Why Observe Children?
Learning about the Information and Knowledge
Children Are Constructing
Through their play and use of materials, children often show you
what information and knowledge they are figuring out and what
skills they are working on. Read the following note about Fer-
nando, and identify what knowledge and skills he is showing in this
observation. Fernando (3 years, 7 months)
While drawing at the art table, Fernando uses many colors
of markers. When he finishes, I ask him to tell me about his
picture. He points to the large, yellow circle and says it is a
big animal. Then he says, “This is purple, and this is red.”
Fernando then gets a purple marker and draws the letter F in
the left-hand corner. He says, “F for Fernando.”
Using information for assessment Fernando is showing his begin-
ning literacy and fine-motor skills as he draws a circle and a letter F,
all advanced skills for his age according to developmental checklists.
He is also showing his growing vocabulary and understanding of
concepts by identifying colors.
Using information for planning Fernando may enjoy working with a
name card so that he can see the other letters in his name and attempt
to represent them. To help him continue to develop the muscles in
his hand for writing, you could provide him with opportunities to
work with playdough, to string beads, to build with small connecting
blocks, and to draw and write with a variety of writing tools. Offer-
ing him opportunities to match and label colored objects will build
his vocabulary of color words.
Learning about Children’s Expression of Their Cultural
Backgrounds Children’s cultural backgrounds show through in their play and in
the ways that the children function in everyday routines. Sometimes
teachers’ assumptions about how a child should go about eating or
toileting are different from a family’s assumptions. Whether this