Documentation as a tool for participation, learning and research

 In Reggio Emilia, research represents one of the essential dimensions of the life of children and adults alike, a knowledge-building tension that must be recognised and valued. Shared research between adults and children is a priority practice of everyday life, an existential and ethical approach necessary for interpreting the complexity of the world, of phenomena, of systems of co-existence, and is a powerful instrument of renewal in education. 

 “Research made visible by means of the documentation builds learning, reformulates knowledge, underlies professional quality, and is proposed at the national and international levels as an element of pedagogical innovation.”  Preschools and Infant Toddler Centres Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia Reggio Emilia (2010) pp 11-12. 

Our 2022 Research Symposium seeks to create dialogue amongst a research community aiming to make reference to the system of values and principles which give shape to the educational project of Reggio Emilia. In doing so, we seek to honour our responsibilities to advocate for, and promote these values within Australian contexts.


Documentation making learning visible
• As a strategy to inform policy and political advocacy
• As a context for rich collaboration
• Creating a context for listening, supporting our capacity to pay attention to children’s wonderings and curiosities
• Giving visibility to the hundred languages
• Inviting children’s agency (voice)

Documentation as professional learning
• Documentation inviting a relationship between theory and practice
• Providing opportunities for collaborative, critical reflection – highlighting the value of collaborative research as a professional learning opportunity
• Documentation supporting co-participative research between children and educators; between children and atelieriste; between educational leaders and their teams; between classroom-based educators and academics.

Documentation as progettazione
• Documentation guiding the design process (that is progettazione)
• Developing research questions; intentional observation; interpretation and re-launching projects
• Advocating for Image of Child (children’s voice and thinking) and the hundred languages

Documentation as evaluation
• Reimagining the possible – how could documentation be accessed as an evaluation tool?
• Accessing documentation to gather data for interpretation and evaluation of student learning and progress