The Children I Support: Observing and Assessing Essay

Part 1

I have followed the ethical guideline and have obtained written permission from the child s, parents and practitioners to carry out observation during focused activities on the child concerned. The ethical guideline detailed the reasons why observation was being carried out and what will be involved. And the child or the parents involved will be able to withdraw from the activities and observation at any time. I will change the name of the learner to maintain confidentiality, protect identity and anonymity.

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I have chosen play for the focused of my observation and I will do ‘Non-participatory observation’ reader 2 (pg. 77). The child I have chosen to observe is Sara who is 5 years old who has been attending at my placement for the past 5 month. I will carry out the observation during different focussed activities for up to 5 minute and observe from the distance so as not to influence on her choice of play. reader 2 chapter 8 (pg. 77) states ‘if a single child is the focus it allows the observer to watch that child both as an individual and In the setting of an activity’

Observation 1 (see appendix 1)

Sara is at the play dough table with 2 other children, She picks up a play dough starts moulding it with both hands for about 5 seconds. This shows that Sara was learning through exploration play. Children’s social skills were being enhanced as they were talking to each other learning to share with each other. They were actively involved with their play trying to make a cake and a snail.

I think providing more opportunities like, role play of daily situations like detailed in reader 2 (pg. 113) ‘vet’s surgery, a post office or a supermarket’, would be a good idea as this would further develop the skills Sara is demonstrating such as communication and language skills. I also feel role plays is important in promoting emotional, personal and social development. Wood (Study Topic 3,p.69) suggests, ‘There is substantial evidence that through play, children demonstrate improved verbal communications, high levels of social and interaction skills, creative use of play materials, imaginative and divergent thinking skills and problem-solving capabilities’.

Observation 2 (see appendix 2)

In this sand tray activity Sara was learning through a combination of exploratory and symbolic play. She was exploring the sand using her senses. She was supported by the practitioner to make a mountain and during this process mathematical language was used and new words like ‘half full’ and ‘transport’ was introduced which supported Sara’s language development skills. The practitioner displayed an example of Steiner approach by joining the play and supporting Sara ensuring ‘the educator should nature the child’s individuality and creativity and to also be a type of ‘mentor’ or supportive adult for the child’ reader book 1(pg. 78). As it it also mentioned in E100 (study topic 3, p.56) ‘Steiner principles emphasise the important of unstructured play and the role of the teacher, who ‘works’ at activities as a model for children’.(KU4)

Sara seemed to enjoy her play as she appeared relaxed and comfortable with the practitioner and those around her. Further play activities could include using dry sand so that Sara can experience the different properties of it and other sensory activities using textures such as smooth and rough which would further develop her knowledge and understanding of the world. .

Observation 3 (see appendix 3)

At the problem solving, Sara looking relaxed and exited. There was a wide container with different colours of cubes and a tong so that children can use the tong to pick a cube from a container and place it in a basket that matched the colour as the cube. Sara seem to enjoy this activity and showed a high level of interest and concentration. E100 Study topic 5,( pg.113) Laever describes “nine signs of involvement” I saw manifestation of some of these signs while Sara was engaged in this activity, for example, she displays her ‘persistence’ and ‘precision’ to complete the task with high level of ‘concentration ‘ and ‘energy’. And at completing the task, Sara demonstrates great ‘satisfaction’. Sara’s high level of interest and concentration showed me that she was learning through this play. As E100 Study topic 5 highlights ‘ if they are intensely involved in what they are doing; consequently their potential for learning will be greater’ (pg. 73). This activities develop Sara hand and eye coordinating skill. Also it teaches children to share and take turns

Further focused activity could be to have the children count the cubes from each basket after completion.

Part 2

Observing and taking notes is important because it gives practitioners and care givers a helpful snapshot of the children in their care. It allows them to see individual children as they are. By identifying each child’s strength and weaknesses, practitioners can offer individualised activities and encouragement. It’s a way for practitioners to show they are complying with the compulsory EYFS setting framework curriculum. (EYFS, 2008) states ‘providers must insure that practitioners are observing children and responding appropriately to help them make progress’ (pg.16). It can be used to identify issues such as emotional or physical need that need to be addressed and help customize activities. Reder 2 (pg.71) states ‘help practitioners work with children to develop their knowledge of their developing competences, schemas and personal interests’

Through Observing, practitioners can identify the child’s interests and abilities and hence, plan in accordance of the children’s needs. Which means perhaps adapting and modifying the play activities and ways the setting operates its practice. Reader 1 states ‘Observation can provide starting points for reviewing the effectiveness of provision’ (2010,pg. 244)

In my setting observations is to plan areas of play and built upon the children’s interests, this is discussed in study topic 11 which states ‘information gathered in this way provides a picture of a child’s competences, interests and needs’ (pg. 105). It also give practitioners an understanding of where a child is currently at within their learning and development and as is stated in E100 study topic 3 ‘it is an essential part of your role as an early year’s practitioner to recognise children’s existing achievements and establish strategies for their future learning’ (pg. 72). I agree with this and I believe by planning and observing children are able to thrive in their learning environment.

