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For EYP’S to observe a child they need to watch the children closely to observe what the child is doing, listen to what they say, attend to their needs at times and accurately record the information collected. In order to access a child EYP’S need to get to know the children as an individual and get to know their likes and dislikes. Another way that EYP’S can observe children is by playing alongside them so it is less obvious that you are observing them and ask them questions about what they are doing to develop their speech.
In order to access children EYP’S need to beware of the children’s needs and know where the child is up to in their development and come up with strategies to help or support the children.
Before EYP’S can observe the children and share the information with other practitioners they need consent, which will be in formal writing with a signature of the child’s parents/ carers.
The only time that the information can be shared without parental consent is if the child is at risk, even if the child is at risk the information should also be shared with the parents/carers.
If a child looks distressed or uncomfortable when you are observing them you should stop straight away. When a child is distressed the information that you collect will be invalid, this is because you might of observed the child doing something and when they are distressed they might not of been able to do it so, therefore, they will be tracking lower than they are expected.
You should also not observe children if they are hungry, tired or poorly, this is because they won’t be concentrating and will be thinking of different things instead of the activity, for an example they will be thinking about food or what they have in their lunch box.
If a child suddenly geos quite or they appear to be miserable during play it shows they are uncomfortable or distressed. If a child would rather look at the practitioner instead of the activity they are at or if avoid contact with the practitioners e.g. moves away from you when you go near, this also shows that they are uncomfortable or distressed. The last way that practitioners can see if a child is uncomfortable or distressed is the words they use or their body language. Older children will show they are distressed or uncomfortable by asking the practitioner questions about what they are doing. Here the EYP’S should always be honest and explain that they are observing what they are playing with so they can find out what they can interest in and what they can and can’t do. If a child doesn’t want to take part in an activity you shouldn’t force them or make them feel uncomfortable, this is because the child might become upset and make themselves sick or they won’t engage in the activity as well as you wanted them to so, therefore, you won’t be able to assess them against development matters.
It is important that practitioners know the children’s background and home life e.g. the language they speak at home. Due to there being different cultures and family backgrounded it is important for the parents to come into the setting to talk about their family life and their child. The information shared by the parents is very important when getting to know the children, EYP’S should also make enquires which will help them to settle the child in quickly and easily as possible. For example if the child’s home language isn’t English, they won’t be fluent in it so they might find it difficult to understand what is expected of them. The EYP’S should work in partnership with the parents to learn key words such as food, drink and toilet in the child’s home language to help with the child’s development.
In order to get a clear picture of what a child can do the observations should be accurate and say specifically what the child said and did instead of opinions if the information is incorrect the observation will be invalid and the children might be tracking to high or low in relation to their age and stage. To avoid being biased when observing and assessing the children EYP’S should always focus on what they are telling you and always focusing on what they are doing. Another way to avoid being biased is always involved the children and ask them for their ideas and opinions and take the time to find out about other cutlers and backgrounds by asking questions and remaining open-minded. The last way to avoid being biased is by involving parents/ carers whenever possible so they can say where they think their child is up to in relation their age and stage and they can say what the child can and can’t do at home.
Checklist and tick charts are an easy type of observation that requires you to tick the statements that the child can and can’t do. On the checklist the practitioners should write the date that they observe the child doing something on the list. Once the practitioners observe the child doing something, they should tick it on the checklist and write a small comment about what the child did.
Participative observation this where the practitioner takes part in the activity, this means that the practitioner will be watching what the children do during the planned activity and they will take part in the activity themselves. For an example the practitioner might plan to do a group activity where they let each child join in and take turns for an example each child saying how many bears there is. Here the practitioner might demonstrate first what the children need to do in the activity and then they will observe the child doing the group activity.
Event sampling this type of observation is where it records specific events or behaviour. This helps practitioners to see how many times a certain behaviour occurs and what caused the behaviour. This type of observation is made up of a lot of small observations that come together to give evidence and to help come up with strategies to help with the child’s behaviour. This type of observation should be written accurately of the event to help get the best strategies to help with the child’s behaviour. This type of observation should include what the child was doing before the incident, what caused the incident, what they did and what happened after the incident, this should be done every time a new incident happens.
Time sampling this type of observation is where you observe a child regularly throughout the day e.g. every 20 minutes to observer what the child is doing. This type of observation helps practitioners to know the child’s interest, who they like playing with and what they enjoy doing.
Tapes and videos, this type of observation is where you record what the child does and says by using a camera or tablet. This type of observation helps practitioners to make sure that they don’t miss anything. Practitioners can also take a picture of what they see a child doing and write a short description of what happened.
Written observation this type of observation is where the practitioners write down everything a child says or does. The writing should be accurate and written in the child’s words or it wont help the practitioners to get an accurate picture of what the child can and can’t do. In this type of observation, the practitioners should write everything the child says and does. E.G Child A picked up a wooden spoon mixed it in the pan and kept saying ‘mix mix’ they then walked over to another child and gave them the wooden spoon.
Post it notes, this type of observation is where you write a short sentence of what you have seen child e.g. Child B did a jigsaw without support or Child C put 2 words together. These types of observations can come together to make up long observations which will help the practitioners to plan for the child’s next steps.
Naturalistic, this type of observation is carried out in the child’s normal environment. This observation allows the child to carry out task they wouldn’t usually do without any support.
Structured this type of observation is where the practitioner sets up a specific activity to see how a child carries out a specific task. For example an obstacle course could be set up to observe the child’s balance and co-ordination.
