“Of all affairs, communication is the most wonderful…When communication occurs, all natural events are subject to reconsideration and revision; they are re-adapted to meet the requirements of conversation, whether it be public discourse or that preliminary discourse called thinking. Events turn into objects, things with a meaning.”

John DeweyExperience and Nature.
Open Court, 1929, p. 138 (as cited in Cuffaro, 1995).

Join educators from around the New York City Metro Area as we explore the topic of "Making the Stories of Learning Visible" over the course of two Symposium events. For Part A, artists and educators will present their expertise and experiences with the process of documentation, offering participants ideas and skills that they can take back to their own school contexts. Participants are encouraged to make a shift in their own documentation process during the three weeks following Part A. For Part B, we will have the opportunity to hear from participants on the changes they have made to their pedagogical practice. We will also hear from the educators and administrators at Stephen Wise Synagogue Early Childhood Center on how their school approaches the task of making visible the work of the children and teachers. Both Symposium events will include time for participants to explore the classrooms and documentation displays at Beginnings Nursery School and Stephen Wise Synagogue ECC.

Total Cost for Both Symposiums

General Public = $70
Members = $40
Students = $20

Become a Member

*Students and members need to enter appropriate discount code during checkout

Symposium Program

Symposium Part A, Thursday, Nov. 3rd:
At Friends and Beginnings

At Friends Meetinghouse

  • 4:30   Registration
  • 4:45   Welcome and Introduction by Robin Koo
  • 5:00   Session A:  Photography: Telling a Story with Images with Kent Miller & Amy Miller

At Beginnings Nursery School

  • 6:15   Session B:  Breakout Sessions in classrooms, with pizza and refreshments
    Presentation and discussion in each session

GROUP 1: Interactive Documentation and Community

Josephine Norcliffe and Stephanie Arnold, UPK Teachers in an Inclusive Classroom at K280 in BrooklynJosephine and Stephanie will share how their usage of documentation makes visible the value, development and awareness of community in their inclusive UPK classroom.
GUIDING QUESTION: What does the documentation process look like in public school? How does it impact the development of curriculum? How does documentation and assessment intersect?

GROUP 2: Documentation Process Foundations

Yeshnaya Dougherty, Associate Program Director, Teaching Beyond the Square Yeshnaya will unpack the process of documentation for educators that are new to this pedagogical approach, and offer suggestions on how to start observing and documenting.
GUIDING QUESTION: What is the documentation process, and why is it important to think about it in relation to teaching practices and learning experiences?

GROUP 3: Interpreting Observations I

Jenna Samotin, 3s Teacher, Stephen Wise Synagogue ECCJenna will illustrate how observations and other forms of collected data can be interpreted to further learning and curriculum development.
GUIDING QUESTION: How does one interpret observations and collected data in order to further an inquiry or curricular investigation?

GROUP 4: Children and Documentation

Laura Spaziani, 4s Teacher, Beginnings Nursery SchoolLaura will share several examples of how children have played a large role in the documentation process and development of curricular investigations.
GUIDING QUESTION: How can children play a larger role in the process of documentation?


Allie Baylson and Liz McBride, 4/5s Teachers, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue ECC - Allie and Liz will share how they collected and interpreted observations throughout their year-long study on weather and used these findings to deepen the curriculum as they moved forward.
GUIDING QUESTION: How does one interpret observations and collected data in order to further an inquiry or curricular investigation?

  • 7:15     Open Classrooms @ Beginnings Nursery School.

* Note in selecting from the Breakout Sessions: please refer to the Guiding Questions and reflect on what your current questions are about documentation and how you currently utilize it in your pedagogical practice. Once you have selected your Breakout Session Group, you will remain in that group for Symposium Part B in December.

* We encourage participants to make a small shift in their documentation process, record it, and share at Symposium Part B. No pressure! Collaborating together is one of our goals for this Symposium series, and we hope you will take this opportunity to test something out and share the success and challenges with the rest of us. All submissions should be sent to Robin Koo by Wednesday, Nov. 23rd. Details on the Docu-Challenge will be shared at the Symposium.

* To support participants with their Docu-Challenge, we will offer a follow-up Videochat on Friday, Nov. 18th @ 3pm. Robin Koo and Yeshnaya Dougherty will be available to answer questions and offer feedback on action steps.


Symposium Part B, Thursday, Dec. 1st:
At Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Early Childhood Center

  • 4:00   Registration
  • 4:15   Welcome and Introduction by Robin Koo
  • 4:30   How Learning is Made Visible at Stephen Wise ECC
    The teachers and administrators at Stephen Wise ECC recognize that learning does not begin or end at the doors of the classroom, but rather it is the constant reality for young children throughout the many spaces they inhabit. In the spring of 2016, the ECC staff put this belief into practice through the Hallwayscapes initiative, ongoing experiences that allow them to feel more at home in our newly renovated halls. ECC staff will share this collaborative process with all of us as they make this learning story visible.
  • 5:30   Breakout Sessions in classrooms, refreshments and snacks 

Sharing Shifts in Documentation: Volunteer presenters

  • What did you try out in the past several weeks?
  • What was the system you used to document?
  • What did you find to be challenging, and how might this change your practice moving forward?
  • What impact did the shift have on your approach, and on the children’s experience/learning?
  • What are some suggestions for improving the shift in documentation?
  • What are some projected next steps?

GROUP 1:  Josephine Norcliffe and Stephanie Arnold moderating the discussion
GROUP 2:  Yeshnaya Dougherty moderating the discussion
GROUP 3:  Jenna Samotin moderating the discussion
GROUP 4:  Laura Spaziani moderating the discussion
GROUP 5:  Allie Baylson and Liz McBride moderating the discussion

  • 6:30     Open Classrooms @ Stephen Wise