New Documentation Study Group/Format for my York U K AQ Course

Interested in joining a documentation study group and completing your Kindergarten additional qualifications at the same time?

The next Kindergarten AQ Course that I am instructing to educators at York University begins this Thursday. The format will be on documentation study and it will support your project work until the end of the school year.

As you may already know from my Instagram/Twitter accounts, I was recently in Reggio Emilia, Italy, for the International Study Tour learning more about their educational philosophy.  I discovered that the leadership team of pedagogistas/atelieristas sometimes propose a similar journey of research (a common thread like e.g., "water") to their family of schools. Last year for instance, they all worked on a project about their piazza (town square or meeting place). Therefore, all of the schools, educators and children/families explored this topic in their own way. They observed, documented daily and later met as working groups to discuss the documentation. This dialogue becomes the study of documentation and interpretation. It is where the future questions and contexts (learning spaces, choices of materials) are carefully planned to relaunch the project back into the classroom. 

We will be inspired by this process and will select a common thread either as an entire AQ or within each PLC (professional learning community or group). Projects will be of an emergent curriculum nature, and we will link our readings (the theory) to our experience. Each project will unfold naturally, as its documented, however, there will be time to discuss curriculum connections as well. 

When participants document, they will use the following lens 

for each course to meet the specific requirements by OCT:

Kindergarten Part 1
- document how your environment, space, materials and learning approach transforms during the project

Kindergarten Part 2 
- document the project experimenting with various tools (camera, video, audio, notes, etc.)
- consider your audience, graphic design, sharing platform 
- study the data to interpret how learning is happening (pedagogical documentation) 

Kindergarten Specialist 
- document the project and find a public platform to take leadership and share your learning journey that will inspire the ECE community or your school/board
 - document the role of the educator within the learning and working group experience (e.g., when you meet as a plc to discuss the project take notes on your interpretations to share the thinking behind decisions)
- connect documentation with academic readings or theories 

All of our readings and assignments will be hands-on and practical, with the purpose of contributing to our knowledge base of emergent curriculum and pedagogical documentation. 

Guest speakers will be professional photographers, graphic designers and educators who document project work in early learning contexts. I will also be teaching you more about iPhoneography or how to capture and edit photos from your mobile device, as well as, how to document a project while it unfolds.  My hope is to be documenting alongside the participants and sharing my own experiences from the TransformEd Creative Studio and Learning Centre.

If you choose to participate, you will receive the most up to date learning from Reggio Emilia, Italy, which truly is being engaged in your learning process as a researcher. They do not believe in one expert presenting all of the time. They dig deeply and learn in small working groups by asking questions and having “confrontos” (exchanges -conversations). 

Our school trips will be in places with project work that is being documented. If we can’t physically travel there I will be coordinating some video chats and virtual tours. 

This combined course is going to be open for the educational community to audit (participate without paying) and join in on. Obviously, I cannot have more than 25 people for physical space restrictions, so priority will be given to the registrations and former K AQ alumni.  Specialists, if you feel that this would support your journey, we’d be happy to have you continue with us as leaders in the field! 

In summary, I am so inspired by this notion that documentation study and the time the Italian educators spend in working groups is considered to be their richest form of professional learning and development.  Our PLC will become such a resource for our daily work in the classroom!  Essentially, we will be creating a research culture that documents and wonders about the big ideas of education. 

If you want to keep learning 
or take the next steps 
towards documenting a project 
this course is for you !!!

If you are unable to join us for the Spring semester, you may wish to participate in our Summer 2019 course instead (First three weeks in July), which will be on the website soon!

The Summer course will offer a slightly different variation, since we aren’t in a classroom during that time:

It will be a similar approach, except that we will take a walk into the Humber Forest Trails surrounding the McMichael Art Gallery or into the Kleinburg Village to be the protagonists in an inquiry (like the children normally are within their groups). We will design experiences for each other on the topic chosen, explore them, observe, document what happens with the materials and be active participants in the project. Then within our PLC’s like in the Spring course, we will focus on our lens for documentation (see above description). The relaunch will happen for us adults to explore further an emergent curriculum and support our ongoing learning.

Knowledge is constructed together 

with vivid discussion

and it starts with relationships.

Learning happens with others 
(children, adults, environment)

through an exchange, 

never alone.

(Daniela Lanzi, 
Reggio Emilia 
International Study Tour, 
April 2019)

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