At the very beginning of the year, we introduce the children to their portfolios. We explain that the portfolios were empty, but throughout the course of the year the children will add “learning stories” that will tell about their individual learning journeys throughout their time in Kindergarten.
Ryan’s big brother Aidan was in KC two years before, so we ask Ryan’s family if we could have a look at Aidan’s portfolio, as an example. The children are totally absorbed as we turn the pages of Aidan’s portfolio. They are captivated by a story Aidan had written about his baby. “That’s a fiction!” someone cried. The children all know Aidan, and they know he doesn’t have a baby. Suddenly Nia clicked! “It’s Ryan! He was a baby but now he’s not!”
Thanks to Aidan’s portfolio, the children see how their empty portfolios will be used to document their personal learning journeys. As the year progresses, the children select pieces of work to put in their portfolio to highlight their learning. They make decisions about how to mount their work and use the safety paper trimmer to present their work they way they want it. Some children type their own reflections, others dictate as adults scribe, the adults re-reading what they have typed so the children can check that their thoughts have been accurately recorded.
The children particularly want to share their learning journeys with their ELC teachers and with their friends who are still at the ELC. We email the ELC teachers to ask if we could come and visit. The ELC teachers reply they would be delighted to have us, so off we go, the children carefully clutching their portfolios.
Both groups of children were deeply engaged as they pour over the portfolios. There is a buzz of purposeful conversation as children ask and respond to questions. The KC children are clearly proud of their achievements and are able to talk about their work in depth. The ELC children are genuinely interested to hear about their older friends’ learning journeys.
The ELC children kindly made some cookies especially for us, which we all eat together before returning to the ‘big school’. This sharing session has been a wonderful student-led reflection on and celebration of the learning that has occurred this semester, made so much more powerful because the children have been in the driving seat.