Documenting our Growth: Looking at Documentation Through the Four Frames

Area(s) of Focus: kindergarten
Division(s): Primary
Level(s): Kindergarten

This project grew out of a curiosity and eventual frustration with the way a four-framed report card template changed the way that educators were approaching their documentation. In our documentation, we explore the ways in which this process occurs.

In this project, we have inquired into the ways that the new curriculum and assessment frameworks in kindergarten impact on our documentation processes and how we can continue to push our practice forwards as long-time kindergarten educators, using pedagogical documentation to make both our own and our students’ learning visible.


Team Members

  • Julie Kelly

    Rainbow District School Board

  • Julie Paquette

    Rainbow District School Board

  • Darlene Villeneuve

    Rainbow District School Board

  • Celeste Ovens-Lamothe

    Rainbow District School Board

  • Emily Caruso Parnell

    Rainbow District School Board

  • Jennifer Hearn

    Rainbow District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

  • Explored the newly published kindergarten program document, examining how changes to the structure of the document, namely the four frames, impacts the ways we think about learning and teaching
  • Explored the new kindergarten addendum to Growing Success in order to further understand the relationship between the practice of pedagogical documentation and kindergarten assessment as framed by the Growing Success addendum and the new provincial kindergarten report card

Activities and Resources

The team met for three days over the course of the year and discussed the ways in which the new kindergarten program document (and particularly its organization in four frames), as well as the new Growing Success kindergarten addendum, were influencing and changing the way that teachers and educators were documenting learning in their classrooms. As the year progressed, it became clear that the format of the new Kindergarten Communication of Learning would become a focus of our conversation. Teachers and educators communicated their frustration with the four-framed (four-box) template that was provided and expressed their desire to return to a single-box format that would allow them to represent the child’s learning more holistically.

Unexpected Challenges

It was not initially our intention to focus so intently on the Communication of Learning and its impact on classroom practice, but it became clear in our conversations that this was a site of significant frustration on behalf of the teachers and educators who were spending dozens of hours crafting comments to fit in each of the four boxes on the Communication of Learning.

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

As a group of teachers and educators who have been working in kindergarten since the rollout of the new full-day kindergarten program in Ontario (2010), we are cognizant of the impact that reporting has on instruction. We were privileged for many years to be able to report on student learning in a way that reflected our understanding of the child as a holistic, transversal learner whose explorations in one domain cannot be separated from progress in another area. Freed from artificial subject divisions, we felt empowered to communicate with parents in a way that captured the complex magic of early childhood learning without having to slot learning stories into particular categories. Stepping away from that format has been painful and we feel that it has negatively impacted on our ability both to communicate learning accurately to parents and to assess students’ learning from the holistic stance that the kindergarten program document advocates.


We are having formal documentation panels produced that will be displayed in schools, as well as being available for conference presentations, professional learning sessions and sharing digitally.

Project Evaluation

As we began this project, we had hoped that we’d be reporting on the ways that we successfully adapted to using the new four-framed program document, Growing Success Addendum, and Communication of Learning. That hasn’t been the case, but we nevertheless feel some success in being able to communicate where the challenges lie for us as experienced kindergarten educators in the hope that perhaps there might be some options explored in providing educators with choice regarding how they communicate learning to parents.

Resources Used

Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners

From the research project conducted by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and by Reggio Children. (2001)


Edited by Gino Ferri and Giovanni Piazza.

Reggio Children. (1995)

Children, Art, Artists: The Expressive Languages of Children, the Artistic Language of Alberto Burri

Edited by Claudia Giudici and Vea Vecchi.

Reggio Children. (2004)

Dialogues with Places

Edited by Tiziana Filippini, Claudia Giudici and Vea Vecchi.

Reggio Children. (2008)

Martino Has Wheels

Annalisa Rabitti, illustrated by S.M.L. Possentini.

Reggio Children. (2016)

Theater Curtain: the Ring of Transformation

Edited by Vea Vecchi.

Reggio Children. (2002)