Observation and Child

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This essay looks at the role of observation in early childhood care and education. It will discuss and examine this role throughout. To work effectively and successfully with children, you must know how to understand them. Developing the skill of observing children and interpreting what you have observed by using reference to your knowledge is the main task. It is by closely observing behaviour that you come to understand the theoretical information derived from research studies into children and their development. The individual needs and abilities of children, their uniqueness, even in a group are only accessible through careful observation. (Hayes,noirin 1999, an introductory text, Dublin, 35) Observing children is a key element of professional work in early childhood settings. It provides the key to understanding a childs development , play and behaviour, and forms the basis of future planning for the child. There are a wide range of observational methods. (donohoe, Josephine. Gaynor, frances 2007 education and care in the early years 99). Child observation is a professional skill which early childhood workers need to practise and perfect in order to enhance the quality of their work with children. We do this due to the following reasons; to enchance childrens safety, to pay attention to meeting their needs, because it can be informative, interesting or even amusing to listen to their conversations, to understand behaviour, to report back to parents at the end of the session, to make provision for play and finally to keep ourselves informed in a general way about the childs development progress. (donohoe, Josephine. Gaynor, frances 2007 education and care in the early years 100). Objectivity is about being open minded and suspending judgements. This is essential when observing and assessing, but it can be extremely difficult too. Parents are a Childs first educator, the draw or write about the interesting things that their child does. Drawing seems to help parents and staff to have a dialogue without using words or writing about what the child does. Parents still love to buy baby books and to fill them in with dates of the child’s first smile, first tooth, first step and etc. If drawings and photos are valued, this helps when parents and staff speak different languages. This is through observation that the parent and staff are able to understand the child’s behaviour and developments. There is a need for objectivity when observing children, this is because observations and assessments can lead to children and young people being labelled and thus stereotyped. Adults expectations have a more important influence on children and young peoples behaviour and achievement. This means that a child who is seen as being slow may not ne given the same challenges as another child and may thus unintentionally be held back. In addition, children and young peoples development is not uniform and does not follow a neatly packaged journey; children develop at different rates and their own path of development can be irregular. tassoni, penny2007, child care and education,100). It can be very useful to observe groups of children together. It may not be easy to do so but it can provide interesting information about how children interact with each other and use the environment. Sociograms then come in to place here and are a way of finding out about childrens friendship preferences. The simplest way of using this method is by asking children when they are alone , who they most enjoy playing with and what the most like doing with this child. The advantage of this method is that you can identify children who may need support with their social skills. tassoni, penny2007, child care and education,96). But for observations to be effective, the observer would need to know who is being observed, why he/she is being observed, when the observation will take place, where the observation will take place, what format will be used to record the...
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