Illinois Early Learning Project
February 2008The Project Approach: Display and Documentation Techniques Sylvia Chard

Online Resources

  • The Contribution of Documentation to the Quality of Early Childhood Education
    Powerful documentation is possible because children are engaged in absorbing, complex, interesting projects worthy of documentation.
  • Aesthetic Codes in Early Childhood Classrooms: What Art Educators Can Learn from Reggio Emilia
    Educators in the preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia are very concerned about what their school environments teach children, often referring to the environment as the "third educator" in conjunction with the two classroom teachers.
  • Documenting Projects
    Documentation enables the teacher to effectively manage the project process and optimize learning opportunities. When shared with others, documentation also provides evidence that students are mastering curriculum goals.
  • Experiencing Documentation
    Display is an efficient and effective way to share documentation of children's work in projects.
  • Look! See How They Are Learning
    Teachers document during project work for many reasons. They document to facilitate decision making during the project process, to determine children's main interests, to find out what underlying questions they have, or to plan ways to deepen project work. Documentation also has the potential to inform teachers and others of children's knowledge and skills in academic areas.
  • The Challenges and the Rewards: A Study of Teachers Undertaking Their First Projects
    Authors: Chard, Sylvia C.
    This paper looks at some of the commonly experienced challenges and rewards reported by teachers who have reflected in writing on their first experiences with the Project Approach.
  • Illinois Projects in Practice (IllinoisPIP)
    The IllinoisPIP Web site provides support, resources, and information for teachers, specialists, administrators, and trainers interested in the implementation of the Project Approach in Illinois classrooms for preschool children.

Illinois Early Learning Tip Sheets

Additional Resources

  • Windows on Learning: Documenting Young Children's Work, Second Edition
    Author(s): Helm, Judy Harris; Beneke, Sallee; Steinheimer, Kathy
    Publication Date: 2007
    Availability: Teachers College Press. 1234 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027
    Abstract: This popular guide provides teachers with a method for documenting (collecting, analyzing, and displaying) young children's work at school.
  • Progettazione and Documentation as Sociocultural Activities: Changing Communities of Practice
    Author(s): Moran, Mary Jane; Desrochers, Lisa; Cavicchi, Nicole M.
    Publication Date: 2007
    Source: Theory Into Practice, v46 n1 p81-90 2007
    Abstract: This article discusses how teachers' and children's patterns of participation in the sociocultural activities of documentation and flexible planning changed and concomitantly transformed the laboratory school community at the University of New Hampshire.
  • Using Hallways and Walls to Reflect Children's Learning
    Author(s): Wilford, Sara
    Publication Date: Mar 2005
    Source: Early Childhood Today, v19 n5 p14-15
    Abstract: This article discusses the importance of documenting children's work.
  • Creating Rooms of Wonder: Valuing and Displaying Children's Work to Enhance the Learning Process
    Author(s): Seefeldt, Carol
    Publication Date: 2002
    Availability: Gryphon House, Inc., 10726 Tucker Street, Beltsville, MD 20705
    Abstract: Asserting that displaying children’s artwork with thoughtfulness and care benefits children, teachers, and families, this book offers teachers of 2- to 8-year-olds a primer of how to display children’s work.
  • Initiation into Documentation: A Fishing Trip with Toddlers
    Author(s): Gray, Heather
    Publication Date: 2001
    Source: Young Children, v56 n6 p84-91 Nov 2001
    Abstract: This article discusses how documentation is used to communicate and converse with children and offers teachers opportunities to collaborate with one another.
  • Using Documentation Panels to Communicate with Families
    Author(s): Brown-DuPaul, Judith; Keyes, Tracy; Segatti, Laura
    Publication Date: 2001
    Source: Childhood Education, v77 n4 p209-13 Sum 2001
    Abstract: This article suggests using documentation panels in early childhood classrooms to communicate with families regarding their children's activities and learning, as well as to communicate the teacher's educational philosophy.
  • Documentation: The Reggio Emilia Approach.
    Authors: Katz, Lilian G.; Chard, Sylvia C.
    Publication Date: 1997
    Source: Principal, v76 n5 p16-17 May 1997
    Abstract: This article notes that the municipal preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, are attracting worldwide attention for extensively documenting children's experience, memories, thoughts, and ideas. It suggests that this type of documentation contributes to early childhood program quality by enhancing learning, taking children's ideas and work seriously, providing continuous planning and evaluation, encouraging parent participation, fostering teacher awareness, and making learning visible.
  • Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years. Early Childhood Education Series
    Author(s): Helm, Judy Harris; Katz, Lilian G.
    Publication Date: 2001
    Source: Teachers College Press, P.O. Box 20, Williston, VT 05495-0020
    Abstract: Key features of the book are an emphasis on how teachers solve the practical problems of doing projects with young children, including selecting topics, encouraging children to represent what they are learning, and involving parents.
  • Project Approach: Taking a Closer Look.
    Authors: Chard, Sylvia C.
    Publication Date: 2001
    Abstract: This CD-ROM presents accounts of seven children's projects, illustrated by several hundred photographs of project work in progress and samples of children's work.
  • Engaging Children's Minds: The Project Approach. Second Edition.
    Authors: Katz, Lilian G.; Chard, Sylvia C.
    Publication Date: 2000-00-00
    Availability: JAI Press, Inc., Ablex Publishing Group, 100 Prospect Street, P.O. Box 811, Stamford CT
    Abstract: This new edition re-introduces the Project Approach and suggests applications and examples of the approach in action.


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