Narrative observation this is the most common form of observation it should be descriptive and use plenty of detail on a target child. This type of observation is also called a long observation. This type of observation might be planned in advanced to make sure that every child in the setting is observed in this way.
A positive of this observation is the EYP won’t miss any information this is because the observation must record everything that the child does and says. With the observation having a lot of information in it gives the practitioners a good picture of what the child can do and it will give details on what the child covered in all the different areas and it helps the EYP’S to see where the child needs more support in specific areas. Another positive of this type of observation is it is paper based so can do one anytime if the other staff members are ok, and every child gets one done. The last positive of this observation is it helps to give the parents a clear picture of what the child can do.
A negative of this type of observation is it takes time, so they are less frequent, this type of observation also requires a member of staff to be taken away from the room as they must observe the specific child for at least 20 minutes. Another negative of this observation is that the practitioner might miss something important when writing this is because they might not be able to write quickly so when writing the child could have done something important. Another negative of this observation is it must be written in the child’s words and it should specifically say what they have done and said. Another negative of this observation is it must be readable, the writing needs to be neat and correct spellings. The last negative of this observation is it requires a lot of reading for the parents.
A positive of photo/ video observations is it allows EYP to review observations and identify development and abilities that they might not have noticed. They can recap the observations to make sure they don’t miss any information. Another positive of this observation is parents can see specifically what the child did without reading a big page of observations. The last positive of this observation is it doesn’t require much time so therefore this type of observation is more frequent.
A negative of this type of observation is due to confidentiality other children can’t be involved in the observations. Whilst observing a child another child might run out in front of the camera or a member of staff might say another child’s name so therefore the observation can not be used. Another negative of this observation is the huddle might go flat so the practitioners won’t be able to take an observation. The last negative of this observation is there might not be a huddle for every staff member, so this requires the sharing and missing an important observation.
Once EYP’S have carried out an observation and assessment of a child they need to plan activities to support the child’s development. For planning to be effective it needs to be based on the children’s interest and ability. Also, for planning to be effective it needs to be able to suit all the children and adapted to give them more or fewer challenges in the activity. Finally, for planning to be effective it needs to build on the child’s existing knowledge, understanding and skills.
The planning cycle is continuous, and settings adapt their provision to suit the needs of the children and the family they are working with. It is through observation, monitoring and assessment that practitioners can ensure that they introduce and plan appropriate changes to meet the specific needs if individual children as well as a group of children. The planning cycle helps practitioners to plan next steps that take into account the child’s development, interest and needs.
The first stage of the planning cycle is to observe the children here the EYP’S should look, listen and note what they see the child doing this will help them to find out what the child enjoys doing and what they can already do. The practitioners should then assess them against development matter. When you observe and assess the children it will help the EYP’S to ensure that the activities are suitable. Here you can find out if the child was engaged in the activity, was the activity too hard or easy for the child and did the child enjoy the activity
At the next step, the EYP’S should think about the children in their care. They should think about the child’s age, their abilities and their interests. With this information, the EYP’s should plan activities that will be beneficial to the child and support their development.
The next stage of the cycle is implemented, here the EYP’S should think carefully about the activities they have planned and decide on the best time to do the activity. When the activities are taking place the EYP’S should not make the children rush instead you should give them plenty of time to explore. When planning to do activities don’t do them at busy times such as when parents are collecting as they will get easily distracted.
The last stage of the cycle is evaluated, here the EYP’S should evaluate how the activity went and whether it was successful or not. Here the EYP’S can also say how they would expand the activity and if the activity could be changed. After this, they should repeat the cycle.
The EYFS states that EYP’S should collect evidence about the children in their care, this is done through observations, talking to the parents or previous practitioners. The EYFS states that EYP’S should assess the evidence they have, here you need to look at your evidence and decide what action needs to take place e.g. by giving the child more support or expand the activity. The EYFS states that EYP’S should use the evidence to plan suitable activities or experiences which can be inside or outside. The EYFS states that EYP’S should effectively apply their plans, here EYP’S need to use the environment and resources to apply the plans they have made and support the children when necessary. Finally, the EYFS states that EYP’S should evaluate their practice, here the EYP’S need to seriously examine their practice to evaluate whether they have met the needs of all the children in the setting. They also need to decide how they could effectively extend the child’s learning.
Short term planning, this is where EYP’S plan for specific activities for a full day or a week. This type of planning provides the details of activities, experiences and resources that the practitioner has identified through ongoing observations and assessments.
Medium-term planning, this helps the EYP’S to track the progression of children from one stage in the area of learning to the next. This allows EYP’S to identify the concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills of the children over a specified period.
Long term planning is where it sets up opportunities for the whole year this may include setting up the learning environment indoor and outdoor, organising areas of provision deciding on core equipment, decisions about regular routines and devising a strategy to ensure coverage of the seven areas of learning and development.
Child-centred planning is planned and implemented with a focus on children’s learning through play, it is based on the children’s needs, interests, strength, understanding and capacity. Child-centred planning reflects a range and variety of experiences to cater to children’s needs, interests and abilities. Child-centred planning recognises the voice of the child, it captures the child’s ideas and intentions and it recognises the child’s learning strategies or learning goals. Child-centred planning reflects the connections between children, their families and the communities and the importance if reciprocal relationships and partnerships for learning. Finally, child-centred planning values the cultural and social contexts of children and their families.
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