This week I am revisiting a blog post from way back in 2013 that focussed on a method of taking children’s learning journeys into display.
It was a really popular post and since then I have seen the display replicated in many different ways on my travels all over the world.
Thanks to Ladybrook Primary for being the initial inspiration!
At Ladybrook they had a version of this in both Nursery and Reception
This is Reception. A large display board has been divided up so that each child gets a large(ish) square.
The whole thing was really well thought out from the backing paper to the mounts that the photographs were on.
The display starts with a photo of the child and their ‘significant others’. These are permanent features.
The squares are then enhanced with examples of children’s work and creations. Adults then annotate the work that is on display.
As this changes the examples and the annotations could go straight into a child’s learning journey as evidence.
The speech bubbles record what the children were saying, so that gives a nice bit of context to the display.
This is what it looked like from a distance.
There was SO much information on it about learning, attainment, children’s preferences, skill development. It was a very informative read.
This is the Nursery version of the same idea.
There were a huge variation in the creations that children had chosen to display from up-cycled models to stick art – nice!
Sometimes when settings are thinking about stripping back some of the colour everything ends up being a bit too ‘beige’ and a great deal of impact can be lost. In the infamous words of one Headteacher
‘They used to have a lovely room and now they have made it look like a morgue!’
Well, there is nothing deathly about this space. It is ace!
Remember, less is more NOT less is morgue!
Some things to think about….
The idea works well when each child has a decent space. When the space allocation is small it tends to look very cluttered and difficult to decode.
The display is there to show the individuality of the child so lots of squares that are reproductions of the same activity don’t tell that story or show that uniqueness
The Ladybrook display is definitely more of a ‘curated’ display with some pieces being permanent – like the photos of the children and families. This means that you are not constantly changing everything in the square.
It can be used really effectively to support children in discussing their work and creations, especially if they get to choose what is on the wall
Lots of settings approach this way of ‘learning journey’ display by allocating the responsibility of changing the content to the child’s key person. I have found that works best when the content is changed as and when it is appropriate to the child and what they are proud of, rather than on a given date. This also means that the display is constantly changing.
In rooms that haven’t got this much wall space, I have seen the display idea used in the cloakroom and in one setting the parents comments were included in the squares which the children loved.
Some settings have had this type of display at child height and the children have had complete ownership of what they put into their square and responsibility for displaying it themselves. That sort of approach produces a display that looks exactly like you would expect it to if children had free rein to get creative. Children can find it very empowering to talk about their choices. Some adults may struggle with the aesthetic!
If you have got a display like this then please share some photos as I would love to see them.