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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by MerlinDog, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. hi just wondering how other playgroups mannage observations ? at present we have post it notes every where to jot things down instantly plus each key person has a book for their childrens general obbservations . we have been told to do one 10min observation on each child each half term - we donot find these usefull as what happens in the time we are observing often has no relationship to what the child normally does/chooses/is able to do and therefore doesnt help in planning for the childs next step =( the rest of our obs and our knowledge of the children are much more usefull does anyone else have experience of these 10min obs or use a more effective obs method ?? =) all ideas wellcome thanks
  2. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    Hi Merlindog.
    I like the longer observations personally, as they give me an insight into what the children are doing, and I feel I can see the charcteristics of effective learning through a longer ob than I would a snapshot. It helps me to see how their play expands, and I dont feel you get that from a 'fred counted to 5' type obs. I find it helps me to see what their interests really are in a deeper way than 'Jo likes the sand'.I would say though, that if the child is completely different every time you observe them, then why do you think that is?
    Some people just use longer ones when they havea child they want to observe more closely for a reason, eg if they have concenrs re behaviour or if children seem to flit a lot.
    But, its important you choose a from range of observations styles that suit you best.. a lot of people have several tools at their fingertips and use them according to what suits the situation best. Some people rely on one which is their preferrred style, and as long as it does what you want it to do, then thats fine too. Some people write next to nothing down as they hold a lot of stuff in their heads.Even a longer obs doesnt mean copious amounts of writing, I tend to write the key things from what I have seen rather than chapter and verse of every detail. In terms of next steps, these may come from any observation as well as other information shared by others eg parents, they can come from a range of information including that which is not writtetn down but you know (professional knowledge I call it!)
    I think they way you choose to work also depends on other demands you may have. When I was a reception class teacher with no TA, it would have been impossible to do my preferred style all the time, anmd so compromises had to be made, and I did them when I could, but used the shorter obs and professional knowledge the rest of the time.
    Im sure others will be along to suggest their preferred ways too.

  3. I totally agree with you, MelinDog, in that long observations don't tell me anything I dont already know about a child and their learning styles, progress and next steps. I do sometimes carry out a specific observation of an individual chid who I am concerned about as ths can help to build a clearer picture of the issues and can also offer reasons or solutions to a problem.
  4. suffolksmiler

    suffolksmiler New commenter

    We used to do post it note / sticky label obs BUT got told by OFSTED we needed longer obs with clear next steps on them. We did not think that was possible in reality but did manage to find a workable solution. After liaising with a local preschool we designed A5 page and photocopy 2 on to A4. I have a copy on on here. Click my name then then daily obs then select Next steps resource. Over the hols I have looked at the revised EYFS and tried to adapt it - but still not sure if this will make more work for us. The new sheet is called the Reflective practitioner. It is A4 but meant to be folded in half - so the left hand side is on the back of the right. The right hand side is filled in when with the child. The left side after the children have gone - when you can tick and discuss with others possible ways of planning for next steps. Less confident staff will benefit from more experienced who can help develop planning opportunities. BOTH obs sheets are publisher docs so not sure if you will be able to down load them At the end of the day you have to find something that is workable for you. Our playgroups use the sheet Daily Obs - Next steps. Less observations during the day but focus on what triggers play, how it develops, social skills linked to communication. How they use resources - physical skills that may need to be taught by adults modelling. Hope this helps but I am not in a playgroup only a school nursery.
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    That's outside OFSTED's remit you should have pointed them to the statutory documents which clearly states that "evidence" (which includes observations) don't need to be written down at all.
  6. suffolksmiler

    suffolksmiler New commenter

    Thanks, wish I knew that at the time! He was not very friendly, do not remember seeing him smile at the children let alone us!
  7. Miss Piggywig

    Miss Piggywig New commenter

    I was told that the revised curriculum states that no assessments there for observations should take staff away from interacting with the children. I am taking this to mean that following children around for long observations should be a thing of the past. Iam quiet pleased with this as I didn't find them useful.
  8. Hi, I am not playgroup but am starting reception in September. I will be doing the traditional short obs, or wow moments, capturing something the chn are doing that hasn't been seen before. I have adapted a range of short obs templates to include the 7 areas of learning and characteristics of learning. In addition I will be targetting 3 chn a week for a weekly journey of their learning-this I got from a brilliant book called a year in reception (ideas can be adapted for other settings). The idea is that the targeted chn get more of a focus from all adults in the setting, who contribute short observations by writing them down on the sheet which is blown up onto A3. By the end of the week you will have a complete set of observations showing how the child learns throughout a week, their preferences, characteristics of learning and areas for development.
  9. I really like the sound of your ideas for observation. Are you able to add to resource bank or email a template to me? Many thanks susie@hodgson84.plus.com

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