Observing a child while playing

It is early in the day. Kris, one of my 22 kindergartners, is sharing her journal entry and drawing with me. After our talk, she walks to the carpet to play. She then joins a group that is building a house out of blocks, carefully balancing different shapes on top of each other. In my kindergarten classroom, I strive to provide an engaging environment where play is the prominent support for and means of learning.

But in truth, I find it challenging. Considering the long lists of specific objectives that must be accomplished by the end of the year—usually without extended learning time or other additional resources—it is easy to understand why teachers would be skeptical about devoting their limited class time to child-centered approaches to instruction.

Grocery items were sorted, discount signs were made, and a checkout area was set up with bags and play money. I see an opportunity to introduce money. What coins do I need for 10 cents? Later, we have a class discussion about the names of the coins and their characteristics, using magnifying glasses as tools. After our conversation, the coins and magnifying glasses are put in the exploration center, where the children quickly learn that they can magnify other objects, including print.

observing a child while playing

During play, teachers are researchers, observing children to decide how to extend their learning both in the moment and by planning new play environments. A mix of child-directed and guided play should be incorporated into the day. I watch with curiosity as David and Marco grab a stack of playing cards. Anna walks over and watches. She smiles and joins in. After we play another round, I excuse myself from the game; the players all agree to vote on who will take my place as the caller.

I remind the group about their vote, and they continue playing. Marco explains that one person needs to be the caller. This situation reflects my many roles as a teacher Synodi During play, teachers are researchers, observing children to decide how to extend their learning.

During play-based learning, teachers are often subtle participants or gentle guides who seek to enrich or expand on the present experience.

In this case, setting time aside for play resulted in a teachable moment when David and Marco asked for my help—but such opportunities do not always occur.

Some may argue that play is an inappropriate means of achieving standards. I have found that children can meet and exceed standards through playful learning that combines open-ended experiences, child-directed initiatives, and teacher-guided activities.

The Importance of Observation in Early Childhood Education (With Free Ebook)

However, as simple as play may sound, I will admit that achieving a balance between accomplishing set curricular goals and sustaining a child-centered environment is more difficult than one would think Ranz-Smith To address specific academic standards, I sometimes introduce a concept with a whole-group activity, then establish an environment that supports further exploration during free-play time.

An example of my effort to use play as a primary means of learning is a lesson in which I introduced the concept of sink or float.Over the past few weeks I have observed a child in the twelve to eighteen month old category. Throughout this paper I will refer to him as Z. I sat in classroom seven, in a little chair in the corner writing down everything I observed about him. It was interesting to learn about Z as I watched him interact with the adults and other kids that were in the room with him.

Z caught my attention right away in the classroom. Chris is a friendly and well spoken child who is small for his age. Chris is the youngest child in his family and both observations take place while his siblings are home. In each case one or both parents are absent. First Hour of Observation The first hour of observation takes place on a Saturday afternoon. Chris is in his living room with. Child Observation All children are different in their unique way. The goal of this assignment was to observe different children in an uninterrupted environment.

Although all the children observed were the same age, they all acted differently during their observation. The differences in the way we react to different situations are what make us human.

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These differences can be explained through the theories that different psychologist have developed over the years. Some children react better to things. On November 22, I visited my family in Florida. I will be examine based on how her ways of doing things physically ,mentally, socially, Emotionally. We observed Joaquin in his home in the living room of his home. His mother, younger brother, and younger sister were all there.

They interacted with Joaquin during the observation.

observing a child while playing

There were times that the children interacted with Caitlin and me, but for the most part we just observed them interact with each other. Observation Summary I brought a couple activities for Joaquin and his siblings to do while we observed him. I brought a pumpkin, hammer, and golf tees for them to pound them into the. These methods were used in conjunction with one another as they compliment each other within research.

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This is because a particular strength of observations lies in the researcher being able to clearly see and identify what the child is doing instead of gaining this information from the child or parent which could be open to interpretation. I found the experience very interesting and in a way, which I did not expect, kind of fun. The interaction between the kids, and observing their personalities between each other taught me a lot about the kids.

