Documentation Diaries: A Creative Strategy for Early Years Practitioners - Carolyn Pope Edwards
Il diario al nido per
fermare la storia dei
The Diary of Laura bambini: Storia di Laura
What is an infant educational diary? Who is it
for? What kind of stories does it tell? What Introduction by Carla Rinaldi.
questions does it raise about infant-toddler Contents by Giuliana Campani,
care and education? Ivetta Fornaciari, Eluccia
Carolyn Pope Edwards, University of Nebraska--Lincoln Forghieri, of the Asilo Nido
Published by the Municipio di
Reggio Emilia, March,1983.
Translated into English by Silvia
Betta, University of Nebraska—
Reggio Emilia, 1983 Asilo Nido Arcobaleno, 1983
Traces of Childhood: A Child’s Diary
by Donatella Giovannini
Constructing a diary requires a great deal of
time, continuity and determination in gathering
the materials for such a document, which is made
of words, images, and texts. The work begins the
day the child enters the infant-toddler center
with his parents, and ends with his passage to
--Bambini: Italian Approaches to Infant/Toddler Caregiving,
by Lella Gandini and Carolyn Edwards, Teachers College Press, 2001
Lella Gandini and Donatella Giovannini, University of Nebraska, 1998
Diario from Pistoia, Italy The diario is a parting
gift to each family who
uses the infant/toddler
years to come
Half the Sky Welfare
Asilo Nido Arcobaleno, 1983
For whom is the diary?
For the educators, it is certainly a way to refine their
abilities to see the events when and where they happen, to
analyze and self reflect… .
For the parents, it is an opportunity to get closer to the child
and to study him or her through the eye of the educators …
to know more about how the child is while away from home
For the child, awareness is gained through a higher
communication, attention, and sensitivity of the environment
around him or her, and from being a ‘subject of love’; the
diary documents a personalized educational intervention, a
document that when he or she is grown up will enable him or
her to read fragments of his or her own story.”
(Edwards & Rinaldi, 2008, pp.25-27).
“Who is Laura?”
Why is there a picture of teachers on
the page introducing Laura?
What is the purpose of asking
parents about Laura’s birth, eating,
sleeping habits, and so on? Is this
similar to information you gather?
“Help from the Mobiles”
What happens when the mother and
grandmother slip out of the room without
What does Eluccia do when Laura cries,
and do you think it was a good strategy?
Would you say Laura is “adjusted” yet?
“Difficulties during Diaper Change”
Why did the teacher put so much
time and energy into changing Laura’s
What is going on from Laura’s
What do you think Laura’s mother
might feel about this diaper change?
Perspectives from around the world
In the footsteps of Laura’s teachers, by Pat Wharton,
Stirling, Scotland: Use this book as a model of how to
do an educational diary
• Decide on a purpose
• With whom and how you will share it
• What kinds of things and when you will record
• Keep it uncomplicated
• Make visible the parents and yourselves, the educators
Jan Millikan of Australia: “Listen with the eyes, the
heart, and the intellect.”
Epilogue: Reggio Emilia, 2007
The Reunion at Arcobaleno
Remarks What did the diary mean to Laura and her teachers?
This is a simple story, but it conveys
the whole Reggio Emilia philosophy.
It illustrates the principles of
It illustrates the use of the
educational diary as a tool for
observation, reflection, and sharing.
Laura and her son, Davide
Eluccia Forghieri, teacher
Laura’s mother, Filomena
Giuliana Campani, teacher
Diary Pages with Student Teachers
at the University of Nebraska Child Development Laboratory
contributed to a
image of the child
who knows and is
able to do…”
Who is Kya Branch? Diary Pages in Head Start
Page 1: Introduction to the child as a whole person. Provide vivid,
process-oriented photos of child with labels and descriptions
that focus on strengths and suggest who the child is a unique
personality: (1) cognitively; (2) social-emotionally; and (3)
Page 2: The child as a reader and writer. Provide vivid, process-
oriented photos of the child with descriptions that suggest who
Kya is a bookworm. the child is along three literacy dimensions: (1) as a “reader”
Kya enjoys reading (interacting with books and print; (2) as a “writer” (with
books and looking at emerging skills with letters and graphics); (3) as a “speaker”
pictures. She asks to (communicating ideas to self and others).
have books read to
her and she will also Kya is a documenter.
sit down and read Kya is a thinker! Page 3: The child’s own “Who am I”? Provide a set of photos and/or
Kya is very interested in scanned drawings or work products by child that present the
stories to her dolls. Kya has a lot of ideas in
writing in her notebook. child as the child wants you to present him or her. Work with
She enjoys reading her head and often
Everyday she will grab it the child on this page and add labels based on child’s dictation.
different kinds of takes time to think
and take it with her to Let the child take the lead in preparing a page that speaks about
books throughout the about them. She is
family block. She likes to the child, by the child.
day and at nap time. intentional in what she
write in it with a colored
does and has a lot to say
pencil and document what
about what she is doing
is going on.
Who is Juan?
By Connie Voss
Juan is always there Juan delivers mail writing out
to give his little Juan is a creator from his mail bag to Juan enjoys sitting down in a ticket
sister a helping hand his friends in the the library area to read because
when she needs it. play house area. stories. He easily retells someone
stories that have been was driving
read to him. too fast!
Juan is a writer
Juan asks a
Then he tells
her about his
Juan spends a lot of time
designing his own projects
Juan is nurturing in the art area. Juan is a performer
Juan is a reader Juan is outgoing
I am a thinker
I am Juan! “Who is Katelyn?” by Charity Smith
I am playing Katelyn is creative! Katelyn is a
I am climbing at Twisters! on the When counting the builder!
I was playing too. It was fun! computer, candles on the birthday She likes to build
playing cakes & there weren’t things in the block
Clifford. enough, she went and area. Her favorite
got flowers from a blocks are the
counting box to add so wooden ones, she
that she could count the also likes to use the
I am a helper number of items on fence to build with.
I am sweeping
the trash off Katelyn is a friend!
She likes everyone and
the table. I had
is very helpful. Her
to clean the beautiful, contagious
table because I smile makes everyone
was a big helper. else smile. She is loved
by the whole class.
I am adventurous!
“Who is Katelyn “Who Am I?” by Katelyn
as a Reader and Writer?”
Katelyn is a
Computer Area! Art Area!
“I like to play “This is a picture of
When Katelyn started
school, she was quiet. She games. My favorite butterflies. I like to
has since opened up more. game is Fish. I like draw different
Here we are working on to paint on the pictures of
Katelyn is an artist! sounding out the letters. computer, too.” butterflies, angels,
She loves to draw and and myself.”
does very detailed
pictures. She creates a Dramatic Play!
masterpiece every “I like to play with
time. the babies. I am
the mommy and
Katelyn loves to read! my baby’s name
She loves to read books at is Tiffany. I like to
school and at home. You play with babies
can also find her from time with my friends.”
to time in the Library Area
What will be the long term effects of
these diary pages for the children and
Will the teachers be able to keep using
their new skills?
Will the relationships between the
teachers be different?
Are little stories and diary pages an
effective doorway into the documentation