The free narrative technique of observation, when a description of all that is taking place is written down, is useful because: • We don’t need a lot of equipment, just a pen and paper • We don’t need advanced observation skills
However, the difficulties that may be experienced:
• You have to write quickly
• You may miss information and details when watching and writing • Child may move about
• The child may be distracted from normal behaviour by you
Making a checklist of expected skills at a particular age/stage, for checking a child’s skills in one or more areas of development, is useful, especially when it is completed over one or more days. With notes to support your judgement in a ‘Comments’ column, development skills can be easily referred to. Advantages include:
• Easy to complete
• Difficult to miss vital information
• Easier to understand
• Clearly set out
The disadvantages include:
• You may miss recording an important skill development that may not be included on your chart because your chart does not include that area of development
Oxford or Target Child
The oxford observation or target child observation technique what thought up and written by Cathy Sylva and others in 1980. This technique gives a clear easy to read information paper, at a glance. However it is more complicated to learn, it uses a short hand system to show and record speedily. It is flexible because we can record in any situation. You will need a pen and paper, and a suitable watch or clock.
Time samples include oxford observations, as they are based on a block of time, minute by minute. The ‘time sample’ itself is usually focused around a whole group of children, instead of a target child. These are useful for discussing room or space use, and group dynamics. The advantages for this technique are: • Straight forward to...
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