When I started at this job, I had 24 focus children or the like and these giant cumbersome art portfolios that were A3 sized and totally unrealistic. The idea I think was that these books could be used for the child’s whole possible 5 years in care. I don’t understand the point of that though ... they were horrible. To get this job, I totally B.S.ed my way from 7 portfolios to 24 ... or maybe they just had confidence in my abilities!?
The type of work that they did in those books was based upon group developmental goals. I don’t believe that their style reflected a picture of the child as a whole person. I didn’t feel that they represented the child’s development within the relevant social context either. They would put a sticker with a developmental domain printed on it, such as “Cognitive Development” and then they would have little strips of observation with a little photo and then the child’s name underlined so they could keep track of which observations with multiple names went in which portfolios. There were reference numbers which linked the observations to the national accreditation scheme quality indicators. There were drawings and paintings and summaries. That pretty much summed it up for those books. What was the purpose of even having that information in the book? If a child left the centre, the few pages that were done on that child were then ripped out and handed over. That system really made no sense to me.
I remember feeling overwhelmed, submissive and unsure of myself ... I am lightyears away from that person ... but it’s all part of the journey isn’t it?
Other than that, I don’t remember what went in them. I also don’t even remember what their day books looked like. I think they may have been handwritten without images or even written in exercise books. They had a photo slideshow of the day on display in the hallway. I do remember doing things differently. I purchased an art diary for the daybook and I know I used photos to illustrate what occurred in the day. I remember that I was asked to reference everything to the NCAC QIAS indicators which was a huge pain in the ... a pain in the proverbial.
I learned how to manage 24 or so portfolios without any professional support from a stable (as in both consistent and mentally competent) director and without any real idea of what I was doing. I learned some strategies to deal without having much programming time ... I was supposed to get an hour a week, but that often didn’t happen, and we never had any relief for it anyway.