To my surprise, I never saw any negative reactions or fights between the kids during my time spent there. At my daycare in my kid days, there were kids constantly having bad attitudes and fighting over toys. When I came into the child study center. I focused this observation on one pair of siblings, whom I will refer to as Jane 5 years old and John 6 years old.

Most children were impatiently waiting in line with their parents, including Jane and John. The two children discussed profusely what painting they wanted on their faces as they paced around their mother. As soon as the child before Jane left the high chair, Jane quickly ran away from her.The document contains questions regarding the environmentthe materialsand the time frame.

There are also a few questions to reflect on why play may not have such a prominent role in some classrooms. Preschool Education Program for 4-Year-Olds, p.

observing a child while playing

Click here to find more content like this, using the entire tag set. Getting Started in Preschool. Movement and Motor Skills. Emotions and Social Skills. Emotions and Self Regulation Cooperative Learning. Communication Essentials. Wonder and Inquiry. Assessment and Support. Additional Resources.

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About Us. Observing Children at Play: Questions to ask before, during, and after Play is a rich time for promoting global development. This document can help you reflect on the play practices in your classroom so that you can maximize the benefits and offer rich play experiences. This content has been tagged with:.

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This content was updated on Sign Up. Find out more Observing children forms a fundamental part of the Early Years Foundation Stage, childminders are required to observe children and make notes.

This helps to record each child's progress through EYFS and also helps you to plan ahead and work out what areas of learning to focus on for the medium term. Key to observing children is simply that - watching what they do without offering any external direction, or offering only minimal interaction.

Childminders are so used to interacting with their wards that it can feel a little strange just stepping away and watching!

Make notes of what you observe; you might choose to do this straight into a diary, or you might prefer to take notes whilst you watch and later write them up more formally. A written record creates an invaluable resource both for you and to share with parents, or indeed to carers in other settings. When you undertake your planning, go back though your diaries of observations and work out what areas of learning you need to concentrate on over the coming weeks.

Compare your notes over time to ensure that your children are progressing. Although keeping a diary seems a big chore, if you write it regularly you will quickly find that it takes very little time and becomes part of your routine. A number of ToucanLearn members are using their private blog spaces to record their observations and this is an area that we intend to improve to facilitate better records for professional childminders and diligent parents alike! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn.

Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children! We offer hundreds of fun learning craft, games and activities - every activity is aimed at the capabilities of your specific children. Download custom activity sheets, and log their progress in each child's unique Daily Diary!

You'll also find sticker and reward charts, certificates, number and letter practice. Fill in our Daily Diary to log progress against the EYFS and add photo entries instantly simply by sending them straight from your phone. You can share diaries back with parents or childminders so that everyone can enjoy watching your children develop. Toggle navigation Sign Up Login. Tikal's Blog. Search All Words. Some Word.

Entire phrase. Recently Archives Categories Latest comments.What a great piece! Your email address: Powered by FeedBlitz. Observation is a powerful tool! All of us observe, informally, as we go about our daily lives. We watch and listen to our surroundings. At a store I may notice the number of people near a kiosk or display and wander over to see what is catching everyone's interest. I may overhear a conversation about the latest movie release that sparks my interest to see a movie I had not planned to see.

Observation can reveal information we may not have known before. Do you ever wa tch children at play? When we take the time to observe children during play, we gain understanding about who they are and what they can do.

Our Play Facilitators observe children playing and learning throughout their day. In fact, observation is the first method of facilitation recommended for staff and volunteers who interact with our visitors. Watching and listening allow facilitators to take their cues from what they see and hear children doing before deciding whether to join in an interaction. It gives the facilitator pause to reflect on what the child's play agenda is before interacting with the child.

In their book, Focused Observations, How to Observe Children for Assessment and Curriculum PlanningGaye Gronlund and Marlyn James identify seven facets of understanding about children, when we take time to observe them.

