Strategies & Tools
• Is the interpretation of keen observations
and attentive listening, gathered with a
variety of tools by teachers contributing
their different points of view.
• Is the deliberate choice to observe and
record what happens in the infant/toddler
environment in order to reflect and
communicate children’s discoveries.
Steps of Documentation
• Teachers are
• The teacher watches,
listens, and thinks
The choice of observation and recording
strategies must be carefully considered in
the context of the setting, the questions
that have been framed, and the goals.
Tools for Recording
• Video cameras • Notebooks
• Still cameras • Post It notes
• Audio recorders • Calendars
• Palm Pilots • Scanners
• Computers • Printers
Recommended Types of Documentation for Infants and Toddlers
Areas of Development Types of Documentation
Interest in Others Photos with anecdotes (such as babies playing
near one another; stand-alone anecdotes
Self-awareness Photos with anecdotes (such as touching body
parts during songs); stand-alone anecdotes
Gross-motor milestones Photos with anecdotes (such as babies pulling to
stand, video tape; stand-alone anecdotes
Fine-motor milestones Photos with anecdotes (such as babies playing
with busy boxes, work samples such as
scribbles, stand-alone anecdotes
Communication skills Direct quotes of children’s language or word
lists, audio tapes, videotapes, photographs with
anecdotes or stand-alone anecdotes
Acts with purpose and uses tools Photographs with anecdotes (such as a infant
using a spoon, toddler pushing a stool to a shelf
to reach objects; stand-alone anecdotes, or work
Expresses feelings Photos with anecdotes (such as clapping hands
to show delight; loudly saying NO! MINE!;
audio tapes, or stand-alone anecdotes
Bias, Potential, & Limits
• Each tool leaves out something or adds
• The way we use each tool is highly subjective.
• What we include or exclude in a photograph or
videotape depends on our focus.
• Using more than one tool for gathering our
observations makes a more complete record.
Capturing Traces of Learning
• Teachers capture bits
of evidence of a
exploration, ways of
interacting with adults
and peers, traits,
styles, & preferences.
• Anecdotes-- Short quick notes about a
meaningful event need to be vivid to
trigger memory during reflection.
• Notebook for two voices--in which
parents and teachers record a child’s
• What the child did
• What the child said
• What you saw
• What you heard
• Other kinds of anecdotes: language
samples, word lists.
• Written notes are
essential, but they
capture only what
we are quick
enough to write
• Audio tapes carry
the sounds of
words, but also the
noises of the
pauses and silences
and they require
time to transcribe.
• Video cameras make
a visual and auditory
record of significant
• Still Cameras record
a point in time from a
Tools for Keeping & Sharing
Files of photos, video tapes,
Preparing diaries, panels,
and other displays.
Making copies of
• Scanners can be
used to make copies
of photos and
Tools for Observing
• Anecdotes: Short quick
notes about a meaningful
event need to be vivid to
trigger memory during
• Notebook for two
voices—in which parents
and teachers record a
Tools for Recording
Time is Needed for:
• Containers are needed to store each
child’s notes, photos, observations,
paintings, drawings, clay or other art work
or photos of these.
• The containers need to be stored in a
place that is readily accessible.
• When teachers work together to select,
organize, arrange, and identify
documentation, they give new meaning to
the experience that first produced them.
• In producing documentation, teachers see
more clearly what happened before
thereby, gaining further understanding.
Storage for Documentation
Presentation of Documentation
• Documentation can be presented in slide
and video documentaries, panels, albums,
books, notebooks, letters, flyers, and
works of art.
• It should include the reflections of teachers
and children’s dialogues or thoughts.