Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Observations


 Share

Recommended Posts

HI all you lovely people :o

 

This is a bit of a 64,000 dollar question relating to quantities of written observations.

 

Following an interesting discussion I said I would seek the views of a 'wider audience' so here I am asking you for your thoughts!

 

How many writtne observations i(with next steps) in total would you say was 'sufficient' for each child per term in pre-school.

 

I know it is a rather broad question and many factors need to be considered but during my discussion a wide range of suggestions were made including 2 per area of learning, one for each aspect of each area of learning and many more ideas with quite a wide range in quantities!

 

Just intrigued really and would love to know what 'figure you would come up with'?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you have to remember that observations and records are everything recorded and unrecorded. I can describe a child's typical behaviours e.g. coming in to the setting and separating from their main carer without having to write it down to prove it. My professional judgment tells me that the child can do it and that's OK.

 

If I need more observations to give me more info about an area of learning then I would do as many as it needs. I don't think you should put a prescriptive number on it as it becomes formulaic and that is not the point of observational assessment. I'm assessing a child's security in a skill or competency, which may take more or less observing depending on the child!

 

Cx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great answer, catma!

 

This is a difficult question to answer, because I think the minute you start putting a 'quota' on the number of observations you can easily devalue them and then you may as well not have written anything down at all.

 

One setting I knew had a set quota of observations per child, depending on whether the child attended full- or part-time. One afternoon I watched a practitioner write out enough observations of her key children to fulfil her duties for the whole of the six-week period. Not exactly building up a picture of the child's achievements over time, and nor could she use the observations to plan for the child's next steps.

 

I appreciate that as practitioners we are all at different stages of our career and personal development and not everyone would react to a 'quota' in this extreme way. However I would feel under a lot of pressure to 'perform' if the required number of observations was high and would worry that I'd be finding things to write down for the sake of it.

 

This is an interesting discussion, I'll be keen to see what everyone else thinks!

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you both for your answers :o just what I was hoping for xD

 

My contribution to the discussion was that I couldn't give any number. To follow a 'precriptive' notion that every child needs 2 written obs (or any other number) per area of learning equates, in my view, to writing observations for observations sake which defeats the whole object!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A "long" written observation - usually one a term unless a child has developed rapidly. Not by 6 areas but one observation per child and comment on the 6 areas within this. We keep next steps separate and write these from own knowledge, short observations as well as long observations. We are only open mornings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is an interesting topic. I agree that setting a defined number of observations and next steps is not the way to go. Rather plan for a lengthy obs on a child every six weeks or so, and draw out from that observation, and all the "catch as you can" ones a few (!) next steps. I reckon somewhere between 2 and 6 might be manageable number. I'd also recommend some way of keeping an eye on the areas of learning and whether you have loads of obs in, say CLL, and none for PSRN. That way, you could organise some observations for that area over the next few weeks for that child.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great question and waiting to hear of other recommendations and suggestions.

We have 50 children presently on roll at our sessional pre-school.

We have an observation sheet for each child per half term but its up to the staff to decide when to do them throughout this time, based on other observations already collected.

They have the six areas of learning and also whether it is solitary play ,parallell play, adult led, child initiated, small group, large group area of the room, indoors, outdoors, level of engagement etc. It also has a space for possible next steps based on the observation made.

We also capture significant moments on post its throughout the week and photos. All obs, post its and photos are put into the child's learning journal.

We are always looking for innovative ways of recording information to provide the best picture of a child's development without doing them for doing sake, total waste of time i'd say.

Looking forward to hearing others views.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont think there can be any set rule on how many long obs

we do 1 to 2 at the begininng of each term really to help plan for childrens interest's

but if neccessary we do more if they are needed

we also do well being and invovlement at the time we do the long ob too

 

But we also do tracker obs and long obs if there are behavioural issues

 

every setting is different and i think you have to do what is right for yours and your staff

there is no right or wrong as long as you use the obserevation, otherwise there is no point to them at all

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd just like to say I HATE OBSERVATIONS!!! Doing them does not come easily.

 

With 2 adults how are we supposed to do observations for 30 lively 4 year old reception children and still deal with day to day management? I'm not talking structure of the room or day I mean a day like yesterday when someone threw up on the carpet, wet pants, flour to play in, modelling suitable home corner play, bumps and grazes and being hit on the head by a golf ball (that would be me who paid the price who adding golf balls to the bricks to follow a childs interest in a mable racer) and a staff meeting 3:30-5pm.

 

We had to set a minimum amount for our own sanity. One detailed long observation per child per half term plus as many short ones as we can manage and yet we are still struggling. Overwelmed and its still just the 3rd week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really interesting topic

 

I'm finding that in our small setting we are ending up with loads of small obs - all are very good observations as i've made little clip-on look, listen and note key-ring-type-things to refer to when writing them. Our leader was told we needed to write next steps for the obs, so we are now spending all our planning time writing next steps for each one which is leaving little time to 'do' the planning and we have a ridiculous amount of written next steps which cannot be transferred into the planning as it would be 90% adult-led. We have been struggling to find the right balance for some time, so I've visited other settings in the area - one doesn't write obs they look at the session and the plan for the following week based on a what the staff say children have been doing and the other setting use the old stepping stones planning booklet! I find it all very confusing.

