Making progress

One purpose of documenting children’s learning is to be able to capture the progress in children learning.  The word progress can be defined as ‘the forward or onward movement toward a destination’. So with that definition in mind we have to think about what is the destination we are moving towards?

Te Whāriki aspiration provides us with that destination

 ” … that all children will grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging, secure in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society.”

Te Whāriki also provides us with the desired outcomes for our children

  • Mana atua = I have power over myself. I know my own strengths. I value my whakapapa.
  • Mana reo = I share my views. I ask for what I need. I express my ideas.
  • Mana auturoa = I explore the bigger world.
  • Mana tangata  I take care of others. I take leadership.
  • Mana whenua = This place is my turangawaewae. I join in.

Margaret Carr developed a notion of progress here as the ABCD framework – where the measure of progress involves four key elements – agency, breadth, continuity and distribution.

We can also think of progress in terms of learner identity and dispositions. We know children make progress when they

  • Stick at it longer
  • Become more adventurous with it
  • Master it
  • Become an expert in it
  • Teach it to others

Learning stories provide us a powerful tool to capture this learning. A learning story generally captures a moment in time to illustrate the child’s learning. A learning story can also capture a child’s learning over a longer period of time  – this will provide a holistic picture of the child as a learner. Below are three examples of what that might  look like.

A progress story focusing on the sparkling moments

A progress story focusing on the strands of Te Whariki

Or a progress story focusing on the threads of learning


6 thoughts on “Making progress

      • I admit that I’ve never heard of the official terms, but as a teacher we measured progress using the regular progress reports and marks and what not. I am not sure what they use here (US/Canada) in early childhood education. I’m just intrigued at alternatives to grades and I am finding progress stories fascinating. 🙂

  1. Excellent examples of learning stories. What programme do you use to write these up? I’d love to make up something similar to use at my centre. Thanks!

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