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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Why Observe Children? Insight into Children’s Behavior Observation can provide insight into children’s behavior, whether pos- itive or negative. Many children, like Ansen in the following observa- tion note, are trying hard to learn appropriate ways to get their needs met. But often they become frustrated and communicate through hit- ting or other physical means and need an adult’s help to negotiate with other children. Read the following observation note about Ansen, and write down what you are learning about his behavior. Ansen (4 years, 10 months) Ansen is playing on the hanging bars. A child is hanging upside down. Ansen asks, “When will you be done? I have been waiting a long time.” The child does not respond. Ansen waits a few more minutes and then raises his fist. A teacher walks over and asks why he has a fist. Ansen replies, “I want a turn, and Kristen won’t get down. She stuck her tongue out at me.” “Is there a better way to get a turn?” asks the teacher. Ansen says, “I used my words, and she won’t listen. She wants it all to herself.” The teacher asks the child to listen to Ansen. Ansen says, “I want a turn when you’re done. I won’t hit you. But you listen.” The teacher talks to both children, and they continue playing on the bars. Using information for assessment Ansen does not quite have the self-control to stop himself from raising a fist at another child when frustrated. Yet he does use words to express his feelings and is suc- cessful in resolving the problem once an adult helps him talk with the other child. According to developmental checklists, resolving such disagreements with adult help is common for children his age. Using information for planning Ansen will likely still need adults nearby and ready to step in and prevent him from harming other chil- dren and to help him work out disagreements more appropriately. You and your colleagues might decide to always have someone keeping an eye on him to be ready to provide that support. When he does resolve disagreements peacefully, acknowledge his use of words and perhaps give him pats on the back or high fives to reward his hard work. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 11