Rainbow District School Board

Sudbury, Espanola, Manitoulin, and Shining Tree, Ontario

Since the introduction of Early Learning-Kindergarten three years ago, the Rainbow District School Board has made tremendous advances using pedagogical documentation to make children and their thinking visible in their community. A positive stance toward pedagogical documentation has been guided by the partnership of Superintendent Dr. Sharon Speir and researcher Dr. Jeffrey Wood from Laurentian University. Together they have provided opportunities for early learning educators to be fully supported as they explore their understandings and begin to document within their schools. Sharon and Jeffrey have facilitated school visits, in-school learning events, institutes and workshops and, most importantly, provided the social conditions that encourage participation and the disposition to effect change. I first met these exemplary and approachable educators with their researcher teams of Early Learning Kindergarten teachers and Early Childhood Educators at two summer institutes led by Carol Anne Wien. I have been delighted to meet them at many Ontario Reggio Association gatherings since then, including Charles Sturt University and The Bishop Strachan School.

The pedagogical documentation panels from the educators of the Rainbow District School Board are noteworthy! In their processes they make visible very insightful and impressive paths of children's learning. They offer opportunities for multiplicities of understanding and also reciprocal learning for readers of their work. It is so fortunate that this beautiful documentation revealing Northern Identities has been recorded and has the potential to be shared. The most unique and genuine aspects of their work that I recognize are the gestures toward the feeling of life on the northern Canadian Shield and a clear presence of understandings and cultures of First Nation children. The documentation also offers a glimpse of the children’s affective and physical relationships to materials and the outdoors and how this contributes to their personal meaning making in learning. This reflective pedagogical documentation serves to open the lens of education in Ontario beyond the usual southern urban view.

The educators and administrators in this school board have shown that pedagogical documentation is not only research of children's learning it is also a celebration of culture and its citizens! It makes thinking, relationships, collaboration, beauty, and difference visible for the world to see. Dr. Wien often says that pedagogical documentation has the potential to be expansive. I agree! It can open up possibilities. It goes beyond the walls of the classroom. It opens doors for understanding and creates new opportunities for appreciation.

I offer my sincere thanks to both Sharon and Jeffrey for their work in supporting educators to use pedagogical documentation to expand understandings. Thank you to the educators of Rainbow District School Board for so genuinely and determinedly focusing a lens on the intelligence of your youngest citizens, your sensitive and responsive work, and your beautiful part of our province!

Long may you run...
Ontario Reggio Association (ORA)
Rainbow District School Board (RDSB)
Laurentian University (LU)
Speir, S. What does it mean to learn in a group? (Part 1) Ontario Reggio Association Journal. Winter 2012 pages 6-8.
Speir, S. What does it mean to learn in a group? (Part 2) Ontario Reggio Association Journal. Summer 2013 pages 4-7.
Speir, S. The Outdoors: A Provocation for Early Learning, A Profile of Early Learning in Northern Ontario Back to Nature Network: Teacher Stories, Volume 1
Vaquez, V., J. Wood & C. Branigan Felderman (Eds.). (2013). Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education vol. 2. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Wood, J. (2013). Gender issues in kindergarten. In Vaquez, V., J. Wood & C. Branigan Felderman (Eds.). Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education vol. 2. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Vaquez, V & J. Wood (Eds.). (2012). Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Wood, J. (2012) Playing with a Reggio Emilia Approach. ECE assembly of NCTE Newsletter(4)1. 2-3.
Wood, J. (2008). The teacher as researcher. In Provenzo, E. (Ed.). Encyclopedia of the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education. New York: Sage.

Wood, J. (2005). Voices of Practitioners. Moses's story: Critical literacy and social justice in an urban kindergarten. Young Children Beyond the Journal.
Northern Identities – a series of seven research posters responding to the question, “How can teacher research deepen an educator’s understanding of how children learn?” Sponsored by Managing Information for Student Achievement (MISA) and Association for Education Research in Ontario (AERO). Presented at the Ontario Reggio Association (ORA) in February 2012 – Inviting Complexity: Deepening our Understanding of Pedagogical Documentation.
Assessment as Attributing Value – a series of six large panels explore the question, “What Is The Relationship Between Teaching and Learning, Documentation and Assessment In Early Learning (Inspired By Reggio)?” Sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Assessment and Policy Branch. Presented at Ontario Reggio Days in Sudbury in October 2013.
Dr. Jeffrey Wood and Dr. Sharon Speir – How might teacher researcher deepen educator’s understandings of how young children learn? CAYC conference, Burlington ON (November 10, 2012)

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