 

Sorry about the long-windedness and to hijack the thread but I wish I could wave a magic wand and have the definitive answer

 

S

 

OFSTED are over-due for their visit so feeling v. stressed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Observations give you real insight to a childs learning and interests and really help with planning to meet their needs,

 

your children will settle

 

After 30 years I'm aware of that.We still find it a struggle balancing the requirements of being part of a school community and high impact interaction with the children. What good are observations if they leave you no time to interact with the children to extend their learning? There are lots of pressures being part of a school that you would not find in day care or home setting with only 2/30.We are now questioning the value of the long observations as we are finding the short ones more informative for planning and filling in the profiles so we think we are going to swing the balance to short observations.

 

i've made little clip-on look, listen and note key-ring-type-things to refer to when writing them

 

I would be interested in seeing this as we are also supporting 2 new level 1 T/A's in the other reception class who have never done observations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be interested in seeing this as we are also supporting 2 new level 1 T/A's in the other reception class who have never done observations.

 

I've basically chopped these into squares and if too long, cut in half and put them back to back, laminated them and then attached a clip on key chain. They are very handy for preschool as we have such a developmental range. Hope they're of use.

S

Clip_on_Look__Listen_and_Note.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ooh those look really helpful! Going to print them off for my whole team...just a shame I won't get much use out of them as my maternity leave starts next Friday! But a great thing to leave them to help guide their observations!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've basically chopped these into squares and if too long, cut in half and put them back to back, laminated them and then attached a clip on key chain. They are very handy for preschool as we have such a developmental range. Hope they're of use.

S

Thank you so much for sharing - they are great! :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone, I'm glad they're of use. We use them alot in my setting and they cut out alot of the useless obs that we were making. We also note the area of EYFS and stage of development at the bottom of the obs so saves time when sticking them into learning journeys and looking at ideas for next steps.

 

I've managed to upload to the resource library :o .

 

Thanks again

 

Sal

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow SennenSal! What a fantastic resource! Thanks for sharing.

 

P.S. Do you come from Sennen Cove? I went there for my honeymoon last year!

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow SennenSal! What a fantastic resource! Thanks for sharing.

 

P.S. Do you come from Sennen Cove? I went there for my honeymoon last year!

 

Thanks carrots7078 You're welcome,

 

and yes I do come from Sennen Cove, well actually I live up top of the hill so am not classed as a 'Cover', in these parts i'm an 'over the hiller' :o !

 

Did you have a nice honeymoon? Where did you stay?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We stayed in a little cottage called Castaways in an area called Vellan Dreath - down a massive hill through sand dunes It was an amazing location! What a brilliant place for you to teach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We stayed in a little cottage called Castaways in an area called Vellan Dreath - down a massive hill through sand dunes It was an amazing location! What a brilliant place for you to teach.

 

Oh lovely, I live just up the top of the hill, the school and pre-school are practically overlooking Vellandreath and it is amazing living and working here. Fab days on the beach :o as well as lifeboat station and harbour - plenty of local resources!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello

 

I understand what you mean about how many observations, my colleague made a rule of at least 3 a day, I disagree as his observations tell me nothing, as he is using a crib sheet with all of the Early Learning Goals on and isn't really thinking about what the observations tell him. I have only just stared my observations as I think it is important to settle the children in and to show them how to look after the environment. I think at least one a day and not every observation has to have a next step either just one or two. Although I am trying to have at least one for each area. I also keep a sheet with the next steps on so that when they have achieved the next step I put it into their learning Journal, I also encourage the children to think what they need to do next.

 

:o

HI all you lovely people xD

 

This is a bit of a 64,000 dollar question relating to quantities of written observations.

 

Following an interesting discussion I said I would seek the views of a 'wider audience' so here I am asking you for your thoughts!

 

How many writtne observations i(with next steps) in total would you say was 'sufficient' for each child per term in pre-school.

 

I know it is a rather broad question and many factors need to be considered but during my discussion a wide range of suggestions were made including 2 per area of learning, one for each aspect of each area of learning and many more ideas with quite a wide range in quantities!

 

Just intrigued really and would love to know what 'figure you would come up with'?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the clip on look listen and note thing is fabulous and just what I need but I am a childminder and wondered if this was made or found somewhere and if so do you have the notes for the younger age ranges?

 

Hi CarlyWarly and thanks, I made them though i'm afraid and only for the age range in my pre-school, sorry. I literally just typed out the Look listen and note sections from the EYFS. It took a while but is worth it...it really does help to focus obs.

 

Sally

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)