Throughout the learning process at Beginnings, teachers document the children's experiences through photographs, note taking, video, and child-made artifacts. Artwork and all other student creations are compiled and shared with a focus on process, rather than product, in the hope that students will develop a life-long commitment to the work--and joy--of inquiry and discovery.
We especially value the use of documentation in the classroom because it serves multiple purposes. It is a visual and written invitation to others to understand the children's learning process. It gives children, their parents and teachers a shared language and understanding. It gives voice and value to children's thoughts. And lastly, it is a tool for teachers to truly listen to and reflect on the children's work, informing our next steps. These next steps, which we call provocations, will elicit new ideas and questioning by the children. As the children reflect on the documentation and see their own process of learning, they begin to understand how ideas connect. This type of learning, in which children are constantly creating and reflecting on individual and group work, helps them to develop the critical thinking skills that are the essential preconditions of meaningful existence.