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30.9: Reviewing and Reflecting on Documentation

  • Page ID
    • Amanda Taintor
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    Looking Back

    “Reflection is a time to slow down, to see what can be learned if we take the time to carefully look at and listen to ourselves, and those with whom we work.” (Parlakian, 2001, p. 16)

    Once caregivers have observed and documented facts about each infant and toddler, they must do something with those facts. As part of ongoing infant and toddler assessment, caregivers review the facts and reflect on what they mean. When caregivers review anecdotal notes, photos, videos, or other samples, they piece together stories that portray the development of the infants and toddlers in their care. Caregivers may review multiple pieces of documentation (video recordings, notes, photographs, and so forth) to deepen their understanding of an individual infant or toddler. Observation notes might clarify why an infant or toddler is making rapid progress in one developmental domain while continuing to practice at about the same level of competency in another domain.[1] Caregivers consider what the information says about an infant or toddler's development, interests, and needs. The answers to these questions lead to individualized care and a supportive curriculum. [2]

    Questions caregivers ask while reflecting on documentation might include:

    • What developmental skill or activity does the infant or toddler appear to be working on?
    • What strategies does the infant or toddler use to play with different toys?
    • Does the infant or toddler engage with objects or people differently than he did a month ago? What has changed? What has not changed?
    • Do my actions and the actions of other adults who interact with the infant or toddler affect the outcomes of the infant or toddler's experience? If so, how so?
    • How does the information relate to goals for the infant or toddler? How does it relate to the family's goals?
    • What other information do I need?
    • What questions do I have for the infant or toddler's family? [3]

    Caregivers who take time to reflect on the documentation created by their observations uncover infant or toddler’s likes and dislikes, discover what makes the infant or toddler comfortable or uncomfortable, and notice how the infant or toddler approaches familiar and unfamiliar tasks and situations. This information enables caregivers to see and track trends in an infant or toddler's growth and development.

    During the reflective process, interpreting the meaning of infant and toddler behaviors and interactions becomes essential. Ongoing observation and reflection on documentation offer insights into each infant and toddler, which deepen caregivers’ understanding of each infant and toddler’s development.

    Reflecting Together

    Caregivers share documentation with others to deepen understanding of infant/toddler thinking and learning. Interpreting an infant or toddler’s thoughts, feelings, or ideas is vital for reflection and often most effective in partnership with co-teachers.[2] When caregivers interpret documentation, learning becomes explicit. Since documentation makes learning visible, caregivers need to work together to interpret that learning (Cagliari, 2004).

    [1] The California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework by the California Department of Education is used with permission

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

    [3] The California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework by the California Department of Education is used with permission

    This page titled 30.9: Reviewing and Reflecting on Documentation is shared under a mixed 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Amanda Taintor.