Education and learning stories in the daycare center

This article is about professional observation and its evaluation using the New Zealand model of education and learning stories, which are called “learning stories” there.

In order for us to make the child’s educational processes visible, free observations must first take place in order to record the child’s daily activities, which are then compared with the five learning dispositions

  • Be interested
  • Be committed
  • Standing firm in the face of challenges and difficulties
  • Expressing and communicating
  • Participate in a learning community and take responsibility

be analyzed.

Only after the observation does a collegial exchange about the observed child follow, in order to be able to consider further information, influences and the like (recognizing a red thread).

After we have completed the three observations and the collegial exchange, the last step is to create a learning story, which is read together with the child. Especially in the case of the learning history, it is important to ensure that it is formulated in a way that is understandable for the child. Attention: The impression should not be created here that a total of three observations by one person are always necessary for the education and learning histories. Ideally, different professionals conduct the observations to reduce subjective influences. Theoretically, the observation procedure can also be carried out with only one observation.

The Education and Learning Stories has similarities with the Leuven Engagement Scale, but should still not be confused with each other or even considered the same!

First observation sheet

Name of the child:M.
Age:5;3
Date | Time:04/27/2022; 08:24 – 08:28 PM
Observer:Goetz
General information about the observation sheet

Observation

Description of the initial situation

M. is in the studio of the group room during free play. Also at the table are J. and A.

Description of the course of action

M. is sitting at the table in the studio of the group room. On the left, opposite, sits J. and on the right, opposite, sits A. at the table. M. has a white A4 sheet in front of him and folds it with both hands. During the folding, M. says in a strong voice: “Jets jets”. Without stopping, M. folds a paper airplane. J. looks over at M. and says, “He got big this time.” M. turns to J.’s left and answers: “This is my jet fighter and I’m going to fly it into space! A. turns to M. and looks at the paper airplane. M. suddenly stands up, takes the paper airplane in his right hand and runs from the studio toward the entrance area of the group room.

Meanwhile, he makes parabolic movements with the paper airplane in his hand. An educator calls out to M.: “M., there will be no running! M. looks at the teacher and says: “I know! At the same moment, M. turns 180 degrees around his left axis and runs back into the studio to A. and J., who are both still concentrated on painting. M. shouts loudly, “J. look at that, that’s my paper airplane and it’s going off like a rocket!”. J. lifts his head and turns to the right towards M. He says, “Boring. I’m also building a paper airplane, but it will be colorful!”. Thereupon, M. looks at J. for 10 seconds and walks wordlessly to the material shelf of the studio. There M. takes a blue and a red pencil with his right hand. With these pens, M. goes to the painting table and sits down.

Analysis of this observation according to learning dispositions

Be interested:M.’s interest in this observation is in airplanes and paper airplanes, to be able to take off (into space) with an engine.
Be engaged:M. makes sounds while flying and moves the plane according to his imagination. He expresses his destination (space) and knows that he needs energy (“jets”) for this. Furthermore, M. started running right when he got up and even had to be “braked” by an educator.
Stand firm in the face of challenges and difficulties:After J. called his paper airplane boring because it didn’t have any colors, M. didn’t think twice and went to get pencils to paint his paper airplane as well.
Expressing and communicating yourself:M. talks to himself in a strong voice while making paper airplanes (jets, jets jets…). Likewise, M. exchanges ideas with J. and A. during the crafting in the studio. M. reacts verbally to the educator’s reaction, but does not change his behavior.
Participate in a learning community and take responsibility:M. responds to J.’s objection and “improves” his paper airplane by adding additional color. So he goes into J’s ideas and lets him have his say.
Analysis of the 1st observation

Focusing this observation

M. builds paper airplanes during free play and moves them in parabolas. In doing so, he quite unconsciously applies physics, which is covered by the educational area of scientific and technical education. Making the paper airplane and especially the colorful design using crayons touch on the educational areas of mathematical education and music-aesthetic education.

M. enters into dialogue with J. and an educator during the observation. Verbal and nonverbal exchange touches on the educational areas of Language & Communication as well as Social, Cultural and Intercultural Education.

The free play time was too short to offer M. sufficient space to develop his interests, since the free play time ended shortly after the observation (the airplane was not tested and was not finished being painted).

