Pedagogical documentation can bring highlight different perspectives and encourage introspective practices among kindergarten employees. This explains why pedagogical documentation is such a popular tool in many kindergartens.
The documentation can be recorded as text, photos, videos, audio recordings and displays. By doing this, the documentation can also be shared with others.
‘Pedagogical documentation can change kindergartens’ way of working. Operations can also be organised differently using documentation.
‘Meanwhile, there is also a danger that the children will be objectified in the adults’ eyes’, cautions the Swedish researcher Karin Alnervik. She points out that documentation has been overly focussed on individual children, rather than on the activities in kindergarten.
‘We must invest effort in the documentation and use it to generate new ideas and thoughts. As adults, we wield a great deal of power, so we must take care not to use pedagogical documentation to control the children’, she says.
‘How do those who succeed do it?’
HOW DO THEY DO IT?
In Sweden, all kindergartens engage in systematic documentation work. Meanwhile, it is up to each individual kindergarten how to carry out the documentation. Not all efforts meet with success.
‘How do those who succeed do it?’
That was the question Alnervik asked herself before going out to visit kindergartens to study pedagogical documentation. The former kindergarten teacher is a researcher at the School of Education and Communication in Jönköping. Alnervik notes that the kindergartens that succeed in these efforts are organised in a way that enables colleagues to learn from each other. It takes a great deal of confidence and courage for educators to take a critical look at themselves and their own work. When new ways of working are introduced, entailing changes in an activity, this can give rise to antagonisms among the staff.
‘It’s all about the organisation of “the documentation chain”‘, according to the researcher, ‘from knowing what is to be documented, when it should be documented, and how it should be documented, to organising a system that makes it possible to continue learning about documentation work.’
A TOOL AND A PLAN
Alnervik finds it important that there be tools, e.g. guidelines for reflection, that kindergarten teachers can use when discussing documentation. That facilitates systematic efforts.
It is also important to have a plan for how documentation work will be followed up during the year.
‘The head teacher must follow up on the work, and someone in the organisation must train and help teach new employees how to do documentation work. In other words: There must be a supportive organisation there, so that kindergarten teachers don’t need to discuss organisational issues, but can rather spend their time on documentation content.’
‘Successful pedagogical documentation results in greater job satisfaction.’
GIVES JOB SATISFACTION
‘Kindergarten staff that succeed with pedagogical documentation discuss questions such as how children learn, and how learning opportunities are created. Discussions also arise among the staff about how to view childhood, children’s rights and children’s behaviour’, the researcher points out.
‘Successful pedagogical documentation results in greater job satisfaction. It brings joy to get to know a child in a new way. One gets more curious and wants to learn more’, she concludes.