Reconsidering documentation systems : Examining Polish preschool educators’ reflections upon Polish preschool documentation system, preschool democracy and Reggio Emilia-inspired pedagogical documentation from Sweden.

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF)

Abstract: Sweden and Poland see preschool documentation as a very important practice in Early Childhood Education and Care. Each country, however, conceives of this documentation differently. Reggio Emilia-inspired pedagogical documentation is one of the documentation practices used in Swedish preschools. There is very little research on the approach of Polish educators to this form of pedagogical documentation. Furthermore, the Swedish preschool curriculum is based on Social Pedagogy in contrast to the Polish preschool curriculum, which is based on Readiness for School. These curricular perspectives are underpinned by different views on children’s abilities and on the goal of preschool as an institution. This, in turn, reflects the relative differences in how democracy is viewed, and documentation maintained in these two countries. In this study, semi-structured interviews with four Polish preschool educators were conducted in order to document their understandings of the mentioned terms, as well as their perspectives on the forms and practices of documentation that they use. The participants were also asked about the possibility of adapting pedagogical documentation, as seen in Sweden, to the Polish preschool model. The findings showed, that the participants did not recognize Polish preschool system as democratic. What is more, the interviewees are not satisfied with the form of their preschool documentation. However, the interviews showed, that even though the teachers see value in pedagogical documentation, they do not see this approach as the appropriate one to adapt to Poland, due to the system malfunctions and reluctant co-workers. Lastly, the study shows that more research is needed to examine the relationship between documentation practices and the promotion and maintenance of democratic practices in preschool internationally, as well as suggests some changes in order to improve Polish documentation practices.

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