Learning Stories in the Primary Classroom

ECTS Value: 2 ECTS


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Learning Stories are a holistic approach to assessing and documenting children’s learning. Learning Stories can be used as an assessment tool to describe a child’s learning process and document that learning. Using a storytelling format (known as a ‘narrative’) to capture the meaningful elements which influence a child’s learning process, Learning Stories are particularly effective in illustrating children’s interests, strengths and achievements and how they cope with particular challenges and resolve conflicts. Learning stories are also a useful tool to identify the child’s interactions with peers and adults and to build a link between the family, culture and community.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


1. Create learning tasks that are constructively aligned with outcomes and assessment;
2. Manage children’s observations through assessment for learning practices;
3. Produce a learning story template that is manageable within their own practice;
4. Represent children’s observations through a learning story.


1. The definition of assessment in the primary years;
2. The implications of various types of assessment in the primary years;
3. Learning and assessment through Learning Stories in the primary years;
4. The structure of learning stories in the primary classroom.


1. Plan different learning tasks that are observable for learning stories.;
2. Design learning opportunities for different children’s profiles;
3. Use Learning Stories to collect evidence of children’s learning.


Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List

1. Assessment for Learning: Practical Guidelines for the Classroom – Institute for Education, Pembroke, Malta:$470227503$/Resources+_prcent_28Hidden_prcent_29/Year+and+Units+Pages_files/AfL+Practical+Guidelines+for+the+classroom+-+Institute+for+Education+Malta+.pdf

2. Educator’s guide for pedagogy and assessment:

3. Carr, M., & W. Lee. 2012. Learning Stories: Constructing Learner Identities in Early Education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Supplementary Reading List

1. Carter, M. 2000. “Using Learning Stories to Strengthen Teachers’ Relationships with Children.” Exchange 196 (Nov/Dec): 40–43.

2. Fraser, S. 2012. Authentic Childhood: Experiencing Reggio Emilia in the Classroom, 3rd Canadian ed. Scarborough, ON: Nelson.

3. Gandini, L., & J.A. Kaminsky. 2004. “Reflections on the Relationship Between Documentation and Assessment in the American Context: An Interview with Brenda Fyfe.” Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Exchange 11 (1): 5–17.

4. Hatherly, A., & L. Sands. 2002. “So What is Different About Learning Stories? First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi.” New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education 4 (1): 8–12.

5. Helm, J., S. Beneke, & K. Steinheimer. 2007. Windows on Learning: Documenting Young Children’s Work, 2nd ed. New York: Teachers College Press.

6. Lewin-Benham, A. 2011. Twelve Best Practices for Early Childhood Education: Integrating Reggio and Other Inspired Approaches. New York: Teachers College Press.

7. Ontario Ministry of Education. 2012. Pedagogical Documentation, Capacity Building Series K–12, Secretariat Special Edition, #30. Available online: inspire/research/CBS_Pedagogical.pdf

8. Reisman, M. 2011. “Learning Stories: Assessment Through Play.” Exchange 198
(March/April): 90–93.

9. Seitz, H. 2008. “The Power of Documentation in the Early Childhood Classroom.” Young
Children 63 (2): 88–93. Available online:

10. Shor, I. 1992. Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change. Chicago, IL:
University of Chicago Press.

11. Wien, C.A., V. Guyevskey, & N. Berdoussis. 2011. “Learning to Document in ReggioInspired Education.” Early Childhood Research & Practice 13 (2): 1–12. Available: v13n2/wien.html

12. Wien, C.A. 2013. Making Learning Possible through Pedagogical Documentation. Ontario, Canada: Ontario Ministry of Education. Available:

Skip to content