Observations also enable practitioners to identify any gaps that there may be in a child’s learning and can highlight children who may need additional support. Not only can it highlight any gaps but also children’s strengths. This kind of information gives practitioners the opportunity to plan for children’s individual needs and call in any additional help from outside agencies, such as speech therapists and health visitors. E100 Study topic 8 discusses multi-agency working detailing how most practitioners will have developed contacts with other professionals outside of their setting and how it is important ‘to recognise the potential benefits’ (pg.36). I fully agree that the services that are provided for children and their families are beneficial to support ‘children with special and complex needs’ (pg. 36).

The EYFS framework DfES (2007. p.10) States, close working between Early year’s practitioners and parents is vital for the identification of children’s learning needs’ I fully agree with this statement as I believe parents are children’s first educators and are the ones who know most about their child. E100 Study topic 9 (pg.60) States ‘there is much to suggest that practitioners become more inform professionals if they form close partnerships with parents. In fact, when children have complex needs, professionals find that they must consult with parents’ study topic 9 (pg.60) I agree with this because there was one boy in particular in my setting who had a problem with incontinence and initially the practitioner had expressed her concern with the parent and discussed if there was any issues or changes that took place in the the house that could be contributing to what was happening, after the conversation, plan were made to help him overcome this problem and spare him any anxiety or embarrassment that might cause him in front of his class mates, by asking him to use the bathroom often through out he day. And parents packing an extra clothes for him just encase he has an accident unexpectedly. This is also In accordance with study topic 7 which states,’the relationship that a practitioner forms with children and their families are vital in enabling children to learn and be happy’ (pg.21)(CS3) (KU7)

reader1 chapter 1 states ‘part of all practitioners responsibilities for children’s development is the need to work with partnership wit parents’ (pg. 14) I agree with this statement as well because unless the children’s first educators who are the parents work together with the practitioners to share, identify, and solve an issue, the children will not get the best care and education they deserve to get. The stuff in my setting take parents roll very seriously and realize the ‘important role parents play in children’s learning and development’ reader 2 (pg. 40) I can see in my setting that the practitioners are carrying out this requirement constantly.

During the observation I tried to remember at all times to record exactly what Sara was doing not to make assumptions. As it’s discussed in E100 Study topic 11 ‘making judgement about what children have achieved is not the same as observing what they do’ even though I agree with this statement, I found it difficult at times to do just that but, when I found my self writing what I thought I saw, I would quickly correct what I wrote.

I shared the observation I made with the practitioner. We discuss observation 1 and 3. For observation1 we thought that it would be beneficial to support the children as a group by providing the children a supermarket role play and hospital play resources, this would develop their social, communication and language skills we discussed the video clip (to get some ideas) from DVD 2’hospital play’ in which real live resources were used to improve children’s development such as plastic gloves and blood tube.(CS2) We made a list of resources that could be used to enhance the role play area some of which were shown in DVD 2(PS1)

For observasion3,we said that next time a practitioner would sit with a group of children to be as a guide and support and develop the activity by providing more resources, such as more tongs more more cubes with various colours and sizes and do machining and counting activities to help further develop children’s problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy (PS1)

Observations and planning, in my setting, are based around the (EYFS, 2008) framework which aims to achieve six areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. The observation showed me that Sara is continuing to develop in all six areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. She was investigated the objects and materials in the sand tray using his senses and she investigate science concepts such as transport, half full, making mountains and rain (Knowledge and understanding of the world). She also used her imagination during the sand tray play by pretending the sand dripping from the tray was rain (Creative development) and extended her vocabulary through asking of the meanings new words such as ‘transport’ and ‘half full’ (Communication, language and literacy). She tried new activities and spoke with another child about Her ideas (Personal, social and emotional development). She continued to develop his understanding of volume by filling and emptying the bucket (Mathematical development) and continued to develop her fine motor skills by squeezing the cubes with a tong and transporting it to the basket (Physical development).

