Sunday, 8 January 2012

Observing children

How observations are really important in understanding a child's development

The natural practitioner in me has been watching my daughter and observing her play. I have learnt through my career that sometimes just sitting back and watching children explore their surroundings can tell you so much!!

I am the first to admit that sometimes when at work with children, you can get so carried away with interacting with them that it can be difficult to remember to write down things you have noticed happening, but here is where post it notes can come in very handy. I often found that just writing a quick note reminded me of the situation later on when I had a little more time to write up what I had seen. It can be very frustrating if you have many children whom you have to observe, for example in a key group, but the key here is to have everyone who is in the room you work in observing all of the children, this allows you to get a wider knowledge of a child's likes and abilities from many peoples viewpoint.

Observations can be so rewarding, especially when you see something that a child has never done before. But, I find the most important thing to come from observations is how to move a child on from what you have witnessed. By finding patterns of play and interests from observing a child, you can help them to develop further by offering them activities which will encourage them to do so. All planning in settings comes from first observing children. It is now a very important part of a practitioners day.......a far cry from when I began in childcare and planning came solely from the practitioner and a list of topics!! And I feel it has changed for the better, in some ways!!

What do you find helps with observations? Do you have any questions about observations? Contact me at

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