Documenting and reflecting is the process of gathering evidence of children’s learning, described in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) as ‘Assessment for Learning’. Educators observe and listen to find out what children know, can do and understand. They collect information that shows children’s learning, describes their progress and identifies their strengths, skills and understandings.
You can do this by creating a folio for each child to record their learning journey for families, educators and other professionals to see. A folio will be different for each child and may include:
- observations and stories of children’s learning
- photos, drawings or recordings
- samples or artefacts of projects, investigations and representations
- individual and collaborative works
- contributions from families.
Folios can take different forms, including display folders, loose-leaf folders and digital records. It’s important to give children ownership of their folios. They should be able to access them if they want and be given chances to suggest what to include. Families should also be encouraged to take folios home to read and to contribute comments and ideas.
Over time, a folio will contain a range of evidence of children’s learning. From this evidence, assessments can be made about their learning.
Making informed and consistent assessments
At particular points in time, educators make assessments about each child’s knowledge, skills and dispositions to discuss with families and colleagues.
For each learning area, educators should provide examples of children’s learning across 3 contexts.
This information is used to:
- validate what children know and can do
- look for and see children’s learning in new ways
- build learning bridges from what children know and can do to new learning
- determine the level of individual support required to progress children’s learning
- engage families and other educators in conversations about children’s learning.
Children’s learning is not always predictable and linear. It can start at different points and continue along different pathways. At any time, children may demonstrate learning described in any one of the contexts.
Examples of learning overtime
To support their assessments, educators document significant aspects of children’s learning. This forms the basis for decisions about each child’s future learning and for sharing information with families about their child’s progress.
In the following example, educators follow aspects of a child’s confidence and resilience from the learning area 'being proud and strong'.
Being proud and strong – confidence and resilience
This example shows how educators use the example learning behaviours for 'being proud and strong' to analyse their observations and make assessments about Braiden’s learning.
When reflecting on Braiden’s learning, educators refer to suggestions for the relevant
planned learning to develop their focus for new learning and the strategies they’ll use to keep building confidence and resilience. At the same time, families and adults who speak Standard Australian English (SAE) as well as Braiden’s first language can work together to support his first language and his awareness about and use of SAE.
This approach helps children become 2-way strong. Educators build on what children have already learned from their families and communities, and support their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identities.