To conclude, I believe providing the right kind of fun pleasurable activities for children is vital for children’s learning and development because as they play, they are learning and developing as individuals and they can ‘experience and explore the fullest range of feelings because they are just playing.’ E100 Study topic 12 (pg.133) (CS3). It is also stated in E100 study topic 3 states ‘play is a valuable activity in children, whatever the setting you work in and whatever the age of the children’ (pg. 68) So, by giving children the right praise and support throughout their learning,I believe this will make them motivated, confidant and more inclined to tackle challenges. (KU2)

Part 3

learning about the different types of observation and researching about how children learn and develop very interesting. I have found the amount of information available overwhelming, and found which part to include difficult. Nevertheless I have further developed my knowledge on how to become a better practitioner

Anning, A. and Edwards, A. (2010) ‘Young children as learners’ in Cable, C. Miller, L. and Goodliff, G. Supporting Children’s Learning in the Early Years, Oxon, David Fulton.

Campbell, R. (2010) ‘Young children becoming literate’ in Cable, C. Miller, L. and Goodliff, G. Supporting Children’s Learning in the Early Years, Oxon, David Fulton.

Department for Education and skills (2008), Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

DVD 2 (2009) ‘Hospital Play’.

Devereux, J. (2010) ‘Observing children’ in Cable, C. Miller, L. and Goodliff, G. Supporting Children’s Learning in the Early Years, Oxon, David Fulton.

DVD 2 (2009) ‘Hospital Play’.

Department for Education and skills (2008), Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

Jones, C. and Pound, L. (2010) ‘The roles and responsibilities of leaders’ in Cable, C. Miller, L. and Goodliff, G. Working with Children in the Early Years, Oxon, David Fulton.

Miller, L. , Devereux, J. , Paige-Smith, A. ,Soler. ( 2010) Approaches to curricula in the early years. E100 Course reader 1 Working with Children in Early Years. Cable,C. Miller, L. Goodliff, G,

Nutbrown, C.(2010) ‘Watching and listening’ in Cable, C. Miller, L. and Goodliff, G. Working with Children in the Early Years, Oxon, David Fulton.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 3 Early years practices Milton Keynes The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 5, Health and wellbeing , Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 6, Diversity, inclusion and child rights, Milton Keynes , The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 7, Children’s transition, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 8, Working with others, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 9, Parents as partners, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 11, Support in context, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Open University (2010) E100 study Topic 12, Extending environments, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Observation 1

Sara is at the play dough table with 2 other children sitting next to her, one on the left hand one on the right. She picks up a play dough starts moulding it with both hands. She starts flattening the play dough on the table with her hands. She looks up and sees a plastic plate and says”i take this!” then she turns on her right and says to one of the children sitting with her,

“can you make a cake Iman?”

Iman looks up then just simply carries on with her play trying to make a snail with a play dough.

Sara picks a plastic spoon from the table then starts making holes on the play dough and says “nobody is naughty” her friend Iman that is sitting on her right side reply “yeah, nobody”

Iman comes over to me and she asks if I can make her a snail with the play dough, and I tell her ‘maybe Sara can help you’. Iman goes back to her seat and attempts to makes the snail her self. Sara then looks at Iman while she came back to he sit and says;

“I don’t know how to eat snails” iman “I eat snails”

Sara “eeeah yak!!”

A boy comes from behind Sara and gives her some play dough.

“thank you Omar. Share with everyone OK? Al right!” Sara says.

“Do you know how to make cake Omar?” Omar reply “no” and walks away from the table.

Sara then puts the plastic spoon she had on her hand down on the table. She then puts her and Omar’s play dough together and starts flattening it on the table.

Area of play – Play dough table. Play dough(red, white, yellow ,pink) play dough mat with pictures on it, plastic plate,( spoons pots cups). play dough cutters, (tree, a boy, a girl,)

Links to EYFS

Creative Development. Developing Imagination and imaginative Play. 40-60 months. ‘Play alongside others children who are engaged in the same thing’

And

Communication Language and Literacy for 40-60+ months. In initiate conversation, attend to and take account of what others say.

Next step

Continue to provide Sara with more opportunities for more plays. Evolve this play to a supper market role play and provide children with the resources they need such as, tills, plastic food, vegetables, pen, pencil. These steps will further develop her creativity and develop her language communications and literacy skills.

My thoughts

This is an area where I often see Sara play and she always engages in a conversation with others. I think it would be a good idea to how her how to make a cake so next time she wants to make a cake she knows how to do that. Looking at the EYFS Guidance, I think she is at correct level of development for her age.

