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Documenting your child's progress

There are many ways educators in children's education and care services document your child's learning and development throughout their early years.

Why is documentation important?

The way teachers and educators manage the cycle of observing and evaluating children’s educational and developmental journeys is fundamental to high quality educational programs. Documenting these journeys requires an understanding of children’s strengths, ideas, abilities and interests so that progress across their learning outcomes can be monitored and progressed.

It is a professional responsibility, a tool to support their teaching and learning and a legislated requirement based on research evidence.

What does quality documentation look like?

As children will demonstrate their learning and progress in many and varied ways, the methods for gathering and sharing documentation will also be varied.

Quality documentation:

  • can take on many different forms and there is no “one way” to document. What is important is that educators and families work together to identify ways to document that are suitable for children’s specific needs, setting and context. Services may use different methods to document children’s progress, some examples include reflective journals, photographs, videos, post-it notes, children’s work samples, recording children’s ideas and suggestions, portfolios, narratives, floor books or learning stories, digital stories or reflections.
  • will reflect children’s interactions and experiences within the service environment and make learning visible to children, educators and families. Approaching documentation in this way promotes shared learning and collaboration and is more useful than a list of activities or photos of activities your child has participated in.
  • will be shared with children and families. Families are encouraged to converse with educators about how documentation occurs and what and how they would like to receive in relation to their child’s progress. This collaborative approach ensures that information recorded about your child’s progress is sustainable, meaningful, authentic and respectful of children’s views and rights.
  • is used by educators to support and extend children's learning and development, is meaningful and does not detract from quality interactions with children.
Educator observing child drawing

Things to think about and discuss with educators and service leaders

  • Is the documentation empowering you to contribute to discussions and planning to extend your child’s learning? For example, are the photos or videos telling a story about your child learning or just capturing a fun moment?
  • How are educators using the documentation in their planning to support your child’s learning?
  • Are the rights, privacy and dignity of your child being maintained, for example are photos of your child, such as in group settings, being shared with other families, without your consent or photos that might be embarrassing to your child being taken?
  • Thinking about the important work of educators and their role in educating and caring for children, are your expectations about the amount and type of documentation meaningful, reasonable and sustainable?

It is important to remember that it is not the amount of documentation, or how colourfully it is presented, that matters. What does matter is how documentation is used to support your child’s engagement, learning and development and is reflective of the relationships your child has with their educators and their responsiveness based on this partnership.

What are the National Quality Framework requirements for documentation?

The educational program must be kept available and also be available to parents. By explaining and sharing the educational program to families, your child's service is actively supporting your understanding and contribution to the program and your child’s learning.

The educational program must be displayed in a way that is accessible, understandable and meaningful for families so that they can view what has been planned. By providing you with information on your child's participation in the program, services are identifying your child’s strengths, abilities and knowledge from the perspective of the service.

View the following resources to learn more: