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What are online learning journals?

Learning journals are a way of documenting children’s experiences and development throughout their early years. As well as helping educators keep track of each child’s progress, they can be an excellent way of keeping families and the children themselves involved in their learning.

When learning journals are kept online their potential benefitsmultiply!


  • Journal entries and updates can be shared far more regularly.
    Parents and carers can see what their children have been doing whenever they like from the Tapestry website or app. If the school/setting likes, updates can be sent out as soon as they are recorded.
  • Family members you don’t often see in person can be kept involved.
    Even if important people in the child’s life live or work abroad, they can view and contribute to the journal – Tapestry can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Parent and carers will find it easier to add to and comment on journals, especially when it comes to uploading media.
    That gives staff an invaluable look into a child’s home life.
  • Going digital saves paper.
    No more paper waste from post its, draft versions, or pictures you’ve cut out. You don’t even have to print the journals at the end of the year, you can simply download them to PDF.
  • They’re faster to make.
    As well as the time saved on cutting and sticking, being able to edit things like spelling mistakes rather than redoing the whole entry, and duplicating and editing very similar entries for different children can save you countless hours.
  • They’re cheaper to make.
    Although online learning journals usually come with a subscription cost, Tapestry often ends up actually being cheaper than the cost of the paper, ink, and glue sticks used to make paper journals. And that’s not to mention the money you save from staff hours spent on them!
  • They’re easier to organise.
    There are lots of ways you can organise your entries on Tapestry – ‘flags’ and ‘hashtags’ help you to identify posts relating to something you’re particularly interested in, and our regular filters help you to find things like observations made by a specific person, for a specific group, or including a specific type of assessment. Even if you haven’t pre-sorted them and there isn’t a suitable automatic filter, you can use the search function to look for key words.
  • Other staff can access them quickly and easily.
    This can be very useful for moderation purposes, if multiple staff members are contributing to the same journal, and for when people are away.
  • Online journals won’t get left on a bus or have something spilled on them.
    It’s all too easy for paper journals to get lost or damaged in some way. Although journals being stored online isn’t 100% risk free, it’s significantly less likely that something would happen to make them irretrievable.
  • They keep everything in one place, from EYFS to the end of KS2.
    Tapestry lets you send a copy of a child’s profile to another Tapestry package. This, along with the range of assessment frameworks and curricula available means that staff can easily pass the journal onto the child’s next school/setting/childminder/teacher for them to contribute to, and they in turn can pass it to the next, all the way up to year 6. At the end you’ll be left with one complete record of a child’s key years of education.


And, to add to that, they don’t have to stay online forever. Although in most cases they’re easier to prepare and share online, they can be exported to either offline files (PDFs for the journal and a separate folder for videos) or printed off entirely as regularly as you like. This means that family members without access to technology don’t miss out. It also ensures that even when the child leaves the school/setting/childminder and no longer has access to the online service, they can keep their own copy – giving them something to look back on and treasure for years to come.

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