Conversations and Documentation
"Language links us to the world and others." - Louise Cadwell
We recently read a chapter from a well known book titled, Bringing Reggio Emilia Home by Louise Cadwell. The chapter focuses on the importance of conversations with children - small group, large group, the role of the children, the role of the adult, analyzing these conversations, and using them to guide the work in the classroom. We have been discussing this in our teaching teams and as a whole staff. Conversations are central to our work with the children, and we hope to further emphasize this in our documentation (blog, classroom, presentations, etc.).
We would like to share a few thoughts with you from this chapter:
1. "It is through speaking and listening to ideas [...] that shared meanings are shaped and our singular perspectives are enriched." - Cadwell, pg 62
2. "As children listen to the views and understanding of others and stretch their concepts to find common ground; as they collaborate and argue with others, consider new alternatives, and recast their ideas to communicate or to convince, they advance their ideas in the process of participation. It is a matter of social engagement that leaves the individual changed." - Rogoff, 1990 pg. 195-196
3. "The motivation for placing these conversations at the center of the curriculum is to enable children to develop their critical and creative thinking ability to its fullest; to promote cooperation, interaction, and negotiation among children and to celebrate children's natural curiosity and wonder about the world and how it works." - Fyfe and Cadwell, 1993
Conversations and Documentation
We are always learning and adapting our approaches to documentation. A consistent goal is for the children to know and understand that their voices matter. Their words, their ideas, their contributions to our community, matter. It is their voices that drive the work that we do.
"Draw the notes." - Cully, 3.4 years
Photographs as tools for communication
Children often associate reading with books and the written word/symbols. They are, however, always reading the environment and images in their environment. As you know, the Visual Projections have been a wonderful tool for projecting our work and involving the children in this process. From the beginning, they have been reading the images and using them to make sense of our days.
As we build the habit of looking at the projections each day, while also reflecting on past weeks and months and looking forward to the coming weeks/months, the children are demonstrating the ability to read these projections for themselves.
This week, we shared a blank Visual Projections page and asked the children to help us think about what we might need for February:
"Valentine's. It's to make our friends happy." - Eliza, 3.3 years
"It's sing-along." - Gracie, 3.3 years
"That's Jill." - Caroline, 2.8 years
If you're interested, we'd be happy to share a copy of this chapter from the book (approximately 8 pages). It is a wonderful peek into the process of having conversations with the children, documenting them, analyzing them, and using them for projecting the work.
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