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Training Preschools To Observe Children


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#1 Lorna

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:02 PM

Hi All

I am a reception class teacher. I am doing some training for my local preschools before half term on Observation. Why observation is important and how we can use it.
I want it to be relevant, but also have the difficulty that 1 or more of my preschools doesn't see much point in recording observations.
Can anyone- give me an overview of the observations you do at preschool... so I am taking this from the right point.

Just to say I did some training last year for my preschools on observations on different ways to record, why we should observe children etc.... looking for a different way to approach this.

Thanks

Lorna

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#2 Starburst

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:34 PM

Hi All

I am a reception class teacher. I am doing some training for my local preschools before half term on Observation. Why observation is important and how we can use it.
I want it to be relevant, but also have the difficulty that 1 or more of my preschools doesn't see much point in recording observations.
Can anyone- give me an overview of the observations you do at preschool... so I am taking this from the right point.

Just to say I did some training last year for my preschools on observations on different ways to record, why we should observe children etc.... looking for a different way to approach this.

Thanks

Lorna



#3 Starburst

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:37 PM

Hi Lorna

All preschools should be doing observations now as part of the EYFS. Different preschools will all do things slightly differently though. I would get in contact with as many of their leaders as you can, to find out what they are already doing and what sort of input from you they would find helpful.

#4 Cait

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:45 PM

Here's a sample of ours

Attached Files


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#5 Lorna

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:49 PM

Thanks for those Cait
Starburst- the problem I have is some of my feeder pre schools don't understand why we should make observations of children, its trying to get through to them that it is important and what they should be doing. I have asked them all to bring examples of what they are doing since our last meeting- but I won't hold my breath.

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#6 mundia

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:59 PM

Hi Lorna
I am working on this very thing with a setting currently, so if you want to chat more, feel free to PM me.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life. And the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. Steve Jobs

#7 aliamch

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:10 PM

the problem I have is some of my feeder pre schools don't understand why we should make observations of children, its trying to get through to them that it is important and what they should be doing. I have asked them all to bring examples of what they are doing since our last meeting- but I won't hold my breath.

I'm quiet stunned to read this, we were doing observations even before the EYFS came along, I've always thought of it as normal practice, admittedly the obs didn't always go into as much detail as they do now, but they were done.
Karrie
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#8 Cait

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:12 PM

Yeah - we've been doing them for decades! don't understand why folk aren't doing them, especially as they form such an integral part of NVQ2 and 3

The nice thing about living in a small village is that when you don't know what you're doing -someone else always does!

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#9 Wolfie

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:23 PM

I'm not sure whether you've got time to read this before delivering your training but I would thoroughly recommend Vicky Hutchins' book if you're looking for jusitifcations of why and how to observe..

http://www.amazon.co...-...5350&sr=1-1

#10 Peggy

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:31 PM

Why? first it is a legal requirement.
second: I wonder if these practitioners have 'evaluated' their observations, the evaluation shows the reason behind doing them, they give evidence of development.

When I used to do observation training had a photo of a group of children in a school playground, all wearing coats, one child appeared to be crying, another appeared to be talking to the child stood next to her, who appeared to be laughing, another was sat on a bike.

When I asked my students, What do you see (answers written on a flipchart) the majority of responses were very subjective (and quite negative) ie:

The girl is crying, she misses her mum.
The girl is crying the others are being horrible to her.
The girl is crying she wants a go on the bike.
The girl on the bike isn't sharing.

Then I asked how would you as the adult support the play in this scenario?

Replies were;

I'd get the girl on the bike to share.
I'd comfort the girl who was crying.
I don't think the girl in the blue coat should be laughing at the girl who is crying.
etc etc.

I then gave the facts:
The girl on the bike had just arrived at school and was just going to get off the bike so her mum could take it home.
The girl who appeared to be crying wasn't, she had a cold, it was a cold day and her eyes were watering.
The girl laughing was just happy.

The importance of observations are to ensure you get the FACTS. No assumptions, objective fact. We use what we observe to JUDGE, if we don't observe with a correct system using various methods then our judgements could be wrong. These judgements determine how we respond to children (in the sense of initial reactions) , and when a few observations are put together they inform us of a clear assessment of development without bias.

How would they like it if for example they were arrested, because a policeman made an assumption, without factual evidence, or how do we feel when judged by others without facts about us being known.

Peggy
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#11 diesel10

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:34 PM

Hi Everyone,

I think every setting must have some difficultly trying to get staff to understand the importance of observations. I think you will really need to go back to the basics and try to get them to understand that the observations will help their planning.

We do narrative observations, post-it and assessments. All I think are equally important.

This year the local authority gave us a template for an end of term, progress record. This has worked really well, the staff have completed these from the information and passed to the parents / carers for comments. It didn't take long and helped pull all the different obs together.

Best of luck with your training.

#12 Cait

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:38 PM

Absolutely Peggy.

I wonder if the police would be interested in the Mosaic approach......?

