Th e D i a r y o f L a u r a
Jerome Bruner, one of the most internationally renowned psychologists and longtime
friend of our schools. The narrative gives meaning but also visibility to life, bringing syn-
thesis, underscoring the salient features, the choices that give meaning to the past, a daily
flow that would otherwise get lost in anonymity.
The diary and the concept itself of school documentation fall within and find mean-
ing in this idea of narrative. After all, the diary has represented a structure and a phase
that was vital to the elaboration of the concept of epistemological documentation as it
was conceived in the Reggio Emilia experience. It was back in the early 1970s that Loris
Malaguzzi suggested keeping a class diary. He suggested this to the teachers, who intui-
tively recognized its value; we later discovered its meaning and its implications on the
planning and evaluation level.
The diaries were big striped notebooks, handwritten with a certain elegance and care
to be readable and to be shared with colleagues. A new notebook was usually started at
the beginning of each year; one notebook contained the story of one
year. The first page normally listed the names of the children and
the teachers. After that was a space to update or make any changes,
which were all noted.
At the beginning the meaning of the diary was not very clear to anybody because
when compiling the diary some teachers noted the events in chronological order (much
like a logbook). Later, as teachers progressed in their use of the diary and realized its
value, they shifted from the class diary to an individual diary for each child.
Furthermore, it became more and more evident that the diaries were used to record
the teachers’ thoughts and responses, such as their feelings of surprise at certain moments
or their feelings of concern and not knowing exactly what to do at others. The notes were
used by the teachers to plan and motivate activities, to make explicit the “whys,” the
The narrative gives meaning
but also visibility to life.
DOL-Int_2011-jh 2.indd 10
12/13/11 11:52 AM