Observation: Looking and Listening
- May be Spontaneous or Planned
- Watch and listen to children while they explore, investigate, play, problem solve, interact and socialize
- Keep an open mind as you gather evidence and artifacts, and look for what children CAN DO
Observe children during daily routines, transition times, mealtimes, and while inside and outside
Documentation: Recording and Collecting Objective Evidence
- Record what you see and hear
- Include date, time, and location
- Include child’s first name
- Include who else is engaged in the activity
- Document the purpose of the activity – highlighting what the child is supposed to do
- All recorded evidence should be concise, factual and have descriptive details
- Use a variety of observation and documentation methods and tools to collect evidence
Record actual evidence as you see it (avoid summarizing or assuming)
Interpretation: Analyzing Data
Ask questions: What is this action telling me?
- How did the child approach the activity and how long did the child stay engaged?
- Is this behavior typical for the child or unusual?
- Would this child benefit from peer scaffolding?
- Does this child need more individualized support?
- Does this child have more feisty, flexible or fearful temperament traits?
- How can I motivate this child?
- Were there any new play patterns or social interactions?
- Did the child master any new skills or milestones?
- Are there any skills or milestones that need further support?
- Were there any “red flags”?
When analyzing behavior, consider the ABCs: the Antecedent (What happened BEFORE), the Behavior (as it happens) and the Consequence (what happened AFTER)
Review previous observations to monitor progress over time
Reflection: Planning for the Next Step
- How can I set up the environment to incorporate the children’s interests?
- What resources and materials will I need?
- What milestones, learning goals and objectives can I further support with this activity?
- How can I create a “good fit” for this child’s temperament?
- Did I acknowledge children when they met expectations, and did I provide genuine praise to reinforce positive behaviors?
- Am I setting clear expectations?
- Do I need to change the routines or schedule?
- Have I incorporated all the developmental domains and considered the whole child?
- Did I plan for individual activities, small group, and larger group opportunities
Implementation: Applying Best Practices
- Create quiet and active spaces
- Plan for indoor and outdoor learning experiences
- Provide a variety of materials that will encourage open-ended play and exploration
- Follow a consistent routine and schedule
- Plan teacher-directed activities and create centers based on children’s interest
- Consider the project approach and allow concepts to develop over time rather than a one and done
- Create a balance of play-based learning opportunities and skill-based learning opportunities?
- Plan to accommodate the diverse needs of each child
- Create a respectful and caring classroom environment that is supportive and nurturing to all learners