Second observation sheet

Name of the child:M.
Age:5;3
Date | Time:04/27/2022; 09:36 – 09:39 PM
Observer:Goetz
General information about the observation sheet

Observation

Description of the initial situation

M. is in the studio of the group room with X. and I.

Description of the course of action

M. is sitting at the painting table. To his right sits X. and to his left sits I. M. talks to X. about pictures and says, “My mom paints nicer pictures.” X. answered directly afterwards, “No, my mom paints better.” Both look at each other at the same time and laugh. M. takes a sheet, which lies in front of him, in his right hand. He looks at it briefly and puts it back on the table after 5 seconds. He then reaches for a red pencil with his right hand, using the tweezer grip. With this he paints circles on the sheet, once larger and once smaller. A total of 9 times. Meanwhile, I. gets up and goes to M. and asks, “Do you have the bag?” M. looks at I. and does not react. I. continues to look at M. Then M. picks up the bag on the table, turns to I. and says: “Here is the bag. It opens like this! I. snatches the bag from M.’s hand and runs away. X. then starts to laugh out loud. M. looks at X. for 3 seconds and then runs after I.

Analysis of this observation according to learning dispositions

Be interested:M’s interest in this observation is in painting pictures.
Be engaged:M. repeatedly (9x in total) draws circles of different sizes on his sheet of paper.
Stand firm in the face of challenges and difficulties:It is not possible to identify with this observation a steadfastness in the face of challenges and difficulties.
Expressing and communicating yourself:M. has dialogues with X. about pictures and her moms’ painting skills. Both laugh together. Likewise, M. responds to I.’s question and is able to respond to it adequately.
Participate in a learning community and take responsibility:M. helps the younger I. to find the bag. He doesn’t want to give the bag to I. just like that, but also explains right away at which point the bag opens.
Analysis of the 2nd observation

Focusing this observation

The painting of M. touches the educational area of musical-aesthetic education. M.’s communication between him and I. and X. touches on the educational area of language & communication.

The free play time without specific supervision in the studio was not optimal for M. This situation did not contribute sufficiently for M. to pursue his interests.

Third observation sheet

Name of the child:M.
Age:5;3
Date | Time:04/27/2022; 10:21 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.
Observer:Goetz
General information about the observation sheet

Observation

Description of the initial situation

M. is in the building area of the daycare center during free play with L., V., F. and A.

Description of the course of action

M. is sitting with L. and V. around the Lego bricks in the middle of the construction room. V. says to T., “Do you know what a big pack I got?” M. replies to V., “Do you know what a big room I’m getting?, Huge!”. M. then stands up, takes a Lego airplane in his right hand and turns in a circle on the right. M. raises his arm up and down. While spinning, M. says, “We’re taking off, let’s go!” After 4 rotations, M. sits down again cross-legged and puts the flier between his legs. M. then yells, ” Aaaahh and ui ui!” M. quickly stands up again and flies out of the construction room into the hallway with the airplane. M. shouts, “I’m flying away from the earth, with jet propulsion and the rocket engine!”. V. and L. look at the door of the construction room. M. then calls out in the hallway, “Ui Ui Ui” and runs back into the construction room directly to V. and the Lego box. M. asks V. standing up: “Shall we have a race? You know, I have a shield.” V. then says to M., “Let’s go!” V. then gets up and stands next to M.. V. runs out of the construction room into the hallway without saying anything. M. runs after V. and makes “Ui Ui Ui noises”.

Analysis of this observation according to learning dispositions

Be interested:The interest of M. in this observation is in airplanes and rockets to be able to fly/take off with them.
Be engaged:M. varies and differentiates his actions with the Lego plane. He flies different routes (in circles & out of the construction space) and makes sounds (Aaaah as well as Ui Ui Ui). Likewise M. expresses his exact intentions with the airplane (I fly away from the earth…).
Stand firm in the face of challenges and difficulties:It is not possible to identify with this observation a steadfastness in the face of challenges and difficulties.
Expressing and communicating yourself:M. approaches V. and exchanges ideas with him (Do you know what kind of big room I get?). Likewise, M. accompanies his game with his own words. M. speaks clearly and full of energy.
Participate in a learning community and take responsibility:M. interacts with V. and both agree on a game (race). The exact course of the game is not known (V. runs off without saying anything and M. is still waiting). Nevertheless, M. can accept V.’s other idea and get involved with V.’s starting rule (He then also runs).
Analysis of the 3rd observation

Focusing this observation

Here, M. learns about the effect of scientific laws (gravity & centrifugal force) and applies technical knowledge (kerosene/jet propulsion) to achieve his desire (to fly/lift off). This touches on the educational area of scientific and technical education.

