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30.7: Storing Documentation

  • Page ID
    • Amanda Taintor
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    To safely and securely store collected data, caregivers need an organized system in place: a system might be a filing cabinet, accordion file folder, or portfolio. There won’t be a universal solution for containing documentation; each individual program requires its own unique system.


    Caregivers often use individual portfolios to hold evidence of an infant or toddler’s learning. A portfolio provides notes, photos, and work samples that demonstrate the infant or toddler’s understanding of critical concepts and skills.[1] Portfolios can be created with a binder or notebook, a file or accordion-style folder, or a cardboard box. Unused pizza boxes with the infant or toddler’s name printed on the end are an easy way to collect documentation for later organization. Including clear dates on documentation pieces allows for chronological organization at a later time.

    A clear organization system helps track each infant and toddler’s progress throughout the school year. Having dates on each piece removes concern over putting items in perfect order when pressed for time. Caregivers can go in later and organize chronologically. Portfolios allow caregivers to construct a well-rounded and authentic picture of each infant and toddler in their class. Knowing the whole infant and toddler better equips caregivers to build on each infant and toddler’s interests and plan developmentally appropriate activities.

    If utilizing portfolios, provide an individual file for each infant and toddler. A well-organized portfolio contains observations and artifacts of infant and toddlers’ work collected at different periods throughout the year. Include documentation that highlights each developmental domain. For example:

    • Gross Motor: Include photographs of the infant or toddler engaged in outside activities like running, jumping, climbing, riding a bike, or playing in the sandbox.
    • Fine Motor: Use a checklist or other documentation of when the infant or toddler learns to button, zip, and tie his shoes. Include work samples of cutting, coloring, and painting.
    • Social-Emotional: Utilize anecdotal or running records of infants and toddlers engaging in open-ended, infant and toddler-directed play.
      • Note sharing, taking turns, and cooperation with others.
      • Employ frequency count/event sampling to see in which centers infant and toddlers choose to spend their time, and tally play patterns to see if they prefer to play alone or with others.
    • Cognitive: Chart a science experiment and take photos.
      • Use a video camera to record an infant or toddler as she stacks blocks. Record any explained process in the build.
    • Literacy and Oral language: Save writing examples to track writing.
      • Write down quotes in an anecdotal and running record.
      • Make audiotapes of conversations during circle time.
    • Creative expression: Videotape engagement in the dramatic play area.
      • Videotape dancing to music (this can also be excellent documentation for motor development).
      • Photograph a clay creation, painting, or block tower.

    Portfolios tell the story of the whole infant or toddler. Each work sample, anecdotal note, checklist, frequency count, and photograph showcase how an infant or toddler processes information, develops relationships, and learns while playing.

    [1] Early Education and Support. Best Practices for Planning Curriculum for Young Children: The integrated nature of learning is in the public domain

    This page titled 30.7: Storing Documentation is shared under a mixed 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Amanda Taintor.