National Pyjama Day 2023

Pedagogical Documentation: Irish eyes bringing learning home from lasi, Romania’

Pedagogical Documentation: Irish eyes bringing learning home from lasi, Romania’
By Imelda Graham


The Early Years Digital Portfolio project is being conducted through the Erasmus + programme. The aim of the “Early Years Digital Portfolio” EYDP project is to create a more effective and transparent communication pattern among childhood education and care systems and families, with the purpose of documenting, evaluating, and assessing the progress of each child taking a holistic view of the child’s development and learning. The project, therefore, intends to innovate and support the transformation of early childhood education institutions and the qualification of their professionals, towards a more digital future of education.

The project partners are drawn from Portugal, Romania, Italy, and the Irish partners, ULS (Universal Learning Systems). ULS website is ulsystems.com and the project website can be found here.

The study visit:

In July 2023 a very excited group of Early Years educators gathered in Dublin Airport to fly to the city of Iasi in eastern Romania, near the Moldovan border. The purpose of the trip was to spend the week studying, along with their European colleagues “Pedagogical Documentation on Children’s Learning: Creating Digital Portfolios”.

The project started some months prior to the visit, and some of you may have taken part in the initial survey on the status of pedagogical documentation from an Irish perspective. Following analysis of the primary research findings, work began on the handbook, with a draft being developed, and then explored through the study trip in Iasi.

What did our group get up to? Lots of learning, debate, discussion on the following areas related to pedagogical documentation, networking with the new European colleagues, and a little sightseeing! The programme for the week was developed by the lead partner from Portugal, the IPB Institute in Braganca, led by Dr. Cristina Mesquita, an expert on this topic.

The topics covered during the week were:

  • Participatory Pedagogies in Childhood Education
  • Child Holistic approach
  • Practical aspects of documentation (How, when, and where to document?)
  • The observation of children’s action: instruments and processes
  • Creating Children Portfolios
What our participants said:

“The week of training was extremely beneficial and allowed for reflection on not only my own practice, but also about how it compares to other jurisdictions. I found that we have a lot of commonalities as well as differences in how we approach both documentation and curriculum. For example, in Portugal the documentation in the Modern School Movement approach is entirely led by the children and focuses on democracy as central to the approach while in Romania, there is mandatory implementation of curriculum, resulting in a more academic approach. I was inspired when it was acknowledged that in Ireland, we are not hindered by past approaches and attitudes in that our own framework, Aistear is not only progressive but an excellent example of international best practice.”

“I really enjoyed every minute of this trip to Iasi… Andrei for his wonderful tour guiding and for Anca the president of EuroEd for her hospitality. I look forward to passing the finished product to my own colleagues in my service…”

“I especially enjoyed listening to our European colleagues with their daily practices…and would love the opportunity to travel to their settings to see and learn from them…experience first-hand their practice, as we experienced in EuroEd. Christina and Louis were so good, explained things so well … made us explore our own practices, and thankfully, translated very well…”

“I found the content of the course to be interesting, some of it nothing I had not already heard ( level 8) or am already doing in my practice, however what I found of particular interest to me was children’s genuine participation, in learning experiences and in documentation and what this can look like, by realising what this is for each child we will then be able to truly see the child in his or her agency. Applying this to a digital platform would be wonderful, being able to add to the child’s story over the course of the year or two or indeed throughout their time in a service would be phenomenal… and what a story this would be for parents!! “

“Thanks again for the amazing opportunity in being part of the EYDP in Iasi, it was such a great experience and a very insightful week. The study week helped me to reflect on my own practice and focus on my approach to documenting children’s learning from a portfolio aspect. The trip gave me scope to reflect and develop my practice so that going forward I am consciously aware and mindful in providing a holistic approach to promote children’s learning and participation, giving children the autonomy to be active agents and the importance of facilitating children to share their learning journey with their families and communities.”

“I feel that the training course and handbook will help support Early Years Educators to be confident in navigating through the documentation process of creating digital portfolios with the understanding and knowledge we are capturing true reflections of children’s learning journeys.”

“When looking at digital portfolios. it is exciting to envisage how we will have the tools to create a wonderful journey of learning and development that will be unique and individual to each child. I am looking forward to the online training and to moving forward with this project. Capturing our image of the child in the most positive and responsive way possible”

Expected Project results
  • Development of a digital handbook aimed at kindergarten educators to provide them with the pedagogical basis and framework for construction of documentation processes on children’s learning and performance.
  • Creation of an online training package that will provide practical training on pedagogical documentation and assessment
  • Production of a Digital Portfolio Management System (DPMS) for uploading digital documents related to children’s documentation and assessment

Early Years services in Ireland will be able to benefit from these results, to use the Handbook and complete the Online Training Programme. There will be Irish seminars/workshops in 2024/5 to present the outcomes.

Share this post

More to explore

Report: The State of Children in the European Union 2024

Report: The State of Children in the European Union 2024

20 million children in European Union Member States are at risk of poverty or social inclusion, according to a new…
Policy in Action 27 February 2024

Policy in Action 27 February 2024

Yesterday, we released the Early Childhood Ireland Barometer 2024. Now in its seventh year, the annual Barometer – based on…
Press Release – Early Childhood Ireland Barometer 2024

Press Release – Early Childhood Ireland Barometer 2024

Overwhelming public support for children to have guaranteed access to high-quality, inclusive Early Years in their community – Early Childhood…

Share this post

More to explore

Report: The State of Children in the European Union 2024

Report: The State of Children in the European Union 2024

20 million children in European Union Member States are at risk of poverty or social inclusion, according to a new…
Policy in Action 27 February 2024

Policy in Action 27 February 2024

Yesterday, we released the Early Childhood Ireland Barometer 2024. Now in its seventh year, the annual Barometer – based on…
Press Release – Early Childhood Ireland Barometer 2024

Press Release – Early Childhood Ireland Barometer 2024

Overwhelming public support for children to have guaranteed access to high-quality, inclusive Early Years in their community – Early Childhood…