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68  chapter 3 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL artwork to represent the children as a group, as a community of young people who worked together on a year-long creative journey. I included photos and documentation panels that shared the chil- dren’s efforts, conversation, and decision making. The photos and documentation also related the children’s struggles and explorations. In addition to the group artwork, each child had her own panel consisting of several smaller pieces of independent work. One year two children had small photography exhibits because they had expressed particular interest in learning to take photographs—and they really learned to take great shots! It was an amazing experience. Over my career, I have worked in various en- vironments, including family child care settings, where space for displaying artwork was very lim- ited. I have now learned to think big and to search for resources. You never know what will be avail- able in your community, and I encourage you to go explore. If you choose to save a lot of the children’s work for conferences, art shows, or other times, showing artwork in bulk requires first saving the work in an organized fashion. Archiving and Creating Portfolios Saving children’s work takes diligence, space, and organization. It really is a lot of work to hold on to artwork and keep up with the documentation and storage necessary. Here are some tips for making it work: • Start your documentation and individual files for children in the beginning of the year, and follow through all year. Setting aside a time, weekly or biweekly, is most helpful. • Have a designated space for all children’s work before it gets separated. Large boxes, sections of a large drying rack, or two sheets of poster board taped together work well. Place all items (with names and dates) in the designated space. This will keep items safe and protect artwork from getting bent until you have time to sort through it all. • Have a separate filing system for each child. Using portfolios for children is a great way to keep art and drawings, track development, hold teacher notes, and combine photos and language dictation. The portfolio is developed in the begin- ning of the year and then added to throughout the year. Ideas for portfolios include the following: • Diaries: Include children’s language dictation, photos, art, and written work. You could use composition notebooks, binders, and plastic sleeves. The diary could be a summary of the child’s experiences and works within the program. • Books: Art that is collected throughout the year could be turned into a stunning art port- folio collection for the child to take home at the end of the year. The book could start from the beginning of the year and showcase all the artwork, the child’s progression, and photos and language dictation from the child. Such books are quite a keepsake! • Share portfolios at conferences, and then give them to parents at the end of the year. Every year, parents tell me how much they love their child’s art, and how they would love to save it all, but there is simply so much! I surely understand this feeling toward a child’s beloved artwork, so I offer some suggestions to share with parents: • Save the child’s work in a book, box, or large bin with a lid. • Display artwork on walls. • Frame individual pieces. • Make artwork into notebook covers or inserts. • Use paintings as wrapping paper. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL