Observation is a key responsibility of early childhood educators and other early learning practitioners. The purposes of observation are:

  • To gain insight into how children think, learn, and make sense of their world.
  • To gather information to create programs that build on children’s natural curiosity, ideas, abilities, and life experiences.
  • To provide opportunities for discussion among early childhood educators, other early learning practitioners, children, and families. These discussions support learning at home and in the early childhood setting.

What to consider when observing children:

  1. Interactions with their environment
  2. Communication
  3. Emotional state and well-being
  4. Interrelationships within the group

Rather than focusing on the product of children’s actions (what), consider the process (how).

  • How are children using the materials? How are children adjusting and refining their actions?
  • What questions do children appear to be exploring through their actions?
  • How are children using the physical space?
  • How do they react to different levels of sensory stimulation?
  • How do they use their time?

  • What are children saying about what they are doing and thinking?
  • What does their body language tell you?

How are children responding emotionally to their environment, experiences and each other?

  • What are children doing in the context of others in the group?
  • How are they adjusting their actions in relation to others?
  • How do they demonstrate understanding of another’s perspective?

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