Documentation, Discussion, Doing

We begin with the material fluency and move to interpersonal collaboration for the pursuit of projects…

Beyond working in small groups, a key feature of Reggio schools - and prime example of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) - is the emphasis on using high quality clay, paints, wire, fiber, pens, and hundreds more "materials" including music, dance, and conversation as stimuli for children to learn to express themselves skillfully. Reggio educators say children learn "100 languages."


Another pivotal Reggio innovation is documentation through which teachers encourage children to listen to themselves as a way to pursue a project thoughtfully. Teachers carefully listen to children, record what they hear, and select children's words, photos of them working, or their work product to display on a large panel. The purpose is to provide a way for children to reflect on what they have done by analyzing and interpreting what they see on the panel. Exchanges among children and with their teacher are lively! Documentation enables children to find meaning to their work and is a way to assess children's capacity at a particular time. Moreover, it gives visitors a window into the school and is a powerful draw for parents, an impetus for the deep ties that develop between families and school.

Ann Lewin-Benham, Starting Smart: Twenty-first Century Early Education
I emphasize that the discussion begins with the child's interaction with high quality materials.

And so for day 1769