Documentation serves many functions and is an important tool in the Reggio Emilia approach. Children's projects are carefully arranged and include transcriptions of children's conversations and remarks, photographs of ongoing work and activities, and the products that have been produced by the children to represent their thinking and learning. Teachers' commentaries on the purposes of a project, along with transcriptions of children's verbal language, photographs, and representations of their thinking are provided. The documentation shows children that their work is valued, makes parents aware of class learning experiences, and allows teachers to assess both their teaching and the children's learning. Eventually, an historical archive is created that traces pleasure in the process of children's and teachers' learning experiences.
Below is a sample Family Annex Daily Journal.
November 25, 2013
This morning in the block area, Marius, Eli, Caroline, Barrett and Gus worked with both the incline ramp and the loose board. At first the group worked to slide many materials down the ramp, but after a while decided to change the position of the loose board into more of a seesaw. A large tube was placed in the center as a fulcrum. At first the children tested the seesaw with their bodies but quickly discovered the board was not strong enough to work in the way they wanted. Caroline placed a second tube under the board and began adding item to one side. She tested the weight of her foot on the empty side. When Hillary asked her what would happen if she pressed down, Caroline said “All the blocks are going to fly in the air." Caroline slowly tapped the edge of the board and watched as she controlled the movement of the objects on the other end. Later, Gus and Eli and Barrett joined in the play, adding various materials to the plank, both on top and underneath. The children stated that they were making an “airplane”, and during this rich play they were testing more theories about weight and movement. When a child added too many materials to one side, Gus yelled out “No, wait, it’s getting too heavy. The materials are going to slide off." You can tell in the images the intentional way in which the children evenly distributed the colored blocks in order to get the plank to balance on the tubes.