At Day One, we document children’s learning in a variety of ways, every day. As a parent you would have seen this documentation on our noticeboards, in journals/portfolios and now via our digital app using Childcarers. You may have always wondered, just what is a learning story and why are they so important in the Early Years Learning Framework?
So, A Learning Story Is…
A ‘Learning Story’ is a record of what a teacher (or parent) has seen a child (or group of children) doing in an early childhood programme.
The written story may be as short as one paragraph or one page or longer. It is usually focused on a specific incident or episode but it may also be a snapshot of a child’s activities over a specific amount of time (e.g. 10 minutes). It may focus on a group activity, and be a learning story about an activity that the children did together such as visiting a fire station or going on a walk.
It becomes a ‘learning’ story when the adult adds his/her interpretation of the child’s competencies and dispositions toward learning (such as courage and curiosity, and perseverance). The Learning Story generally is formulated by the adult to highlight what the child can do and is doing rather than what they can’t do.
Almost always the adult will take photographs or video to include with the written story, and the written story along with the images will be shared with the child and the child’s family.
Collection of Learning Stories
A collection of learning stories is commonly called a ‘portfolio’. A portfolio is similar to the traditional photograph album but it is more than an album as it includes the written story behind the the images and may include comments and reflections from the child, family, and educators.
The physical form of the portfolio may be a book or folder. Alternatively, the video, voice, and images may be loaded directly into an on-line e-portfolio. This is what we are now doing at most Day One centers.
Learning Stories are said to be suitable for children of all ages, and can become longer and more complicated as the children grow and their skills develop. They can also be reviewed at a later date in order to help future planning to further develop a child’s skills.
Usually because they take time to write, Learning Stories are written up after the event has actually happened and when the teacher is not working with the children (during a teacher’s non-contact time).
So teachers need to have a good memory! And an accurate memory! (Also as explained more below, they need to have had time to get to know very well the individual child they are writing a learning story on, otherwise the risk increases of incorrect assumptions and meanings being ascribed to the child’s behaviour, language and learning.)
Learning Story at Day One ELC
There is no standard way of writing a Learning Story and the educators at Day One have developed their own way of doing Learning Stories.
Catching on now are e-portfolios. Digital technology is enabling faster documentation of children’s activities, faster and increased communication between parents and teachers, and greater attention to understanding children’s interests and strengths.
We are looking forward to receiving your feedback directly via the Childcarers app so we can continue to work together to extend and monitor your child’s personal learning journey.