Susan Ramsay

‘My Nose is as Full as a World: Exploring the Smells’ is inspiring in so many ways – from the generation of the children’s idea ‘seeds’ to the exploration of how children test their ideas and grow a communal understanding based on their individual perspectives and prior knowledge of things and creatures and relationships.

I imagine these thinking and experiential threads as colourful and textured. The threads include each child’s perspective and interest, each educator’s attentiveness and subjective interpretation, and each parent’s and family’s questions, comments, and smiles of appreciation. Even the cityscape offers up threads of unspoken inspiration and feedback. I picture documentation as the loom on which all these beautiful and tangled threads are supported and held up. The loom lets us see and consider which colours and textures will be woven next – horizontally, vertically and diagonally.

All of these threads and the loom in this article are extraordinary to me. I am wondering, however, who has the power to say ‘Let’s weave a blanket together. Let’s begin with this thread.” In this article that responsibility lands squarely on the teacher. And while I agree this is our responsibility and privilege, are we embracing the principle of democratic thinking when we say documentation must originate from teachers? I have been wondering, especially during this pandemic when many children have not been in programs or classrooms, how we could better empower parents to say, “This is the thread my child is ready to weave.” I’m also wondering how we could be more attuned, and better observers or listeners for children who are expressing individual wonderings and theories when they are not in our programs or classrooms.