The nice thing about living in a small village is that when you don't know what you're doing -someone else always does!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance


#13 Peggy

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:22 PM

Absolutely Peggy.

I wonder if the police would be interested in the Mosaic approach......?



Piece all the evidence together and then make it stick!! :o

Peggy
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#14 HappyMaz

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:27 PM

I've been trying to rack my brains for a suitable practical demonstration of why we need to observe - so that practitioners can make their own 'discovery' about the importance of making high quality observations for themselves.

Sometimes when I have taught creativity I set up a collage activity, set the students to work and then do my usual thing of wandering around chatting etc. I select my 'target' and then go up behind them and move a piece of their design and tell them I think it looks better there, instead. I do it a few times until I think my luck is wearing thin. During the discussion we talk about how the student felt when I interfered with their artwork and it really helps them understand how a child might feel to have this happen to their pictures in pre-school.

Try as I might I can't come up with something regarding observations though. Perhaps you could show them a quick video of some children playing and ask them to say what learning they feel is taking place. Then you could share your 'proper' observation (obviously prepared in advance), evaluated and annotated to show all the learning that has taken place. I'm sure if you compared the two the written observation would yield much more information about what the child was doing...

Good luck - but can I ask a question about why you are delivering this training? You must have a good relationship with your feeder groups if they come to you for this kind of thing: can't imagine it going down well in many quarters! :o

Maz

#15 surfer

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:58 PM

I would use the practice card from the EYFS pack as my starting point- there are lots of resources etc that you can get from the CDrom or website

here

If you can get hold of the siren DVD's they are fantastic to use.here

#16 Wolfie

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:39 PM

I completely agree with surfer's Siren Films suggestion - they're fantastic...but a bit pricey!

#17 Lorna

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:34 PM

Thanks for the replies
Why am i doing the training?- I do a training session for my feeder preschhols every term on top of the cluster training they attend. It gives them an insite into where the children are going and helps to build relationships. I also try to plan training that is relevant to the settings. One of my pre-schools suddenly cottoned on to making observations last year and one pre school was picked up for not using it appropriately... so I try and fill some of the gaps for them and support/ enhance what they are doing.
I have really seen this pay off with the cohort I have this year- I have done a lot of training on the importance of social skilss- PSED and talk in the past- including phase 1 of letters and sounds rather than teaching phonics when the children don't have the basic skills required. After approaching this from many angles it has been taken on board- I have seen it when visiting the pre schools and so has my head teacher. Alos managed to ditch the worksheets that one pre school was doing daily with aid of the drip drip training I do.

So my next drip drip feed is observation.
It is always well recieved by my feeder pre schools, they always give me positive feedback and ask for more sessions, so hopefully I am making progress.
Thanks again for the ideas.

L

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#18 Wolfie

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:15 PM

Sounds like you put a lot of hard work and thought into all this Lorna - I'm sure that your efforts are well appreciated. It's certainly a really good way to forge relationships with the pre-schools....I might suggest it in my area too! :o

#19 aliamch

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:35 PM

Try as I might I can't come up with something regarding observations though. Perhaps you could show them a quick video of some children playing and ask them to say what learning they feel is taking place. Then you could share your 'proper' observation (obviously prepared in advance), evaluated and annotated to show all the learning that has taken place. I'm sure if you compared the two the written observation would yield much more information about what the child was doing...
Maz

I've been on a few training courses which have done this and it's always an eye-opener what people write, how their perception is different to yours.
Karrie
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Annie Davy

#20 Cait

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:38 PM

I went on a training where we had to observe the trainer and her friend building a tower, one a bit bossier than the other. Then we discussed our observations and talked about assumptions and judgements

The nice thing about living in a small village is that when you don't know what you're doing -someone else always does!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance


#21 Wendles

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:39 PM

thank goodness it is not just me who feels like she is banging her head against a brick wall, once we have (hopefully) recruited new staff I am going to be all over this issue, I have 2 early years advisors on standby to come and do observation based assessment training, I can't wait to get started. It is a real issue in our centre, I have one staff member who makes a good effort but needs a bit of support and the rest don't really understand why it is neccessary, we have however always done observations or have always meant to be doing them! I hope your training goes well.

#22 Cait

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:39 PM

Or failing that - if you know someone who had done an open uni foundation degree they'll have a cd from each course which children on it that you can use for observations!

The nice thing about living in a small village is that when you don't know what you're doing -someone else always does!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance


#23 Rea

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 01:20 PM

I was taught that we observe for ourselves - so we know what to do next,
for the children - so we can help their next steps and for the parents - so they can work with us to support the child.

Like aliamch, I'm stunned that people need telling of the importance. Isnt it covered in training these days? :o
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#24 Wolfie

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:27 PM

When I used to do observation training had a photo of a group of children in a school playground, all wearing coats, one child appeared to be crying, another appeared to be talking to the child stood next to her, who appeared to be laughing, another was sat on a bike.


Peggy, I don't suppose that you still have a copy of this photo that I could borrow for a training session or know where I could get hold of something similar? It sounds like a really good exercise to start my training off with!




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