Observation 2

Sara started her activities on the sand pit. She started making lines on the sand by her fingers while at the same time interacting with those around her. She picked up a tray with holes on it and puts some sand using her hand then lifted it up and looks at the bottom of the tray. She then pushes out some sand and watch it dripping out through the holes of the bucket with big smile on her face. “Look! It’s raining” she sais to another girl next to her. She calls the practitioner who was standing behind her. ‘Miss look!’ the practitioner goes to Sara and Sara quietly puts more sand in the bucket and lifts it up again and shows the practitioner the sand falling through the bucket hole.

Sara ”its like rain”

Practitioner ”Oh yes,you are right Sara’s. It does look like rain but, what is it raining on?”

Sara “eeeer. on sand”

Practitioner “What if i help you build a mountain so that the rain can fall on it? Do you want to do that?”

Sara Shakes her head quickly. With a big smile on her face.

Sara quickly gets the triangle shaped bucket and puts it between them. Practitioner ”do you want to use your hand or the scoop to transport the sand?”

Sara says “what’s transport?”

practitioner ”What I mean is , do you want to use your hand… like this’ then the practitioner gathers some sand with both her hands and while taking it to the bucket she says ‘TRANSPORT it to the bucket, or do you want to use the scoop like this…’ she takes some sand in the scoop and says ‘and TRANSPORT it to the bucket?’

Sara “eeer…hands!”

practitioner ‘OK. Maybe we should take turns and at the same time we should count how many scoops of sand fills the bucket. You start first Sara’ Sara scoops sand by her hand and puts it in the bucket while counting. The practitioner does the same thing and when they got to 5 scoops, the practitioner says ‘look, its half full’ Sara looks inside the bucket, looks up to the practitioner with a smile on her face and says ‘its my turn now’. They made 3 mountains using the bucket and during this time the practitioner smiled at Sara and gave her plenty of praised ‘well done Sara!’. ‘cleaver girl!’.

Area of play.

Sand tray with a triangle buckets (red and yellow) scoops, dinosaur, a tray with holes on it, cars.

Links to EYFS

– Exploration and (investigation) Notice and comment on patterns.

-Personal, Social and Emotional Development for 40-60+ months. Continue to be interested excited and motivated to learn.

Next step.

Continue providing Sara more resources to further develop her reasoning and numeracy as well as literacy communication and language skills, by providing more opportunities at counting activities such as counting eggs and nursery rhyme ’10 little ducks’

My thoughts.

Seemed to enjoy making the mountains with the practitioner supporting her. When looking at the EYFS guide lines, I think I would say She is at the right level of development.

Observation 3

Sara sat at the problem solving area with 3 other children looking relaxed and exited.

there was a wide container with different colours of cubes and a tong to help children pick a cube with tongs. There was also some wooden puzzle.

She quickly gets the tongs before another child beats her to it. The child then says ‘its mine!’

Sara ‘no! I had it first’ she puts the tongs tightly close to her chest. The child becomes upset and he goes over to the practitioner. Sara watches him go then starts her activity using the tong to pick up the cube one by one and places it to the basket. The practitioner comes to Sara with the boy and says ‘Sara, can you let Yahya have a go please?’

Sara ‘I had it first’

Practitioner ‘that may be so but, it would be nice to share, wouldn’t it? Remember what we said about sharing? if Yahya had it first I’m sure he would share it with you’ Sara looks up to the practitioner and said nothing. The practitioner said ‘so are you going to be a good girl and share with Yahya’ Sara shook her head while looking at Yahya. The practitioner said ‘good girl! Well done.’ ‘Yahya, Sara is going to let you have a turn ok?’ maybe you can help her count the cubs while she’s putting it in the basket. Ok? The boy looks at the practitioner and shakes his head then looks at Iman. The practitioner walks away leaving the children behind. Sara said to Yahya ‘I do this first OK? Then we share. Look!’ Sara transported the cubes to the basket using the tongs while Yahya watched with interest and excitement and they count together as Sara is placing the cubes in the basket.. She dropped the cubes few times while transporting it to the basket but she showed real determination and managed to finish transporting all the cubs in to the basket. This brought a smile to her face and a sense of relief.

Area of play-

Problem solving corner. Baskets, tongs, various colours cubes, 2 wooden puzzle

Links to EYFS

-Physical Development for 40-60 months-

move with control and coordination.

-problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy for 40-60 months – Match then compare the number of objects in two sets.

Next step

Provide more stimulating and challenging problem solving activities.

And provide inserting counting activities such as nursery rhymes.

My thoughts

I think Sara found this activity a bit challenging and interesting interesting. It made her pay attention and concentrate. I think it something that she and other children as a group would enjoy doing from time to time.

Sara seems to be well in line with the EYFS guidance in development