Methods of Observation. Level 3 Diploma in Children and Young Peoples Workforce

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Narrative/free description/written record or running record
A running record is a very detailed description of the behaviour of a child over a short period of time, often less than five minutes. The observer watches a child or group of children and note down everything he sees, which gives the portrait of the child and his activity during this particular period of time. The observer sits quietly and tries not to draw attention to him as his interaction may affect the behaviour of the child. It helps to avoid eye contact! These observations usually cover a short period of time are written in the present tense because you record things as they happen. Sticky note could be use to jot down the information. It is a good method to look at several area of development. Observation can be taken without child being aware. Running records are a useful tool and worth the time involved, especially when you are specifically looking for a child’s skill acquisition, how a child initiates interactions with others, or discussions the children have with each other. This method of observation can be difficult to use on a regular basis because of the time element involved. It is one reason why running records are not used as frequently as other forms of documentation.

Checklists or developmental guide are often used for assessing a child on one particular day, can be used over a long period. It can be use for all the children in the establishment on a regular basis to enable the staff to plan for each child’s needs. They need to be prepared in advance and is used to measure children’s progress. They are a good way to note a child’s progress and achievements. This method can be used for several children at a time. Many settings use tick charts and checklists, although it is not a good idea to rely totally on these because after reading two or three children’s records, it is hard to remember what the child can do. Think about using them...
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