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Plannning From Observations


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Hi!

 

I am thinking about the ways to observe children in preschool and trying to get some sort of format/struture put together for the staff to follow....there is very little happening at the moment! :o

So far;

 

1. All staff will observe spontaneously on sticky nores/post its for any child/ren.

 

2. 2 longer observations done by each keyworker per week (foramt of recording already complete for this)

 

3. Adult Initiated Activities - Observations done for these by each keyworker in their keyworker groups.

 

I am confused as to what observations should inform the planning. All of them?

Also, how to decide what learning intentions are linked to the activities we provide and whether these then need to be shown to have been met ?

 

Any suggestions would be great!!

 

Jellytots xD

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I think the key is that observations inform what further observations are required. I hope that makes sense, ie: don't observe for the sake of "I 'have' to do observations".

Observations are a tool for recording "what I don't know and need to know about a childs level of development" and to 'evidence' what I know.

This knowledge then informs planning to meet the interests and developmental needs of the child, the activity is then observed to identify development levels and to evidence that planning has met previously observed needs / lack of knowledge of child / or stages of progress.

 

Activities are planned for two reasons;

1/ to enable observation of what you don't know about a child ie: you know (through observation that) Katy has an interest in numbers, you know Katy can count by rote to ten, you don't know if Katy understands the concept of one more than, so you plan for this concept to be explored by Katy, you observe this exploration and then adapt planning from the second observation results accordingly.

 

2/ To meet observed needs / interests, to enable progress from observed levels of development.

 

 

So in answer to your question;

1/ post it obs enable a snap shot of what childrens interests are, learning style choices are, and what they know - these can be focused in that a post it obs may evidence a childs knowledge of a numeracy concept but you may want to see if this knowledge is transferable to different play contexts ie: whilst looking at a book or hearing a story Katy makes a comment that shows she can count by rote to ten. You could then plan to have ten items in the sand tray (you know she's interested in sand play). Then post it obs can show how she organises, explores the ten objects whilst playing with them, she may sort 5 and count down 5,4,3,2,1 showing a new concept, she may line them up, counting as she goes, adding one more until she gets to ten, showing exploration of the concept of 'one more than' , she may just wait for another child to line them up and count them in rote. Whatever she does you will learn a bit more about her level of number knowledge.

 

2/ Longer obs - the focus of these obs will be defined by what you learn or more importantly don't learn from your post it obs. Also what do you mean by longer obs? An event sample obs can last a week or a narrative obs can be for 5 mins. Possibly call these a focused obs. An observation with a defined aim, ie To observe Katy's understanding of the concept of one more than. This will affect what the observer looks out for and writes during the observation, and how the observation is evaluated (to the aim).

 

3/ I think learning intentions of activities are defined by observations, again either what you need to know or what you need to evidence, or what areas of development you want a child to progress in. Yes if the objectives of the activity are met, record this, but always be aware / flexible for the child to orchestrate their own learning within the activity which may be far removed from your learning intentions (objectives). These are just as worthy of being recorded and much more useful than recording that the child 'didn't meet' the learning intention.

 

 

Whenever planning or observing always ask yourself, am I doing this for the child/ren or for other external (moderation) reasons?

Our expertise is about children (and so it should be) our insecurities (which is maybe why you've asked your questions) are about justifying, measureing, evidencing what we know and do. To help keep this manageable and not let it deter from 'working with the children' think about;

When you talk about planning and observation with your staff, always try to keep in mind how your systems can best help you all get to know your children more, systems will be different in different settings based on the staff teams skills. I am sure if you keep the 'child' at the heart of your discussions you will find a workable system for your setting.

So rather than setting out 'Observations will be done this way' engage all your staff in the discussions of why and how this part of their work will be done, this will help them understand more about the importance / benefits to the children of observations and help them to have more ownership and responsibility for getting it done, it won't just be a case of' doing what your told' (if you know what I mean). Once the staff understand the observation / planning cycle their observations will have more relevance to their role.

 

I hope that all makes sense.

 

Peggy

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Hi - after much research and loads of different formats at pre-school, I have taken loads from the book Supporting Every Child's Learning across the Early Years Foundatiion Stage by Vicky Hutchin - she has some great ideas for observation etc. These books are available now at Amazon around £15.00 - I think it is a brilliant book and a simple format for dizzy me. Dot :o

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I am becoming really confused by the whole concept! In the past week I have had both the advisory teacher and ofsted visit me and tell me 2 completely different things, so I am really struggling with how I can implement the EYFS to achieve the neccessary.

 

The advisory teacher wants nice long observations and lots of mini observations to go alongside . Fine not a problem. From the observations I would plan an activity/opportunity for the child I was observing to encourage what I have observed. But the advisory teachers says we should not plan from the observations and did not mention using any form of planning at all. I understand that we need to focus on freedom of choice, but ofsted want to see us planning opportunities for the children and the advisory teacher is telling us not to.

 

What are we supposed to do?

 

From looking at various comments from different groups and forums it seems that everyone else is planning from observations, am I right??? At the end of the day as long as the children are happy, your focussing on what they are interested in and it can be linked to the EYFS does it really matter how we do it???

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I am becoming really confused by the whole concept! In the past week I have had both the advisory teacher and ofsted visit me and tell me 2 completely different things, so I am really struggling with how I can implement the EYFS to achieve the neccessary.

 

The advisory teacher wants nice long observations and lots of mini observations to go alongside . Fine not a problem. From the observations I would plan an activity/opportunity for the child I was observing to encourage what I have observed. But the advisory teachers says we should not plan from the observations and did not mention using any form of planning at all. I understand that we need to focus on freedom of choice, but ofsted want to see us planning opportunities for the children and the advisory teacher is telling us not to.

 

What are we supposed to do?

 

From looking at various comments from different groups and forums it seems that everyone else is planning from observations, am I right??? At the end of the day as long as the children are happy, your focussing on what they are interested in and it can be linked to the EYFS does it really matter how we do it???

 

I have just been to a training day for planning, obs and assessment and we were told that the children will learn naturallly ie. child led activities (80 per cent of their time in your setting) but some things need to be "taught" i.e adult led activities (20 per cent of their time). Therefore you need to plan for this 20 per cent> From the observations you make you will see areas where you can think of an activity to do with the children to either extend their understanding or consolidate it.

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