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PEER OBS HELP! (Please)...


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If possible would anybody mind sharing their practice around peer observations and how you plan and do them between staff. This was one of our Ofsted recommendations and need to start it this term!


We are only a small pack away pre-school we have 5 staff members, any help is much appreciated.




:D :1b

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Start small. I would suggest that you just have a discussion together first. Talk about what you all think you should be looking for. You do the first ones. Say that this week you are looking at communications with parents, care routines, whatever and then just make some notes about what you see. Don't be obvious about it and feed back individually, unless you observe good practice that you want to share. Then ask another member of staff to observe something over a week and feed back any good practice ( and tell you about any poor practice)

Do that until everyone has had a turn and feels confident to have a go at something a bit 'meatier'

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When we started my team decided who paired up and what they observed each other on - then just fed back between themselves after two terms they were all really comfortable about anyone obseving and feeding back and we decided as a team what we would be observing that term. :1b

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  • 2 months later...


I have just this minute joined the forum. I have to do a peer observation as part of the interview process for a nursery manager position - I have never done one before and have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. My setting does not do these observations. Can anyone please advise. I have some idea about what I will be looking for (am an EYT) - good practice etc - but are there standard forms to use or just a blank piece of paper. Any help will be gratefully received. Thank you.

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Hi Below is the form our Early Years Improvment officer gave us in order to facilitate such observations. Hope it helps


Observation at on 2014


Playing and Exploring

Active Learning

Creativity & Critical Thinking

The Unique Child

Engagement: children…

§ Show curiosity about objects, events and people

§ Use senses to explore the world around them

§ Engage in open-ended activity

§ Show particular interests

§ Pretend objects are things from their experience

§ Represent their experiences in play

§ Take on a role in their play

§ Act out experiences with other people

§ Initiate activities

§ Seek challenge

§ Show a ‘can do’ attitude

§ Take a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error

Motivation: children…

§ Maintain focus on their activity for a period of time

§ Show high levels of energy, fascination

§ Are not easily distracted

§ Pay attention to details

§ Persist with activity when challenges occur

§ Show a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off

§ Bounce back after difficulties

§ Show satisfaction in meeting their own goals

§ Are proud of how they accomplished something – not just the end result

§ Enjoy meeting challenges for their own sake rather than external rewards or praise

Thinking: children…

§ Think of ideas

§ Find ways to solve problems

§ Find new ways to do things

§ Make links and noticing patterns in their experience

§ Make predictions

§ Test their ideas

§ Develop ideas of grouping, sequences, cause and effect

§ Plan, making decisions about how to approach a task, solve a problem and reach a goal

§ Check how well their activities are going

§ Change strategy as needed

§ Review how well the approach worked


Enabling Environments

Engagement: the environment

§ Stimulating, open-ended resources can be used, moved and combined in a variety of ways.

§ Resources are relevant to children’s interests.

§ There are flexible indoor and outdoor spaces and resources where children can explore, build, move and role play.

§ Limited noise, and calm and orderly spaces, help children concentrate

§ There are experiences and challenges appropriate to the development of the children.

§ Children have uninterrupted time to play and explore

Motivation: the environment

§ New and unusual things are provided for children to explore, linked to their interests which help them become deeply involved

§ Children have time and freedom to become involved in activities

§ Photographs of previous activities are used to prompt discussion

§ Activities are not routinely tidied away

§ There is space and time for all children to contribute


Thinking: the environment

§ There are opportunities for children to represent and develop their own ideas

§ Children have opportunities to play with materials before using them in planned tasks

§ Warm supporting relationships and space, time, flexible resources, choice, control enable children to think creatively and flexibly

§ Recognisable and predictable routines are flexible

§ Planned experiences follow children’s interests and thinking

§ Mind-maps are used to stimulate thinking

Positive Relationships

Engagement: practitioners…

§ Play with children. Encourage children to explore, and show their own interest in discovering new things.

§ Help children as needed to do what they are trying to do, without taking over or directing.

§ Join in play sensitively, fitting in with children’s ideas.

§ Model pretending an object is something else and help develop roles and stories.

§ Encourage children to try new activities and to judge risks for themselves

§ Support children’s confidence with words and body language.

§ Pay attention to how children engage in activities – the challenges faced, the effort, thought, learning and enjoyment.

§ Talk more about the process than products.

§ Talk about how people get better at things through effort and practice, and what we all can learn when things go wrong



Motivation: practitioners…

§ Support children to choose their activities – what they want to do and how they will do it.

§ Stimulate children’s interest through shared attention, and calm over-stimulated children.

§ Help children to become aware of their own goals, make plans, and to review their own progress and successes. Describe what they see children trying to do, and encourage them to talk about their own processes and successes.

§ Be specific when they praise, especially noting effort such as how the child concentrates, tries different approaches, persists, solves problems, and has new ideas.

§ Encourage children to learn together and from each other.

§ Give reasons and talk about learning, rather than just directing.



Thinking: practitioners

§ Use the language of thinking and learning: think, know, remember, forget, idea, makes sense, plan, learn, find out, confused, figure out, trying to do.

§ Model being a thinker, showing that they don’t always know, are curious and sometimes puzzled, and can think and find out.

§ Encourage open-ended thinking by not settling on the first ideas: What else is possible?

§ Always respect children’s efforts and ideas, so they feel safe to take a risk with a new idea.

§ Talk aloud to help children to think and control what they do, modelling self-talk, describing actions in play.

§ Give children time to talk and think without rushing toward answers too quickly.

§ Support children’s interests, reminding them of previous approaches and encouraging them to make connections between their experiences.

§ Model the creative process showing their thinking about some of the many possible ways forward.

§ Follow children’s lead in conversation, and think about things together (sustained shared thinking).

§ Encourage children to describe problems they encounter, and to suggest ways to solve the problem.

§ Show and talk about strategies – how to do things – including problem-solving, thinking and learning.

§ Give feedback and help children to review their own progress and learning. Talk with children about what they are doing, how they plan to do it, what worked well and what they would change next time.

§ Model the plan-do-review process




(Adapted from EYFS Development Matters pages 6 & 7, Characteristics of Effective Learning)

(Highlight green)Highly effective, Inspirational, Embedded, Reflective, Excellent understanding, Fully meets, Has developed, Rigorous, Exceptional, Robust, Sustained, Fully secure, Consistently, Rich, Exemplary, High level of.


(Highlight yellow) Effective, Consistent, Developing, Established, Results in improvement, Good understanding, Positive interaction, Regularly, Secure, Generally, Aware of.


(Highlight pink) Some/limited, Beginning to develop, Working towards, Satisfactory, Adequate, Emerging, On occasion, At times, A good start, However, Needs to develop.


(Highlight red) Little/no evidence of, Scant, Limited, Inconsistently applied, Minimal, Skeletal, Urgent consideration, Insufficient, Not secure/insecure, Inadequate, Ineffective, Lacking in.


Comments from Shared Observation:




The Unique Child:


Enabling Environments:


Positive Relationships:




Areas for Development/Consideration:




Actions Outstanding from Previous Visits:



Setting Representative:



Early Years Improvement Team Representative:



Date for Next Visit:



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