Validating the voice of children is an important part of our documentation.
We often write down what the children say as they play or as they describe their work to us. We write down exactly what they say, how they say it, grammatical errors and all. It is their “voice”. When we read it back to them, their faces light up. To hear their words read back to them, to know that their words have been translated into print, that what they said was listened to so carefully and recorded word for word gives them such confidence. Part of our role as early educators is give children confidence as learners-to give their ideas and thoughts acknowledgement.
It is also very useful as an assessment tool. If you keep a copy for yourself it can be used as a speech sample, to measure a child’s use of sentence use and structure, vocabulary development and understanding.
I always keep a copy for my records and send a copy home. This documentation accompanied the bed creations and elaborated on the constructions the children were making. It showed the thinking the children were doing as they were creating.
You can see how one child thought through her elaborate bunk bed creation while the other one was thinking of the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, as she was creating her bed.
Usually, we just walk around with a clipboard and paper and ask the children, “How does your story start?” as we learned from the wonderful educator, Bev Bos, or “what do you have to say today?” And then we start writing.