A key part of Reggio’s theories rests on the idea that there is no separation between theory and practice, that this is a false distinction, and therefore Reggio revalues teachers as also being teacherresearchers . For the last several years we, at Gan Yeladim Day Care, have been using the “Early Learning Framework of British Columbia” to guide our pedagogical documentation processes. Inspired by the work of Gandini & Goldhaber our team of educators wanted to attempt to further our understanding of ourselves as teacherresearchers by engaging in some of the pedagogical documentation practices outlined in their work titled “Bambini: The Italian approach to infant/toddler care: Two reflections about documentation.” In particular we are interested in their process of framing questions as an entry point to the pedagogical documentation process as well further embedding our documentation in a collaborative process that highlights community and multiple perspectives.
For the last several months the questions that we have used as an entry point to documentation have been framed around the learning environment.
Although our questions have been about the environment, the practice of using questions has drawn our attention to three diverse ideas. Firstly, it has drawn our attention to how both the teacher and the child become part of a learning community when we reframe the role of the teacher to be a teacherresearcher. Using questions as an entry point to documentation created the possibility for authentic collaboration between teachers and students as it fostered curiosity in our shared lives. Secondly, it created a sense of continuity amongst the documentation being produced.
As children’s interests changed through the year, having a consistent research theme framed at the beginning of the year allowed us to study one aspect of our shared lives in a deep and meaningful way. Finally, it reminded us of how, when working in a learning community of teachers and children, the classroom is a place full of unexpected discovery. The collaboration of a diverse group of people opens up multiple possibilities and the process rarely goes as planned or anticipated.