Part 3: Individualizing Experiences and Sharing the Story

Foundations 2, Part 3

Individualizing Experiences and Sharing the Learning Story

A learning portfolio is a collection of moments that, when put together, tell a child’s unique learning story. By capturing learning as it happens, teachers can analyze the many moments to better understand a child’s developmental level, interests and learning style.

In Foundations 2, Part 1, you explored how to see the child with your eyes and ears.

In Foundations 2, Part 2, you learned about skills, skill levels and how to see children apply them throughout the routine of the day.

In Foundations 2, Part 3, you will learn how to use your observation and assessment to adapt your teaching, as well as how to communicate with your families.

Watch the following 25-minute presentation to learn more about how to observe the interests and learning style of each child and tips for how to adapt the learning experience based on your observation and assessment. After the presentation, you can watch the short tutorials on how to use the ChildFolio app to efficiently capture learning throughout the day and instantly share the stories with families.


Writing Notes to Engage the Family

What do parents want to know about the learning at school? Sharing a single photo, video or even sending home a toy or game can help give parents a window into the day in the life of their child at school. To help you get started with writing notes to families, use the “I See Your Child” note starters. Note Starters help you share moments to communicate that the child is:

  • Having fun and feeling happy
  • Being challenged and making progress
  • Feeling proud of accomplishing tasks
  • Making friends
  • Learning new concepts
  • Trying new things
  • Becoming independent

Write notes to help family see what you see in the little moments of the day. If you take a video of a child, begin your note with one of the bullets above then describe the story in more detail. In the details, describe the where, what and with whom. For example:

  • “Sarah is becoming independent. Today she washed her hands in the bathroom by herself.”
  • “Brandon is making friends. He played with Joey at the seed science table and shared the tweezers.”
  • “Kaitlyn is challenged and making progress with fine motor skills. She used tweezers to pick up seeds at the science table. The seeds would fall, but Kaitlyn did not give up; she kept trying.”

Creating a Learning Story

By gathering all of your documentation for a given topic or project, you can create a Learning Story for each child.

Stories are powerful and beneficial for both children and their families. A learning story communicates more than a number, a chart or a checklist of skills. Rather, it reflects the whole child’s strengths and approaches to creativity and problem-solving. As in every good story, there are challenges to overcome, but remember that learning is a journey and stories celebrate that process.

Benefits for children

  • Children feel heard and valued when they see that you have recorded their ideas and thinking.
  • Children can revisit their photos and art then reflect on their own thinking and learning.

 Benefits for teachers

  • Teachers see how surrounding elements influence the child’s learning, such as the environment, relationships and even the child’s innate interest (or lack of interest) in a topic.
  • Teachers can use the stories to plan more meaningful, individualized curriculum.
  • Teachers can capture spontaneous moments of learning, which creates a more collaborative, rewarding and flexible experience.
  • Learning stories are ideal case studies to use during staff meetings and teacher training.
  • Learning stories can be made into books, displays or PowerPoint presentations to help communicate the teacher’s and/or school’s philosophy.

Benefits for families

  • Stories help build trust between teacher and parents by showing that the teacher values the child.
  • Stories set the stage for communication between teacher and parents about what is happening at school and at home.
  • Stories are ongoing. Families can respond or add to notes and photos to connect the story to home.
  • Stories help families understand the child’s strengths and see them in action through the story.
  • Stories create family pride because the stories show their child’s unique abilities.
  • Stories support parent involvement by encouraging them to ask how/what/why questions about their child’s experiences.


Stories inspire, empower and help teachers and families support each other as they collaborate on helping a child reach his fullest potential.



Watch the following videos to learn how to write notes, share with families and generate both reports and portfolios automatically with the ChildFolio app.


How to write notes

How to share a moment with the family

After parents have downloaded the free “ChildFolio Family App” and scanned their child’s QR code (which you can set up in the “manage classroom” section of the app), they can automatically receive real-time moments from you. You decide which moments to keep private and which to share with the family. Find out how with the following video:


How to organize and quickly search all of your photos and videos

Use this feature to create individual child portfolios or learning stories (for example, Jenny’s Garden Story):


Reports and portfolios

The next two videos will explain how to view reports and print individual child portfolios:




Take the Foundations 2 quiz here:

Next: Foundations 3, Family Engagement >



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