What are some educational documentation

Observation & Documentation: Too Time-consuming?

In the education plans of the federal states, observation and documentation are an important part of the educational work. When choosing the instruments, the legislature or the respective education plan of the federal state grants the Kita provider a certain freedom of design. And that's a good thing, because every daycare provider can choose the instruments to match his concept and set priorities. The federal states point out that the children's environment is taken into account and generally favor a multi-perspective approach (e.g. Orientation Plan Baden-Württemberg 2015, p. 70).

Every perspective is an asset

The choice of instruments results in a variety of perspectives - here are a few examples: The portfolio describes a child's learning paths and records the developmental steps they have mastered in words and pictures. This creates a valuable and individual learning diary for every child over the years in the facility. The boundary stones are used to observe the development of a child with a standardized instrument. At each survey point, it is checked whether a child has acquired certain age-appropriate skills. The element-i arch is a resource-oriented instrument. Guided by the interests of a child, the educator selects activities in her educational area that can advance the child in his development, challenge him and offer the chance to reach the zone of next development. Viewed in this way, the portfolio looks more to the past, the boundary stones to the present and the element-i arches to a future that has yet to be mastered.

In good communication with the team, parents and children

However, it would be shortened to concentrate only on the instruments as such when it comes to the question of multiple perspectives. The orientation plan of Baden-Württemberg also refers to this. Only the reflective use of the various instruments can develop the power that lies in the instruments. Questions such as: “Do I see the child with its special features? Do I know its resources? How does a colleague see the child like the parents? And what does that mean for my pedagogical work? ”From a multi-perspective perspective, it means to consult with colleagues on the extent to which one's own observations and conclusions need to be supplemented or are confirmed. Multi-perspective means exchanging ideas with parents and taking their point of view into account. Multi-perspective can also mean including the child's point of view. This reflected approach helps to broaden, supplement or readjust your own view of a child.

A multi-perspective conceived in this way has a dialogical component. As a pedagogue, you set out to enrich your own perspective, to place other perspectives next to your own and thus to be able to arrive at a solid overall view. This aspect of “reflecting on one's own role and attitude in the process of observation and assessment” is formulated in the educational principles of North Rhine-Westphalia. Linked to this is also the scrutiny of one's own pedagogical work: "to continuously review the effectiveness of pedagogical measures and to correct them if necessary" (Bildungsgrundätze NRW, p. 36). I would like to add a third aspect that I did not find in any curriculum: with well-managed and reflective documentation, as an educator, you contribute to making the great value of your own work visible.

If the teams in the element-i houses succeed in this multiple perspective - with regard to the careful maintenance of the instruments and with regard to exchange and reflection - observation, documentation and educational activities are meaningfully related to one another and can be a guarantee of high quality. The instruments unfold their powers, and last but not least, a lively multi-perspective can be used to distinguish a good from a mediocre documentation.

Back to the initial question: Yes, educational documentation is complex, the exchange can be exhausting and enlightening at the same time. But the effort is worth it: for the child, for the parents and for the team in the children's home. Because only with solid documentation and honest multiple perspectives can high-quality educational work be offered in the children's homes.

Write me your thoughts and questions on the topic in the comments.

Kammerlander, Carola; Rehn, Marcus; Pedagogical management group (2018): Pedagogical concept for the element-i children's homes. Stuttgart
Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport Baden-Württemberg (2015): Orientation plan for education and upbringing in Baden-Württemberg kindergartens and other day-care centers. 2nd Edition. Herder: Freiburg
Ministry for Schools and Further Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia; Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (2016): Educational principles for children from 0-10 years in day care and primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. Herder: Freiburg

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Christina Henning