This essay will examine observation, assessment and evaluation in planning for children’s learning within early childhood settings. References to theoretical perspectives and concepts studied in this course are cited, and will discuss the role of the teacher and suggest effective teaching strategies in promoting children’s learning and development.
The concept of observation is to record the event or series of events for future planning and learning programmes; to recognize the milestone stages a child goes through from being a baby through to preschool age. The importance of planning for children’s learning is instrumental to how and what the child will learn, as this sets a foundation for future learning experiences, that enhances the child’s abilities (Forman & Hall, 2005). Observation is significant for both the child and the teacher. Observation aids the teacher in understanding the children as individuals, and to recognise patterns of the children’s development stages. Once these patterns are recognized changes to the curriculum can be catered to extend the child in each stage. Observation helps to inform the teachers of how the children react to the environment, and if objects in the environment need to be adjusted to suit the children’s growing needs (Bruce & Meggit, 2005). Additionally, observations that teachers have recorded should be the basis for planning. When teachers choose certain materials for the children to play with, the teachers should encompass all of the child’s needs, interests and emotions. Referring to recorded observations can do this and a widespread area for development or extension can be catered for easily (Albrecht & Miller, 2001).
The teacher’s role when observing should be to state the facts in a concise manner; sum up the event that has occurred and focus on the behaviour the child has displayed and how the child reacted to the situation. Observation can be carried over a period of time, so the teacher can gather information on how the child is developing (Doran, 2009).
Vygotskys theory on observation was the importance of reassessing the child, and helping the child grow by consistently referring to the observations that were made on that particular child. Therefore, that child can grow and become more independent and confident in their abilities. He advocated observations to assess children’s abilities and make sense of their world. His findings are based on what he observed children doing, and how the children interacted with each other (Arthur, Beecher, Dockett, Farmer & Death, 1997).
Furthermore, teaching strategies that could be implemented into the centre are using anecdote records – narrative story-telling about the child’s behaviour from the start to finish. A teacher can determine the specifics that are recorded. The record should include the facts, such as the child’s name and age, the date and time, and then the details of what the teacher observed (MacNaughton & Williams, 1998). Another useful observation strategy is using diaries or running records. The running record details everything the child does or says over a period of time. A detailed description should be used, and should take place for about five minutes so everything the child does or says is captivated on paper. Taking photos will assist the observation process by showing the parents and children what they did and how the child reacted to the situation. Visual observation is beneficial when writing learning stories and looking back on the child’s behaviour (Arthur, Beecher, Dockett, Farmer & Death, 1997).
Furthermore assessment is vital to the planning process for children’s learning. Characterising assessment means to look at the child and their behaviour within the family and community; a full process that is on-going in the child’s life. Diverse categories can be artwork the child has...