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DOUBLE Early TO ZOOM 4   Pedagogical Documentation in TAP Childhood WITH PHONE OR TABLET we sometimes just run out of time. We must keep our documentation simple so that it actually happens. It’s better to have short, thoughtful, and simple pieces of documentation on a regular basis than to have none at all. Short pieces of documentation, more easily produced, can often be linked to form a larger and richer whole over time. THE MANY FACES OF DOCUMENTATION Documentation comes in many forms. To find your own voice for documentation purposes, use those layouts and styles that best suit your children, families, and settings. Perhaps you are in an early childhood education community that values explanation of what you are doing and why. You would then put a heavier emphasis on text in your documentation. Or you might have a group of four-​and five-​year-​olds who have plenty to say about their work when they see it documented. You might then put more emphasis on photography and tell their story in pictures as well as text that includes their dialogue. Maybe you have a group of parents who spend more time reading documentation when it is filled with children’s work. In this case, you should ensure that your documentation always contains traces of that work. Or perhaps your observations of children lead to more questions for teachers, and your documentation becomes a narrative of how those questions were pursued as a form of teacher research to be shared with colleagues. Often, pedagogical documentation includes all these aspects. We often admire and become inspired by documentation from other settings. In this digital age, it’s easy—​and helpful—​to peruse the work of others. Yet, our documentation should be just that: ours. It should reflect our voices, cultures, and beliefs, and most importantly, the children within our particular settings. As I described in the preface, my first viewing of pedagogical documentation occurred when I encountered a documentation panel that was put together by the educators at the Model Early Learning Center in Washington, DC. Their influences came from Reggio Emilia—​a promising source, to be sure, in that the Italian edu- cators provide such high-​quality and insightful documentation. When I returned to Halifax, I spent several hours on my hands and knees with a T-​square and spray adhesive before realizing that for the time being, I needed to keep things simple. A rich and complex story can be simply and still powerfully told. Following are just a few of the options for documenting children’s work. We will explore these options through detailed examples in later chapters. Documentation Panels Documentation panels consist of photographs, text, and children’s work mounted on foam board, Bristol board, or another sturdy surface. These panels can describe long-​or short-​term projects or processes in which the children are engaged. You might choose to create one panel or several panels that connect pieces of the story over a period of time. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL