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Observations - When And How Many?


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Im really confussed with Observations. All childminders out there - What observations do you do and how many per week / year etc?

 

I have so far made a template for a time sample observation and a focussed observation.

 

What else do i have to do?

 

How often do i have to do each of these in a childminding setting????

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Hi

 

Please don't worry, I have a weekly plan which has room to write quick snapshot observations on if something happens during the day of any importance. It is not how many you do its the quality of what you do, it has to have relevance to the childs development. I like to take photographs to back up my observations.(Ofsted liked this when they did my inspection) For example the little girl I look after recently sorted all the green balls out of the ball pit so I took a photo of her sorting them out and wrote a short observation next to the photo then linked this to the EYFS as this was the first time she had done anything like this.

 

I do a planned more formal longer observation about once a term.

 

Does your local area put on a training on planning/observations for childminders?

 

Tink69

Edited by Tink69
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I've always been told 1 planned observation per term (EYFS training when it first started)

 

In practice you'll observe the children all day, every day and record it in their daily diary!

 

Nona

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Hi there.

 

The format you use to record your observations is up to you - get some samples from sites like this and NCMA, Local Authority etc, then choose or adapt what suits you.

 

You need to observe children in order to assess their learning and development and their interests, and use this information to plan for their next steps. How often you make a formal record depends on how the children are progressing - you only need to record the new stuff - the "WOW" moments.

 

Remember that parents should be adding to the file too - perhaps they notice a step forward, or a new interest.

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We try and do 3 per child per week but our local advisor told us that nowhere does it state how many you should do, you just need to make sure planning and obs are linked. Our advisor also said that if ofsted ask why you dont do x amount, then ask them to show you where it says you must do that amount. apparently it shuts them up pretty quickly!

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At my setting we do 3 spontaneous obs per week and a target child observation every 6 weeks.

 

But what do you observe 3 times a week? And how can it be spontaneous if you have to do 3?

 

This week, for example, my youngest daughter I could have written 3 observations on, but my bigger girl hasn't really done anything of note.

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|If a child in a setting has not done anything of note i would say it must be boring setting and you have to ask yourself am i providing an enabling environment!!!!!!!!!!

 

we do 2 long obs per term (6 in a year) the rest of the time is doing incidental obs and notes we use these not only to plot development and scaffold learning but to see where that child's interests are and what we need to do to provide a stimulating enabling environment

 

this surely goes for child minders too

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But what do you observe 3 times a week? And how can it be spontaneous if you have to do 3?

 

This week, for example, my youngest daughter I could have written 3 observations on, but my bigger girl hasn't really done anything of note.

 

Hi,

 

We do at least 3 short obs per week, these can be on any area of the childs development or even logging their language they have used. These are spontaneous so the child could be doing anything! Then a (long) target child obs every 6 weeks just to ensure that the child is progressing well.

Edited by cleverclowns
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|If a child in a setting has not done anything of note i would say it must be boring setting and you have to ask yourself am i providing an enabling environment!!!!!!!!!!

 

we do 2 long obs per term (6 in a year) the rest of the time is doing incidental obs and notes we use these not only to plot development and scaffold learning but to see where that child's interests are and what we need to do to provide a stimulating enabling environment

 

this surely goes for child minders too

 

Thanks for your support Suer, we seem to be working in a similar way. :o

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|If a child in a setting has not done anything of note i would say it must be boring setting and you have to ask yourself am i providing an enabling environment!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

She has done lots of interesting things, but nothing that she didn't do last week.

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I try and do a minimum of one a half term per child, ensuring that the six areas are looked at as a 'planned programme', but in practice I get more than this through spontaneous observations.

 

I think your best policy here would be to do an observation of the child who you don't think is moving on and then look at your observation quite critically and think about what resources you could add to expand their 'repertoire' a bit. You could model using the new things for a while and then leave them and see if they use them.

 

Sometimes children don't do different things or appear to progress very quickly, so 'nothing she didn't do last week' doesn't worry me unduly. There's things going on in her head as she's exploring and working things out, so you may find she does things in a rush and you'll struggle to catch it all!

 

We had a child a year or so ago who just wanted to wrap sellotape round chair legs; he did this for weeks and wouldn't be 'sidetracked' then suddenly he started looking at other materials for wrapping and different things to wrap and then went to measuring what sizes of paper he needed and looking at shapes and .......... we couldn't keep up! But initially we thought he was 'locked' into the same schema and he wasn't going to do anything different with it, but obviously he was just working through it all in his mind.

 

I'm quite sure your setting isn't 'boring' and the very fact that you are asking questions about what you can do shows that you are doing your best to create an enabling environment. We all go through self-questioning, and I think it's a good thing!

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then i would say add some resources to the things she is playing with to extend her learning , this would have become apparent if the obs done that week would have shown how the play could have been moved on

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Thank you all for the critique on my parenting ability!

 

This week we have been planting seeds in the garden, watching for robins, writing in an old office diary that I discovered when tidying up the toy cupboard, making friends with a little girl visiting our neighbours by shouting over the fence, preparing for granddads birthday etc etc. I actually let her choose what to play with at home, can you believe that!

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Oh goodness! I wasn't presuming to critique your parenting ability!

 

It sounds like you've had a great week - we too have been planting in the garden - our pea seedlings we set off in toilet roll tubes a few weeks ago.

 

It's amazing what you find when you're tidying out cupboards - I found an old OS map and the children 'helping' me were fascinated with it. There's not a lot of it left now as it was so well played with as a roadmap in the car area that it's almost shredded!

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Cait -

 

Don't worry, it was some of the other comments I was referring to.

 

I just don't feel it is realistic to expect every child to have 3 WOW moments in any given week. Children progress at different rates, some slow and steady, some plateauing, some even taking a step back. This is all normal. Often the brain will need time to consolidate new learning.

 

I don't feel it is helpful for practitioners to have to make a magic number (3 or otherwise) of observations in a time period - if it is not a WOW moment, then how does it help you know the child better? And if it doesn't, then what is the point of it? The guidance I have had has been 1 per area of learning per month - and observations can obviously cover several at once.

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I just don't feel it is realistic to expect every child to have 3 WOW moments in any given week. Children progress at different rates, some slow and steady, some plateauing, some even taking a step back. This is all normal. Often the brain will need time to consolidate new learning.

 

I don't feel it is helpful for practitioners to have to make a magic number (3 or otherwise) of observations in a time period - if it is not a WOW moment, then how does it help you know the child better? And if it doesn't, then what is the point of it? The guidance I have had has been 1 per area of learning per month - and observations can obviously cover several at once.

 

I totally agree with you! Our '6 over the year to cover the 6 areas of learning' was initially to ensure that everything was covered, but as you say, one good observation can show several areas! My reason for asking for the staff to do one for each area of learning was because I was finding that one of my members of staff was just looking at CLL and only covering that, and not looking at how the child was developing in other areas too. We don't stick rigidly to it now, it just makes us aware that it's US who aren't looking properly, rather than the child who isn't doing it - if that makes sense!

 

There's absolutely no point in observing just for observing's sake, there has to be some use to it. If it just goes into a file and isn't looked at again then it was a waste of time.

 

Thanks Lolo :o

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