experiences into thoughts, thoughts into reflections,

and reflections into new thoughts and new actions.

They also feel a need to make predictions, to try things out, and to interpret them…

Teachers must learn to interpret ongoing processes rather than

waiting to evaluate results. – Loris Malaguzzi


Documentation is designed to capture evidence of the growth, development, and learning that is happening in preschool. At CCPRE, you’ll notice an emphasis on carefully displaying, documenting, and making visible the children’s thoughts and learning progression. We observe and document the daily life of the school to make learning visible. Each child has a portfolio binder or narrative of learning that includes photographs of the child’s projects, quotes from the child, artwork and writing samples. Children’s learning experiences are shared with parents and other visitors through documentation panels that are displayed throughout the school.


This documentation captures the thinking process and what motivated the students to begin a play scenario or project or to change direction. The panels are designed to illustrate where the breakthroughs happened and what pivotal remarks or actions were important to the learning process. They gather data on the progression of problem solving skills – how the child solved the problem, what the child attempted, and how they modified their strategies based on their experiences.


Parents and preschool educators use this form of data to discuss what is being learned, to identify strengths and next steps, and to create new curriculum based on this data. Documentation can take many forms: children’s writing, drawings, and creations; photos and videos; or transcripts of children’s spoken questions and statements.