Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/building-relationships-with-parents-of-infants-and-toddlers-with-learning-stories/5021380/The demand for infant and toddler services remains high. Sixty-four percent of all mothers return to work within the first year of giving birth (NACCRRA, 2010). It is important to provide high-quality services for very young children as this has a long-lasting and positive impact on children’s development and learning (NAEYC, 2009). High-quality programs assess young children’s strengths, progress, and needs using assessment methods that are developmentally appropriate, tied to children’s daily activities, are inclusive of families, and are connected to making sound decisions about teaching and learning (NAEYC & NAECS/SDE, 2003). One such method is Learning Stories (Carr, 2001), a method that has been used in New Zealand early childhood education settings for over a decade.
As a teacher educator in New Zealand for more than 15 years, I have worked with classroom teachers, student teachers, and families who have benefited from this type of documentation of children’s learning. Learning stories are ideally suited as records of infant and toddler learning and development. Here I introduce the process of documenting through learning stories; the theoretical underpinning of learning stories have been discussed extensively elsewhere (Carr, 2001).
Learning stories are formative assessments written as structured narratives that track children’s strengths ...