Why Observe Children?
In the next chapter, we explore ways to use observation with early
learning guidelines. Recommendations for integrating the two will
show that teachers can be focused on supporting children’s growth
and development while they pay attention to the expectations in such
Observation Practice #1: What Can You Learn by Observing a Child?
Purpose: To identify what can be learned by observing a child for a
brief period of time.
What to Do: Watch Video Clip #1. As you watch this very brief clip,
consider what you are learning about this four-and-one-half-year-
old girl. Since the video clip is so brief, we suggest that you watch it
more than once to make sure you capture as many details as possible
in your observation.
Guiding Questions: After viewing, generate a list of the child’s
capabilities, skills, social interactions, personality traits, and behav-
iors that you observed her demonstrating. In addition, consider these
questions: • Were you surprised at how much you learned in a short
observation? • If you had a history with this child, do you think you
would have seen things differently? In what ways?
• What curriculum plans might you make based on what you
learned? Be prepared to share with others the list you made about the girl as
well as your thoughts about the questions above.