Likewise, M. communicates with V. during free play and he also shares his ideas/wishes with him (Should we have a race?). This communication touches the educational areas of Language & Communication and Social, Cultural and Intercultural Education.

The free play situation in the construction room offers M. sufficient space to pursue his interests. The adjacent hallway offers a longer walkway to take a faster flight once in a while. Lego material offers many opportunities for diversification of aircraft. There was also enough time in the free play area until lunch, with just under 2 hours.

Arc for collegial exchange about the child’s learning

Name of the child:M.
Age:5;3
Date:27.04.2022
Professionals presentGötz, Müller, Maier, Schultz
General information on collegial exchange

Various observations and impressions

M. feels very comfortable in the daycare center. He plays very often with H. and A. in free play.

M. has precise ideas and conceptions about airplanes, rockets and space. What we find particularly interesting and impressive is that M. analyzes his built aircraft in a scientifically oriented way. He tests the flight distance of his different constructions by throwing them out of the 1st floor window. Through this, he is constantly creating new hypotheses.

M. also likes to play with Lego. Here, too, he shows an interest in designing and building. It’s interesting that Lego focuses on spaceships. In comparison, when crafting and folding with paper, it is mostly planes / airplanes.

In the construction area, M. built a space station with V. In the process, both have always integrated new ideas and everyday objects. Here it was interesting to see how M. thought about a garage while building the space station and told about his father’s car. We would never have thought of such a combination and link (space station & garage).

Ideas for next steps

We have decided to let M. go to the construction area more often together with V. Likewise, we will look to see if we can find more building instructions for planes or even rockets. Also, once we will change the material for construction (cardboard instead of A4 paper). When the opportunity arises, we can provide appropriate impetus, for example, in the range measurement of the fliers and encourage the use of the measuring wheel to accurately measure the distance.

Also a specific offer on the topic of magnetism or cosmos would be appropriate in view of M.’s current interests. Especially the magnets could strengthen the knowledge about scientific phenomena, because M. talks very often about taking off and that he needs kerosene (energy) for this. This can be taken up and it can be conveyed that there are also other forces like the gravitational force of the earth.

Learning History

Dear M.,

today we were together in the studio. There you showed me the pilot’s book with a lot of motivation. Quickly you could open the page with your favorite plane, which you call “Fliegerrakete”. I was very enthusiastic with how much joy you could explain the respective construction steps to me. Now we can finally build a “flying rocket” together and make it fly. H. and A. also watched you building your plane quite curiously.

Remember how H. and A. ended up wanting a plane like that, too? Without even asking, you both also built your “flying rocket”. I thought that was insanely great and you had been very proud of yourself.

After the morning circle, you and V. went to the studio again. You talked about flying and taking off. I can still remember a sentence of yours that you said full of energy to V.: “After all, we need jets and kerosene to take off from the earth.” V. then said to you that you are going into space. It was nice to see the two of you look at each other and start laughing.

Very quickly you ran to the cupboard and fetched a sheet of paper with a pen. Without thinking, you started to paint. V. stood next to you and said, “We need rockets and a spike.” Without hesitation you had started to paint. After a few minutes your rocket was already painted. Full of joy you called me to you and V. and explained to me the painted rocket.

Together we then decided to have a rocket day next Wednesday to test our “flying rockets”. It had been a very nice day,

your educator Sebastian.

Sample design of an education and learning story

Sources

Suggested Citation

Goetz, S. (2022). Education and learning stories. Observe, evaluate, and write learning stories. ISSN: 2748-2979. Accessed 20.05.2022. Available at: https://krippenzeit.de/bildungs-und-lerngeschichten/

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