Child Observation Essay

Whether you are a facilitator, caregiver, parent or grandparent, observation can provide us a "thorough and well-rounded picture of what is important to know about children" Gronlund and James A month-old child playing on our Peek-a-boo Bridge exclaimed, "The Museum is green," when looking through the green triangle.

During this opportunity to watch her child practice the movements of walking up and down an incline, the parent discovered her child's beginning awareness of color. Whether you are a caregiver or parent, discovering what children can do or know about their world is useful information for understanding and planning for their learning needs.

Stay tuned! Over the next few posts, we will examine some of the other facets of understanding gained through observations and how they relate to Museum play.

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I WantDownload our ebook full with extra tips on how to observe childen in the classroom! Download Free Ebook. Most child care providers understand the role of observation in early childhood education.

And more importantly, do they have the best systems and techniques in place to accurately assess toddler development?

observing a child while playing

Observation is often seen as one of the most simple, yet effective methods of assessing young children as they develop. For a child care provider or early childhood educator, observing a child begins with noting how each child behaves, learns, reacts to new situations and interacts with others.

Later, you reflect on this information and determine how it can help you improve your classroom to meet the needs of your young learners. Observation in ECE is the process of tracking student behavior over time.

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By creating detailed documentation, educators are able to notice patterns and assess how each child is developing. Observing the children in your care can help you to better understand the strengths and weakness of each individual child.

The more tracking you do, the better your observations will be during your analysis later. Traditionally, this has been done on paper daily sheets.

The challenge is that ECEs are very busy throughout the day, and end up filling these out at the end of the day based on memory. This results in reports being incomplete or, even worse, inaccurate. Many centers are switching over to digital child care observation apps to help with their documentation.

Throughout the day, teachers add observations in just a few taps for each child in their care. Want to save our tips for later? Get a copy of our ebook! Download Now. By understanding the individual progress of each child through systematic observation, you may discover that a certain child is struggling or falling behind in one or more areas of development. Your recorded observations and regular reflection can help you to more quickly identify and address these learning issues to make improvements.

Having your detailed data on hand also makes it easier to guide discussions with parents about these struggles and can help you to set future goals for the child. Detailed documentation will provide evidence of when certain issues occur, as well as how often they occur.

Tiredness, hunger, boredom and many other feelings can impact whether or not a child will demonstrate the skills they have learned at the time of assessment.

Daily sheets are paper records that teachers use to note observations on each child throughout the day. While many educators swear by daily sheets, the challenge with paperwork for early childhood educators is that they are often too busy caring for children throughout the day to make observations. This can result in incomplete and inaccurate reporting.Commonly heard responses are that early care and education ECE professionals observe children to monitor progress, to complete required assessments and screenings, and to identify learning or behavior challenges.

Observation is a core piece of the assessment process and continuous quality improvement CQI planning. But another reason for observation is to spark learning and development. Research shows that young children's learning occurs best within relationships and with rich interactions.

Observing Children's Play

Children need stimulating and focused interactions to learn. Quality interactions happen when a teacher intentionally plans and carefully thinks about how she approaches and responds to children. Emotionally supportive interactions help children develop a strong sense of well-being and security.

Responsive interactions are responses and communication with children that meet their needs in the moment. Most interactions with children offer ECE professionals the opportunity to engage, interact, instruct, and exchange information that supports healthy development and learning. Relationships between children and teachers grow stronger during everyday interactions.

As children gain new information and ideas, ECE professionals can encourage them to share what they think and learn. Deeper thinking and learning engage children in the joy of learning and help to prepare children for new experiences and challenges.

Observation helps ECE professionals look at their interactions with children, and discover how important interactions are as they get to know and support children.

Observation is a way to connect with children, to discover their connections to others and to their environment. Children who feel cared for, safe, and secure interact with others and engage in their world to learn. They are more likely to gain skills, and to do better as they enter school. Use observation for an objective view of a child. When you really see the child, you get to know her and see more of her abilities, interests, and personal characteristics.

Knowing each child helps you to plan individualized and developmentally informed activities. Look at what the child does and says without evaluating or labeling.

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Reinforce success and effort. He may not be successful in all things but he can learn from failure as well as success.