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Observations - Format/layout


SazzJ
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Hi everyone

 

I am currently undertaking my EYPS and today we got into a discussion. Now i know all settings do things differently. But I have a few questions and would appreciate some input please.

 

1) Do you do your observations handwritten or do you take the additional time to type them up? - I would consider myself to have failry neat handwriting, it's easy to read and lots of people comment on it. Now a few people have raised issues around my deputies not being so neat. Can I insist on typed observations?

 

2) What format/layout do you use for observations? - we currently use post it notes but I would like a more structured layout. Today someone mentioned that there setting has coloured co-ordinated sheets for eash area of learning. I can see them being practical but not sure how to set the layout out

 

Thanks

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HI Sazz

in our setting we hand write all our obs as they are on the spot and instant- no one has got time to type them up and I would certainly not insist on it. As long as they are legible then that should be all that is needed. In our setting we have colour coded obs sheets for each colour group. As our obs go on the observation wall in the cloakroom area (so parents can see what is going on) having them colour coded helps them to find their child's a little quicker. The obs sheets is small, with room for a wallet size picture, comments and at the bottom are the abbreviations for areas of learning. Plus a little picture of a ladder which we circle if an adult has 'scaffolded' the learning.

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Hi we dont type up observations only retrospective obs taken from notes - ........post its and snapshot obs, sticky labels are best as they are I think, they are working documents, sometimes mine have paint splats on them......there is always the opportunity to misinterpret them when retyping - its not really about making it look nice is it?......

 

We also do long/focus/tracking observations for each child half termly and we have a wide variety of formats that keyworkers choose from depending on what they are trying to observe and what evidence they need to collect.....plus good old photos of course... :oxD:(

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Years ago I used to type up all the obs from the focus activity and Mrs Ofsted told me to stop!

 

Sometimes when I'm doing a long narrative observation I'll write it in shorthand, and then of course it is vital that I type them up. However this is for my own benefit, and I discourage staff from re-writing their observations. Life is too short!

 

We used to colour code our observations in the hope that we would be able to separate one term's observations from the next. However I have to say it was of limited use - and just meant that we always had lots of coloured (expensive) copier paper left over. We now just print out our observation forms on white paper.

 

Our format is very simple: column for name, date, time, who observed by. Underneath is a box for the observation, and under that a box for evaluation/next steps.

 

For shorter obs we also use post-its and a small observation note pad which I designed on Vistaprint because I got fed up of having post-its which might have the name of the child on, but no date. So now our post-its are pre-printed with the information needed, and we just have to fill in the salient details, followed by what the child did or said. Our observation pads also have a space for next steps on the bottom.

 

Maz

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For shorter obs we also use post-its and a small observation note pad which I designed on Vistaprint because I got fed up of having post-its which might have the name of the child on, but no date. So now our post-its are pre-printed with the information needed, and we just have to fill in the salient details, followed by what the child did or said. Our observation pads also have a space for next steps on the bottom.

 

At present we have post it notes that are put into little wallets on the wall. The staff then have non contact time each week to copy them into the childs learning folders and link them to the Eyfs!

 

Reading your answers it seems like we are doing double the work but i dont like the idea of just putting the post its straight into the folders (ive seen this at another setting and it looked messy)

 

Any ideas how i can refine the process and make it less time consuming but still looking just as neat for parents to read??

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I have to admit some of the folders do look messy but I think of it as a working document, it has to be used sometimes for two years......messy or not ours seem to be full of evidence and I guess thats the most important thing... :oxD:(

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Oh yes of course thats the most important thing :) but i do think they need to be organised and neat for all to understand...maybe i'm just a neat freak!!!!

 

Ours are very similar Geraldine.....do you have these around for the staff to write directly on them ie on clipboards??

Do they get put straight into the childrens folders?

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Oh yes of course thats the most important thing :) but i do think they need to be organised and neat for all to understand...maybe i'm just a neat freak!!!!

 

Ours are very similar Geraldine.....do you have these around for the staff to write directly on them ie on clipboards??

Do they get put straight into the childrens folders?

 

Yes all staff have their own clipboard and the obs sheets are filed in children's folders daily

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I'm not bothered about typing them up; I'm much more concerned that they are legible and spelt correctly.................I have seen some appalling writing and very poor use of grammar at some settings. Of course, the main thing is to get the observation down on paper so no important moments are missed.

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we do post its or paper scraps...we tidy them up if really necessary (e.g cutting the paper scraps square!) but usually just stick them in as is...we stick the post its in properly with pritt stick - looks tidier and is more secure than flapping about!

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Love the fact that they are handwritten but have to agree on the legibility and spellings front sometimes. Saying that as some obs are captured very quickly this may occasionally occur.

Can always be written up again if it really is that bad, but would much rather the staff spend the time interacting with the children. :o

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In our school nursery this is how we record the children's progress-

 

Photographs with captions in their 'work books'

Samples of work stuck in their book or displayed around nursery

Catch as you can Post-it notes stuck in a sectioned sheet at the back of their work books

Brief recordings of key person group time each day

Detailed observations written roughly one per half term

 

The work books and observations are kept up to date/carried out by the child's key person. Everything is hand written.

The children are split into three key person groups for small group work/stories etc. We have 13 children each per session.

Any member of staff can write a Post-it on a child or take a photo.

We try to keep on top of the children's books by adding work/photographs etc. maybe once or twice a week otherwise you get really behind!! Luckily we can do this after the children have gone home.

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we have enough paperwork to do without rewriting observations. I think this would be a little mean if you insist on this. and i feel it is such a waste of time. why wold you do that.

 

we have set sheet for observations for long obs, not sure i have any on this lap top to download will have a look but short notes either go onto post its or straight into their journals

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It's only a thought. One of the ladies doing EYPS said that she insisted on them being typed

 

My only concern is that the committee keep raising the issue about her handwriting and I have a feeling it could come up sooner rather than later with them

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