Documentation in Early Years PE – A Reggio Emilia inspired approach to #PhysEd

Documenting what goes on in your PE classes is a must for the 21st century Physical Educator, no more so than in the Early Years classes.  I am lucky enough to have spent 2 years living and working in Milan, Italy where I was able to observe first hand the Reggio Emilia approach to education. My partner @alisoneducates was lucky enough to spend a week at a study group in the town of Reggio Emilia and subscribes to this philosophy in her teaching practice and so I have been able to gain a good understanding of what this looks like in Early Childhood Education.

The Reggio Emilia approach to education puts the child at the centre of the learning and assumes the the child is an already strong, intelligent capable member of the community right from birth. The teacher plays the role as  the learning partner, nuturer, guide and researcher. All members of the students community are used as learning partners and cooperation is key. Finally, documentation of student learning is a cornerstone of this teaching philosophy.

Sounds like all the things a 21st century PE teacher should be doing right? Putting the kids are centre, allowing them to be active, treating them as capable athletes and team members and filming/photographing their performances. All things we already do, but how can we make this documentation more authentic? And why should we do it?

Five Features of Documentation in the Reggio Emilia approach.

  • Documentation involves a specific question that guides the process (focus on questions of learning).
  • Documentation involves collectively analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating individual and group observations; it is strengthened by multiple perspectives.
  • Documentation makes use of multiple languages (different ways of representing and expressing thinking in various media and symbol systems).
  • Documentation makes learning visible; it is not private. Documentation becomes public when it is shared with learners-whether children, parents, or teachers.
  • Documentation is not only retrospective, it is also prospective. It shapes the design of future contexts for learning.

Five Features of Documentation in #PhysEd

  • Documentation in #PhysEd should be guided by a specific question – “How can I throw my ball closer to the target?”
  • Documentaion in #PhysEd  involves collectively analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating individual and group observations; it is strengthened by multiple perspectives. – What are the different ways of throwing the ball closer to the target? Which is the most effective?”
  • Documentation in #PhysEd makes use of multiple languages (different ways of representing and expressing thinking in various media and symbol systems).  – Video, Audio, Photographs, Drawings, Notes
  • Documentation in #PhysEd makes learning visible – Setting up PE Blogs like www.issphysed.weebly.com
  • Documentation in #PhysEd is not only retrospective, it shapes the design of future contexts for learning. – Students with sporting skills outside of school bringing their knowledge and skills into the PE lessons to introduce new sports and activities.

This process of documentation helps us as 21st century educators to plan, implement and assess student learning in our #PhysEd classes. We can use the Five Features of Documentation in #PhysEd to develop our units with a specific goal in mind. This will make it easier to objectively assess the students and you will have all the evidence you need right in front of you to do it. It also allows other community members like class teachers, administrators, parents and the students to see that #PhysEd is an important learning area in their schooling lives.

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