Childcare centres are busy places, and while learning is certainly a huge part of your child’s day, there’s a lesser known activity that’s one of the most crucial aspects of their early learning. Observation.
Observation helps teachers and caregivers get a better idea of the strengths and requirements of each child. It helps them to keep on top of a child’s early development so that learning can be tailored to suit. Here’s what you need to know about observation.
What is observation?
Observation is as the name suggests – the process of observing, or watching, children at play and while they’re learning. It is crucial for all educators at a childcare centre to complete observation on a daily basis. It allows them to get to know the physical and verbal behaviour of the children, how they interact with other children, and get to know their likes and dislikes.
Observations are generally divided into the following categories:
Why is observation important?
When educators observe students, they get to learn patterns and gain insight into how the child sees the world. This ensures they can plan the right age-appropriate activities and enables centre operators and teachers to enhance or change the environment to suit the children in their care.
When educators have a deeper understanding of the children, it assists them to:
- Structure each day’s learning
- Set up activities
- Provide the right materials
It also gives them a greater understanding of how they should approach, or work with, a particular child.
Importantly, it also allows educators to identify any problems, such as behavioural issues or learning difficulties, so that these may be addressed.
The process of observation
When observing a child, the primary goal is to get reliable information that can be used to construct lessons that are appropriate for the child’s learning and growth. Different centres have different processes of observation. Some centres set aside a particular time of day where educators simply observe what children are doing, other centres may choose to solely observe on a given day, every month, or even every three or six months.
Observations can be done by:
- Keeping a small notebook and pen handy so the educator can jot down anything they notice throughout the day
- Sticky notes that can be placed around the room, or in a central location, so they can be assessed and organised at the end of the day
- Photographs and short videos of children (with parent’s permission) to document their learning and development
- Keeping children’s artwork and writing attempts to observe how their abilities change over the years they are at the centre
- Using an app that allows centre workers to take videos or pictures that they can access later for assessments
Through observation, childcare centres gain a better perspective on every child’s personality traits, their abilities, and interests. By then creating learning tailored to suit this, it encourages children to take on new challenges, to try new things, and to have more fun.
You can find out more about observation techniques in your childcare centre in Lower Plenty, or elsewhere across Australia, but ask the centre directors.