I had the privilege of listening to Melissa Osmond, from Greerton Early Childhood Centre in Tauranga, speak at the Learning Story Conference in Hamilton recently. Melissa had shared how Learning Stories were an amazing vehicle for sharing learning in a multitude of ways.
I was particularly taken by the analogy Melissa used of a pie and Learning Stories. She spoke of how each piece of pie needs to be individually robust, no crumbling crust, lack of flavour or runny filling, for the pie to be successful. The same can be said of a child's portfolio, the Learning Stories contained within must also be robust, with no spelling or grammatical errors, lack of analysis of learning or depth.
Melissa's message was about the importance of producing quality documentation, one that identifies a teacher's ever growing understanding of teaching and learning and that shows planning, evaluation and continuity.
We need to ensure that each piece of documentation filed within a child's portfolio can not only stand on its own, as a fabulous piece of assessment, but also contributes to building up the picture of the child as a whole. As teaching teams we need to take time to reflect on the portfolios of our tamariki. Is what's contained inside a reflection of them? Does it show who their friends are? Does it contain Learning Stories that celebrate what the child knows a lot about? Does it show how teachers have fostered the child's strengths and interests? Does it include their whānau? Food for thought!