Introduction Have you or your colleagues ever made a statement like this one?
“I observe the children all day, but I don’t have time to write down
what I’m seeing. That takes me away from the kids. And they just
need me too much.”
Sound familiar? In our work as college instructors and consul-
tants, we’ve heard variations on this comment many, many times.
And we recognize how true it is! Your job is demanding, and your
time limited. If you are expected to observe and document your ob-
servations, you can easily feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
That’s why we wrote this book. We wanted to give practi-
cal explanations of how to observe children in order to assess their
development and plan curriculum. We wanted to offer a compre-
hensive and user-friendly source with realistic ideas of how to put
observation and documentation into practice. We wanted to offer lots
of observation notes for you to review and suggestions for documen-
tation strategies so that you could get better at observing children
and writing down what you see. We have also included an interac-
tive CD-ROM with video clips of children in action so that you can
practice observing and documenting. Our goal is to help early educa-
tors recognize the importance of observation and documentation and
learn ways to fit both into a busy day with children.
In this second edition, we have addressed some of the changes
that have happened in the field of early childhood education since the
publication of the first edition in 2005. We recognize that more at-
tention is being paid to the early years. Many early educators feel that
they are under greater pressure to be accountable for the learning of
the children in their care. Early learning guidelines have been devel-
oped by states across the nation, and many states support universal
pre-K programs. A new edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice