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Observation, Assessment And Planning


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Hi Guys,


With the end of term looming im thinking of the start of the new term and would like to change the way we observe children e.g focused, how we then assess what those observations tell us and then how this knowledge informs planning. How do you do this?


At the moment we have informal chats but i think we are being lead by the topic not by what the children need.


How do you observe the children? Do you plan for this?


Can anyone point be in the direction of any good articles or books? My observations are often spotted things written on sticky labels, i would like to other forms of observation but i dont know where to start!


Thanks for any help. Apologies for any rambling, we had a trip to the farm today and i think i had too much sun!

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Have you read the FSF article on Observation?

You can find it here


Observation and assessment


It has useful methods.


We plan focused observation time at the preschool ( whether it always gets done is another matter), plus the staff note down specific examples of skills, knowledge or attitudes they see during a session. I think you do need to have planned times, knowing who and what you want to observe. This

1/ ensures all children get formal observations done


2/ that their is a focus to the observation, planned because their are gaps in a childs record of achievement.


The staff do need to have discipline to ensure they are carried out, what I have found is that we get interuptions to the plans, child planned for is away, staff away, visitors come in etc, and the whole momentum is disrupted, then records get behind. This is an area I shall be addressing again next term. The staff feel that they get more from a spontaneous observation than a planned one, I think there is a need for both, especially as some children attract, by personality / behaviour more interest than others. The 'invisible' children can get lost unless obs are planned for.




p.s. sorry to ramble, repeated myself 3 times, at least.

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I agree with Peggy entirely, difficulty in planned observations is that children are not caught when that accidental learning is taken place. The need for both formal and 'catching the moment' is necessary. Photo's etc are obvious.

V. Huchins has a couple of books that are really inspirational for ideas.

'Observing & Assessing for the Foundation Stage Profile'

ISBN 0 340 81212 5

How you actually organise this in daily 'routine' ... could be open to debate!

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Thanks for replies so far. It difficult at the moment as we dont know what direction we're taking as a stage anyway - at the moment we're having to decide between 'Curiosity Corner' (for nursery but no doubt i'd then have to take on the reception sversion) or the EEL project.


Anyone had any experiences of these?


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Haven't heard about these (curiousity corner is for children to explore?) ... no idea what EEL is!? Could you expand?

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Curiosity Corner is a scheme of work to be taken on in Nursery (we have decided to try it for a year). It is quite scripted, you get a book for every week which covers a different topic. It orginated in amercia and is now being used over here. It has a lot of similarities with Ruth Miskin Literacy.


There's a bit of info here: http://www.successforall.net/early/early_curiosity.htm


EEL stands for Effective Early Learning and is an observation/ assessment programme for the children and teachers to assess the effectiveness of the whole stage. 12 to 18 months of assessment and observations to gather information. Sounds scary - we're doing this as well!


Seems like we've got a stressful year...

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I may be wrong but I think EEL is about evaluating the setting not observing the children.


The Effective Early Learning Research Project


The Effective Early Learning Research Project is a national researchand development initiative which aims to evaluate and improve the quality of early learning in a wide range of education and care settings throughoutthe UK. The team has documented improvements in the quality and effectiveness of early learning for a cohort of 21,500 three and four year old children and their parents in more than 850 education and care settings in the UK. It has also trialled training and professional development materials anddeveloped a national training programme. Out of this has come a databaseon the quality of early learning, which will form a central part of the emerging national analysis of learning in early childhood settings.


For more information contact: Christine Pascal and Fiona Ramsden, Centre for Research in Early Childhood, Worcester College of Higher Education, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ

Tel/Fax: 01905 855068



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Sounds lile the same thing - sounds like the boss has got the wrong end othe stick somewhere. Ah well...

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