How to document in early education?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pedagogical Documentation is an essential working method in early childhood education and it guarantees  the best possible learning path for all children.

Simply, Pedagogical Documentation is observing for example children’s play, projects, discussions, ideas and inventions via taking photos, making notes, writing down explanations as well as tricky questions, saving artwork, videoing action, recording voice...and using all the documents purposefully. What makes documentation Pedagogical Documentation is the idea that educators use the documents wisely - reflect on them and modify their planning and teaching accordingly (Katz & Chard 1996.)

What makes documentation Pedagogical Documentation is the idea that educators use the documents wisely - reflect on them and modify their planning and teaching accordingly (Katz & Chard 1996.)


Pedagogical documentation gives educators’new views of children’s behavior, thoughts, ideas, challenges and creative processes. Each lovely, unique child deserves to be known and understood as an individual (Katz & Chard, 1996).

The process of pedagogical documentation is meaningful only, if you take advantage of the possibilities and challenges it offers. It is important to think how you can develop the activities. What themes, methods or goals should you choose next? What is your next step towards better early childhood education? (Tarkka 2018.)

Before documentation

  • First of all, always have materials and tools ready for documenting! A camera, mobile phone, tablet, pen&paper...
  • Think of what are meaningful and current questions, issues or topics in the group? It is impossible to document Everything so narrow it down.
  • Once you have chosen a topic, start observing and documenting!

After documentation:

  • Sit down and discuss with each child eg. once a week/month about all the things you have done that month
  • Show all art works, photos, videos, recordings and other documents from that time concerning that child and let the child tell his/her views and write the child’s words down
  • Ask the child questions like: What was fun? What was difficult? What made you happy/unhappy? What were you thinking in this moment? What would you like to learn or do in kindergarten/preschool?
  • Plan next themes and projects according to the discussions with the children and families, observations and documentations
  • Connect the observations and notes to the kindergarten’s and child’s individual curriculum and include the learning areas that have been left out in future planning

Documenting in early education is very important, but have to admit that it is also very time consuming. Therefore, digital solutions save your time and make the whole process a lot more "user-friendly". Watch a video how pedagogical documentation can be done with Kindiedays and order Free Pedagogy Trial to test it in action.




Katz L. G. & Chard S. C. 1996. The Contribution of Documentation to the Quality of Early Childhood Education.

Karvonen, P. 2020. What on Earth is Pedagogical Documentation?

Tarkka, K. 2018. Finnish National Agency for Education.


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