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How Often Do You Observe?


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Hi guys

Trying to get my head around observing the children (long story as to why we havent started!) Ok with doing post it note type spontanous obs but not sure with how often you should do proper 10 min obs on each child. Also how often to observe each learning area?

Help needed please!

Thanks. :o

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How often.. think we are all working out our own routines and idaeas until finding one which works.


In our case each key person will do a long obs on one key child each week and this will be fed into following weeks planning if appropriate. In this way over our 6 week term every child will have at least 1 long ob done and probably loads of incidentals... so if it works progress will be shown over a period of time in these. we are doing them in different formats depending on the key person, child and choice, as everyone has a prefered method but end results are the same. Most of the time they wil not be focussed on one area but cover a holistic view of the child covering lots of areas at the same time.


We are lucky in that all staff are level 3 so all can do this , with support from each other. Each child will also have one done in hte first couple of weeks of starting with us, once settled enough , as a starting point.


I dont think anyone knows a 'correct' number or 'definitive' number, only time and expereince will show what is needed. sometimes it may be more, other times less...


probably not much help..



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I think you need to ask yourself What is the point of doing a 10 minute observation for observation sake?

In other words, we do observations to either learn what we don't know about a child or to learn what we think we know but want to clarify / evidence.

For example a child who often accesses creative activities could have lots of incidental observations in that area, all of which put together gives a clear understanding of that childs development within that area. However, the childs keyworker may not be so sure of, or never observed the childs developmental progress in say mathematical concepts, so a planned obs for this area would be to provide an opportunity to explore/experience a maths concept in the creative 'play' area, thus giving an opportunity to do a planned observation, of a particular concept / skill, in a play area that the child feels comfortable/interested in.


I think the key is also communication between all staff so that gaps in knowledge that are not often observed can be highlighted to all, making the observations that are carried out more likely to inform rather than just doing ad hoc, post it type obs, which can lead to many observations that are repeating known development / skills of individual children.


Does that make sense?



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